I’m sure everyone will have (or should have) their own list of things that they really like about SBS2008. Consultants will find things that benefit a sale or installation, whereas an IT professional or an office person using SBS every day will find other things that are attractive to them. My list of SBS 2008 WOW factors tend to be right down the middle … some have the end user in mind, while others will have either the IT administrator or consultant in mind. With each WOW factor, I will also point out things that are lacking or missing. Perhaps some of these items can make it into a future service pack or R2 release.
The very first WOW factor on my list has to be the improved OWA (Outlook Web Access). I used OWA in SBS 2003 quite a bit. But whenever I showed it to a customer, my conversation usually went something like this: “Yes, there is a web version of Outlook available in SBS. It’s called OWA, but you really only want to use it to view and reply to incoming emails …”. I then went on to tell them more about the limitations in OWA, such as the effort required to find contacts or access public folders, rather than the features of OWA.
Although OWA in Exchange 2007 is still not perfect, it’s come a long way, baby, from its 2003 days. The UI is cleaner and resembles Outlook 2007. Searching for contacts is easier, it interfaces with Sharepoint, and you can easily access other user’s mailboxes without having to logoff. Additionally, the ability to create and manage Rooms and Equipment as users will be well received by many of my customers. The calendar interface has been completely redesigned.
What’s missing? My number one complaint with Exchange 2007 / Outlook 2007/ OWA 2007 is the lack of an integrated, single source signature system for end users. A user should not have to set up their signature in Outlook, only to have to setit up again in OWA or in Outlook on a Terminal Server. For now, we must still rely on third party solutions from companies such as Symprex or Exclaimer.
Want to learn more about OWA 2007 in SBS? Check out these links: