Using SharePoint for External Client Collaboration

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Being a project manager most of my time is spent communicating with clients – speaking to them, sending emails and also sending files. Clients often want to send me files, whether that is information about something, rough specs for work, or list of bugs outstanding. The 2 issues I find here are the size of the files not getting through the email system and amends to files leaving the actual version of the file and the latest file unknown. The best solution is to setup an external portal for each customer that they can log into and record issues, bugs and upload files. This does have an overhead and with different users needing different permissions, say for financial information it is often too much of an overhead.

One great way to enable file, list and discussion sharing easily is to use SharePoint Workspace. By storing the files in your internal SharePoint instance you have all the benefits of SharePoint document management, but by using SharePoint Workspace files can easily be shared and versioned with a client(as long as they have office 2010!). See my previous post on how to set this up.

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