Jon Udell recently wrote
In a recent column on how we use and abuse email, I mentioned the idea of passing attachments "by reference" rather than "by value." Unfortunately I overlooked a product recently reviewed by InfoWorld that does exactly that. The Xythos WebFile Server has a companion WebFile Client that hooks File Attach (in Notes and Outlook) and replaces attachments with secure links to an access-controlled and versioned instance of the document. Cool!
The $50K price tag, as our reviewer noted, "may keep smaller companies away." But other implementations of the idea are clearly possible.
SharePoint provides the ability to provide shared workspaces for documents and even integrates nicely with the rest of Microsoft Office such as Word. I know quite a few people who've gone from sending documents back and forth over email to sending links to documents in shared workspaces. Of course, old habits die hard and even at Microsoft lots of people tend to send documents in email as attachments.