Sunday, July 15, 2007

It's a hard sell

Why is SharePoint such a hard sell? We generally tend to find that convincing customers to use SharePoint is hard work. They just don't seem to get the real productivity saving that they could make with the product. I suppose that you don't really appreciate SharePoint if you don't use it. These days we'd be lost without SharePoint in our business, it helps fill the gaps in so many areas. A good example now is the roll that it is playing after we shut down Microsoft CRM 3.0. We can say that we have almost replaced all the functionality that we were using with CRM 3.0 with SharePoint. It also provides greater flexibility and interoperabity to boot.

Now that we started using SharePoint 3.0 we think the product is going to be big. Again, it is still a hard sell for many small businesses but hopefully Microsoft will product some good marketing materials. The great things about SharePoint is that it can be hosted by people like Webcentral. This means that you can sign up customers without the need for messy infrastructure on a month by month basis.

Microsoft has some greating e-learning training resources on Sharepoint 3.0 ( click here ) which you'll find are currently free. They provide a good overview and introduction to the features of Sharepoint 3.0. We are really excited about things like wikis and inbuildt RSS feeds. We are currently looking at potentially migrating our online knowledge base ( www.ciaops.net.au ) into a hosted Sharepoint 3.0 because the felxibility is marvellous with Sharepoint 3.0 alomost seeming to be designed for this sort of application. Microsoft is also planning to release a swag of Sharepoint 3.0 application templates that include things like knowledge bases and room hire ( click here for more info ). We've already seen a few of these previewed and think that having these templates should make it even easier to convince customers to at least give Sharepoint a try.

We like to think that we are a little ahead of the curve here. If so we expect that in the next 6 to 12 months the biggest thing to come from the latest release of software will be Sharepoint 3.0. Our advice, get into it now!