Friday, May 16, 2008

Why people don't use Sharepoint

There are two markets here that I plan to address with this post. Firstly, the SMB technology reseller and secondly the client.

 

I hear everywhere in SMB community that Sharepoint is the great untapped product (that's right), we should be doing more with it (that's correct again) and it has greater revenue potential for the reseller (right again). So why the hell isn't it being implemented? Simple. Firstly, the SMB reseller has probably never looked at Sharepoint, they don't understand what it is, how to install it, how to maintain it and so. "I've already got too much to do" is the common catch cry. Ok, but is the stuff your doing generating you profit or is it just fund to play with? Is there a way you could be more efficient? Or do you just love playing with the technology?

 

Most SMB resellers seem to run their business in total disarray. Put simply, they don't have a business, they have a hobby!  They enjoy "fiddling". They don't want to get involved with running a business, marketing and stuff, they just want to "fiddle". I have no idea how some of these people stay in business (but they do admittedly). Most are technically excellent but business paupers. They make money sure, but do they actually make a profit? Could they walk away from their business for even a week? Could they put a value on their business if they wanted to sell it? Are they getting value for all the time they "fiddle"? I doubt it. All they want to do is "fiddle" believing the better they "fiddle" the more they'll get paid.

 

They believe that their technical skills are superior to other resellers and that's why they have their clients. Wrong! Search engines and blogs are levelling the playing field. Now anyone who knows how to search properly can be just as skilled as anyone else. Every day, technical knowledge is being devalued simply due to the reach of the Internet. So what's left? For some who "fiddle" not much because they don't have any other skills to offer. They don't understand their own business so how the hell do they hope to understand their customers'? If something breaks, they are there promptly to fix it but when it comes to helping a client be more efficient in their business processes they are lost because their own business is a mess.

 

So a "fiddler" looks at Sharepoint, shrugs their shoulders and continues on installing Windows updates. "No use to me", "I don't understand it", "It doesn't do very much" and so on and so on. They want to be the technician and nothing else. Unless you use a tool like Sharepoint in your business you are never going to understand it. Imagine not using Excel in your business. Guess what? It's a tool just like Sharepoint and there doesn't seem to be any problems using that does there? But enough bagging of resellers, I'll let them get back to manually installing Windows updates while I continue ranting.

 

Now if the reseller has no idea about Sharepoint then the poor old client isn't going to either are they? The stuff that comes from Microsoft is confusing and targeted at Office Sharepoint Server simply because that makes revenue for Microsoft (understandable). So even if they slightly cotton onto the benefits of Sharepoint who is going to install it for them? Not their reseller (who is still busy in background installing Windows updates). Even if the client finds someone to install it, who is actually going to help them integrate their business processes into it? Not the reseller because they have no idea about running a business, they're too busy with their hobby.

 

So sadly Sharepoint sits in a corner neglected and unused. Finding resellers and customers with the drive to want to change their business for better and become more efficient is almost impossible these days. So many places I see should have the sign "We do things the same way because that's the way we have always done them" plastered above their front door (wouldn't do any good on their web site since if they even have a web site they don't make use of that either!). In these tougher economic times doesn't it make sense to look at improving your business? Most say "nahh, takes too long" which translates to "I'm too afraid to try something different and potentially fail".

 

Sharepoint has a lot stacked against from every angle and boy is it an uphill battle. The saving grace I see is that eventually all our technology will be living in the cloud and Sharepoint (or some iteration of it) will happily fit inside, unlike some resellers and customers. But, I could be totally mistaken because, as I said, some people seem to do pretty well out of their hobby! Maybe I'm the one who has it upside down?