Friday, August 14, 2009

SharePoint Thrives



If you wanted further confirmation that a major business opportunity exists in and around SharePoint then “Microsoft’s SharePoint Thrives in the Recession” from the New York Times is worth a read.

“We don’t claim we do everything,” said Chris Capossela, a senior vice president at Microsoft. “If we do 50 percent of the functions that these other companies do, but they’re the ones customers really want, that’s fine. The magic is that end users actually like to use the software.”

No technology can honestly claim to do everything and SharePoint is no different. Given how flexible it is you do have to say that it does a great many thinks pretty well and that is what makes it such a great solution for many businesses.

Microsoft declines to break out the exact sales figures for the software but said that SharePoint broke the $1 billion revenue mark last year and continued to rise past that total this year, making it the hottest selling server-side product ever for the company.

So if it is still growing while other software is declining why aren’t more people considering it? Imagine what will happen when more businesses find that Windows SharePoint is free to download or already included with their systems (i.e. for Small Business Server). When this happens the demand certainly isn’t going to decline.

Microsoft has managed to undercut even the panoply of open-source companies playing in the business software market by giving away a free basic license to SharePoint if they already have Windows Server. “It’s a brilliant strategy that mimics open source in its viral, free distribution, but transcends open source in its ability to lock customers into a complete, not-free-at-all Microsoft stack - one for which they’ll pay more and more the deeper they get into SharePoint,” Mr. Asay said.

This is exactly the reason that Microsoft provide Windows SharePoint for free, because it locks the customer into using more and more Microsoft products which is fine because they provide a solution and a great return on investment. Given that Windows SharePoint is also free it means there are far less hurdles to implementation.

By making these more sophisticated tools available to customers, Microsoft thinks it can keep pushing niche software makers out of the way and give business people, rather than just the tech folks, a way to work with business applications.

Again, here’s another key feature. SharePoint can easily be utilized by business users to suit their needs. As I have always said SharePoint is tool just like Excel or Word, it starts out blank but you really create something fantastic using it. Most business owners fear that if they implement something they will need to keep paying for any change required. With SharePoint they can do it themselves.

If you are a technology provider and you haven’t looked at the opportunity SharePoint presents then you are missing out on the hottest game in town. If you want to get up to speed fast with Windows SharePoint consider my Windows SharePoint Operations Guide (www.wssops.com) which is packed with all the information that you’ll need to install, maintain and manage Windows SharePoint. I’m pretty sure you won’t find another single location with as much information on Windows SharePoint as the Guide.

No matter what the economic conditions there are always opportunities for the savvy and clearly SharePoint is one of them. I’d also tell you not to forget the opportunity that OneNote presents but that is a topic for another post.