Monday, December 7, 2009

Is it game over for SharePoint?

In response to Alan Pelz-Sharpe’s blog post asking Is the SharePoint bubble going to burst? I think the answer is both complicated and imageeasy. The article points out that SharePoint has been with us for ten years now. As with all products that have had this kind of a run in the market place they have a tendency to over expand and stagnate in some areas. One advantage SharePoint has is an incredibly rapid growth rate - SharePoint is the fastest growing product in the history of Microsoft. That’s pretty impressive and it leaves an opening for the question posed in Alan’s blog.

The Cards are on the Table

Customers made the initial investment in SharePoint and now it’s up to partners to complete the circle. T here are three aspects I see for SharePoint in 2010. One is from a blog post I wrote last May called SharePoint and ecm – Is 2010 the year to go BIG? another is to go after some of the business that has not been traditionally deployed in a SharePoint environment. Which is why I blogged about SharePoint’s Next Billion Dollars a few weeks back. The third point is that there is still a cadre of partners out there that need more information in order to understand the value proposition for both the business and technical of SharePoint.

imageThe cards I see that have been dealt are hands for ISV’s, SI’s, and Training partners. Each can play their hand in several ways and I fully expect to see a rapid adoption of SharePoint practices within the System Integrator (SI) community and also a broad swath of Independent Software Vendors (ISV’s) to add their expertise in vertical and horizontal solutions to SharePoint based offerings.

2010 Will be the Year of Capture

There are still a lot of players in this market. Some have been dominant in the ECM space for years. Some are relative new comers. 2010 will be a year of market shifts and consolidation. 2010 will highlight that June about Document Capture in SharePoint is up for grabs. Companies will need to replace aging legacy system – specifically in the traditional document capture space. This will leave a significant gap for existing vendors and for new entrants. Microsoft has built SharePoint 2010 to be a platform that allows partners to Connect Extend and Build their next generation of offerings.

Partners Partners Partners

image As Steve Ballmer was so famously quoted (and parodied**) about Developers --- it’s also true for Partners. Microsoft has built a tremendous following of partners that span the spectrum of ISV’s, SI’s and Training Partners. Some focus on specific areas and issues related to IT challenges (Security, Management, Deployment, etc.) and others focus on Business Challenges (LOB Applications for Vertical and Horizontal Solutions and of course there are companies that cover both. The point is --- these are partners. They have a choice in who they partner with and for which products. Microsoft has done a good job keeping partners engaged. One way is to keep the 1:3:5 Ratio in mind.

I agree with Alan that there is increased competition and that SharePoint has raised the bar. In order to succeed with SharePoint the partnering efforts need to continue to be expanded and refined. There are efforts underway now to insure that happens. The kickoff for this was the SharePoint Conference in October – a summary of the event is here.

image **Note: I was in the front row when this video was shot. While this video was taken and run up the flagpole as a parody it was awesome being in the audience. I was pumped … and I still am … for Partners

This is a Good Thing

There are so many SharePoint licenses out in the world – by some estimates over 20,000 SharePoint Servers and over 100 million SharePoint client access licenses (CAL’s). True, some are not being fully utilized to their full capacity. This is the the good news. The great news is that the smart partners will see this as an opportunity to extend and enhance their offerings to include SharePoint.

Is is Game Over for SharePoint?

imageOn  the Contrary. I think the game is afoot (Sherlock Holmes to Dr. Watson). To use the same metaphor with cards --- those that play the right hands will win … and win BIG! 

I think it’s GAME ON!

What do you think?

  • What cards are you going to play?
  • Will you go vertical or horizontal?
  • How will your company be changed by installing SharePoint?

What say you?

Add you comments here or use the contact information below.

clip_image002About The Author:
I have spent the better part of the last 16 years working in various aspects of the ECM industry. I spent time at
Kofax, Microsoft, FileNet, K2, and most recently Captaris (which was acquired by Open Text in Nov 2008). Prior to that I was a Unix VAR running my own company. Follow me on Twitter, check my blog, send email or find me on Facebook or LinkedIn.

** I am available for speaking engagements and consulting projects. My areas of emphasis are business development and alliance management where Social Media and Enterprise Content Management intersect.


chrisg said...

Good stuff Jeff. I for one think SharePoint is just getting started. Microsoft has pused so many different "niches" into the new SharePoint platform. Including Social aspsects, ECM, Content Management, Records Management etc. Partners are really starting to grab hold and build very interesting "solutions" SharePoint is truly becoming a true dare is say it....Platform.

Anonymous said...

Jeff, good read and I believe you already know what cards I will play in 2010, and I will focus on both vertical and horizontal solution offerings,

Jim Saavedra

ginas said...

I think Sharepoint has a lot of room for improvement, but as you point out its installed base is staggering and MS is not going to let it do anything but grow. I'm certain that their purchase of FAST is going to go right into the Sharepoint product -- and if they could get Search right (finally) it will go far in making it a better solution.

More vertical solutions built for it would, I'm sure, be successful if done right and if the price tag can make it accessible at least down to the MORG level (ideally all the way to SORG).

However, I fear that improvements on things like Search are going to raise the entry fee for many, and any Sharepoint solution that's decent and doesn't require experts to deploy properly will put it out of reach for anyone but large enterprise businesses. This is where some of the littler guys come in for specific deployments -- e.g. Traction Software for intelligence.

John Moffitt said...

I'm sure the "game over" title was just to get our attention?
If I had time to post a blog about the eminent success of SharePoint I would. SharePoint is a "killer app" for at least 5things
1. Custom written web portals that now have no developer(s) to update them.
2. Email
3. Corporate Web 2.0 (they have to go this way, they're getting killed by LinkedIn)
4. Document Management
5. etc. etc. etc.