SharePoint: Take It Outside
As far as I know, my father cannot count to three. Growing up, when my younger
brother and I began to fight, my dad would simply begin to count, loudly, and
we would sprint downstairs. To this day, I don't think my father has ever counted
all the way to three.
I bring this up because a recent
Forrester report about Microsoft taking SharePoint online reminded me of
one of my father's favorite phrases: "Take it outside!" Wrestling
in the den? Take it outside! Fighting over the remote control? Take it outside!
Facing keen opposition from services-savvy competitors? Yeah, take it outside.
My father's angry bellows must have echoed off of Mt. Rainier, because the
execs in Redmond have thrown open the shrink wrap to launch online offerings
like Office Live, Windows Live services and, most recently, SQL Server Data
Forrester Research recently published a report, "SharePoint Shoots for
the Cloud," that makes a pretty strong case for Microsoft's new SharePoint
Online offering. Typical of SaaS implementations of shrink-wrapped solutions,
SharePoint Online offers a low barrier to entry, at the cost of limited features,
customization and integration.
In the case of SharePoint Online, organizations get what Forrester's Rob Koplowitz
called "commoditized collaboration," with a feature set that roughly
mirrors that of Windows SharePoint Services found in Windows Server 2008. As
an on-ramp to selling full-on Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) licenses,
SharePoint Online seems like an interesting strategy.
What's more, there's little opposition from IT orgs. According to the report,
fully 40 percent of surveyed enterprise and SMB organizations say they already
use SaaS for collaboration tasks such as e-mail, IM, Web conferencing and team
From a development perspective, SharePoint online offers a way for companies
to test the waters and determine, at least in a limited fashion, what they really
want to do. And if your IT management is rigorous enough, the approach can prevent
wildcat SharePoint Server installations from producing integration and migration
headaches down the road.
At the end of the day, however, my father's advice only gets you so far. Because
it's the content management, forms handling and business intelligence features
of the full-blown SharePoint Server that let corporate developers add value.
And until your organization is willing to make an investment to bring all that
in-house -- and to manage it effectively -- the opportunities remain pretty
Is your company looking at SharePoint Online, and if so, why? Let me know at
Posted by Michael Desmond on 08/05/2008 at 1:15 PM