Blogger: Craig Roth
The U.S. SharePoint launch was held yesterday morning at Saturday Night Live’s studio at 30 Rock, NY, NY. It was an appropriate location as they put on a good show that was webcast as it happened to many more locations (Tuesday Morning Live?).
We have a quite a few reports coming out on SharePoint 2010 and Office 2010 so I won’t go through even a brief analysis here. There will be one each on the BPOS, portal, content management, social software, and security aspects of SharePoint from the Garter IT Practitioners (née Burton Group) analysts and much more from the classic Gartner analysts including a First Look. And one on co-authoring.
But I can say that 1) Microsoft is right about the tons of great enhancements they’ve made to SP2010 and 2) I’m hard pressed to find any of these enhancements that weren’t in competing products for years already. I know - but now it’s all in one package, or with a familiar UI information workers trust, or leverages the synergy of other aspects of the Office suite. Whether it is operational improvements (more ability to spread services across servers, sandboxing), content management (metadata-based policy management), social software (real wikis, social “wall”s), or co-authoring, one should ask anyone interested in them “if those features are so cool and useful why you didn’t pick them off the shelf from other vendors years ago”?
Still, SharePoint is growing up and that’s good for organizations of all sizes that are implementing it. Better stability, multi-tenancy, scaling architecture, automated compliance features, and reporting all point to a more mature environment. And having all these new features under a single umbrella means no separate business cases, ROI calculations, evaluations, and purchasing approvals that would prove difficult for cool services whose exact usage and value is difficult to predict.
I don’t think any vendor or product is capable of ushering in a new age of collaboration and productivity. Rather it is something that happens by fits and starts. The same technology needs to be re-wrapped and re-presented several times before it finally hits an audience that is receptive and ready to adopt it. This takes time and trial-and-error. Maybe SP 2010 will be that re-wrapping and re-packaging needed to capture the interest of frazzled information workers that need to collaborate. If so, it won’t be a killer feature of the new release, but resignation to the idea that it’s finally time to let go of e-mail, shared folders, and solo authoring and accept a new collaborative interaction model in its place.