SharePoint Symposium: Tony Byrne on ‘SharePoint in 2011: How Did We Get Here? Exposing the Real Weaknesses and Strengths of Web and Enterprise Technology Products’

The 2011 SharePoint Symposium kicked off this morning in Washington, D.C. at the Wardman Park Marriott.  Bamboo is a sponsor of the event, so if you're an attendee, don't miss your chance to visit our booth in the Enterprise Solutions Showcase.  We're onsite both Wednesday and Thursday, and would love to meet and demo our solutions for you. 

I was only able to attend the Symposium this morning myself, but in that time, I was able to cover both sessions in the "SharePoint Pros and Cons" track, beginning with Tony Byrne's presentation, "SharePoint in 2011: How Did We Get Here?  Exposing the Real Weaknesses and Strengths of Web and Enterprise Technology Products."  Tony is the founder of Real Story Group (formerly CMS Watch), "a buyer's advocate for enterprises looking to invest in content technologies."

Tony explained that one of the goals of his session would be to "Uncover some of the assumptions about SharePoint that we don't always make explicit."  Referencing the 2011 McKinsey global survey, Tony called out the finding that knowledge workers have driven 70% of the economic growth in the U.S. over the last three decades.

Addressing the history of SharePoint, Tony said that "Documentum … was the context under which Microsoft came out with SharePoint in 2001," and that it did "something that people very much wanted to do: share files," and in a manner which was at the time "pretty revolutionary."  Tony's brief history of "Where SharePoint was and where it's going" included touching on the 3-year release cycle that's become the norm, as well as the increasing alignment with Office over time ("Microsoft's attempt at keeping Office relevant in the Web era").

Tony then outlined four distinct themes surrounding SharePoint:

  1. File sharing is the mother of collaboration (e.g., SharePoint's roots in Documentum).
  2. Empower the individual (i.e., providing the ability to create your own team site out-of-the-box).
  3. Sustain the Office franchise ("Microsoft's ideal for this is to dissolve the line between [Office and SharePoint]").
  4. .NET playground ("What SharePoint is in the greater Microsoft ecosystem" … "SharePoint has become kind of a default development platform for the .NET framework," and to the extent that "SharePoint has become the dominant .NET environment.").

Tony went on to stress that "My word of the day is platform," explaining that SharePoint has evolved from a file-sharing tool to a full-fledged platform for application development.   Tony suggested that the "Key is to think of SharePoint not in terms of services, but in terms of business applications" such as knowledge base management and project management, and including third-party providers to enhance the native features of the platform.   Tony pointed out that Microsoft, at this past summer's Worldwide Partner Conference, shared that "60-80% of SharePoint deployments involve a partner" and that "$6-$9 is spent on consulting services for every $1 spent on licenses."

Wrapping up with the notion of "Why SharePoint?," Tony allowed that while the focus for the next two days would be on SharePoint, it should be noted that "There are still alternatives … that may, for certain things, be a better fit for you."  To this end, the Real Story Group makes available as a free download what they affectionately refer to as a "subway map" of vendors, and that's available at  (You'll find Bamboo Solutions on the SharePoint Ecosystem "line"), and that free samples of Vendor Evaluations by Real Story Group analysts are also available at that link.

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