PLM SharePoint Thoughts

I’ve been attending SPTech Boston Conference today. Navigate your browser on this link. You can get some information there. Microsoft is rolling SharePoint 2010 out, and I wanted to understand what traction it takes in the community of developers. To understand that I spent couple of hours on the SPTech Exhibition.

SharePoint Collaboration

Collaboration remains one of the most popular words in SharePoint field. The companies on the exhibition can be classified into to two groups: 1- Administrating SharePoint; 2- Collaborating with SharePoint. Compared to my previous SharePoint conference, I can see a definite trend down of companies helping people to install, configure and maintain SharePoint. Does it mean stuff became easier for the last 1-2 years? No, I don’t think so. I think people just learned a bit.

The second group of companies is focusing on how people can collaborate with data and documents. SharePoint remains a strong player in this domain. Nevertheless, multiple vendors are working to make it more usable and more attractive. In the context of engineering software, it related to two fields – Viewing Solution and Document Sharing. Viewing solutions were presneted by few companies – adlibsoftware, Atalasoft, BAInsight, Surfray and some others. Most of the companies in this space, are working on formats of multiple document and struggling complexity of engineering documents. I will spend more time in coming weeks to learn more what these companies are doing.

The Google Wave Miracles

The very interesting things happen in what I call “after Google Wave” age. I can see companies coming with the nice ideas that very similar to the original Google Wave ideas. Google was very ambitious in their plans. Most of the products I’ve seen are similar, but trying to provide a niche solution. However, the following product was kind of different and interesting. VIZit from Atalasoft Inc. came with the early beta of Vizit Social eXchage (VSX). They are extending SharePoint with a very interesting feature – social discussions around SharePoint content. I found it kinda cool. You can mark any piece of content in document (i.e. PowerPoint, Acrobat PDF, Word) and organize discussion of people around this topic. The product is still in beta. You can contact company using the following link.

The Cost of Free SharePoint
My last portion of SharePoint thoughts are indirectly related to Open Source SharePoint PLM solution announced few weeks ago. You can see more details in my previous blog about that – PLM SharePoint: Silver Bullet of Fierce Criticism. I think one important point was missed in previous article related to the SharePoint based PLM solution – solution cost. I want to thank ArnoldIT for sharing the link on SharePoint Price Calculator (the link was live when I published it). I think you can find it interesting. It shares some numbers and details related to SharePoint 2010 licensing. Here is the example I run on this sample:

What is my conclusion today? SharePoint is continuing to be interesting as a product that drives people and organization. The diversity of solutions on top of SharePoint is high and Microsoft continue to hold big gaps in functionality allowing to partners to develop decent solutions. At the same time, the price of “Free SharePoint” is far from free. The complexity of SharePoint solution is always beyond the average. You should consider it before you move… Just my thoughts.
Best, Oleg

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