Archive for SharePoint Ecosystem

SharePoint 2012 Conference: Let us not be distracted from Business Value

Last week we attended the SharePoint 2012 conference.  There was much new to see: SharePoint 2013, Office 365, Yammer, cloudy stuff, a bunch of new ISV tools, and hybrid and client-side development.  All of this is cool, maybe fun, and, as a technologist dripping in SharePointism, I find it great.  However, when you get to talking to customers, you get brought back to reality.  In fact, in many of my conversations, there appeared to be a backlash.  This was summed up best by a senior IT manager relating what he told his Microsoft rep “We are not a social enterprise; we are a business.”  Or, another person said, “Really, in the new world an Announcement list is an application; give me a break.”  What you are seeing, hearing, and feeling is the reflection of the two views of SharePoint: one is SharePoint as an application for collaboration, the other looks at SharePoint as an Application Plaform.

It is time for my “Emperor’s New Clothes” article…

Microsoft would love everyone to adopt Office 365/Yammer and subscribe and pay monthly for everything Microsoft.  They would love code developers to build lots of little apps to be more Apple-esque.  It feels both hot and cool, and it means a new, recurring revenue stream for Microsoft along with a defense against pirating.

However, for most enterprises it is just a distraction.  Those that are deeply committed to SharePoint, are committed because they see it as an application platform and they have invested to leverage it as such.  They see SP as an environment that they can leverage to build out their business applications that are inter-connected.  One that supports incremental improvements as they learn how to get their people to work better together.  One that they can control – which today and in the future means On Premise or a Private Cloud.  They want reduced complexity.  They want business groups to leverage it to be more productive with real business applications.  They want to use it to consolidate applications (Saas, Point solutions, other platforms) and thus save money, reduce complexity and risk, establish standards and best practices, and, create operational leverage.

Still, probably 50% of the SharePoint customer base is only at the base level of the SharePoint value continuum. They see SharePoint as a collaborative application – team sites, portals, Intranets, and, documents. This segment is at the greatest risk of defecting to Zimbra (email) and Alfresco and Jive and DropBox. Oddly, what Microsoft is doing is introducing a discontinuous innovation that will force this segment to choose.  There are lots of choices when you are at that level with SharePoint.  It is a commoditized part of the market.

Over the last 10 years CorasWorks has evolved from a focus on the base level (SP for collaboration) to leveraging SP as an application platform.  We are committed to the enterprise customer and most of our customers are firmly in the On Premise/Private Cloud camp.  We of course are driving the business value hard for our customers.  For instance, during the SharePoint conference, over at the CorasWorks booth we were showing a broad range of hard-hitting business solutions.  We had at our fingertips demos of about 30 Work Management solutions and 20 custom solutions that we have build for specific Industries and Business Functions.  All of these run on our one CorasWorks v11 Solution Platform and all are done with no coding so our customers can do powerful things without managing rogue code.  Thus, our conversations were focused on the busines challenges and solutions.

Let the Bifurcation Occur

There has always been a split between the camps of SharePoint as a collaborative app and SharePoint as an application platform.  I think that SharePoint as an app platform on premise is a winner and the momentum is growing as it gets more standardized vs. relying on custom development.  I believe that because of the SP2013 offerings, the bifurcation is just clearer, and that, you will see a clarification of strategy within the enterprise.  Most committed enterprises will deepen their commitment to SharePoint for its use as an application platform – it is clearly the best choice for this path at this time.  My bet is that over the next few years the average enterprise will simply become capable of becoming their own Enterprise Shared Application Services (ESAS) provider, in their own Private Cloud.  The enterprise will drive its own path because the technology curve has enabled it to do so and the business value far outweighs any incremental costs.

In fact, I believe that we are only at the beginning of a new curve of value, when enterprises start to figure out how to truly get their people to work better together.  If you spend your time talking to business managers like I do, you realize that they just don’t have practical applications at their fingertips to get the work done. There is alot more to do…

So for those that are committed to SharePoint as an application platform, just don’t be distracted by these new offerings and keep on adding business applications on premise and adding value to your organization.  By doing this, you continue to accelerate your business value today and you will be building a foundation for great innovation of your enterprise in the future.

Microsoft’s Acquisition of Yammer Tips the Workplace Into a New Era of User-Centric Productivity

Four hours ago the Wall Street Journal reported that Yammer agreed to sell itself to Microsoft for $1.2B.  It is a big deal (dollars) and it is a big deal (shift in technology and impact on the SharePoint community and all business information workers).  In this article I’ll give you my take on: a) why it is good business for Microsoft to do it,  b) why I believe it signals a significant change in the future of applications, the workplace, and end-user productivity, and, c) how we and other ISV’s will adapt and where it will take us.

First off, Yammer is a social networking company – many call it Facebook for the enterprise.  At the core of it is the Activity Stream.  People post updates, people follow people, and it all flows into their Activity Stream.  The stream becomes a single place to go for the user to see their social/collaborative activity.  Ostensibly, it is to be used for business purposes, yet, in reality it is at this time really a communications tool vs. a work tool.

On the surface, Microsoft bought Yammer for two good business reasons…

First, SharePoint was being disrupted at the low end of collaboration.  In 2003, SharePoint was the easy to understand, easy way to share content.  Over the releases it got a little better with collaboration.  But, since 2008, the outside vendors like Yammer started to disrupt SharePoint with an even easier way to share information.  Yammer, Jive, Box.net, Alfresco, etc. etc.  They started to eat market-share and mind-share at the base of SharePoint – those organizations that only use it for the low end work.  SharePoint/Office 2013 would have made the “social” feature set of SharePoint better, but, the independent social ISV’s were way ahead and unfettered by enterprise baggage.  Microsoft couldn’t afford to lag on this one.

Second, Yammer has a user based business model.  The SharePoint market is saturated.  Where will the next billion come from?  Office 365 is the big bet.  But, you need to own the disruptive engine to drive users to it.  Hence, Yammer.  $5/user/month – $60/year.  Just add this feature to the Office 365 package and you justify the price and get your next $1 or $2B in revenue.  And, since it is separate and hosted, you can get the $1-$2B without cannibalizing your on-premise enterprise business. (Note: You’ll see how this will work when I talk about what CorasWorks will do in this context.)

Okay, so what does this signal in terms of the future of technology and the user…

If you read the 100’s of articles to appear tomorrow you will read lots and lots about social this and social that.  As a technologist for enterprise business, this just isn’t that compelling.  Most social-social software is just about the conversation and following people and their conversations.  In its current incarnation, it doesn’t add much business value. Yet, it is super hot – you can sell a company with $30m in revenue for more than $1b.  But, it doesn’t really add much to the bottom line of enterprises, yet…

The significance is the impact on the business end-user experience over the next five years.  What you are witnessing is the tipping point to a new user-centric standard.  For 30 years, when we speak of a user interface we are talking about the interface to a single application – be it Word, Excel, Salesforce, Siebel, SAP, mainframe, any business app.  Now, take a visual look at Yammer.  What if that social activity stream was instead a business activity stream?  What if all of the work you do that you need to stay on top of flowed to you in one place and you could easily collaborate with others?  What if you could start to manage your work across applications from one place?  You, the user, would start to have control and life would be a lot easier than schlepping from app to app.  The user would have a new great experience.  Throw in real time communications technologies and you have the next generation user experience.

But, there is even more business value to be had.  I wrote about this user centric scenario in an article Engage the User with the Cim Activity Stream last year.  CorasWorks has an activity stream but it is a business activity stream vs. a social activity stream.  You follow work vs. following people. With ours all activity is around the work as part of our Work Management platform – programs, tasks, requests, knowledge content, policies, projects, opportunities, task orders, items in processes, etc.  So, we are a bit different.  The reason is that our core business is enabling organizations to build all of those business apps on SharePoint that add tangible business value without coding.  We simply saw the user experience of an activity stream, like the UI of Yammer, as a great way to bring all of those apps together and put work at the fingertips of the user.

So, the Microsoft purchase of Yammer signals a shift to user-centric activity stream experience today, which, over the next few years will extend to encompass more and more of users’ core business activity.  Thus, the real business user interface will move from many app UI’s to their activity stream.

 

Why only Microsoft should have moved on it?

Over the last year, a problem in this beautiful future started to occur – many ISV’s (independent software vendors) started adding activity streams.  If the purpose is a single user experience, then, how will it be good if every vendor had their own activity stream.  We had ours on SharePoint.  Newsgator has a social – social activity stream on SharePoint.  So, we federated ours into theirs. I wrote about the need to do this more than a year ago. We also began the process to federate into Yammer, Salesforce’s Chatter, Jive, Appian, and SharePoint in Office 2013, etc.  Believe me this is costly to support, but, a commitment to cross-federation was the only way to make it work for the users unless…

Viola, now Microsoft buys Yammer.  To us, this means that we can now federate to Microsoft Yammer and push business activity into that stream.  Will others ISV”s follow?  I believe so.  What you’ll start to see is the flow starting to go into this new UI.

Why Microsoft?  Because it is up to them to set the industry standard.  They are uniquely positioned to do so in mass as they have done many times before.  I think on this one, they can and will do it.  We the mass will accept them because there should only be one.  While we hate that it makes life easier in situations where you need a single standard.

 

Where CorasWorks stands in all this?

The base of SharePoint users is really just starting to move in mass up the stack from low end collaboration into work management apps – our sweet spot. We have always pushed the business value of an integrated workplace of inter-connected applications on SharePoint.  We’ve set the standard for configured apps vs. custom coded that accelerates the ability for customers to create the apps they need and drive tangible business value.  We’ve set the standard for cross app integration on SharePoint.    We added the business activity stream to drive that integration and end-user convenience further.

Over the last couple of years we worked to trumpet the move to this new user-centric approach to work.  We have a small trumpet compared to Microsoft.  I see Microsoft’s move accelerating the realization of organizations on how all of this comes together to serve the user which will drive more apps onto the platform to feed the experience.  We will do our part to federate and help drive the movement. My belief is that we are moving into a new era of a virtuous cycle that will simply make it easier and more productive for people to work better together.  It is a good day.

 

Stay tuned…

William

Unique ID Generator tool now Free to SharePoint Community

Being able to relate information across SharePoint lists and libraries is important but fraught with a number of gotchas. A key ingredient for this is the ability to create unique and distinctive ID’s that work well with calculated columns and lookups. CorasWorks has had our Workplace ID field in our Toolset and AppEngine products for some time. Now, to kick off the new year we are releasing this tool the SharePoint community for FREE as part of a new Building Block. The whole package is free to all CorasWorks customers and any SharePoint 2007 or WSS user (no additional CW software is required).

The Workplace ID Generator Building Block is available from the CorasWorks App Store (you do need to register to download it). It includes the Workplace ID field (a DLL in a WSP file). Once installed it adds a new field type that you can use to generate your ID’s. The Building Block also includes extensive documentation on the tool and examples of using it in relational scenarios. We have two scenarios supported by two sample templates: one for native SharePoint users and the other for CorasWorks users.

Some of the core gotchas that it addresses are:

  • You can’t pad the numerical sequential ID that is native to SP or add static text
  • If you do a lookup to an item and want the numerical ID then your lookup will only show the ID when selecting it (i.e., 1, 2, 3 – not very informative or useful)
  • You can’t use the SP sequential ID in a calculated column
  • You can’t use the Name field of a document library (so people have to use the Title which often isn’t filled in) in a calculated column
  • A bunch of other limitations about what you’d want in your item ID’s

The Workplace ID field allows you to create ID’s that have the following 8 elements that can be used in any combination:

  • Numerical ID’s with padding – such as 012, 013
  • Static text – such as DOC012, DOC013
  • Alphabetical sequencing – such as DOC012AD, DOC013AE
  • Date – such as 05-12-2010 (supporting date functions)
  • Day of Year – such as 035, 036
  • Field value – such as picking up the value in a Customer field or including the use of a document name (!!)
  • List ID – use the GUID for the list in an ID to make it really unique system wide
  • Site ID – use the GUID for the site in an ID to make it really unique system wide

The Workplace ID Generator field plays nicely with calculated columns and lookups to give you the ability to create useful relations between information. The sample templates provide working examples of a set of related information. If you are a CW customer, I recommend that you also download the Idea Hub from Future Structure. It is a free app that leverages the Workplace ID to allow you to create and relate more than 10 lists and libraries to each Idea in the hub so that you can see everything related to an Idea in a single view.

Enjoy and have a great 2010!

william

Post-SPC09 – Big Themes of SharePoint 2010 – My Take

Its been a few days since I left Las Vegas and my 8,000 new SharePoint friends at the SharePoint 2009 conference.  I’ve had time to come down off the high and think a bit about SP2010 and the future.  Instead of telling you my top 10 features of SharePoint 2010, I’ll summarize what I saw as the top 6 big themes for the SharePoint 2010 wave that impact business folks and industry participants and give you my take on them.

SharePoint is Big, But, we see only the Tip – I was at the first real SharePoint conference in 2003 at the Microsoft Executive briefing center.  There were 300 of us, half Microsoft people.  We had two rooms, two tracks, and no exhibitors.  This year we had about 8,000 people, a couple hundred sessions, in 40 odd rooms, and, 150+ exhibitors.  It sounds big.  However, we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg. There are 30k or so visible customers.  But, analyst studies show that more than 250,000 businesses have stood up WSS – yet, they aren’t actively participating in the “SharePoint market”, ie., buying ISV products, MOSS, or services – they are just waiting and doing very basic but useful things.  What are they waiting for?  How big will SharePoint get?  What happens when the ecosystem really delivers off the shelf business value to pragmatic customers?  I think SP2010 is the mature wave of the product and the ecosystem that will start to draw these people and others into the market.  It is a scary good thought.

SharePoint at the Center – Microsoft is really putting SharePoint 2010 at the center of their broad market plan.  The evidence for me was the Steve Ballmer keynote.  I’ve seen him do his thing many a time and I’ve seen Bill do the SharePoint conferences.  You would have expected him to talk broadly about Microsoft’s plans, about Windows 7, and, pump people up.  But, no pumping was required.  Instead, he spent a solid hour talking about nothing but SharePoint – you felt he was the product manager.  This was meant to send a message – that SharePoint can stand on its own, is important, and is central to their broad market strategy.

The Duel, Symbiotic Nature of SharePoint 2010 – SharePoint 2010 really has two sides to it.  The end-user oriented content side (Ribbon bar etc.) and the developer-oriented app side (BCS etc.).  Microsoft has done a nice job of making this duel nature feel more like two sides of the same coin vs. two separate and distinct vectors.  I’ve witnessed the internal battle over this for years.  This duality was at the center of my Solution Quadrant for SharePoint white paper (January of 2009).  With 2010 I believe that they have do a quality job of product positioning and technology to find a good place.  It is not easy to meet the needs of 100m end-users to make things easier and the needs of high powered enterprise developers.  The result will be a powerful blend of unstructured and structured work on a single platform.  We are there.  Congrats!

SharePoint as an Application Platform – With that said, we at CorasWorks are most passionate about SharePoint as an Application Platform.  During SP2007, we did a lot of heavy lifting to build plumbing into our products to support high end app needs for LOB integration, LOB database apps, enterprise mash-ups, and real web scenarios. SP2007 just didn’t deliver there.  We took some heat for this from the MS field, but, our customers got what they needed.  With SP2010, we will be taking a lot more dependencies on the platform.  This means that we can reallocate our dev resources closer to features that deliver finished apps and app features.  We are not alone – SP2010 enables this transition for all of us ISV’s and Solution Providers.  The result is that customers should expect a) that LOB apps/extensions/mashups/etc. will become off the shelf, b) you will have much greater availability and choice from multiple vendors and c) that the cost of productized apps and customizable apps will dramatically decline.  I project a decline of at least 50% during the first year and more than 70% or more after 2-3 years.  This means that an app project that cost $100k to deliver and was very risky will end up being a $10k app/solution off-the-shelf with $5-10k of customization.

SharePoint in the Cloud – There was a lot of excitement/hype in this area.  Microsoft talked a lot about BPOS – their SharePoint in the Cloud offerings.  It may surprise you, but, Gartner would tell you that Microsoft is actually a leader here; they place MS as the first major horizontal portal player to have a SAAS offering (see Gartner Magic Quadrant for Horizontal Portals, September 17, 2009, ID Number: G00170709) With that said, in the SP2010 wave, I don’t see BPOS as the real exciting part of SharePoint in the Cloud.  The backroom/Vegas lounge conversation was amongst the solution providers that are planning on bringing up their own vertical SAAS offerings in the Cloud on SP2010.  I expect that the third-party offerings on SP2010 will have more users than BPOS when SP2010 RTM’s and will never look back.  You will quickly see integrated Public and Private clouds (both sides SharePoint).  For those other SAAS ECM vendors like SpringCM or Jive or others – watch out – the SharePoint ecosystem will be coming at you in droves.  If you combine SP2010 as an Application Platform, I see these offerings starting to hurt the business app SAAS folks, like Salesforce.com/Force.com by 2011.  I also think that this momentum will start to refocus Microsoft on SharePoint in the Cloud vs. other initiatives – this will drive the emphasis in the SP2013 release.

SharePoint on the Web – The reality is that all major releases of SharePoint and the ecosystem has been overwhelmingly committed to SharePoint for internal use – the Intranet.  It is now ready to be the underlying platform for internal and external users – meaning it is going to the web.  I really think that we will need to stop talking about Intranet, Extranet, and Internet and just talk about internal users and external users.  They are all part of one web based work environment on top of the SharePoint platform.  The SP2010 wave will have at the core a platform approach that works to get people to really grasp this and feel the power of work that crosses the boundaries between contributors and consumers of information in a work environment.  Contributors will not just be internal content owners, they will also be customers entering help desk tickets in a self-service mode that are then worked on internally.  Microsoft will need a lot of help from its current service partners and ISV’s to flesh out the web and the integrated scenarios.  And, they will be recruiting the web folks.  You will really begin to see SharePoint in the Web a great deal more – and, because of the legacy, you will see the external users integrated with the internal users.  This is the real meaning of platform on SP2010.

So, back to my day job.  And, I look forward to seeing 10,000 people at the next SharePoint conference in 2010 – slogan “10k in 2010”.

william

The Significance to SP Community of Gartner Selecting CorasWorks as “Cool Vendor in Content Management for 2009”

Yup, Gartner selected CorasWorks as one of the four Cool Vendors in Content Management for 2009.  Here is our press release about it. Pretty cool.  We think it really marks a shift in the perception of SharePoint that bodes well for all in the space – here’s why…

Remember, we are talking about the content management category.  This year you had four vendors: one for search ontologies, one for content migration, one with an alternative open source content platform to SharePoint, and then, CorasWorks for our modular application development system on SharePoint (the only SP pure play of the bunch).  In the 2009 report, the word SharePoint occurs 21 times.  In the 2008 report, the word SharePoint DID NOT appear. The four vendors were classic content management solutions.

We believe that the SharePoint flavor of the report and our inclusion this year as a Cool Vendor denotes some big changes in the perception of SharePoint as follows: a) SharePoint is recognized as THE leading “XX” platform, b) they acknowledge the maturity of the ISV ecosystem by picking CorasWorks, a pure play SharePoint ISV, c) they acknowledge SharePoint as a viable application platform (business apps and processes vs. just content-centric), and, d) they recognize the technology category convergence that is happening driven by the major platform superpowers.  I’ll talk a bit about each of these.

Over the last 12 months there have been many analyst reports about SharePoint as the “new file share”, and, at most as a platform for collaborative/content-centric work.  We feel that many analysts miss the point about Microsoft’s platform adoption strategy.  It is patient, deliberate, from content up, and, relies on a partner ecosystem.  To support the point, over the last 5 years, CorasWorks has established a very large and solid base of successful customers that leverage SharePoint as primarily an application platform.  We’ve always been about apps and have gotten much better over our 4 generations of products since 2003 (my blog about the CW product evolution).  To our customers, their workplace on SharePoint is the place for departmental applications, business processes, LOB extensions, and even database applications.  Building the applications, managing them, integrating them is enabled by CorasWorks.  To give you a sense, our 1,000+ customers have more than 1,000,000 deployed users, which makes our existing ecosystem is about the same size as Salesforce.com (in number of users and probably number and type of application).  And, we are just one application ISV on SharePoint.

So, how does this map to content management?  In my white paper “Solution Quadrant on SharePoint for 2009”, released in January, I frame the solution space on SharePoint for 2009 with content-centric applications (like a workspace) and activity-centric applications (like a business process).  Historically, there has been a divide.  However, as you see in the Quadrant show below, the two types of “solutions” are now part of the work environment on a single platform.  What is happening is that layers of technology and value are appearing on top of the base foundation to make higher-level applications and this integrated work environment possible and practical.

quadrantv4 640

I think Gartner deserves some credit.  I spoke with them back in 2004, and, they were rather critical of SharePoint for ECM and didn’t really accept the ecosystem’s value at that time.  They didn’t just jump on the bandwagon.  Over the years, they’ve watched.  They now feel that SharePoint has come into its own, that the ecosystem has matured, that it is a broad platform that does enable an integrated business environment and they now believe that it is time to say so.  You have to respect this restraint.

Further, I believe that Gartner and some other analysts are recognizing a certain convergence of technology categories around the “platform” vendors.  This is really interesting as the platforms and the layers of functionality and business use on top of it start to cross or obliterate previous technology/solution categories.  It will be interesting to watch how the analysts, who themselves are siloed by category in their work structure, respond to this convergence over the next 3 years.  I expect their categorizations to change, even to create platform specific ecosystems.

Well, it is great to be a recognized Cool Vendor, I just hope this doesn’t mean that I have to start being cool and dressing in black and all.

william

Posted by William Rogers on 5-Apr-09

Behind the Curtains of the Solution Quadrant White Paper

Well the biggie is now out, the Solution Quadrant for SharePoint for 2009 White Paper. This was an ambitious undertaking, with a lot of content and feedback. Let me go behind the curtains and unveil some of the controversial topics people have been hot about and emerging solutions that people seem jazzed about.

The Quadrant includes 30 solutions broken down into 13 categories, fitting onto a single “plane”. That was the first overarching controversy – Why did you pick those 30 solutions and bunch them into your 13 categories? Well, we got a lot of input, and did our best; we have to have a bit of editorial license.

So, now lets get into the other 6 top Controversies about the meat of the white paper. There has been a great deal of spirited discussion, here are the top “debates”…

1. Centralized, content-based, information portals are passé – More of an “Emperors New Clothes” issue. Many just won’t give it up. Generation 1 Portals are prevalent, expensive, take a long time, are centrally designed. Adoption is low, little innovation, and they don’t serve business needs. Gartner predicted Portal evolution away from these Generation 1 models and they were right. It is time for different approaches…

2. SharePoint 2007 Drove a Wedge into Portal Evolution – Gartner thought Portals would evolve. We say SharePoint has bifurcated portal evolution with a new distributed, work environment paradigm. Are Gen 1 portals dead? Maybe; the distributed work environments of SharePoint are different beasts. And, the new portal-like creatures are also very different animals (see application portals below) – maybe these new work environments didn’t evolve; they were created…

3. Classic content-driven, passive Intranets transforming into application/activity-centric workplaces – They have the same departmental structure – end of similarity. People are jamming applications, business processes, user consoles, dashboards – all activity centric stuff into these new workplaces. They are dynamic, interactive, even transactional. There is nothing passive about these environments.

4. Community-of-purpose vs. Community-of-interest – Are communities-of-interest dead? No. But, increasingly we are seeing communities-of-purpose arising like a Quality Program for generating and implementing quality ideas in a consumer manufacturer, and, a disaster relief effort coordinating specific activities. These communities are there to accomplish specific objectives. They are designed differently, have different activity-centric processes, and, they produce measurable results.

5. Breaking up Social Computing into 3 separate solution categories – There is a lot of talk about Social Computing these days. While many vendors are working to create integrated “Social Computing” solution sets, in a SharePoint context, we see it diverging into the 3 different solution types that are serving 3 very different needs and going in different directions.

6. Front-end SharePointees meet Back-End SOAers – There are two big things happening in the enterprise. SOA on the back end is being understood for what is realistic and people are doing it. And, SharePoint is emerging as a great front end. But, are these groups talking. No, and it is a powerful constraint. It is a bit like the Reese’s peanut butter cup – some like chocolate, some like peanut butter – get these two groups together and you have something really sweet.

Okay, now for the top 8 Emerging Solutions and topics that seemed to grab people and get them excited about the potential for SharePoint in 2009 (many also somewhat controversial). It is a little longer, because, well, it is more fun…

1. Emerging Solution Sets for Departmental Workplaces – “Wow, we don’t have to figure it out on our own.” Not any more. In fact, the applications and processes are quite standard for given departments. There are standard design patterns that can be applied across applications and departments. In this modular world, they are easily, very easily, repeatable and reusable. There is order in the new world.

2. SharePoint for Internet sites – It is really happening. In fact, this was probably the biggest surprise to many in 2008. People are building Internet facing web sites that are cool and work. Definitely one to watch with the FAST acquisition by Microsoft.

3. Enterprise Shared Application Services – Roll over cloud lovers, the enterprise is here! Enterprises are creating their own, internal, web-based application services based upon SharePoint. These are big and broad. Our top 10 customers doing this have over 1m employees that will be using these services in 2009 to build applications and workspaces. To give you a sense, this amount equals the full subscriber base of Salesforce.com. And, IT is charging the business groups. AND, the business groups are happy because they can build their own apps using the service. One to really watch and follow.

4. Application portals ARE ready for SharePoint – There has been a bunch of innovation over the last year (like the CorasWorks Data Integration Toolset – hint). But, while many analysts and non-SharePoint platform pundits say that SharePoint doesn’t do Application Portals or is very custom and expensive – folks, the tables have turned. People are building complex, composite app portals, and, without custom dll coding.

5. Composite Business Processes – Business processes on SharePoint are not just about approving documents. A very large group of people are now designing and building robust, composite business processes, mashing up external data and services into the front-end business process in SharePoint. The limits are fading fast.

6. Who says SharePoint isn’t for Federation? – There are many non-SharePoint platform people who deride SharePoint for lack of Federation. Well, in fact you can Federate and quite painlessly (see my post about Lotus/SharePoint integration) . You just need to check out the 3rd party products, CorasWorks AND others. We see SharePoint as yes, providing information, not just a place to put information. The full ISV ecosystem backing SharePoint is really going after this one in 2009.

7. Social collaboration is the glue – Of the 3 social computing categories we see social collaboration as the strongest value driver. Through bookmarking, commenting, work sharing, tagging, and relating the siloed sites and piecemeal items are being glued together into their related business context. It is no longer about “proximity”, i.e., what site an item is in; it is about how it relates to other work and people. This is good stuff and will drive forward the idea of collaboration on SharePoint.

8. Getting Work Done: Work Consoles eclipsing Dashboards – Dashboards are great, you get to see good information in nice charts. But, how about taking action, making things happen, and, doing so without having to navigate all over the place. Hence, the rise of Work Consoles, the next gen dashboard. From one place, people can see, and contribute, and act on information across the distributed work environment of SharePoint. Work Consoles for individual users, role-based, or groups are a big crowd pleaser.

That’s what I’ve got on this years Solution Quadrant on SharePoint. Give it a read and weigh in with your comments.