I’ve been in the Microsoft space for quite a couple of years. I understand the stack, have dabbled with MSCRM, but have always concentrated on SharePoint. In this time Microsoft have changed gears and shifted focus a couple of times and something that simply amazes me is how they move as one. It ALWAYS feels like Microsoft employees are all on the same page. No matter who you speak to, the message is the same, the lingo is the same and the business drivers are the same.
Enter the Latest Message
”There is opportunity outside the firewall with SharePoint 2010!”
What a great way to summarize the fact that SharePoint partners need to build a competency for Extranet & Web as the Intranet story is well serviced? Man, Microsoft know how to market, heck, I’m ready to buy!
How was the Event?
I loved the event today. The people were great, the food was tasty and the content was delivered in fantastic fashion. Parts of the sessions were under NDA and as the event was for partners, I can’t exactly post the slides here, but I’ll share a couple of titbits that I found particularly interesting.
John Western opened up the event by explaining SharePoint for Extranets with broad strokes. His session was very informative, concentrating on the business value of WHAT Extranets are all the while discussing HOW partners should be pitching it to their potential clients.
The key take away from his session was something I’m familiar with, but it was reinforced. SharePoint, simply put, is a platform that can so easily surface data from various LOB applications and is a very cost effective all-rounder. The surfaced data can be represented in a variety of ways via a single entry point dependant on the visiting user (employee vs. partner vs. customer).
Michael O’Donovan, always entertaining, was up next and delved into some of the challenges that partners will run into while deploying SharePoint for Extranets. The key area of his session was security. His presentation, admitted by himself, was not as slick and sexy as John’s, but we ALL loved his explanation of claims based authentication as he drew a scene from a bar on his tablet. (Should have been there to enjoy it).
He then moved on to the various architectures that may be used for Extranet deployments and took some time delving into authentication sources that may be used with claims based authentication.
Michael had the line of the day while drawing an architecture diagram:
“You have to have a cloud in every presentation done by Microsoft."
The entire session packed out laughing, what a moment!
So what now?
After these kind of events, partners tend to find themselves punch drunk on all the awesome that Microsoft throws their way. Although it’s not possible to walk out of this event and sell a SharePoint FIS license, it does help raise awareness and give you so much more ammunition for that next customer engagement.
Some challenges in our industry remain and central to that, in my opinion, is still the licensing model that Microsoft has it’s Extranet & Web offerings handcuffed around.
Going forward, I’m confident that the SharePoint partners in South Africa will be sharpening their approach to, at the very least, include an Extranet & Web message for their potential customers.
Microsoft wants us to focus outside the firewall and trust me, they generally get what they want.