I just found a very interesting post about the History of SharePoint on Sharon Richardson’s “Joining Dots” site. Her bio says she’s been in IT for 16 years and spent six of them at Microsoft. Clearly, she gained a lot of experience and knowledge as the UK lead for SharePoint at Microsoft. I had a chance to poke around her blog and I think she has some very interesting insights, such as this post entitled “Chasm Microsoft”. I’ve been a big fan of Geoffrey Moore since he came to Vancouver in 1994 to present a two day seminar on his new book, Crossing the Chasm. I’ve also had the pleasure of seeing him speak a couple of times at the annual ACETECH forum in Whistler.
It was cool to see the impact that a local Vancouver company, NCompass Labs, had on the development of CMS and, in turn, SharePoint. I spent the other night chatting with NCompass founder and CEO, Gerri Sinclair, at the annual Ventures West party. What a delightful, energetic and scary smart person she is!
It is also interesting to see that Business Intelligence is becoming more of a focus for SharePoint. One of our Directors, Greg Wolfe is, I’m sure, watching this closely as he is Senior VP and General Manager of Americas operations for Business Objects. Greg joined the senior management team at BOBJ when they acquired another local successful software company, Crystal Decisions. It’s so humbling (and exciting) to see the great software companies that have emerged here.
Back to Sharon’s SharePoint history… I noticed her comment:
Another missing piece of the SharePoint puzzle has been offline synchronisation. The local web store was originally going to be used, but that project was cancelled before it was ever launched. Outlook was the logical place to introduce such a feature and, sure enough, you will be able to have offline SharePoint folders in Outlook when the next version is released. But in 2005, Microsoft acquired Groove, a peer-to-peer (P2P) team-based collaboration product that also includes synchronisation of SharePoint sites. This will likely cause some confusion again with customers, similar to when STS and SPS first appeared. Adding to the confusion is the fact that Groove has its own built-in forms service, and InfoPath also provides a forms service.
As we posted previously, limited offline support for SharePoint features is peppered through several Office 2007 applications, however none of them will support all its’ rich features. This means the offline SharePoint experience will vastly differ from the online which also add to the confusion, particularly as end users start to pick up on the advanced features of version 3 of SharePoint. We’re betting customers will choose a third party offline SharePoint solution to fill in this obvious gap.