Awhile back I posted about the re-naming of Groove as SharePoint Workspace 2010. During the webinar we did in June introducing version 4.0 of Colligo Contributor, we mentioned SharePoint Workspace again, and this . Recently, I noticed some buzz on Twitter about Colligo’s imminent demise as a result of Groove’s repositioning.
I feel compelled to provide a preliminary response to the questions and comments. Frankly, it’s too early to be doing this as SharePoint Workspace is still in private beta, so no one can talk about the details publicly. And the devil’s in the details, as they say. While we’ve had a chance to play with the code, we are under NDA and cannot talk about it (and rightly so).
I will say one thing, though. As a Gold certified partner and managed partner of Microsoft, we work closely with the Office and SharePoint teams, and have developed some great relationships… including with people on the Groove / SharePoint Workspace team. We are getting our messaging ready for the release of Office 2010. By the time SharePoint Workspace 2010 is released, it will be really clear where Colligo fits in and where SharePoint Workspace fits in.
In fact, we are very excited that Microsoft is going to be raising the awareness of the “SharePoint client” product category – a category that we have been pioneering for almost four years.
While I’m not going to talk further about SharePoint Workspace, I want to provide a few points when you are thinking about Colligo. This should give you some idea what we will be talking about when Office 2010 is released:
- Colligo Contributor is a platform that supports many SharePoint functions on a users desktop and exposes them through a .NET API. As we evolve our product line, we work to fill in the holes in the MS product offering – to ensure that specific scenarios (such as ECM, or email management, or network file share replacement, or Exchange Public Folder replacement) are supported well by the combination of SharePoint and Colligo Contributor. This is the key to our strategy.
- In addition to the three standard interfaces (Client, Outlook Add-In, and Windows Explorer File Manager) that we offer today, many customers have developed custom SharePoint client applications using the Contributor SDK, so they can streamline and improve the user experience. This capability will be further enhanced in future releases.
- The Colligo Contributor run-time engine is highly configurable for the management of metadata and content types. User-defined default metadata and automatic email metadata extraction are a couple of examples. This will be extended to support new capabilities in SharePoint 2010.
- The Outlook Add-In interface is unique and unlike anything Microsoft offers. It provides a complete SharePoint experience in Outlook, again to fill an unmet need. One of the new capabilities is the ability to manage email attachments in SharePoint; something IT has needed for quite awhile.
- Again, unique in Contributor is the File Manager, which provides a complete SharePoint experience in Windows Explorer, including the presentation and management of SharePoint metadata, templates, etc. It’s also integrated with Windows desktop applications, such as MS Office, so SharePoint functions can be performed right within the Open and Save As dialogs.
- Contributor supports (and will continue to support) SharePoint 2003, 2007 (and 2010), as well as Office 2003, 2007 (and 2010). This provides our customers a lot of flexibility as they upgrade Office and SharePoint. In fact, even today many enterprises have still not upgraded to Office 2007. How quickly will they make the transition to Office 2010?
- Colligo is super light weight and easy to use, with few dependencies.
- Colligo Offers a sophisticated SharePoint download product, Colligo Reader, to the community completely free of charge. It doesn’t contain “nagware” or ads, either. It’s been downloaded and is being used by hundreds of thousands of people.
- Thousands of organizations all over the World have deployed Colligo Contributor. It’s a battle hardened product with a feature set that has been honed through many customer deployments.
Notice I didn”t talk at all about offline. Sure, we do it, but Contributor is so much more than that now.
Humbly, we believe we are the leaders in the SharePoint client market today and offer the richest and deepest products and technologies. Others seem to agree with us, too. For example, a recent article in ReadWriteEnterprise proclaimed:
”When it Comes to SharePoint on the Desktop, Colligo Reigns Supreme”
I think we’ve achieved this position because we understand what people want to do with SharePoint. We believe we will continue to lead in the future. But we will do it by complementing, not competing with, SharePoint Workspace 2010.
Finally, I’ve been hearing about the imminent demise of Colligo ever since Groove came out of stealth mode in 2001. We were in the peer to peer space back then, but again our product was completely differentiated and served a different customer. We didn’t die. Then again in 2005 when Microsoft bought Groove, we were going to be dead… Nope, sorry. Then in 2007 when Office 2007 came out and Groove was positioned as the offline client for SharePoint. Nyet. Now again in 2009.
Well, we’re not dead now … in fact we are thriving. I don’t think we will be dead when Office 2010 comes out next year, either. I think it will be good for us… and, heck, who knows what we will build ON TOP of SharePoint Workspace in the future.