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Sharepoint Growth is Good

By Steve Jones,

I know lots of people that think Sharepoint is a mess of a product. It's a pain to deal with, and it's not well built. However I know quite a few people that see it as a great source of revenue for their consulting businesses.  Did you know that it generated $1 billion in sales for Microsoft? Steve Ballmer talked about it recently at a conference, calling it an unsung hero.

There is a blog at ZDNet that talked about how Sharepoint is six products for Office bundled together, it has thousands of people working on it's development, and no one is quite sure where it fits in. Is it a content management system? Is it an enterprise social networking platform? I've never been quite sure what the big deal is. I installed an early version of it and it seemed to be a way for users to easily share Office documents from a central server without requiring them to manage the File | Save As dialogs to use a File Server.

From an MSDN blog, it appears that Sharepoint is a bit of a jumble of collaboration tools that allow users to share documents more easily. It handles revisions, security, and even some amount of workflow, though I think that the workflow likely requires a decent amount of development.

One thing I'm sure of, Sharepoint is apparently complicated enough to generate a fair amount of business for various consultants. It's hard to set up, and all the potential ways to use it require some development efforts. Then there's the licensing for the actual server, which at the Enterprise level is amazing. The Enterprise CAL is $75, and the Standard CAL is $95, however the Enterprise CAL requires the Standard one. Who decides this licensing stuff?

I'm not sure that I think Sharepoint is a good product; I've just not spent much time with it. However I'm a fan. It uses SQL Server, which means every Sharepoint sale not only increases the need for a DBA, but also provides lots of opportunities for report development and custom application development, all helping to grow the SQL Server market share.

Steve Jones

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