The benefit of a distilled and objective framework for thinking about team collaboration, is that once you have investigated the facts of how a vendor’s product or service works, you can then analyze where the identified gaps can be filled with add-on products and services. These types of conversations happen for me whenever I have analyst briefings with collaboration vendors, and equally, it happened as I was preparing the 7 Pillars Analysis of SharePoint 2007 White Paper.
My original intention … and you could see this if I showed you an earlier draft of that white paper … was that there would be another section after each of the Pillars called “What Now?”, which would have a list of opportunities for ISVs to build complementary products and services to cover over the gaps that I identified and thus make SharePoint a better fit for team collaboration purposes, and also a list of next actions for Microsoft to improve SharePoint in the next edition.
As I worked with the material, however, I came to the conclusion that this “What Now?” analysis was not of direct interest to the CIOs, IT Business Analysts and IT Organizations for whom the earlier paper was intended. I thought I should make it a separate paper, and early feedback on the paper from some readers, such as Rod Drury (“SharePoint is one of the massively growing business units at Microsoft and seems like fertile ground for extending and developing add-on products“) and Eric Mack (by phone), convinced me that releasing a second paper for the ISV community was an appropriate next action.
From the Introduction:
“This is an ideas paper. It documents our vision of what needs to happen with Microsoft SharePoint to make it a productive and effective place of work for teams in businesses and organizations. The ideas are written for those who can do something about covering over the gaping holes in the collaboration capabilities of SharePoint 2007, that being independent software vendors (ISVs) that work with Microsoft and Microsoft SharePoint 2007.“
If you are an ISV working with Microsoft and SharePoint, with a particular interest in team collaboration, this one’s for you.