Foreword by Peter O’Kelly

Peter O’Kelly, a Senior Architect at Microsoft Consulting Services wrote the Foreword for SharePoint Roadmap. Here’s what Peter had to say …

I’ve had the pleasure of discussing collaboration market dynamics with Michael Sampson for several years. Although we don’t always agree, I have always appreciated, and have learned a lot from, his collaboration passion and perspectives. I also admire and recommend his first book, Seamless Teamwork (www.seamlessteamwork.com), and his blog (currents.michaelsampson.net), to people who seek to understand collaboration-related developments.

This book, Michael’s second, is an important resource for people who want to understand how non-technical facets of collaborative endeavors — “the business stuff,” as Michael puts it — can make or break the application of collaboration software and services. Michael clearly explains that it’s not the technology that makes the difference to businesses, teams, and people, but rather the way it’s used that makes the difference. Key concerns for fostering an organizational culture that’s conducive to effective collaboration include governance, business engagement, and user adoption strategies, all topics explained in this book.

I have been focused on communication and collaboration software since the mid-1980s, both as a user and working with collaboration-focused product teams at Lotus Development Corp., IBM, Groove Networks, Macromedia, and Microsoft. I believe the real-world experiences and insights captured in this book will help information technology professionals avoid some of the common collaboration pitfalls many organizations have encountered over the last twenty years with product such as Lotus Notes/Domino and Microsoft SharePoint. In this age of global competition and increasingly stringent corporate compliance requirements, effective collaboration has evolved from what many people once considered a “nice-to-have” to a mission-critical business imperative.

Chapter 3 of this book includes a framework for evaluating collaboration technologies and a frank assessment of Microsoft’s SharePoint 2007 product family. I don’t agree with all of Michael’s SharePoint assessments (pass/fail grading systems are always a challenge…), but his framework is a useful tool for evaluating and comparing collaboration software and services, and I’m confident the next revision of the book, updated to cover Microsoft’s 2010 product set, will include a more positive SharePoint report card.

This is a very exciting time for people who are interested in topics at the intersection of collaboration and information technology. While collaboration has often been a difficult business value proposition in the past, due in large part to the challenge of quantifying the costs and benefits of “business stuff” considerations, collaboration tools are increasingly norm rather than exception, especially with the expanding global popularity of tools such as blogs, wikis, and other facets of social software, and with software products and services including Microsoft SharePoint. With SharePoint Roadmap for Collaboration: Using SharePoint to Enhance Business Collaboration, and with his blog, consulting, and workshops, Michael Sampson is an excellent guide for anyone seeking to understand how collaboration technologies can be effectively applied to advance business objectives.