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If you missed the Keynote addresses by both Steve Ballmer and Jeff Teper, don’t worry you can watch them on-demand as well now.
Steve Ballmer’s Live Keynote
Jeff Teper’s Live Keynote
Enjoy and have fun!
Will MSFT ever let go the SharePoint brand?
Why is WSS called WSS? Why not SSE (SharePoint Server Express)? MSFT has a Search Server Express? Maybe not SSE and maybe OSE (Office Server Express)?
So I ask again, will MSFT ever let go the SharePoint brand?
SharePoint as a brand makes a lot of sense to us techies but does it to those manager types and end users. I am quiet sure MOS (Microsoft Office Server) does?
Search Server and Search Server Express makes a lot of sense, Search Server means pay for it, Search Server Express means it is free.
Just think of it, the amount of confusion WSS and MOSS makes it to all those newbies, execs, managers and end users. So it means you will have different edition just like you have right now:
- Microsoft Office Server Express
- Microsoft Office Server Standard
- Microsoft Office Server Enterprise
So I ask again, will. Maybe I should change from will to should. Should MSFT let go the SharePoint brand?
The way SharePoint has shaped up from Team Services to SharePoint Portal Server to SharePoint Server is just remarkable but this time around it is quiet clear that the vNext will not be a revolution but an evolution. IMPO it will still be called SharePoint Server but I would hope that this time around MSFT would not hurry in delivery in-fact I personally would not mind seeing vNext ‘a better vNext that is’ in 2011 or 2012 which is complete, more scalable, reliable and stable, secured and bundled with Performance Point Server and FAST Search. Yes market needs new features in MOSS 2007 but their are still a lot of companies and people who are just starting with MOSS 2007 so delaying the product by one or two more years will not hurt. You have to understand that SharePoint is not a Windows Client, people were dying for MOSS 2007 but all of us techies still have so much to do in the MOSS 2007 space. Product lacks few key stuff but still I think where it lacks the partners provide very easily and quiet quickly then MSFT IMHO.
There is still a lot of excitement in the market for MOSS 2007 and it will take almost two years for it to start decreasing or stop increasing plus the SharePoint partner eco-system is quiet impressive so people have a lot of option to increase MOSS 2007’s feature offering within the Enterprise and because of the current volatile economic climate I don’t think any company will think about increasing the IT cost for the next two years. Everyone will have an agenda of cost cutting in their IT budgets, with sustainability second and stable support third. The only companies who will not be happy with MSFT delaying the SharePoint release are small to medium companies who cannot afford to buy partner products.
Plus the SharePoint as a product the way it has grew because of which people expect a lot every time from a SharePoint release and quiet frankly MSFT has delivered every time as well. But this time around I am scared that MSFT will not be able to keep up with their own history, not because SharePoint doesn’t has that excitement anymore but because of the current economy, because the product is more of a bundle of other products then something of a revolution. But to me personally it makes sense to bundle Performance Point, FAST Search, Groove and Project Server into SharePoint Server and not sell these products separately. In-fact by bundling these Office Server products into SharePoint MSFT just like Office Client Suite can sell Office Server as one entity because of which the reach of these separate server products will hugely increase and by tying Client and Server people will have to buy both Client and Server.
Yes by bundling the product will just keep getting bigger and bigger. With SharePoint v2 I could call myself an expert but with v3 sometimes I get scared, there is just so much to learn now. But does it really matter? In the IT Pro space can anyone say that they are Windows Server 2008 or 2003 expert and that they just know everything? I don’t think anyone can because it is just impossible. So why should we stop SharePoint from growing but by growing MSFT has to realize that they cant increase the implementation and maintenance cost. Cost is an important factor now for every IT Department now.
But a very important question is that ‘will MSFT want to loose the SharePoint branding if they do decide make an Office Server?’ I personally would not mind to see SharePoint branding changed but today SharePoint is like a tag which makes me stand out from the crowd so ‘will I want to loose this tag?’
No one knows when will SharePoint transform into an Office Server but we all can see that it is already happening though by doing this it doesn’t mean that MSFT should stop selling all these separate products as different entities, in-fact they should keep selling these products as separate entities much like a modular framework and SharePoint’s architecture I think allows this as well.
MSFT made the announcement of FAST Search for SharePoint 2007 which will be released shortly. It was also announced that vNext of SharePoint will not be bundled with FAST Search which means we will have to wait till SharePoint v5 for FAST Search being bundled into SharePoint.
Yes the vNext of SharePoint will be very heavily integrated with FAST Search but we will have to buy FAST Search for a more powerful search engine. Why will any company agree to first pay for SharePoint Enterprise, SharePoint ECALs and then agree to buy FAST Search as well. MSFT just made the case more difficult for people like me who as Tech Specialists ask the Management to spend money on a product.
Though current version of SharePoint (MOSS 2007 Search) is very powerful but it still lacks some common features like wild card searching, search grouping & sorting, search clouds, related searches, dedicated and more scalable crawler, query and index servers which transforms from both hardware and software, better storage mechanism for search indexes, search experience which transforms from both horizontal and vertical search results, better best bets support with more advertising options and last but not the least with more powerful search reporting. (Come on this is just touching the base of search enhancements people are asking for, I will have to go in a more detailed post to just talk about things I would love to see in SharePoint Search)
The amount of investment people have to do for search is huge, an IT director would be seeing search as something like buying a search appliance and connecting the content sources and that is it. But with SharePoint you just cannot do that you need a proper IT team for it.
IT Governance, Support, training and Development is costly enough and because of the current dire global economy MSFT has to think about bringing down the cost for SharePoint. You might argue that buying the search appliance from Google would be it but Google Enterprise Search is nothing in-front of SharePoint Enterprise Search because the biggest sell for SharePoint Search is the intelligent way it has been integrated with the rest of SharePoint’s features plus SharePoint search brings something Google Enterprise Search doesn’t i.e. People Search. I am not going to go into Google VS MSFT, though you can from here.
I remember when I started with SharePoint in 2004 the one phrase we used to use with it was ‘easy to use, easy to develop on, easy to deploy and easy to maintain’. But they way SharePoint is growing its quiet clear that cost is an important factor ‘a very important factor’ and it is getting more and more harder to implement and maintain. This doesn’t mean that SharePoint sucks it is just the way the market has evolved the same way; SharePoint has evolved into something this huge as well, in-fact quiet frankly it is you and I who requested MSFT for this humongous product. I myself almost few months back talked about how I see SharePoint to shape-up in the future ‘a dream of a SharePoint enthusiast’.
I personally think delaying SharePoint vNext by one or two year will not hurt MSFT in anyway, plus it will help them because they will be to complete the product, make it more reliable and stable and don’t forget they will get time to bundle SharePoint Search with FAST Search so that people don’t have to buy two products to achieve one simple vision to have an enterprise search product which just searches on almost any digital content in the enterprise with no exception.