Steve Ballmer’s “One” press release and memo of Thursday, July 11, 2013 is entirely focused on the realignment of business units within Microsoft®. But we think this reorganization will have a substantial impact on market perception of important Microsoft products, including SharePoint®.
One of our clients offers sets of video training content for SharePoint 2007, 2010 and 2013. We have been working with this client for nearly 2 years, so we can speak with some authority on how we see the “One” reorganization impacting the product brand. When customers purchase Office 365 they are also purchasing SharePoint Online. Therefore, the growth in the Office 365 customer base reflects a changed market perception for the product.
We think on premises SharePoint was usually implemented by IT organizations to provide businesses with a Microsoft friendly version of an Intranet. The enterprise edition components of the product were added, in our opinion, more to encourage user adoption for the SharePoint computing platform, than anything else.
But with SharePoint Online the product has been completely recast into a different role. The web over Ethernet piece of the usual implementation is now handled by the Internet, itself. There is no need to use SharePoint Online in its old role as a familiar platform for IT to roll out and support for end users clamoring for web pages and Ethernet data communications.
As a component of Office 365, SharePoint Online is positioned as a solution to market needs for a collaboration platform. Yammer, once a competitor to SharePoint, and now a separate product line within the same business unit, can be implemented for its new feeds as a replacement for the out of the box news feeds feature of SharePoint Online.
Recasting sprawling on premises SharePoint into the tight form-fitting constraints of Office 365 merely as a collaboration solution doesn’t look to us to be the final chapter in this story. The initial reactions from partners and some highly visible commentators on the product bear out our view. This is certainly an unfolding story, so stay tuned.
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