Microsoft’s SharePoint 2010 website has a great business story. It’s called Project 11.
In a nutshell – Microsoft explains that companies have lots of IT projects. Unfortunately, as IT are always swamped, they deal with the 10 most important projects. The rest of the project managers need to find their own solutions. This forces them to create applications that will later need the IT to support it. Problem.
Microsoft’s conclusion – Use SharePoint.
Now I’m a strong supporter of SharePoint. I think it’s a brilliant tool for document management. Although a bit sluggish, it solves the business problem. It also sells well.
But it’s not an application or development platform.
So why would Microsoft come up with a story like Project 11?
Any company that tries to use SharePoint as an application or development platform is doomed to fail.
Later on down the line the company will need to bring in another vendor to redo it.
Is that a bad thing? Maybe not…
A few years ago I participated in a Microsoft BPM event here in the UK.
Most of the participants were BizTalk vendors (as Microsoft’s BPM solution is mainly around BizTalk).
The older and more experienced BizTalk guys huddled in the back of the hall, while the newbies were in the front rows eager to hear the next speaker. I’m not a BizTalk guy, but I was interested to hear Microsoft’s roadmap so I entered the session and sat quietly at the back.
In the row before me, one of Microsoft’s managers was chatting with a CEO of one of the more established BizTalk practices. One of the questions that caught me ear was: How do you feel with all the new BizTalk consultancy companies entering the market.
The CEO thought for a moment, then quietly responded:
“We don’t have any problems with the new companies. They usually go in to a customer, low costs and lots of promises. Months later we are called in to save the project. The customer’s expectations are low. The previous consultants have already done the customer education for us. The project is already late so there is no pussyfooting about. The praise we get when we finish – is fantastic. And the customer doesn’t even flinch when we tell them our prices. It’s a win-win situation.”
The moral of the story: Do it properly – Do it once