According to a new report, over half of companies that use an Exchange mail server also use Sharepoint. This backs up my personal experience. For example, Liz works for a fairly conservative large company but even they are heavy Sharepoint users.
This is a big technological change, but it tends to slip under a lot of people’s radar because it’s a closed-source, me-too technology with a very traditional business model. It’s successful because it’s stable, uses a familiar UI, is easy to deploy, often comes for free with Office and overall works remarkably well.
Microsoft are providing a ready-made distribution channel for getting your technology in front of employees. They’re training massive numbers of people to create and consume user-generated content on the company’s intranet. The great thing is that they leave plenty of room for third-party products to take advantage of this. They have some Exchange/Sharepoint integration, and no doubt will be increasing that in the future, but there’s a fantastic opportunity to present all sorts of interesting mail-derived information in a place people are already looking. A good example of this would be automatically populating each employee’s homepage with links to her most frequent internal and external contacts, or adding email-driven keywords there to be found by a ‘FindaYoda’ style search.
I’m so convinced this is an important direction, I have my own Sharepoint site I’m using as a testbed,
hosted with Front Page Web Services [Update- They’re now FPWeb.net, at http://www.fpweb.net/sharepoint-hosting/ ]. I’ll be posting more about the integration opportunities as I dig deeper, as well as using it when I need to collaborate.
[Update- Eric did a great Sharepoint post on Friday too, with some interesting points on the way collaboration with Sharepoint is heavily grass-roots driven at the moment, which will mean a strong drive for the IT department to catch up]
[Second update –