"Big" news today in the Microsoft SharePoint space – updated

Today Microsoft is announcing two strategic partnerships, with enterprise software company Atlassian and RSS solutions vendor NewsGator. (from Read/Write Web)

I suppose this is pretty big news for Atlassian wiki customers, especially those that are using Microsoft SharePoint – single sign-on and cross-platform search can be pretty important in the enterprise world.  Plus the ability to embed Confluence (Atlassian’s wiki product) content into SharePoint pages and allowing Confluence users to edit SharePoint content directly are pretty big wins.  It could also be pretty innovative for large existing SharePoint customers who are interested in using wikis for collaboration.   I think it’s pretty well accepted that the built-in SharePoint wiki is horrible – I feel safe in saying it’s the least wiki-like wiki product I’ve ever had the displeasure of using.

From my standpoint, though, I’m not sure I see enough value in the additions to warrant moving to Confluence as a wiki, at least not for a small- to medium-sized business.  With pricing starting at $4000 for 500 users (about the size of ETC) it seems steep - even if you work in a solid Microsoft shop (as I do) and have to consider the additional support costs of running multiple platforms within a company (as we did when we started looking at other wikis), the ongoing ROI of a Confluence purchase seems out of balance for the wins.  Perhaps at a larger company, where there would be significantly more maintenance overhead, it might be worth it.

I don’t really get the NewsGator stuff, I’ll have to admit: SharePoint already supports RSS in lists (which is how almost all SharePoint content is organized), and at first glance the NewsGator stuff looks like it’s mostly social network-style gizmos and connections between users.  A lot of what they offer could be done (albeit not as slickly) without too much difficulty with built-in SharePoint objects.  The addition of tags is nice, but the $20,000 large enterprise price tag seems way out of whack with the value delivered.

via Scoble’s tweet

Update:

An email from Jon Silvers reminded me that I should point out that ETC doesn’t use SharePoint Server, but instead uses Windows SharePoint Services, the free-with-Windows-Server-2003 subset of the SharePoint Server features. Given that, we’re probably not the target market for Confluence or the Confluence connector.

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  • http://www.newsgator.com Ashley Roach

    Cori,

    Social Sites is indeed based on RSS, but it’s not really an “RSS” solution. You got it right that it enhances the existing social networking functionality within SharePoint (but also WSSv3). It’s also a great solution to surface what’s going on in my organization. We have some really nice rollup views into SharePoint that help people discover other people and discover content within SharePoint. To date, most people’s answer to content discovery in organizations has been “just search for it.” But, it’s also effective to be able to grasp what’s going on organically at a quick glance.

    Check out Jeff’s post here for some additional insights: http://jeffnolan.com/wp/2007/10/17/newsgator-social-sites-launches/

    Would love to give you a demo any time, just drop me a line.

    Thanks for the post!

    Ashley Roach
    Product Manager, Enterprise
    NewsGator Technologies

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  • http://www.kwizcom.com/ProductPage.asp?ProductID=517&ProductSubNodeID=518 SharePoint Tagging Feature

    SharePoint tagging is Key, have a look at this one…

  • http://kinrowan.net/ cori

    Looks like that SharePoint tagging thing might be interesting – I’ll check it out when it’s available….

  • http://www.newsgator.com Brian Kellner

    Cori,

    I’ll just tack on a bit to what Ashley said. Social Sites does 4 things for SharePoint:
    – Bring in content from many feeds, filtered and focused for a site with the ability to mark things read and tag items
    – Easy, one-click subscription and routing of SharePoint changes – I have SharePoint blog posts going to a desktop notifier and document library changes going to my blackberry for example
    – Better discovery and usability – Social Sites provides a quick scan page including a tag cloud (you can put the tag cloud web part on any / all of your team sites), a view of the top moving feeds, and most active users
    – Easy discovery of expertise and interests. You can click on an author or tagger’s name to get a mini profile or view a full profile page and see tags, top subscriptions, saved items, and more for that user

    Hopefully all that doesn’t sound too “salesy”, but I just wanted to point out that there’s a lot going on in Social Sites. We have a SharePoint MVP on staff and focused the entire enterprise development team on this to build it out (leveraging a ton of capability we had in our enterprise RSS server). One other note – the $20K price is an approximation – the actual price scales with total seats.

    If you’re still curious after all this :) please check out the 90-second video on our product page at:
    http://www.newsgator.com/Business/SocialSites/Default.aspx

    Thx,
    Brian Kellner
    VP, Product Management

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