Social SharePoint --- An Oxymoron?

By Jeff Shuey posted 03-15-2012 18:43



Social SharePoint is coming to a desktop and a mobile device near you … and soon. Today SharePoint is ubiquitous in the enterprise. With over 125 million SharePoint users and a goal to reach 500 million with the next release of Office (aka Wave 15)

From Jared Spataro’s keynote at SharePoint TechCon in San Francisco a few weeks ago

The goal is to get 500 million people to the point where they can "get work done, together"

Jared also said they want to leverage the 1 billion Microsoft Office users. Which makes perfect sense.

Is Social SharePoint an Oxymoron?

This week an article was posted on Forbes with the title of:

FINALLY, Microsoft Embraces Social -- And It's Going to be Big

The article was written by Mark Fidelman and pointed out a few things that I think a lot of people have known for a while. The obvious point is that Microsoft is late to Social. However, there were a few points made by Jared Spataro of Microsoft and by Jeff Willinger of RightPoint andMark Miller of that show the true power and scope of Microsoft. Hint: Partners are the Secret Sauce.

Microsoft is “… helping companies define what a social business is and where it belongs in the world of the information worker.” 

Jeff Willinger, Director of Social Computing and SharePoint at Rightpoint

“You can’t address the social business challenges organizations face today without a bold vision … partners and 3rd party Independent Software Vendors (ISV’s) will fulfill that vision.”

Mark Miller Director at SharePoint Community influencer


I was glad to see this. I wrote a post in 2009 asking --- Is Microsoft late to the game?The answer then was yes. However, over the last few years the market has matured and Microsoft has watched and learned. They have taken the long standing Microsoft mantra of Any Place, Any Device and Any Time and have applied some SharePoint salve to it.

As the Forbes article states ... Microsoft is in a prime position to make it happen. The next wave of the Office products ... combined with Windows 8 and the Metro interface could be just what the market needs to Super Size the Social space.

Getting Social is Hard

As the recent blog post from a former Google employee stated. Just because you have the money and the impetus does not guarantee success.

Google was the rich kid who, after having discovered he wasn’t invited to the party, built his own party in retaliation.

Now he’s at Microsoft … and perhaps working on Social Computing 

So, Is Social SharePoint an Oxymoron?

I think the answer is no. However, there is work to do, there are products to ship and there will be (as always) a need for partners to fill in the gaps.

A key point for partners --- Gaps are Opportunities

Customers have needs that the SharePoint (and Office Wave 15 platform) cannot deliver. Smart partners will identify these gaps and deliver … as always.

From the Forbes article. Jared is channeling Bill Gates from 20+ years ago with the Any Place, Any Device, Any Time mantra.

“Our vision is to extend beyond the desktop and have the environment you work in be intelligent enough to get your job done.  We want to give people the right information, at the right time, in the right place and in the right context.” 

Jared Spataro, Senior Director, SharePoint Product Management Microsoft

Shipping Matters

I think Microsoft is on the right path here and that we will be wowed by both the next release of Microsoft Office and from what partners will come up with. The key points to remember are that Microsoft will deliver a platform that enables customers and partners to extend their businesses in the ways they want to work … Any Place, Any Device, Any Time.

If Microsoft delivers as expected it will put Microsoft right back into the drivers seat. Why? Because as the author of the Forbes articleMark Fidelman, said … This is something no other company can replicate.

What do you think?

  • Is Social SharePoint an Oxymoron?
  • Can Microsoft deliver a Social Platform?
  • Will Partners want to fill in the gaps?
  • What Gaps do you see in the Microsoft plans?

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