It’s been eight years since I was the ‘new boy’ in class so today is an exciting day for me. After years working as a Solutions Architect in various guises today I become Chief Technical Officer at EasySharePoint. EasySharePoint are a Microsoft Partner based in London. They help clients realise immediate value from their Microsoft Office 365 investment by delivering a proven intranet and collaboration platform with their EasyShare Online product. The EasyShare product was also awarded Best Global Intranet 2014 by The Institute of Internal Communications.
Forrester’s June 2014 report ‘New Development Platforms’ notes a change in trend from enhancing SharePoint with custom solutions to enhancing SharePoint with pre-built solutions. Forrester identifies low code platforms as gaining popularity for their speed in delivering value to the business in addition to the following benefits:
- Slash the hand-coding needed to deliver applications: Low-code platforms minimize hand coding and speed up delivery by providing visual tools for quick definition and assembly of user experiences.
- Address all customer channels, including mobile: These platforms support responsive design and mobile-ready functionality that makes it as easy as pushing a button to extend the app to work across other channels, including tablets and smartphones.
- Provide a single control point for configuration, delivery, and maintenance of apps: Low code platforms provide a unified and centralized environment for configuration management, role-based access, authentication, and repository control of apps and configuration components.
Analysts for a long time have called out custom development for being lengthy and therefore expensive, not always delivering best practice and forcing a focus on code rather than business adoption and value. I wanted to join a product company because I recognised the challenges of on-premises would only be compounded as organisations move to Office 365 if they tried to replicate the old model by custom developing the platform. The EasyShare Online app product, which quickly and intuitively stands up Office 365 sites, Yammer, Lync and extends Office is a great way for any organisation to enjoy the benefits of Office 365 – with the benefits of customisations – but without the hassle of custom development.
So why has it taken so long for the market to recognise products deliver better value than custom development? Simply put, organisations which make up the Microsoft eco-system are predominantly services businesses.
Where it is certainly the case that custom development is the right approach for applications that are unique to the way that as business operates the vast majority of custom work has delivered generic capabilities that could be met with an off the shelf product because this is how the IT community has long been set up. Moving from custom to product to a large degree requires one to cannibalise their own business.
This is a big step and one we have watched Microsoft themselves take with the push to move clients to Office 365 and away from on-premises technology. The reality is that this was a move which served the interests of organisations rather than Microsoft themselves. Office 365 and Azure deliver better (and evolving) productivity tools to clients, cheaper. The shift in Microsoft’s own focus towards organisational adoption and away from software sales has also benefited clients enormously and simultaneously created a new workload for Microsoft. In the world of Office 365 every individual user counts.
This has been a transformation that has ultimately led Microsoft to a moral victory; as Office 365 adoption increases organisations globally will be using cheaper, better technology.
EasySharePoint has been ahead of this step change, building their first SharePoint intranet product for SharePoint 2007, with later versions for 2010, 2013 and Online.
The EasySharePoint approach is distinctive. The EasyShare Online product delivers Office 365 in hours rather than months, thanks to EasyShare’s pre-built capabilities allowing a business to focus on content and adoption. The product includes:
- New features that extend what is available Out Of The Box
- Integration with Yammer, Lync and Office
- An easy branding tool
- A fully multi-lingual experience
- A fully responsive mobile experience across all major devices and browsers
…and what will I be doing there?
EasyShare Online is the most widely used pre-built Office 365 app in the market. As the Chief Technical Officer my main responsibility will be designing the product roadmaps and supporting our clients and partners using EasyShare Online and Office 365. I’ll be working closely with our Technical Strategy Director and production team to design our new product capabilities.
Alongside all of this I’ll be getting more time for community activities such as speaking and blogging. I’m very excited about the new job at EasySharePoint and all the new ideas that will find their way into our products in the near future.