Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The strategy on the back of SharePoint Simple CMS (Part 2)

What we are learning is that the technological part matters mostly to us, I mean to B4Contact. Many of our customers doesn't really care on it.

Said that, we had to question ourselves who else cares about the technology. Of course the answer is obvious: the IT professional. Are they our target? well, yes. But no our principal target. Staying in touch with IT pros is very healthy for us and helps us to understand the industry trends. Some of them become our partners and participate on the development of Web sites based on SharePoint Simple CMS. That is good!

Now it is even more relevant because we are adding importance on the concept of developing with partners. We see much more innovation that way. B4Contact will generate ideas and concepts. Our partners will filter the ideas and transform some of them into usable functionality. That means that they aren't a main "sales target" but they are part of our long term strategy.

B4Contact is the organizer of the Slovenian SharePoint Conference and that helps us to get in touch with SharePoint MVPs and the Slovenian community of SharePoint administrators and developers. The past year was a success! and we plan to get more success this year. The event will take place sometime in November.

For concluding I can say that partnership is essential for SharePoint Simple CMS in the future. Currently we have 5 partners from US and EU. We will work hard during this year to get more!

The strategy on the back of SharePoint Simple CMS (Part 1)

When I'm talking about the SharePoint Simple CMS something that captures the attention is how we defined our product.

In this article I will also publish information about what we are finding out and what are we planning to do with our product.

  1. Trying to modify the out of the Box Sharepoint is senseless. At least from the perspective of adopting new future versions of SharePoint. Any deep modification on the current SharePoint would be expensive when a migration to a new version would take place.
  2. SharePoint by itself presents many limitations when thinking on Web design. Isn't it better to start with a blank canvas? Masterpages are synonym of freedom!
  3. Many users doesn't care if they use SharePoint or whatever else... the important thing is that can be "used" and serves its purpose. That means that the interface is important.
Then we thought: "We need to make an easy to use CMS that limits advanced functionality to editors, that can look great and be compliant with standards, that doesn't touch any our of the box SharePoint page and of course that uses independent custom master pages". Therefore we made the SharePoint Simple CMS.

It is great because it lets users to have good looking public facing Web sites and edit them with ease. The SharePoint Simple CMS is delivered as a STP file and it is compatible with WSS and MOSS. Having a STP file out f a Web site is great! because you can create as many sites as you wish using that template.

After a year we havediscovered some things that need to be improved:
  1. The code should be simplified and optimized.
  2. We should include more code on the "server side" instead of the "Client side".
  3. We need to include more capabilities to customize the layout of the pages.
So.. how are we thinking to cover the challenges? we are building a community of partners that can use SharePoint Simple CMS and build solutions on top of it.