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Is the pace of software M&A increasing again?



Utilizing SharePoint to Serve-up ‘Gourmet’ Business Solutions

By Eric Baughman, Director Training and Education, CorasWorks Corporation

What can a TV dinner teach us about solutions on the SharePoint platform? I experienced this little lesson during a recent visit to the supermarket. In the frozen food section, I noticed a five course meal in a box and questioned why they’ve lost popularity. They are inexpensive, convenient, cover the spectrum of food groups, and even include dessert – all on the same plate. It’s not unlike off-the-shelf software or business applications, where we’re given a number of pre-set features, served up together in a single package, all to fulfill a particular need. In both cases, however, there is evidence that consumers want and need more. They want more flexibility and choices, better quality, and usually need it all within certain time and budget constraints.

You Don’t Have to be a Programmer…You Just Need the Secret Ingredients for Success
So what’s the response to the market’s ‘gourmet’ demands? The ingredients available are getting better, with more choices, allowing us to do more. However, whether we’re talking about the produce aisle at the supermarket or the SharePoint technology platform in business, working at the ingredients level requires the time and the skills to bring it all together. Two things I am not: a chef or a programmer. Fortunately, there are options for me.

My supermarket experience ended in the last aisle, where I picked up an assortment of fresh sushi for my wife and myself, and a hot roasted chicken with stuffing and a side of fresh vegetables for the kids. This alternative was a far cry from my other options of i) the frozen dinners – least expensive, least appetizing, ii) making it all from scratch – more time, more money, or iii) going to two different restaurants to be served by the experts – most time, most money, maybe get what we want.

In the SharePoint world, consumers can meet some of their needs out of the box through pre-built templates and web part capabilities. The modularity of the platform gives us more choices than many standalone, pre-built point solution products. However, whether it is on the current v2 or upcoming v3 platforms of SharePoint, users find themselves wanting and needing more. They want more in terms of the parts (navigation, data aggregation, and the ability to take action and drive business activity), but more importantly, how the parts come together as an integrated system. And of course, sprinkle time and budget considerations on top, and you’re starting to see the recipe for success.

If we’re to build from scratch in SharePoint, it requires tools like Visual Studio. FrontPage for SharePoint v2 and SharePoint Designer for v3 also let us get to that ‘ingredient level’ referenced earlier, but not without some additional skills and time to do so. For organizations looking to make the SharePoint plunge, I’d recommend they look at investing in a workplace software vendor for SharePoint.

A trusted workplace software vendor for SharePoint will provide you with many of the necessary ingredients to meet a wide variety of your application need and make the necessary preparation easy, efficient, and cost-effective. To explore business solutions developed on both the SharePoint v2 and v3 platform, I’d recommend you visit a Solution Tour that CorasWorks offers. They are solutions that were configured through the browser for rapid deployment and less time to productivity. With dashboard displays featured in many of the solutions, you’ll see data that is brought back from two different sites. This is much like my sushi and chicken example, where you’re going to need to bring two different things that came from different places, back to the same table.

Bon appetite!

Eric Baughman is the Director of Training and Education at CorasWorks Corporation, the leading provider of software for developing collaborative solutions on Microsoft SharePoint. Eric ensures that all customers are able to use CorasWorks products to build web–based solutions such as portals, intranets, extranets, dashboards, and other business applications that meet their business needs. Eric can be reached at (http://www.corasworks.net

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