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August 05
SharePoint? Why should I bother??

So, you may or may not know that SharePoint Saturday Ozarks is coming up on September 8th at the beautiful Chateau On The Lake in Branson, MO.

You may not care that this is a completely free event at a resort and spa on the lake, offering free food, prizes, an after party featuring live music from This Modern Station, a host of sponsors on hand to help you with all your SharePoint needs and a posse of the most talented SharePoint professionals in the country who have come all the way to Branson to teach YOU about SharePoint.

It may not mean a thing to you that you can register for this awesome event right now.

You probably couldn’t care less that the average salary for a SharePoint professional is $72,000 with many SharePoint professionals making well into the six figures. And just look at these job posting counts (many of which allow you to work from home even):

Career Builder – 3,235 postings

Dice – 4,101 postings

But whether you are already a seasoned SharePoint professional, a small business that has never heard of SharePoint, a large corporation trying to figure out what SharePoint is, or simply a person with a love/hate relationship with technology looking for a new career path. You SHOULD care. And here’s why…

What is SharePoint?

Before you can understand why you should care, you need to know what SharePoint is. Microsoft's fastest selling server offering in history is also one of least known outside of those companies that actively use it. The most common question I get is “What is SharePoint?” Unfortunately, there is no simple answer. SharePoint is many things.

At its core, SharePoint allows non-programmers to do things that you historically need programmers to do.

  • “I need a web site to track help desk calls”
  • “I need a web site for the HR department that only HR people can get to”
  • “I need a store my information and documents about a client”
  • “I just realized I’m not storing everything I need, I need to store additional information about my client”
  • “I need to be alerted anytime when information is created or changed”
  • “I need to give someone access to my site”
  • “I need to store my files in a secure location where I can specify who can see them”
  • “I need to tag these documents so that I know they all relate to my client”
  • “I need to search my site for any reference to ‘2012 taxes’”
  • “I need to, at a glance, see a status of all my issues, which ones are late, and know who I need to nag.”

As you can see, SharePoint “empowers your business users” and this is just scratching the surface of what a non-technical person can do in SharePoint without the need for those arrogant over-priced developers.

But wow, throw administrators and developers into the mix and you get so much more. Automate tasks, create complicated workflows, interact with your business systems, take search to another level, create complicated data relationships, and give your users dynamic interactive reports at the push of a button.

And I’m still just barely scratching the surface. Get it? SharePoint is huge. There have been several attempts to create a video explaining what SharePoint is, and most fail miserably. However, the following two are by far the best I’ve seen. So, take a moment to watch and get an idea for the potential SharePoint offers.

SharePoint In Plain English
What is SharePoint? lynda.com

Yeah, but what other products do the same thing?

Here’s the thing. Right now, there are NO other products that do everything that SharePoint does. You may hear arguments like “Box.net is going to be the SharePoint Killer”, or “We don’t need SharePoint, we use Drupal”. You know what people like that have in common??? They don’t understand SharePoint. You MAY find a product that does one thing better than SharePoint, but you won’t find a product that does everything that SharePoint does. Plus, because SharePoint is a Microsoft product, it’s tightly integrated with Microsoft's other products that you are probably already using.  There’s not likely to be a real competitor anytime soon.

Even if I wanted to know more about SharePoint, I can’t afford it, install it or maintain it!

Ahhh.. not true my young padawan… Microsoft has this cool offering called Office 365 and for as little as $8 per month you not only get email, shared calendars, and the most awesome online communication tool out there, but you also get SharePoint. You can even get a free trial and start creating 100s of SharePoint sites today if your heart desired. You don’t need an administrator to maintain your farm or need to hire support staff. You don’t even have to shell out a lot of money. Office 365 also integrates with Active Directory to give your employees easy access.

This is that cloud thing people keep talking about. Are you starting to  see why it’s cool?

So, don’t let cost be a factor in preventing you from learning about SharePoint and how it can make you more organized, productive, and secure.

I’m still confused… intrigued… but confused

Lucky for you I have an entire track of sessions at SharePoint Saturday Ozarks devoted to people just like you. SharePoint Saturday Ozarks is pleased to feature an entire day of classes specifically targeted to those individuals who have no idea what SharePoint is or have had it dropped in their lap and don’t know where to begin. Come spend the day with us on September 8th and see SharePoint in action, learn what it can do for you, and ask the experts those questions that no one else can seem to answer.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Sharepoint Band shirt

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SharePoint Architect, Developer, Blogger, Speaker, Author, and general pain in the butt.
 
Thoughts, views, and opinions expressed in this blog are solely my own.
 
Remember, the Impossible just takes longer.
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