I was sitting with a client one morning when they asked me to look at a site. They were in the process of phasing out their existing intranet and looking at a company that offered collaboration and project management software that bolted seamlessly with Microsoft Office. It sounded very interesting…and then I looked at the site.
A demo page had been setup where they had been playing with integration. I saw pages and file storage options, and all for the super low price of $8 and an initial per user licencing fee. I reached the bottom of the page, turning the monitor towards my client I asked, “Aren’t you already using SharePoint?” I spent a few minutes explaining SharePoint, pulling it up on my laptop for a side-by-side comparison and showing how other than the branding and a few features the prospective vendor removed, it was identical in every way.
The client, themselves, was a business leader in their particular group in a department with global offices and thousands of employees in a larger company that employs over a quarter-million people around the world. So, instead of letting them spend money on another product, I showed them how to use the infrastructure they already had.
I’ve since been helping them create project-based sites and yesterday, we launched the first that might follow an idea from inception to post-production, creating an end-to-end collaboration site and document repository that will allow the production workers, technicians, and engineers working on a product down the road see what those whom designed the product were thinking when they did whatever they’re going to do.
Part of me wants to find and apologize to the person that tried selling my client the rebranded MSOffice application. It may have cost him an early retirement.