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The SharePoint app model and the health of the SharePoint partner community

VisualSP Logo 250x80As Microsoft has attempted to hasten the rate at which its enterprise customers for SharePoint server, on-premises, adopt its flavorful Office 365 cloud, SaaS offer, members of its partner community have vocalized concerns. One prominent component of this adoption campaign, in particular, has come to serve (in my opinion) as a barometer built to measure the health of the partner community. The component is the SharePoint 2013 App Model and the notion of “SharePoint customizations”.

I recently wrote several posts to this blog on topics related to the App Model. There is a lot of recently published technical content on this component on no less an authoritative technical resource than Microsoft’s own Channel 9 video website, which is part of the MSDN effort. The notion of “SharePoint customizations” and, specifically, the advisability of proceeding on them, is directly addressed in a set of 5.5 hours of video training titled Transform SharePoint Customizations to SharePoint App Model. This set is led by two Microsoft Senior Program Managers: Scott Walker and Vesa Juvonen.

In addition, a pair of 1 hour video tutorials have just now been published, once again on Channel 9, on a related topic. This set is led by Scot Hillier, an Office 365 MVP and presents some popular apps from the Office store to an intended audience of developers.

But just today, Tuesday, January 13, 2015, CMSWire published an article, seemingly in direct response to all of this effort, from a spokesman from the Channel community. The article is titled Don’t be afraid of SharePoint customizations. Reading this article one can not help but notice how Microsoft’s adoption effort may have had a dramatic, and, perhaps unfortunate negative impact on a partner ecosystem used to thriving on requirements to customize SharePoint.

There are a lot of positive points in Conroy’s article. These points are emblematic, perhaps, of some features of SharePoint server, as a product, which have now become less than valuable for where it appears Microsoft would like to take the offer. In turn, Microsoft’s rationale for re-routing the product into a more favorable position for continued mutual benefit between itself, as vendor, and its customer base and the channel it has built up to support it, at a certain level, makes a lot of sense.

But, bottom line, the appearance of all of this content on related topics should be a signal to someone at Microsoft of more work to be done, to assuage concerns and ensure better progress to a goal promising satisfaction to all parties, including partners and their enterprise customers who have a legitimate need for on-premises customizations. It would be good to see some “solidarity”, between all of these groups, at least for the foreseeable future.

©2015, Ira Michael Blonder & Rehmani Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved