Friday, 11 July 2008

Mamma Mia SharePoint

Two very different visits to Birmingham this week. First, to the fountains of Brindley Place on a wet Monday afternoon for the spectacular launch of the new Aston Villa kit and then on Thursday night off to Star City for the first night of the Mamma Mia film. The Abba based film was superb even allowing for the campness and Pierce Brosnan’s not totally in tune singing. So why is this musical film so good? Mamma Mia has so many things going for it, which is similar to Microsoft’s SharePoint. For a start it features the Abba songs which these days, unlike in the late 70’s, are ‘cool’. Everyone likes Abba and everybody will dance to ‘Dancing Queen’. It was so different in 1978 when my Abba pencil case was mocked - I never did find out who drew that moustache on Anni-Frid. Similar to the ‘Abba factor’, a major plus for SharePoint is that it is so fully linked into Microsoft Office 2007. Now considering that over 95% of companies worldwide use MS Office, that does give it an unfair advantage over any of it's competitors. But any good product needs more than just one thing going for it just like Mamma Mia. The very funny musical has an excellent cast including the always popular ‘I don't really always play the same character’ Colin Firth, Mrs ‘I pull funny faces’ Walters and the talented singing Meyrl Streep. The main features of SharePoint are it's powerful Workflow, the mighty Search Engine and the impressive Document Management. It is all good stuff and SharePoint's website style front-end with the ability to create artistic Corporate Branding means it almost as appealing as the Greek Island that makes Mamma Mia so magically colourful. I did say ‘almost’! Mamma Mia will be the feel good cinema hit of summer and will appeal to many different types of people. It doesn’t matter how old you are, or where you come from, everyone has a favourite Abba song. It also doesn’t matter which type of organisation you are part of, or which department you work in, SharePoint can help you. It really does cover everyone as the impressive officetalk demonstration sites will show you. It might not be as funny as Julie Walters trying to get a 'man after midnight' but SharePoint will let you share more information than ever across your business. Look beneath the surface of SharePoint and there are some hidden gems. In Mamma Mia you have an appearance of Benny (or is it Bjorn, they always look so similar with all that facial hair) and the Swedish flag is flying on the yacht. One of SharePoint’s hidden joys is the ability to make Calendar Appointments into Workspaces. It might not sound a lot but within two minutes you can create a Meeting Workspace for all of your Board Meetings for the next fifty years. You can add an item to the Agenda for the meeting in May 2024 to arrange a celebration for the 50th Anniversary of Abba winning the Eurovision Song Contest with ‘Waterloo’. Another SharePoint highlight is the Alert feature in the way it lets you know exactly when someone has added a new item to that folder you are monitoring. The whole Mamma Mia film is a terrific piece of entertainment. Although, of course, if you analyse it too closely you realise that there isn’t really much of a plot and if there is it was possibly stolen from ‘Three Men and A Baby’, oh and how did the daughter find all the addresses out in the first place? SharePoint also has it’s flaws, like only having 2D charts in Excel Services, but these do not prevent it from being an outstanding piece of software that will delight the vast majority of customers and I believe be around for a long long. Microsoft are determined that SharePoint is the future and in the words of those four Swedish legends ‘The Winner Takes It All !!’.

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