Friday, 18 February 2011

SharePoint in the Cloud

Andy Gray with 'girly' hair.

It’s been an interesting seven days for me that have included a lovely valentine’s night, a dose of Man-flu and the release of Office Talk’s exciting new Hosted SharePoint 2010 product ‘Office Manager’. 

A romantic valentine night was spent in a four-poster room overlooking the Wye Valley. This is of course a room containing a four-poster bed and not a room with four posters on the walls like I had when I was young; two Villa players (including the now disgraced Andy Gray), an Abba one and another of Lesley Judd from Blue Peter.  

But enough about my childhood bedroom and let’s talk about ever growing trend these days of ‘Hosted SharePoint’. You will see I used the trendy word ‘cloud’ in my title but really it is just somebody else giving you room on their impressive array of servers to run your applications, so I like to use the word ‘Hosted’ Also to me clouds are fluffy that blow around the sky and nobody owns them. While the term ‘Hosted’ suggests that it stays in a fixed location and has a cost.

So why are more companies starting to look for Hosted SharePoint instead of adding a new server to their air-conditioned Server Room? 

View of Wye Valley
The best example is to think about the hotel in the Wye Valley where I was able to spoil my special lady. Now I could have entertained my number one lady in my own home and been just as romantic, but this would have meant; buying food, cooking, cleaning the house, being disturbed by visitors or phone calls and generally working quite hard. Instead I chose a hotel where the cleaning was all done for me there was even a box of chocolates and a bottle of champagne waiting for us in the room. We had views overlooking terrific grounds that I knew I wouldn’t have to start mowing in two months time. Instead of spending time peeling vegetables and pretending to be a Master Chef contestant getting dinner ready I could just lie back on the four-poster bed and watch the football on the telly as Claire was making herself look even more stunning in the large bathroom.

Then at 7-30pm we just stroll down and are served an excellent three course meal. We can then get on with eating the lovely food and just spending quality time together. Safe in the knowledge that we are not going to be disturbed by a passing Jehovah witness or interrupted by a telephone call trying to convince us to change our energy provider.

Hosted SharePoint is like a hotel because it gives you SharePoint and yet leaves many of the day-to-day running jobs to somebody else. It takes the worry about backups, Windows updates, viruses, servers breaking and availability away from you. It also frees up your IT Department to spend time on projects to benefit your business instead of ‘fire-fighting’.

Of course, using a ‘Hosted’ SharePoint does have some limitations and adding third party products is often restricted. But as with your hotel room you can do lots of things inside it without making major structural changes.  

Our new Hosted SharePoint (version 2010) product is called ‘Office Manager’ and I am quite pleased with it. We have taken our popular ten Department Templates (HR, Health & Safety, IT, Purchasing, Projects, Marketing, Reception, Training, Finance and Environmental) and offered them as part of SharePoint 2010. 

Office Manager means companies of any size can start using the latest SharePoint in just hours and pay for it monthly. The Consultants at Office Talk are already using ‘Office Manager’ to demonstrate SharePoint 2010 when they go to visit potential customers. It really is the anywhere solution and as it is hosted by Rack Space, who were recently voted “Customer Service Team of the Year”, it is secure and always available.
Why not try it out for a month now free of charge. We don’t even ask for your credit card details. Just go to 

Now to get rid of my Man Flu (slight cold), at least Villa aren’t playing this weekend. Of course, if they where I would soon make a dramatic recovery, but as they are not I think a Hot Lemsip and a blanket by the fire are in order. At least with the ‘Hosted SharePoint’ I can work from home today.