Page 2 of 4
4. Sharepoint adoption will continue to grow and grow
Already one of the fastest growing offerings in Microsoft's history, Office Sharepoint Server was a big hit with partners in 2007, and adoption is sure to continue growing next year. Many ISVs have found healthy and sustainable revenue streams by building applications on top of the platform, for tasks such as project management, business intelligence and workflow.
In July at its annual financial analyst meeting, Microsoft announced that Sharepoint revenue grew 35 percent to more than $800 million in fiscal year 2007, and that Sharepoint is on track to become a billion dollar business.
Although it initially attracted interest primarily from medium and large enterprises, Sharepoint is now penetrating the SMB space, and channel partners are helping to deliver the message that content management and portals aren't exclusive to enterprises. And combined with Windows Sharepoint Services, a subset of Sharepoint features that Microsoft offers for free, this message will likely be heard by all segments of the market in 2008.
5. The channel will deal with a talent shortage in unified communications
While they're excited about the prospects of adding unified communications to their portfolio, some solution providers predict that the channel is about to face a shortage of talent necessary to deploy the technology. While this wasn't an issue for Microsoft partners in 2007, VARs have differing opinions of whether the same will hold true in 2008.
Not only will the sheer volume of demand for unified communications rise next year, so too will the complexity of deployments. But solution providers say a talent crunch could create opportunities for savvy partners to go out and create vision for unified communications and help organizations better understand the technology's strong points.
The challenge for some solution providers that are getting their feet wet in unified communications will be to realize that clients don't give second chances when it comes to technical glitches in their VoIP systems. VARs say that wherever VoIP is involved, clients' tolerance for downtime drops to zero, so the most important skill to develop is a deep understanding of mission critical applications.