In one of my first posts from TechEd, I mentioned the focus on SharePoint in the conference sessions. That focus continues on the exhibitor floor, with lots of companies featuring products and services built around SharePoint. There's even a special "SharePoint Partner Zone" with 35 companies seeking to show a special emphasis on SharePoint. Some of the companies in the Zone (AT&T Mobility, Citrix, Fujitsu, and Hewlett-Packard, for example) have significant businesses outside the SharePoint world. Others (Content Master, Quest Notes Migration Center, and SharePoint Solutions, for instance) are more tightly focused on SharePoint. Either way, it's clear that a lot of companies think that there's a significant business to be made with SharePoint.
What are the SharePoint-centric companies doing? Much of the work seems to fall into one of three areas: migration, protection, or customization. I spoke to one company that is seeing significant business helping clients migrate from Domino to SharePoint, though they said that customers were moving from Shared Folders and earlier versions of SharePoint, too. Once data is moved, keeping it backed up and safe is another area of concern, and one that is covered by a number of different solutions from various companies. The customization aspect is fascinating, with several companies featuring products that will aid in creating templates, themes, and other customized document frameworks within SharePoint. I'll plan on having more specifics for each of these company types coming up, but the fact that there are so many firms circling around one product is interesting in and of itself.
For me, the most compelling question will be this: If large enterprises are going to have the advantage of solid collaboration tools, what can SMB owners do to get the same sort of advantages at an affordable price? More on that later.