Australia gets its first SharePoint competency centre

SharePoint server sales top US$800 million in 2007 fiscal year

Sydney-based software systems engineering company, Simbient, has launched a competency centre for Microsoft SharePoint Server 2007.

The purpose of the centre is to enable business from enterprise to mid-level to optimise the features of Microsoft's latest platform.

According to the company's managing director, Mike Smith, Simbient's SharePoint competency centre is the first of its kind in Australia, and is based on successful centres in the Europe that have helped push sales of SharePoint Server 2007 to over US$800 million in the 2007 fiscal year.

"What we have seen in larger markets such as the US is that SharePoint sales soar when professional assistance is offered to tailor its configuration and installation to suite the individual business's operating style and culture," Smith said.

"There's actually so much you can do with it that without expert help, it can appear somewhat daunting."

Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 marks the emergence of a platform that converges structured and unstructured data, offering organisations greater insight into all of the information inside their business.

One company that has already benefited from engaging with the Simbient's SharePoint competency centre is Investa, a diversified property company with over $7 billion in assets under management.

Investa wanted to expand the base-level functionality provided by its existing SharePoint implementation, and incorporate stimulating visual design elements in a new Intranet application to reinforce its brand and improve the user experience.

Simbient's approach to this contract was to concentrate on understanding the entire business strategy, the work culture and where exactly Investa felt it could extract more value from its data.

Investa CIO, David Miller, said the system has a very interactive and engaging 'people search' feature, which puts a face to people in remote offices.

"We're really pleased with the functionality, the user interface, and the ability of Simbient to meet what was a very aggressive project timeline," he said.

Figures released by IDC from its "Microsoft SharePoint Server Ecosystem and Customer Usage Trends" study found that out of 300 US enterprises currently using SharePoint 2007, 61 percent have deployed it enterprise-wide and 28 percent of current departmental deployments are expected to become enterprise-wide in the next 12 months.

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