Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bamboo Solutions: Taking SharePoint Beyond Collaboration in the Cloud

My understanding is that Microsoft is seeking a new, improved cloud strategy. (Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer e-mailed the company, telling everyone that 23-year veteran Bob Muglia, president of the company's Server and Tools Business and gatekeeper for its evolving Azure Cloud strategy, is stepping down.) I have a modest recommendation. That strategy should focus on starting with what users are already using and build upon it, in ways that are easily accessible and affordable.

This is precisely the strategy adopted by a Microsoft Gold partner I've recently discovered and find intriguing – Bamboo Solutions. The company has built a number of offerings atop Microsoft SharePoint, a collaboration tool in use at and apparently delivering business benefits to many companies. Bamboo adds to Hosted SharePoint features for functions ranging from project and requirements management to sales and customer support.

Bamboo Cloud Applications include BambooCRM (which incorporates sales and customer support features), BambooSupport and BambooRM for requirements management. You can learn more and sign up for free trials at Pricing for BambooCRM starts at $29.95/user/month, billed quarterly on three-, six- or 12-month contracts.

Bamboo is delivering cloud-based collaboration tools that address specific business needs, build upon a known, proven and widely adopted platform and are available under clear, straightforward terms. They aren't going to be appropriate for every company of user, but they're worth looking at as examples of what to look for in such solutions. And they offer a glimpse at what might be possible if Microsoft were to take a similar tack with its hosted offerings – or at least to promote the ones that seem to "get" users' needs and desires with a bit more enthusiasm and clarity…