Friday, March 7, 2008

Microsoft Office SharePoint Online

Microsoft has announced their hosted services strategy recently, one of them being what looks like a hosted MOSS 2007 implementation. I signed up for the beta to check it out, but was relegated to the waiting list. There's not a lot of information out there yet, I'll post more here as I find it. Some things I'd like to know:

Pricing - What will be pricing versus a MOSS 2007 license? Are there different pricing schemes if you intend to have the hosted site internet-facing?

Integration - Can it integrate with your in-house Active Directory? Can you use BDC functionality with your own in-house data sources? These are certainly possible, but how will the security risks be mitigated?

Customization - What support is there for custom components like Workflow, Webcontrols, Custom Field Types, Event Handlers, etc? I've seen hosted SharePoint providers do this kind of thing, but am curious on how Microsoft plans to handle it.

Marketability - I would like to see what the major selling points of this will be. A MOSS 2007 implementation is relatively easy to install and maintain... what benefits could a hosted solution provide? SharePoint is unique (in the hosted application sense) in that some of the best features a business can take advantage of involve bringing disparate elements together into a single location. The offload of maintenance and performance will have to outweigh the pains of integrating a hosted solution with local resources, I would think. There is the trust factor as well. Of course, it is a Microsoft product hosted by Microsoft, and the hosted solution will have all best practices applied....I'm guessing the support will be pretty good too.

More information:

Microsoft Partner Program: Microsoft Office SharePoint Online

Microsoft Parner Program: Microsoft Online Services