Nifty Fifty? Will a community effort be enough?

I haven’t really chimed in on the debates taking place on Ed’s and John Head’s sites. It all revolves around whether there is a need for more templates, like the “Nifty Fifty” out there. Here’s my take:

I do believe that people in the SMB market are being shown Sharepoint. And when they are, they are being told that it can do X, Y, and Z right out of the box. We all know that these X, Y & Z apps are very basic, but that’s not the point. The point is, people selling MS solutions tell these businesses that this stuff will work for them immediately, and Lotus Notes won’t.

This is definitely going to win them marketshare whether IBM will admit it or not. A person selling a Notes solution can grouse all they want about how we can easily build all same solutions as Sharepoint, but all a business owner is going to hear is, it’s NOT included. That alone will cause some businesses to go the Sharepoint route because they don’t have the time or budget to create “custom” applications.

What’s the solution? Quite frankly, I dunno if the community effort to create some basic templates will really do anything. It’s a great idea, and I applaud those that are going to be a part, but I just don’t think that will sway a typical business owner. Some community designed templates will never have the prestige that vendor supported efforts will. It’s unfortunate, but true.

I think that IBM gets that… kinda. The blog template, RSS features and SAP stuff all show things that have good tangible value to the customer. Now they need to continue down that path. There needs to be more from IBM going forward than ever. Because we are no longer just battling Exchange, we are also battling Sharepoint, whether IBM wants to acknowledge that fact or not.