Hosted SharePoint: Can VARs and MSPs Still Profit?
Fusepoint Managed Services has joined the ranks of companies offering hosting and managed services around Microsoft’s SharePoint collaboration and content management suite. The big question: Is there room for additional MSPs to differentiate their hosted SharePoint offerings?
Let’s start with the latest news: Fusepoint, with offices in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City, this week launched SharePoint managed hosting services along with application development tools for the software. Other companies hosting SharePoint include Apptix, Intermedia, Rackspace Hosting and SherWeb Inc.
Azaleos, meanwhile, introduced SharePoint managed services in April. The company’s service monitors SharePoint Server, Internet Information Server, and SQL Server as well as associated storage and network infrastructure.
The Bigger Question
Is there room for differentiation here? On the upside, SharePoint is a hot platform that now generates more than $1 billion in annual revenues for Microsoft. Plus, an ecosystem of SharePoint ISVs (independent software vendors) emerged at the recent Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC).
Still, competition looms everywhere. Microsoft itself is pushing hard into the hosted SharePoint market, as part of the company’s Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) effort. Also, potential SharePoint rivals like Alfresco and Box.net are reaching out to channel partners.
Still, MSPs like Fusepoint think they can differentiate in the market. In Fusepoint’s case, the secret sauce may be in the services that surround SharePoint hosting. Fusepoint aims to review a customer’s SharePoint strategy, create a new (or extend an existing) Web application, integrate legacy apps into SharePoint, and then provide the “ongoing application and infrastructure management,” according to a company statement.
Contributing blogger John Moore covers Master MSPs, Web hosts and emerging opportunities. Follow The VAR Guy via RSS; Facebook; Identi.ca; Twitter; and via his Newsletter; Webcasts and Resource Center.