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12/1/2011
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SharePoint Users Get New Social Option

Blue Rooster is the latest Microsoft partner to put a social face on SharePoint.

Top 20 Top Add-Ons For Microsoft SharePoint
(click image for larger view)
Top 20 Top Add-Ons For Microsoft SharePoint
SharePoint shops seeking to implement enterprise social networking that goes beyond what is offered in Microsoft's collaboration platform got another option this week.

Blue Rooster, a SharePoint consulting firm based in Seattle, is the latest firm to offer a bundle of enhancements to SharePoint's basic social media components. This is a market niche where NewsGator is the best known solution that runs directly atop SharePoint, although practically every corporate social networking platform provides some sort of integration with the ubiquitous Microsoft portal and document management system.

The enterprise social media category is getting more attention with Jive Software's initial public offering plans. Thursday, Jive signaled it is ready to move forward with its IPO, updating its Securities and Exchange Commission filing with plans to raise up to $117 million through an offering priced at $8 to $10 per share.

Blue Rooster founder and president Kevin Conroy said he respects what Jive has accomplished but thinks he can do better for many customers. "Jive is a great solution, and it's allowing organizations to be very nimble, very agile, but our message is to organizations that have already invested in SharePoint infrastructure," which can be extended to offer the same sorts of features, he said.

[ SharePoint is a collaboration tool that some people love to hate. See 5 SharePoint Pitfalls To Avoid. ]

Blue Rooster has provided SharePoint customization services to clients including FedEx, Eli Lilly, Abbott Labs, Chevron, and Microsoft, although it does not yet have permission to name specific customers for its enterprise social media offering, Conroy said. In general, "we're seeing more and more customers wanting to implement sophisticated collaborative solutions on top of SharePoint," he said. The number of options for configuring SharePoint "overwhelms a lot of companies," he said, "but they are interested in having that Facebook-like solution on top of SharePoint."

Blue Rooster has packaged the best of what it has delivered to clients on a consulting basis into an offering called Sepulveda--named for Sepulveda Boulevard in Conroy's hometown of Los Angeles, a 42-mile street that connects many communities. Blue Rooster is formalizing a consulting offering, rather than creating a packaged product per se, and Conroy said Sepulveda is customized for each customer.

Common features Sepulveda delivers include an enhanced version of SharePoint MySites, simplified navigation, integration with Microsoft Office, Web-based access to Office documents, and a user interface that works across all the major browsers, not just Internet Explorer, according to Blue Rooster.

Follow David F. Carr on Twitter @davidfcarr. The BrainYard is @thebyard

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