Though it’s not my first, Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) 2015 is different for me this year. Not just because I decided to drive the 18+ hours from New York instead of flying, but also because this is the first year attending as the winner of 2015 Partner of the Year Award for Collaboration and Content. Both have given me plenty of time to slow down and think about the journey that brought us here.
For most people, their first interaction with Microsoft SharePoint was probably a portal started by someone in a department, most likely running under someone’s desk. SharePoint wasn’t implemented with some long strategic vision in mind – it was often simply the easiest thing to stand up for internal collaboration, and came free with Windows Server!
But, before long, this technology launched plenty of careers. You were now dealing with something that the IT world knew very little about, but that users were going crazy over! It was a community-driven support team, with members from competing companies working together to establish governance standards, migration plans, availability and disaster recovery solutions, and more.
I was lucky enough to join AvePoint in 2008 after the company had already been supporting organizations with auditing, records management, data protection, availability, and migration for eight years through DocAve. In that same year, we launched new power tools through DocAve that helped administrators manage environments, replicate data from one data center to another, manage applications, manage storage, and countless other solutions.
Fulfilling the Vision
It was also around that time when SharePoint caught on as a mainstream solution, and the fastest growing one in Microsoft history. Paid licenses accounted for more than $2 billion of the company’s revenue, with many more users still on the free version. But this was when the key pivot came – Microsoft didn’t want to just have the best platform for document storage. They wanted to have the best solutions to push businesses forward.
And that was the start of our shift as well. “Changing the way Administrators Manage SharePoint”, one of our original tag lines, soon became “Collaborate with Confidence”. We were not just fulfilling the needs of people who were keeping lights on, but people who were supporting hospitals, mission critical troop deployments, oil tankers, financial offices, and so much more. We vowed that the solutions we provided would go above and beyond the needs of an operations engineer who simply needed a report to one that would make compliance audits a memory of the past. We knew that having the flashiest switch wasn’t going to solve your over-burdened IT staff and make your end-users happy again, you’d need the ability to offer managed services directly to an end-user! We made sure that we didn’t just produce a migration product that could move more data from one system to another faster, but one that could help you establish ownership and understanding of that data along the way.
This has become our motto in every problem we’ve adopted since SharePoint launched, and one Microsoft and AvePoint will continue to fulfill as customers continue to move past this platform on to Microsoft Office 365 and beyond.
You can see that today in the people who join AvePoint, those you’ll meet supporting you in the field, and those with whom you’ve shaken hands at WPC. They’re folks who genuinely care about solving problems that make your business successful, and we’ll pivot our technology, solutions, and engineers to launch a solution to see your pains solved!
Awards are not simply given, they’re earned. I’d like to think there is a winner’s medal at the end of my time here at WPC – but I know that it will come from the faces of my clients that I meet along the way. One of my customers recently told me: “I’ve provisioned 2,000 sites in the last 5 months without lifting a finger, and now I’ve moved on to bigger projects thanks to you!”
As you look to take on bigger collaboration projects, I look forward to seeing what our technology can continue to do to make you more successful!