SharePoint news from the big players has bloomed since the launch of Microsoft's (news, site) 2010 version. But what of the smaller devs offering those practical point solutions that could be so useful? Let's take a look.
Sharing The Wealth
Now that the hubbub is settling after the launch of SharePoint and Office 2010, the serious work begins for users, new and old, trying to get the best use out of their software. There is a huge ecosystem of Web Parts, apps and utilities to help out. In this article, we take a look at some of the more bespoke solutions from players outside the megavendor role that could help out your organization.
Bamboo (news, site) offers a range of Suites and Web Parts for SharePoint to help streamline processes and improve agility within the software. It has a host of big-name clients including Ferrari, American Airlines and NASA. Its main offering is Project Management Central, a complete out-of-the-box way to turn SharePoint into your project management solution.
Bamboo is rapidly preparing a 2010 update for PM Central which costs US$ 6,500 for a server license. A 30-day trial download is available, allowing you to try its comprehensive project facilities.
Available as Web Parts to back up PM Central are Alert Plus that offers customizable alerting, Chart Plus which helps create quick pie charts and other data without the need for Excel.
Chart Plus: Make charts without opening Excel
CorasWorks (news, site) announced comprehensive 2010 support at the start of the month for its range of SharePoint Platform and Applications. These include Help Desk and Knowledge Base solutions and a newly updated version of Idea Management that was unveiled at TechEd.
CorasWorks Idea Management (CIM) helps users review, approve, manage and implement ideas suggested within the enterprise. Updates to the status bar show changes in downstream processes, a new Star Power algorithm helps highlight the best ideas while group document uploads allow members to add supporting documents and additional comments to an idea.
Manage the flow of ideas in your enterprise
Social Aggregator from Virto offers RSS, Twitter and Facebook aggregation services for both SharePoint 2007 and 2010. If part of your job involves monitoring social feeds, then this makes it easy to see them in a scrolling text list with links, all within SharePoint. That makes it a lot easier to keep an eye on what people are saying about your company or products. A server license for Social Aggregator is US$ 295.
Virto also provides password, task and email monitoring apps all at pricing for any size of organization and with free trials available to give them a spin. It even offers a few free little apps like clocks and weather tools, to help spread some brand awareness.
Pentalogic SharePoint Solutions
Pentalogic offers a planning and reminder service for SharePoint users. Whether it is for travel, staff assignments or resource planning, you can keep track and get alerts with ease. The company's most attractive Web Part though is PowerPivot that helps you analyse the data in Excel files without breaking into the spreadsheet app.
You can use it to view headline data, extract some essential information, as you can with Excel pivot tables, hence the name. A license costs US$ 199 for small biz and up to US$ 2,975 for enterprises. All Pentalogic apps are for SharePoint 2007 and 2010.
Get hold of your data without opening Excel
Mobile Entrée (news, site) offers mobile access to your SharePoint data on any SmartPhone with support for SharePoint 2010. The latest version, 1.3, offers support for BCS lists that can be created in SharePoint Designer 2010, improved search results and views, and a full site toggle to help view data in its original form.
Companies can also create their own mobile apps to help better get company data across to mobile users. The app is compatible with Windows Mobile, iPhone, Blackberry and Symbian systems. A basic license costs US$ 795 up to US$ 3,950 for an enterprise license.
SharePointBoost's Column/View Permission helps admins control what users can see from the many columns and lists that SharePoint provides. It recently won the Andy Dale SharePoint Awards 2010 "Most Useful SharePoint Web Part" award and is just one of a massive battery of apps and Web Parts from the company.
Keep company secrets and information safe
Fields can be hidden, or made read-only on a user by user basis, limiting the risk of security breaches or accidental disclosure. For any company that manages sensitive data in SharePoint, that has to be pretty high-up on your list of priorities. Prices for the app start at US$ 199 for a 50-user license -- a 30-day trial is available.
AppStudio from WebParts360 aims to make creating custom SharePoint tools rapidly, in 20 minutes, is the company claim. Using visual design techniques, users choose the input data, what workflow to apply to it and select the required output. The app is built using a library of pre-built Web Parts and the delivered ready to go.
Apps can be designed, without the need to understand any code, for many solutions. It supports SharePoint 2010 and there is a free demo to try.
And The List Goes On
Obviously we are just scratching the surface of third party add-on providers. If you can think of a web part or application that you need for your SharePoint implementation, it very likely already exists out there.
If you know you should be on this list, we invite you to add your company to the comments below. Our goal is to help organizations know who's out there and what they offer.