Adding to their portfolio of hosted Microsoft software as a service offerings, Massachusetts-based groupSPARK has announced the availability of on-demand SharePoint Services (WSS) v3.0. WSS is the free version of Microsoft's SharePoint 2007 document management, web content management, and collaboration platform.
This is exciting news for the Small to Medium Business (SMB) segment, who might like to take advantage of SharePoint 2007's broad functionality, but don't have the in-house IT resources to install, configure, and manage a SharePoint instance.
Windows SharePoint Services or WSS is the free version of Microsoft's Office SharePoint Server 2007. MOSS is a broad platform that includes functionality for managing web content and publishing, implementing Enterprise Content Management (ECM) and Records Management functions, and on the less formal side the latest 2007 version supports building Wikis and Blogs.
The full MOSS solution is a commercial offering with a price tag that can be on the heavy side. WSS on the other hand is free as a component of Windows Server. WSS is the foundation that MOSS is built upon. It is less feature rich, but does include all of the basic document management and collaboration features that have been the basis of SharePoint's success.
As a private label vendor, IT consulting companies and middlemen can also resell groupSPARK's Microsoft packages as value-adds to existing products and services. The costs for WSS 3.0 start at $8/month for 20 users and (a rather inadequate) 200 MB of storage space. Pricing heads north from that point. groupSPARK's bread and butter business is its Microsoft Exchange hosting which it also plans on upgrading from 2003 to 2007 in March.
Along with SharePoint and Exchange, groupSPARK rounds out their hosted Backoffice offerings with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, enough to give a small business the IT infrastructure of a large corporation.
It remains to be seen how much Microsoft Live! for Business and the landscape of Enterprise 2.0 services including and Google Apps eats into 3rd party Microsoft SaaS offerings like groupSPARK's. The SharePoint uptake has been one of MS' best yet though. So we expect both potential customers and Microsoft to be pleased with groupSPARK's plans.
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