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Author: Jonathan Stuckey

Movements in markets and changes in partners

Changes in trends, market consolidation of vendors and vendor behaviours drive changes at Spoke.

image of data-chart showing changes over time
Changes in markets and trends

As a service provider Spoke have been proud to provide balanced options for services, platforms and tools for our customers and this is largely through having a clear framework for assessment. This is mostly because we are not tied as a reseller or VAR for software vendors. Does this mean we do not use ISV tools or components when appropriate? No, we assess and use best-in-class where it meets exacting criteria and does not impact supportability of the core platform. Are we on a sales or lead-generation program for the ones we do use? No. We do not operate pipe-line for ISVs or vendors.

At Spoke we look to leverage what others have done before, because we do not see the point (or value) in charging customers for (re)creating a poor imitation of best-in-class options available - particularly if those options can be quite inexpensive. We have done this for many years with things like, content migration tools (such as ShareGate), and gap-filling components like Outlook email filing for document mgmt (with OnePlace Mail) or publishing management (with Valo Intranet).

Over the last 18-months with practical advent of Employee Experience Platforms (sometimes called Digital Experience Platform or DXP) and Microsoft's move into the space with Viva suite of offerings we have seen a significant shift in trends for organisations adopting the Microsoft 365 platform. It has impacted Microsoft ISVs and competitors alike. Consequently, modern component providers extending M365 platform are dropping like flies - just have a look at the 2 previous releases of the CMSWire market and vendor review for DXP.

For us this triggered some timely reviewing of tools and add-on options providing intranet publishing solutions and content migrations for ECM platforms, Document mgmt solutions and Project office services for SharePoint Online. It also opened up the door to more mature offerings in platform operations and lifecycle management.

Those can seem like dry topics, but for most organisations looking to invest significantly in Microsoft 365 platform they are critically important -if you don't want feral Microsoft Teams deployment, or a viral explosion of unidentified SharePoint sites and poorly controlled other services provisioned and yet obscured by Microsoft's approach to user "Self-service".

Changes to Content Management options on SharePoint

The consolidation and shift in the CMS vendor markets meant even targeted players like Valo Solutions have taken the opportunity to sell-up. In their case the acquisition by Staffbase appears to have triggered a rapid implosion as Sb used the opportunity to buy a customer-base and get a closer look at Microsoft EEP strategy under the guise of an award-winning partner - but since Microsoft is their main cloud-service competitor in the EEP solution space it hasn't take too long for what was a vibrant provider and community to collapse. For Valo customers and partner-channel this has meant a mass exodus, or pending change.

For Spoke - we took the opportunity to apply our assessment framework to understand the options and then unfortunately say good-bye to the Valo option. As with all change there are an enormous number of opportunities with new partners, and capabilities arriving almost daily.

Interesting times

The changes cascading through the industries (plural) are broad-ranging and impactful, from:

  • Maturing of lifecycle management services and tools for 365, to

  • Consolidation of component and webpart vendors in market, and

  • Consolidation of intranet CMS providers for SharePoint gap-filling, or with

  • Continuous change and sometimes even improvement to available M365 services

...all making for "interesting times" (but not in the apocryphal sense :) ) - and that's without the maelstrom triggered by the wave of Generative AI and Machine Learning.

No, we are seeing ongoing consolidation and M&A which is driving exciting opportunities for organisations who are eager to see operational lifecycle and management as part of a service. Examples like the recent acquisition of ProvisionPoint by Kwiz (Capficiency), or with capital investment organisations like RapidCircle (global professional services group) and buying up local Professional Services organisations to drive consistency and gain market-presence.

What does this mean for Spoke's tools of choice?

As part of ongoing good practice we regularly look at not only the changes in the Microsoft platform services, and how these changes may now address ongoing problems - but we also look at the choice of tools, add-on componentry and solutions which extend or support client needs. To this end we've made moves to address imbalances and (in some cases) move to look at alternatives. Want to know what's making the grade for content migrations, workflow and information management or even how to achieve Employee Experience platform without a massive bill - we can help.

Want to know what we know? Give us a call!

If you want the best experience for your users, you need to know some of the tricks-of-the-trade and all the stuff Microsoft doesn't bother to tell you when trying to drive you to Viva apps and Microsoft Teams?

If you want to know the best way to adopt 365 and SharePoint Online email us:

About the author: Jonathan Stuckey

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