Hi. My name is Shane Young. My wife Nicola and I were the owners of SharePoint911. SharePoint911 was what is sometimes referred to as a boutique consulting company. Because unlike most IT consulting companies we only did SharePoint. Now, we did do everything SharePoint; from simple break/fix support calls billed in 15 minute increments to mega SharePoint projects for some of the largest companies on the globe. We also did things like provide SharePoint training and write some of the technical content you see on places like Microsoft.com, other partner’s websites and in your local book store — 16 books in total. The good news about all of this is we will continue to offer all of those same services but now as part of Rackspace. The really good news? We are going to do so much more.
When people ask me why we joined Rackspace the “so much more” is the answer. SharePoint911 was started by me in a seven-foot by nine-foot bedroom in my house almost seven years ago. If I would have had any sense I would have started it in the garage (since everyone knows garage startups are always more successful). In spite of this mistake, SharePoint911 grew to be a bit more than a bedroom in my house. But it has always been limited by one thing: slow and steady growth. While slow and steady growth is great from a practical and responsible point of view, it can be a bummer. Over the past few years the team has come up with some outstanding ways to grow SharePoint. Whether they were ways to increase user adoption or ideas for another great SharePoint training class, we always had to evaluate each idea not only on how awesome the idea was but also whether or not we had the resources to pull it off. With SharePoint911 there was heavy weight on the resource evaluation portion. But that will all change with Rackspace. At Rackspace we still need to evaluate the idea with a magnifying glass but when it comes to the resources that is the easy part. That is the joy of being part of a $1 billion company: “so much more” can now be a reality.
As I gaze into my crystal ball and look to what the immediate future holds I see lots of fun things. I think the first will be around user adoption. From the analyst research I have seen this seems to be the biggest thing holding SharePoint back, so we plan to tackle it head on. How? Well, I cannot tell you that yet. Not because I don’t know but because that is my secret sauce.
Another fun plan we have is to do more of the community work that SharePoint911 has been so focused on over the past few years. More conferences, more books, more blog posts and more of those tweets. Heck, maybe I will even have time to start blogging again so I can update the SharePoint Farmer’s Almanac. Don’t worry though, even if I continue to slack, the team more than makes up for me with its steady flow of great content. And when you see us at the community events we should have more swag. Rackspace loves giving away t-shirts, so be sure to hit our booths and snag one.
Now don’t think that community work is new to Rackspace. The company has been a proud supporter of more SharePoint Saturdays than I can count, plus the occasional SharePoint user group. And Rackspace does them up right. (Speaking of user groups – and before the budget people read this — I need to tell Rackspace that it is sponsoring one where I am speaking this month.) Rackspace is always a paying sponsor; occasionally it has a presenter or two; and more often than not it is footing the bill for a SharePint. If you have never been to a SharePint you are missing out. They are basically a bunch of SharePoint people drinking in a bar. What could possibly be better?
In our services portfolio you will see more clearly defined offerings. For example, you will soon see our hosted SharePoint support package on the website. Here you will be able to kick start your hosted SharePoint project regardless of where it is hosted. Yes, that means if you are diving head first into Office 365 with Microsoft and you want someone to work with you on using SharePoint and planning your deployment, we are there for you.
So anyway that is enough of my blabbering. This was just my chance to say hello and to tell you how excited we are to be here at Rackspace. Now that we have introduced ourselves, you will be seeing more SharePoint content in the coming weeks. If you are a good guesser you can probably even guess what topics we will hit on first. If you ever want to chat you can find me on Twitter @ShanesCows or email me at shane.young at Rackspace.com. While that would be fun I am guessing you would find more interesting people to interact with by checking out The Team. They are cooler than I am, but since I have the fancy title now you got stuck with me writing this intro.