Throw an intellectual heavy weight like Dave Snowden into that mix, and he'll happily challenge some of the audience's dearly held beliefs.
"The future is distributed. I don't believe, in five year's time, there'll be significant presence at any conference to do with intranets."
"The intranet is going to die. We're moving to fully distributed systems. The sooner you start shifting the better."
Snowden thinks, apps are much better at playing this new field of distributed information and knowledge management.
Sharepoint is dying
Microsoft appears to have arrived at the same conclusion as Snowden.
"Office 365 is a collection of small applications, maybe loosely tied together. Or completely siloed."
And this app based system is what replaces SharePoint, up to now the dominant software package for building intranets.
"The next version of SharePoint is Office 365, and it is already here. SharePoint 2015 will just be a fancy service package."
Perttu Tolvanen, an analyst at North Patrol, makes the point that Microsoft's big money maker is Office, and the whole company strategy is aimed at protecting that asset. SharePoint used to support Office, but now that Office has moved to the cloud in the form of Office 365, on-premise SharePoint is no longer needed.
"For Microsoft, it's a supporting business for Office. That's why Microsoft has decided to let go of this business. SharePoint 2013 is a dying system. ... All the product development focus of Microsoft is in Office 365."
Other analysts at the conference confirmed this conclusion. It's a public secret anyway.
Let me put that into context. On an intranet conference, you meet someone with the job title "digital workplace application analyst" - that's a SharePoint application manager if you talk to them. Or you encounter a "technology independent intranet consultant" - you'll find out that their bread and butter is as a SharePoint project manager. It's as if SharePoint and intranet were close synonyms.
SharePoint is a swiss army knife system strong enough that IBM and Oracle had given up on the intranet and document management market.
And now the 800-pound gorilla dominating the industry just -poof- disappears!
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