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Social Software Vendors Embrace SharePoint

Companies like Vancouver’s ThoughtFarmer adapting offerings to exploit SharePoint’s weaknesses

(VANCOUVER, Canada, November 23, 2010) With over 130 million users, Microsoft’s SharePoint dominates the collaboration space. But are companies really taking advantage of its large list of features?

“For most organizations, SharePoint is a glorified file server,” says Chris McGrath, co-creator of ThoughtFarmer social intranet software. “For SharePoint to really promote community and collaboration, you must customize it — and that typically costs 6 to 7 times the license fee.” Research backs this up – a survey of over 1000 medium to large sized firms carried out by AIIM and Information Architected showed that the number one use of SharePoint is as a file server.

That’s where companies like ThoughtFarmer enter the picture. Their SharePoint Intranet Connector, part of their new 4.0 release, lets their intranet clients access all the document management features of SharePoint through a friendly, social interface. By integrating with the free SharePoint 2010 Foundation version, customers can avoid high SharePoint licensing costs, while still gaining access to its functionality.  Of course, customers can also integrate with the Standard or Enterprise versions of SharePoint.

ThoughtFarmer isn’t alone in this approach. Palo Alto-based SocialText and Portland-based Jive Software have offered a SharePoint Connector for years. NewsGator, rather than offering a SharePoint connector, makes a social software solution that is completely reliant on SharePoint as the foundation.

Highlights / Key facts

  • SharePoint has over 130 million users and achieved revenue of $1.3 billion in Microsoft’s last fiscal year (source)
  • Implementing SharePoint costs 6 to 7 times the licensing fee according to Real Story Group research
  • SharePoint remains “clunky, it’s more like FrankenSuite” (Sam Lawrence, formerly of Jive Software, quoted in USA Today, March 2008)
  • Almost half the vendors in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Workplace Social Software offer specific SharePoint integration


“[SharePoint] is more like a toolbox than a complete, out-of-the-box final solution. There’s always been a lot of customization and integration and implementation with SharePoint, since the very early releases.” – Janus Boye, Independent Analyst, quoted on

“Companies are struggling with SharePoint and users are frustrated. There’s a huge opportunity for vendors like us to provide great social features in a simple, usable interface while leveraging the best part of SharePoint: its document management and Office integration features.” — Darren Gibbons, ThoughtFarmer President & Co-Creator


SharePoint Intranet Connector explanation by Chris McGrath, ThoughtFarmer Co-Creator:


SharePoint Intranet Connector screenshots on Flickr

Logos and Company Photos on Flickr


About ThoughtFarmer

ThoughtFarmer, a product of Vancouver-based OpenRoad, is the only out-of-the-box social intranet solution built entirely on the Microsoft platform. It emphasizes easy wiki-type authoring, people-centric content and automatically generated navigation. ThoughtFarmer is now available with a powerful SharePoint Intranet Connector. Clients include eHarmony, Fokker, Guardian News & Media, Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC), Penn State University, Steelcase, USDA and USGS.

Media inquiries


Chris McGrath
VP Sales & Marketing


+1.604.566.8300 x301
Twitter: @thoughtfarmer