Jill, you joined Bamboo earlier this year to run the then-fledgling Bamboo Partner Advantage Program. How is the Program going? How big is the Partner network today?
When I joined the company in March, the Partner Advantage Program had been launched nearly six months earlier, and had approximately 20 Partners enrolled. Recently, we celebrated our one year anniversary and our 100th Partner. Today we are at 118 Partners and growing. I attribute the success of the program to our ability to remain agile and easy to do business with during the expeditious growth of SharePoint deployments worldwide.
You spent time visiting some of our international partners this summer. How was your trip? What's different about the SharePoint community in Europe as compared to the U.S.?
I am fortunate to support a global program, which means supporting many partners outside my home country of the U.S.A. I had the opportunity to travel to Europe this summer and met with 21 Partners in 6 countries within 11 days. It was an awesome experience. I was fortunate to have Martin Gustafson, our EU Business Development Manager, as my tour guide. He is very knowledgeable and well travelled, and we were able to make the most of our time together. Who needs GPS when there is Martin?! I observed a thriving SharePoint community, with a particular thirst for knowledge around best practices for SharePoint. Many organizations are just getting their feet wet. My personal opinion is that EU is about one year behind the US in the adoption of SharePoint in the enterprise. We look forward to driving greater adoption and demand, generating opportunities with our Partners in Europe.
You led the effort to release the Bamboo Partner Essentials Suite, a selection of key Bamboo products exclusively available as a suite to Bamboo Partners. What's special about this product suite?
As I mentioned to the members of our Partner Advantage Program in a recent Partner News Update, the results of a recent survey indicated loud and clear the request for an exclusive software bundle only available to Partners, and containing the key components necessary to rapidly assemble and configure a SharePoint solution. Our engineering team quickly put together the Bamboo Partner Essentials Suite, which includes our most strategically "essential" Web Parts. These products include Alert Plus, Calendar Plus, Chart Plus, List Rollup, Custom Column Pack, Project Portfolio Dashboard, SharePoint Navigators and MashPoint. In my opinion, the Bamboo Partner Essential Suite raises the bar on the standard out-of-the-box SharePoint deployment, and has become a key competitive advantage for many of our Partners. The savings are enormous compared to purchasing the individual components, and the Suite includes SharePoint Navigators and the Project Portfolio Dashboard, two key components which are not available for individual purchase.
Also new to Bamboo this year is Bamboo Nation, our online SharePoint community. How can Bamboo Nation be a resource to the Bamboo Partner Network?
Bamboo Nation is a huge asset to the Bamboo Partner Advantage Program. This site is the knowledge base around our products and increasingly around SharePoint technology as a whole. By providing free advertising, guest blogging opportunities, and even the opportunity to host a forum or feature area on their particular SharePoint topic of expertise, Bamboo Nation affords our partners additional visibility within the SharePoint community. The participation has been phenomenal and I continue to hear positive feedback on the high-quality content and first class management of this community site.
Bamboo Nation readers know Dawn Mumm from your team for her regular announcements of new partners. When she's not blogging new partners, what is Dawn's role on your team?
Dawn is our Global Program Administrator. She is the one that processes the enrollments, releases NFR license keys for demonstration purposes, makes sure orders are properly credited to the correct Partner ID Codes, makes sure our partners' My Bamboo accounts are set up -- everything administrative in support of the Program. And she does a fabulous job. I know the program would not be where it is today without her attention to detail!
One of our European-based staff members, Magnus Granqvist, joined your team in October. Do his efforts mirror yours and Dawn's here in the US?
What a great addition to the Partner team. Magnus joined us from the Support team, and is currently doing double-duty as he continues to support our European Partners as well. His technical knowledge of the products is a great addition to the Partner readiness activities needed to support the Program. He has been instrumental in getting many Partners up to speed on the capabilities of our products, and I know he's looking forward to leading this initiative full-time.
The contributions of Magnus Granqvist, along with Martin Gustafson, actually more closely mirror the efforts of our U.S.-based team members, Mike Kelleher and Nando Carbonel. They're our tag teams for Partner readiness and business development.
You'll be among the Bamboo staff at the Best Practices SharePoint Conference in February. What's your favorite aspect of attending SharePoint shows?
Besides the opportunity to escape the cold winter of Missouri in early February, I am looking forward to attending the Best Practices SharePoint Conference as an opportunity to spend time with Bamboo Partners. This conference was a huge success when it was first held in D.C. earlier this year. I had the opportunity to stop by during the cocktail party, and my time to meet with the many Partners I ran into was very limited. I am confident even more of our Partners will be attending the second offering in February, and I will be much more proactive in scheduling meetings ahead of time. I am typically the first to sign up for the SharePoint shows that Bamboo participates in. Not only do I value the time to meet with many of our Partners in a 1:many setting, but it also allows me the opportunity to evangelize the great things our Partners are doing to prospective customers in attendance. I continue to meet many potential customers when they're in the evaluation stage, and the referral to a first class, highly experienced Bamboo Partner is a welcome introduction to many of them!
[Editor's note: This Q&A is one part of a multi-part series presenting Bamboo's 2008 year in review. It all kicks off with a candid blog from CEO, Mike Tanner, who presents An Optimistic View for 2009 and Beyond, and continues in the form of conversations with the following Bamboo department heads:
Dec 12 2008, 02:14 PM
John Anderson joined Bamboo Solutions as Manager of Content & Syndication in May of 2008 after a 12-year career at AOL. New to SharePoint at the time of his hiring, John was tasked with creating a new blog for the just-launched Bamboo Nation community in which he would document his daily SharePoint learning process. Thus was born the end user-centric SharePoint Blank, for which John authored 200 posts within a year, and which he continues to write today (albeit much more sporadically). Currently serving as Managing Editor, John sets the tone for Bamboo Nation as its lead blogger, and oversees content across Bamboo properties.