I find traveling and speaking at industry events a huge opportunity to engage with people and get a feel for what is really going on in the broader user community. And in my third trip to Brazil for the ECMShow I can report with confidence that a whole lot is going on here.
Just a few years back I discussed the global rise of Microsoft SharePoint to an audience in Rio, and to a person was told on that visit that SharePoint meant nothing in Brazil and likely never would. Today the story could not be more different. Brazil has SharePoint fever, and it's the number one, two, and three topic on everyones' lips. So the question I had to ask is, what the heck happened?
The answer is quite simple really, and instructive of where many local ECM-related markets are headed. In no conversations I had -- even with hardcore Microsoft channel partners -- was SharePoint's alleged superiority, lower price, innovative functionality, etc. cited as a reason for such rapid and enthusiastic adoption.
Rather it is the fact that Microsoft boasts a wide and deep services partner channel in Brazil, such that buyers can easily find local partners, consultants, and skilled workers to support the initial sale, installation, development, and ongoing support. All local, all in Portuguese. Again, this has nothing to do with SharePoint as a technology platform, but everything to do with a large and vibrant locally-based community. Finding the same for Open Text, Oracle, or IBM is like finding a needle in a haystack by comparison.
I have many thoughts on how this might pan out in the long run, and not all those thoughts are terribly positive for Redmond. But the success of SharePoint here is instructive. As we often counsel our advisory customers, local support and a cultural connection between your company and your suppliers can in some cases be more important than a perfect technical match.