ThreeWill and Microsoft

ThreeWill has been a Microsoft Partner pretty much since we opened our doors in 2001. They have been a great company to work with and there have been a couple of key people that have made a big difference in the success of ThreeWill. This month we want to highlight one of those people – Owen Allen (LinkedIn, Twitter).

Our Introduction to Owen

For those of you who don’t know Owen, he used to be in charge of the SharePoint ISV ecosystem for Microsoft (his official title was Sr. Product Manager – SharePoint ISV Partners at Microsoft). And, yes, it is “used to” because he left Microsoft last year to start his own company (more about that later). We first started working with Owen when we were finishing up the initial version of the SharePoint Connector for Confluence. Although Owen wasn’t the one to introduce and recommend us to Atlassian (thanks to Lawrence Liu and Deb Bannon for that), he was the one that showed us the support we needed to grow and go after SharePoint Product Development opportunities.

Working Together

As many of our readers know, we have been fortunate to work with some pretty fantastic companies through the years, one of the biggest highlights has been Jive Software (another account referred to us by Microsoft). During the design of Jive for SharePoint, Owen met with us a couple of times and provided great input on the integration. He was able to provide crucial guidance about which platform aspects were safe to incorporate on and which were safe for us to extend. It was helpful to get his insight on the integration and have him provide a sanity check. He’s worked with so many varied companies to provide strategic guidance on SharePoint that having his input has been invaluable.

Connect, Extent, Build On

Tommy and I attended the SharePoint Conference in 2008 where Owen had a presentation on building products and the SharePoint Ecosystem. One of the key concepts, Connect, Extend, Build On – stuck with us. This probably happened because we could classify almost all of the work that we were doing with SharePoint into these buckets. It made a lot of sense to us. In the weeks following the session and after a few conversations with Owen, it was apparent that we both were thinking of writing a white paper on the topic. Here’s the result of that collaboration – Benefits of SharePoint 2010 as a Product Platform White Paper. To this day, we have 3-4 people download the white paper each day.

Starting SharePoint Directions

Owen has quite a following in SharePoint circles and he is highly regarded as the go-to expert on the SharePoint ISV ecosystem. So, as he parted ways with Microsoft last year he had many options to choose from for his next move. Fortunate for us, he decided to start his own company, SharePoint Directions. This has allowed us to work together with ISV’s and product companies. Owen is a master at the strategic (and tactical, if needed) moves required for product management decisions to be made. And ThreeWill loves to work with people like Owen — his skills complement our implementation skills and our passion to ship new product features and successful field deployments.

Thanks Owen!

Owen is a ThreeWill Hero – he understands what we do and where we are going better than anyone else…like a number of the other ThreeWill Heroes, he has been a strong advocate for us through the years. Everyone at ThreeWill wishes him continued success with SharePoint Directions. I have no doubt he will – please take a minute to learn more about his services at his website.

More About Microsoft

There are a lot of people that we could recognize at Microsoft as a ThreeWill Hero. Anyone from our current Partner Account Manager, Jason Jones, to our good friends Rob Bohm and Emilio Matt (we love you guys 😉 ). We’re grateful for the years of commitment from people at Microsoft. We feel lucky and grateful to have the chance to ride the SharePoint wave that has been building for years.

A Word From Owen

Owen had the following to say about being recognized as a ThreeWill Hero…

It has been a pleasure to work with ThreeWill, and I’ve always been happy to represent them as a development company with integrity when other software companies ask about them. ThreeWill understands that helping software companies build a SharePoint-compatible product that can be shipped is different than helping a SharePoint customer with an implementation. It requires a slightly different approach to the project. The focus has to be on the long term sustainability of the product and has to take into account the culture of the client with much more depth. ThreeWill gets this, and works hard to work well with software companies. I look forward to seeing their list of clients with SharePoint integrations continue to grow!

Thanks again for being a ThreeWill Hero Owen!

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