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- August 8, 2014
- by David Lohnes
- BPA, SharePoint 2013, Web Parts,
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For almost two years, Fusion has partnered with BPA Solutions as a way of bringing high-quality SharePoint-based solutions to our customers. When we began using their solutions, everything they had was in SharePoint 2010. Then at the end of last year they released the 2013 version of their platform, and at beginning of this year we began the process of rolling it into production with our customers. Now about eight months in, it’s time for an overview and review from our perspective as a BPA partner.
At the most basic level, BPA Solutions builds web parts for SharePoint. But unlike traditional web part providers such as Bamboo and Amrein, BPA is not interested in selling web parts. They have a bigger vision.
BPA wants to provide whole applications.
The BPA Solutions Suite is composed of premade SharePoint site templates that are built out of their proprietary web parts and designed to serve as a business’s web application for a specific business process like CRM or Project Management. BPA doesn’t sell BPA web parts. BPA sells whole applications like BPA CRM, BPA Project, and BPA Recruiting. As a result, BPA’s target market isn’t SharePoint integrators looking for tools with which to build sites. Their target market is businesses looking for business applications. They’re not competing with web part providers like Bamboo, but with web application providers like Salesforce, especially since BPA hosts their own applications in the cloud just like your Salesforces and Zohos do.
Oddly enough, however, BPA’s whole-application focus has made them a fantastic partner for a SharePoint integrator like Fusion. See, the thing is, BPA’s web parts are really good. In later posts we’ll be looking at several of them in detail, but the bottom line is that BPA web parts make the SharePoint user interface much more fluid and interactive. Connections between items flow seamlessly, and it becomes easy for a user to click through from item to related item to related item (from account, to job, to invoice for example) without navigating separate lists and libraries. And because BPA is focused on the whole solution and not just the individual web parts, the web parts are designed to function together as a whole–as a platform.
Buying one BPA web part would make no sense. Separated from the whole BPA experience each one would bring much less value. But when you have all the web parts–the whole ecosystem–you have a powerful extension to SharePoint that (while it comes premade as CRM or whatever) can very quickly be turned by an integrator like Fusion into any kind of application a client wants, whether ITIL management, or a Meeting Space, or some other custom business process.
Fusion does and is happy to sell BPA applications as is, but the real fun is getting to extend their technology in new an interesting ways to help clients do business better.
In the remaining posts in this series, we’ll take a deeper look at several key web parts in the BPA stack and what Fusion has been able to do with them to meet clients’ business needs.