Microsoft Australia will formally launch a proof of concept server for the latest version of SharePoint at its partner conference next week as part of an effort to boost sales for the intranet and collaboration system.
The company is set to unveil the Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS) test offering at the conference, which takes place on Hamilton Island from 29 August.
The concept server, which has been built by and will be managed by Brisbane-based hosting company Emantra, will allow Microsoft's local partners to experiment with MOSS in order to build their expertise in creating services for it, either as hosted components or for in-house applications.
Its launch follows a series of one-day training sessions for the product offered to Microsoft partners in May.
Emantra managing director Ross Dewar said that interest in SharePoint was growing rapidly amongst corporate and government departments, which in turn was driving up the salaries of technologists with expertise in the area.
Casual rates for SharePoint developers were now topping AU$100 an hour, he noted.
"Bespoke SharePoint development is becoming a real business of its own," Dewar said.
MOSS was released last November at the same time as the business versions of Vista and Office 2007. While those products have struggled to gain major traction amongst enterprises, Microsoft is seeing increased revenues from SharePoint.
In 2007, revenues from SharePoint grew 35 percent to US$800 million, according to the company's most recent results.
Last week, Microsoft announced the beta version of a Manageability Toolkit for MOSS, designed to simplify the management tasks associated with the product.