Monday, 16 June 2008

More on Sharepoint - updated 23rd June

I am just waiting for an American Idol remake of the soul classic 'War' - lets all sing now "Sharepiont, good god, what is it good for, absolutely nothing, sing it again......."

Of course, thats patently not fair, and Microsofts Sharepoint technologies are good for many things ! However I thought today's posting by Shawn Shell over on CMS Watch was particularily interesting. Shawn is the principal author of CMS Watches 'The Sharepoint Report' - a damn good read by the way, and thoroughly recommended. Toby Ward and I have written an article on the report which is on the Prescient site here.

whats interesting about his post; "Is Sharepoint the end of (portal) history" is the fact that the whole post, which I am not going to repeat or paraphrase here, is focused on Sharepoint as a portal. Now my colleagues and I at Prescient Digital Media, are in the same place as Shawn, who is the owner of his own Sharepoint consultancy Consejo, and the rest of the CMS Watch team, when he says that every which way you turn, clients have already picked the platform. Now I am on the record here as saying that MS should never have dropped the 'P' word from the title to turn it into MOSS, and that actually a portal platform is what MOSS really is, with 'add on' WCM, document management and now lightweight records management too. But once a portal, always a portal...........

However I also agree with Shawn's diagnosis, that even if MS were to give it away (which it almost does depending on your enterprise license agreement), MOSS will never be free, because like all portal frameworks, it needs a lot of work to implement, to get it do exactly what you want it to.

In the end though I can't answer one question - why does the whole world seemed to have rolled over to have its belly tickled ? I expect vendors to fight againts MOSS in their specific target markets, but why aren't more enterprises IT departments looking to alternatives ??

If you have a perspective on this, please do comment.

Updated 23rd of June - please click on comments below to see insightful comments from Martin White and Janus Boye - "I am not worthy" Wayne and Garth might chant........


Martin White said...


What alternatives? Oracle have a nightmare situation over the BEA products against the Oracle products and without a decent roadmap no-one is going to commit to Oracle's cloudy vision. IBM WebSphere is a collation of various applications, the least developed of which is probably the WCMS as IBM again work out where to fit in FileNet. Sun, Liferay, JBoss etc are unlikely to find much traction in big corporates, so what's left is Microsoft.

Now I understand why you say that there should be a P word in the Microsoft product description, but then people would have the view that they were going to get all those pretty Java windows that look so cool and yet defy every rule of usability. The richer view of a portal as an application integration platform is often overlooked, and in any case the search vendors now see themselves as being applications integrators.

What worries me most about SharePoint is that there is not going to be enough joined-up thinking between the business and IT. The cost and build complexity of the mainstream portals is such that IT need the business to be backing them. Now IT think that it's just SharePoint 03 on steroids and as the cost is (in theory) so low they can just get on and build it. I know one major global company that is planning to move its intranet from BEA to MOSS07 and is leaving the base build to IT without inputting any core business requirements. They propose waking up in early 2009 to say thank-you to IT and then to begin to migrate the intranet. I see a lot of problems ahead, especially as the base-build is on the core rather than the Enterprise CALS (for understandable cost reasons) and I don't think that the business side understand what they are not going to get. Like search!



Intranet Focus Ltd

jboye said...

Why SharePoint?

I've also been quite surprised by the tremendous adoption by SharePoint, both for intranet (less surprising) as well as website usage (more surprising).

In reality what happens is that SharePoint rarely emerges as the winner in a normal tender process between competing products.

Many enterprise IT departments have already invested heavily in building Microsoft development skills and for them SharePoint is considered the logical and strategic choice.

In addition, SharePoint is already inside many organisations, and the IT departments will argue that there is no need to search for alternatives.

By moving SharePoint into Office, while keeping WSS at the Windows-layer, Microsoft is indeed trying to make it hard not to chooses SharePoint. This is a strategy that Microsoft has experience with and it works like a powerful sales machine at the moment.

Warm regards, Janus

(analyst on the recently released research on Best Practices for Using SharePoint for Public Websites)

J. Boye

Brad said...

The problem, if you want to call it that is simply put, Microsoft Hysteria. How many corporations could move the majority of their employees to Ubuntu Linux with the OpenOffice office suit with no problems? A lot. How many millions would that save, simply by selectively deploy windows office and Microsoft Office.

Take Sharepoint as an ECM system for instance. How could it ever compare to Documentum, particularly for global corporations.

Never mind the abundance of advanced features available, but just consider Branch Office capabilities. For a global corporation that alone should seal the deal. Network latency and limited bandwidth in global enterprises makes distributed content a NECESSITY. Do you think people think these things through?

What about the scalability of a ECM system that stores the content inside the database as blobs (Sharepoint) and a system that stores them outside (Documentum)? Can you image backup schedules for your databases or recovery? How about disaster recovery to another datacenter?

Bottom line, this issue alone shows how immature and poorly architected Sharepoint is.

I think most managers aren't able to make the technical decisions on these issues, and so they cling to a familiar name like a child clings to a teddy bear.

Sometimes if they'd just spend the little time and money to allow the grunts (with the technical knowledge) to make (or at least heavily influence) these decisions, lots of money could be saved.