Wednesday, 6 August 2008

More discussion on Sharepoint Strengths and weaknesses

So it all started last night with some comments on Pie's posting ref the release of Documentum 6.5 - the comments / discussion included the new CentreStage (AKA the project codenamed Magellan) and moved onto where it all fits in with MS Sharepoint (MOSS 2007 to be accurate).

Then this morning, I noticed and followed a few links. The first was to an article by John Fontana on Network World entitled: "Microsoft Sharepoint Popularity comes with issues"

John has some lovely qoutes from Burton Group VP and Research Director Guy Creese:
"Recognize that a really good SharePoint installation is as much organization as it is technology, be clear what you are expecting from SharePoint -- it might be exactly what you need. But in some cases, SharePoint as shipped can leave huge holes." - Yay, what I have been saying here for some time, but of course it probably holds a lot more weight coming from Guy :-)

There is also a link to a nice table on the strengths and weaknesses of Sharepoint about two thirds of the way down the first page, but overall the artilce hooks into the discussion on what exactly Sharepoint is good at, and where it fits into an organisation, and my view on this if you have not read it before is simply that MOSS 2007 is a portal framework, with added bits (similar to Plumbtree/BEA/Oracle Aqualogic, or IBM WebSphere).

One of the links from a comment posted to the Network World story is to posting by Charlie Bess on the EDS blogs site, entitled: "Whats Sharepoint anyway?"

Charlie makes a good point about watching your use of language when discussing Sharepoint, because as we have dicsussed before, its more than one product ! But he finally comes down to the point that, like many of MS offerings, the bottom line is that Sharepoint is a tool kit, it may not do what you want out of the box, but spend enough time and money on it, and it will probably fulfill your requirements however complex.

Of course for many that is the issue, the 'jack of all trades and master of none' product is not great at everything in its basic 'out of the box' configuration, however once you have opened said box, it becomes a bit like Pandora's and MS have you hooked on Web Parts and .Net and other, dare I say it 'non-standards based' technologies. OK - don't flame me, I am sure .Net conforms to some standards and Web Parts are supposed to be WSRP etc etc, but you get the point, MS have you hooked into their technology stack (which may or may not be a bad thing, I am not addressing that point).

My bottom line and I have said it enough times before, Sharepoint is not a single product panacea for all problems, look at it, inspect it, see what it does, but make your decsion firmly based on wether or not it solves your busines requirements (be that out of the box, or with loads of development !) especially if your requirements are for a Portal server with add on document and records management, or limited web content management and some built in document centric collaboration tools.

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