Have you made that investment in SharePoint 2007 that you've been thinking about for the last year? Or do you already have it and just aren't sure what to do with it? Independent analyst CMS Watch has just released their latest report entitled: The SharePoint Report 2008: A Comprehensive Evaluation of SharePoint in the Enterprise.
Well known for their independent and objective evaluation of content management and associated technologies, CMS Watch provides us with a review of SharePoint that helps us understand where and how it best fits -- or doesn't -- into the enterprise and how if we aren't careful, SharePoint will become the next Lotus Notes.
The report begins by providing an overview of the SharePoint product, its different versions and the many partners and consulting integrators who work to help you implement it. This should give you a good basic understanding of what the product is all about.
From there, in addition to a detailed technical review of the core product the report evaluates SharePoint's customization and deployment requirements and capabilities. Guaranteed you will customize this product...so read this section carefully.
What's nice about this report is that evaluated on the key business scenarios Microsoft claims SharePoint supports. So you can easily see how SharePoint works in an enterprise and whether it is truly the best solution in a business scenario. The eight key scenarios include:
# Enterprise Content Management (ECM)
# Web Content Management (Web CMS)
# Business Intelligence
# Forms Processing
# Enterprise Search
# Application Development Platform
Finally, there's a section on Do's and Don'ts for both business and technical perspectives.
Probably one of the most interesting findings in the report is that SharePoint is fast becoming the next IBM Lotus Notes -- and not in a good way. For years people implemented Lotus Notes databases like crazy, seeing them as the best way to store and share information. Now you hear more about moving all the content and data into SharePoint. But what's the point if you are just going from one messy datastore into another?
"Like Notes in a previous decade, IT often embraces SharePoint as a simple answer to myriad business information problems. But the platform can morph into a technical and operational morass, as repositories proliferate, and IT comes to recognize that various custom applications require highly specialized expertise to keep running properly."
Other highlights include:
* Prior to SharePoint, collaboration services really weren't that available in content management systems. SharePoint's focus on basic file sharing has addressed the primary needs for most organizations.
* Many customers shared their frustrations on SharePoint's collaboration capabilities. So while they may have led the way, they were and still are lacking in many respects.
* Enterprise implementations beware: "Whether it's the lack of a workflow-based provisioning process, or enterprise-level administration, or the ability to effectively categorize large numbers of documents or PowerPoint slides, SharePoint remains ill-suited to enterprise-wide collaboration and knowledge management," notes CMS Watch analyst, Alan Pelz-Sharpe.
So is this report negative on SharePoint? CMS Watch has been known to say a number of not so positive things about the platform. However, most of their research is based on customer reviews, so it's difficult to accuse them of being anti-SharePoint.
The reality is that it's a popular platform and is getting more popular every day. But organizations really need to think carefully about how to implement it, just like any other CMS or technology. What Microsoft makes look easy -- can quickly become a nightmare in the making.
The 190-page report is available in two versions the CMSWatch website. A team license will run you US$ 1450 for use by up to 12 users. Money well spent we'd say.