Gilbane recently produced a research paper entitled: Information Workplace Platforms: Oracle vs SharePoint which has some interesting findings on which of these two ECM platforms is the best choice for an organizations information lifecycle.
The report findings are based on research on a number of companies who reviewed both platforms for their Information Management needs and what their final decisions turned out to be. The report, authored by Tony White, Lead Analyst, Web Content Management at the Gilbane Group isn't a long read, but takes us into the world of information workplace platforms and the pain points they address.
Defining Information Workplaces
This paper is more about educating us on what Information Workplace Platforms are and why they are needed then about the actual technical solution that Oracle or SharePoint plays. Which is a little disappointing because the title would lead one to expect something totally different.
As for a definition then, the paper defines an Information Workplace Platform to include: federated search, portal, content management, records management, document management, rights management, retention management, imaging, Web 2.0, e-discovery, and workflow.
Choosing Between Oracle UCM and SharePoint
The research covers three specific customer examples where both Oracle and SharePoint were considered as Information Workplace Solutions. In most cases, Oracle was selected as the solution of choice. Of course, that solution didn't just include Oracle UCM -- it also included the Oracle Fusion Middleware of which UCM is only a part. Does that make it a fair comparison to SharePoint? Not sure.
One point that was discussed was the lack of SharePoint federated search. This is something that has since been resolved with SharePoint. Microsoft also received their U.S. Department of Defense 5015.2 Certification in May of last year, so the report is a little out of date in some respects.
CMSWire asked Tony Byrne of CMS Watch what his take was on Oracle UCM vs SharePoint. "The contrast between the two is a bit more nuanced than departmental vs. enterprise and collaboration vs. ILM. Generally speaking, yes, SharePoint is better suited to the former and Oracle the latter, but the story gets murkier when you dig into the details of each product."
And it's the details that we lack in this report.
Alan Pelze-Sharpe of CMS Watch agrees saying, "the thing is to see UCM as part of the Fusion platform, in that context it is a true ECM linking into BPM and a whole array of web services (identity management etc) and importantly supports ILM thoroughly."
If that is the case, then should we not also include BizTalk Server -- Microsoft's middleware solution -- and other MS solutions in the context of a decision on which platform is the better choice.
Aside from that, Microsoft has acknowledged it needs to do some work with SharePoint and associated solutions to provide true ILM.
The report concludes with Gilbane's own views on which platform is the better solution and it's obvious they are very pro Oracle -- both UCM and Fusion Middleware combined. They do acknowledge that both solutions have their strengths and weaknesses and that they have based their conclusions on the platforms value for ILM.
That being said, SharePoint should not be considered only a "point-solution" for collaboration and basic team workspaces based on this research alone. In the right context it can be the right solution for the right organization. It's all in the requirements and a full review of the platform's capabilities -- maybe even -- shock -- piloting or prototyping.
We tried to find a link on the Gilbane website to this report so you could review it and decide it's value for yourself, but it's lost somewhere in the vastness of their Research Reports. It does exist though, read it twice!
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