So MOSS has been attacked for its web content management, lack of social networking features, its blogging and wiki functionality, and its fitness as a public facing Web CMS ...hmmm not much else they can go after is there?
Oh yeah...be careful using it as an application development platform -- it could wreak havoc in your organization.The report is called Now Is The Time To Determine SharePoint's Place In Your Application Development Strategy and it comes to us fresh from the analysts at Forrester. They interviewed 13 user and vendor companies and arrived at the conclusion that one must be rather careful when deciding to use MOSS as your application development platform. In fact, maybe this is something to be avoided.
The Problem with SharePoint
In the report, Forrester identifies several areas of concern including: lack of application lifecycle management tools, backup and restoration tools and enterprise data integration. In addition, the report states that SharePoint is a closed environment based solely on the Microsoft server stack not allowing for other databases or non-Microsoft products to be added. Add to that the lack of highly skilled SharePoint developers and there may be cause for concern.
Not everyone agrees, particularly those third-party consultants and vendors who work to integrate or develop SharePoint solutions. In an interview with ChannelWeb, Ken Winell, CEO of Expertcollab, a SharePoint-focused solution provider said, "[SharePoint] has one of the most open frameworks for third party tools and applications that Microsoft has ever delivered. Just take a look at some of the tools from K2.NET, CorasWorks, Knowledgelake, Tsunami. These ISVs are making serious enhancements to the SharePoint platform while maintaining their own identity."
In Defense of Microsoft
Forrester doesn't spend the entire report beating Microsoft over the head for SharePoint however. They acknowledge that even Microsoft couldn't have predicted how fast and far the MOSS madness would go. And they are working on filling some of the gaps their product has, like the application lifecycle management issue.
Microsoft is indeed a big supporter of partnering to help better their SharePoint platform. We see this in a major way with the social media capabilities. There are also a few providers of SharePoint Administration functionality that even SharePoint doesn't have out of the box.
Three Solutions to Follow
In their report, Forrester suggests their Your Three Strategy Options For SharePoint. We got a line on these strategies from a post on PC World:
* Strategy 1: Use SharePoint as an "application for collaboration and sharing information and not as a development platform at all." This is probably where a number of organizations sit today.
* Strategy 2: Use SharePoint as "an application and an intranet platform for which the company fills in product gaps." A bit more challenging an approach that requires the organization to purchase additional third party products or develop custom solutions.
* Strategy 3: Use SharePoint as "both an application and an enterprise portal at the core of a company's application-development strategy." The most challenging approach and one that requires the IT division to truly get on board with.
MOSS is certainly getting its share of licks these days. Every analyst is evaluating it and coming back with issues and concerns. Most are saying similar things, like SharePoint today is similar to Lotus Notes of yesterday. It's not just the analysts that have negative things to say about the platform. Just create a Google Alert for SharePoint blogs and hear what the developers and IT guys and gals are grumbling about.
But for every person who puts it down, there is one touting its merits. SharePoint is still relatively new and we have so much to learn about it that, yes, we should be careful when developing on it and with how we implement it. The thing is, you could say that about just about every other CMS product out there. You just don't hear the grumbling as loud.