AIIM has a new SharePoint research report out that looks at SharePoint from an Enterprise Content Management perspective. Are the results really all that surprising? And do we expect that SharePoint 2010 is going to change things?

A Check in With Last Year's Report

Although not completed directly by AIIM, Information Architected did do a SharePoint study on behalf of the organization which involved some about 600 of its members. The study was done in November of 2008 and published in March of 2009. Here's a glance at some of the key findings:

  • 83% currently use, or are planning to use, SharePoint
  • SharePoint is more widely deployed at the workgroup or department level
  • 75% said implementation of SharePoint took one year or less, which would make sense considering
  • 47% use it primarily for File Sharing (and/or as an internal Portal - again 47%)
  •  Few use it for complex business processes, records management or digital asset management
  • It is seen as a component of a larger Enterprise Content Management strategy
  • 47% said they would use it as an Extranet/Internet solution (whereas 22% do already) - this was one a little surprising

You can read our review of that report here.

So that's where we were with SharePoint a little over a year ago. What, if anything, has changed?

SharePoint Usage Today

Although we aren't saying this is an apples to apples comparison of reports, some of the findings in this latest AIIM study -- which involved approximately 600 of its members -- does tell us a few things. Here are some of the key findings of the Industry Watch - SharePoint strategies and experience.

  • 74% are using, or planning to use, SharePoint (47% MOSS, 7% WSS, 14% have a MOSS implementation in process, 6% in next 12 months).
  • Interesting that 8% of respondents use SharePoint 2003
  • 45% use it for collaboration between partners, 18% for customer interaction
  • Collaboration is the most popular use (especially Team Sites), then document management followed by file share replacement
  • 60% use SharePoint out-of-the-box, 39% customize it and 28% use 3rd party integrated applications
  • Of the 3rd party apps, the most popular today are Workflow/BPM, Security and Rights Management and Search/Analytics. Enterprise 2.0 is 7th, but there are already a high number of implementations in place
  • 1/3 said it took longer than expected to implement, but few indicated cost overruns (23% said it was technically more difficult than they expected)
  • SharePoint is still primarily an IT-owned solution or departmental (23%)

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SharePoint's Role in ECM

In this study, many see SharePoint as their first significant implementation of Enterprise Content Management although 2/3 already have some existing ECM, Document Management or Records Management Solution in place.

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Most of the shortcomings of SharePoint 2007 indicated in the report aren't surprising: poor records management, archiving and compliance, business process management. 31% haven't really defined how SharePoint will fit in their current ECM environment. 

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SharePoint Planning

Not surprisingly, most organizations still aren't doing much in the area of planning or governance for their SharePoint implementations, although most of the comments listed at the end of the report say how important these things really are.

Most of the policies in place related to governance cover roles, admin rights and access, who can set up team sites, etc.. These types of policies are traditionally related to IT. Governance policies related to retention, use of email/attachments, archiving and legal discovery are low on the list, clearly showing the lack of business input into governance.

In terms of compliance, 43% have yet to bring SharePoint into existing retention and archiving policies. These are not things that should be ignored considering the amount of data that resides in many of these SharePoint environments.

It's also interesting that 50% had no business case (and only 23% had to provide financial justification). The basic improvements that were suggested were typically better collaboration and knowledge sharing.

Moving to SharePoint 2010

Despite what some analyst are recommending, many organizations in the report are already in the process of a SharePoint 2010 implementation (13% planning a "near immediate upgrade and half upgrading within a year").

It appears, based on the uses/planned uses of SharePoint, that this is because Microsoft has improved a number of areas in SP2010 that were lacking in 2007: records management, business intelligence and business process management being a few of these.

Still with 19% of users still not having a strategy on how SharePoint will fit into the overall environment, a number of these planned implementations are still not going to be successful.

SharePoint 2007 will be in use for a while to come, and SharePoint 2010 will likely see even more uptake by organizations for a number of reasons. The problems related to SharePoint, whether it's 2007 or 2010, are not going to change. Not because of the platform itself, but because the strategy, planning and governance that are required to implement it are still not being taken seriously.

What will we see in surveys run next year? The way it looks now, nothing that different than this year or the year before. 

Get your copy of the SharePoint report from AIIM here.