It seems like everyone is studying the use of SharePoint in organizations today. Do you use it? How do you use it? What do like about it? What don't you like? Most of the studies tend to come to the same conclusions.

A study by AIIM and Information Architected also reveals many of the same common themes on the use of SharePoint. It's widely implemented, but not used to its fullest extent.

The Latest Study on SharePoint

This latest study was performed by Information Architected on behalf of AIIM and Oracle. It included a survey that was sent out to 2000 AIIM members in November of 2008. Of the surveys sent out, 616 responses were returned. Of those, only 353 were used for this report based on a focus of medium to large sized enterprises.

Now although that is not a high number of responses to evaluate, the process makes sense and is described at the end of the report, which is free to download.

Key Takeaways From the Report

There really weren't a lot of surprises in this report. It is a similar story compared to other SharePoint studies we've read and covered. Some key takeaways include:

  • 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

Customization of SharePoint

Another area of interest is the required effort to customize SharePoint and integration other third-party solutions. In this case, 50% of survey respondents indicated custom solutions required more effort than expected (33% “somewhat more” and 17% “much more”).

The integration challenges focused on a lack of training/documentation and integration with non-Microsoft based repositories and existing applications.

The Cost of Using SharePoint

Reading all these different reports may have paid off for many organizations who have chosen to use SharePoint. According to this research, most were not surprised at the cost to implement SharePoint, nor were they surprised by the licensing costs.

This may also mean that Microsoft has become much better at explaining the licensing model.

The Path Ahead for SharePoint

This report doesn't provide real insight into the path ahead for SharePoint -- not that it should. If the reality is that SharePoint is only being used for a small percentage of its functionality, then there is much work that needs to be done by Microsoft and the SharePoint community at large to make organizations aware of its full potential.

If Microsoft can sell over a million copies, only to have most use it as a document repository with some collaboration, think how many they could sell if organizations saw its value as a true "platform".

Many vendors of third-party enterprise content management and social media solutions already see this as they continually offer integrated solutions to SharePoint. Yet the continual misuse and incorrect implementations that are regularly reported seem to shy enterprises away from using SharePoint as a more critical component of their technology strategy.

Perhaps its time we see more positive use case studies on SharePoint. Perhaps its time to balance the story. Perhaps. Of course, this assumes the positive case studies are out there.