While recent research by AIIM indicates that at least 70% of organizations have deployed SharePoint in some shape or form over the past year, the way it is being used and the reasons it is being deployed in the first instance, are as many as there are enterprises using it.

However, according to the latest in AIIM’s Industry Watch series report, entitled The SharePoint Puzzle - adding the missing pieces (free after registration), the fact that so many enterprises have a SharePoint presence should not fool people into thinking that it is taking over.

Yes, it is present in the majority of companies, but the survey of 551 individual members of the AIIM community that produced 488 responses, shows that many enterprises are also using third-party products to bolster perceived functionality weaknesses in all SharePoint editions, including SharePoint 2010.

SharePoint offers enterprises the promise of collaboration, team and project management, enterprise content management (ECM), intranets and portals, records management, and more -- all straight out-of-the-box.

But the research has also uncovered dissatisfaction with SharePoint. Some companies say that the functionality just doesn’t go far enough; some even say it was a bad decision. In fairness, though, there will be detractors around any software product, and SharePoint is no different.

In this research AIIM has set out to discover the reality of SharePoint use across the enterprise. It examined user expectations before deployment and after deployment and what parts of what enterprises are using what functionality. More importantly it also set itself the task of identifying gaps in SharePoint.

Enterprise SharePoint Deployments

Some extremely interesting figures emerged. The research, which was carried out over May and June this year, showed that 28% have it in use across their whole workforce, while 70% have at least half their staff using it at least once a week.

Nearly half (44%) are using some other form of enterprise content management system, or document management system, along with SharePoint, while content migration and information governance capabilities are cited as demonstrating the greatest shortfalls in expectations.

In terms of functionality, records management, workflow, social tools and email integration are considered lacking in capability. The result is that 55% of respondents feel that it was the right decision to choose SharePoint. Nine percent say it was a poor decision, and 22% feel they have only achieved a basic deployment.

Over half of those that have deployed it are using, or are planning to use 3rd party products to enhance functionality, with only one third stating that they will stay with the out-of-the box product

AIIM_SharePoint usage.jpg
AIIM: SharePoint usage

SharePoint Editions

No matter what detractors say, though, there are still a large number of organizations that have been seduced by its functionality out-of-the-box. As of this year almost half (43%) are now using SharePoint 2010, including 14% that are using it for the first time.

This is double the number from the AIIM SharePoint Industry Watch in 2011 and in keeping with the predictions of that report, which also said a large number would upgrade from 2007 to 2010.

Sure enough 20% of companies are in the process of upgrading from 2007 to 2010, but this probably has more to do with the fact that as of October coming, Microsoft will no longer support SharePoint 2007.

That said a quarter of those using earlier versions -- in some cases SP 2003 -- said they won’t be upgrading, while a telling 1% no longer use SharePoint for anything.

SharePoint Deployment v Use

However, there is a major distinction that needs to be made here. While the deployment figures suggest that it is starting to dominate in the enterprise CMS world, they do not suggest that it is being used exclusively.

In other words, while some enterprises are using it, they are not using it on its own, with 70% not using it as their primary ECM system.