Almost as soon as SharePoint 2010 went commercial last May, companies wanted to know how deep SharePoint’s market penetration was. Process and case management vendor Global 360 (news, site) has just published research in this regard, showing that deployment across the survey segment has jumped from 8% in September 2010 to 44%.

SharePoint 2010 deployments, therefore, are now equal to SharePoint 2007 deployments, which now stand at 43%.

The survey is the second installment in a series of ongoing surveys to see how SharePoint 2010 is performing. The first was carried out in September last year and analyzed deployments of 886 participant enterprises.

SharePoint 2010 Results and Challenges

This report, which was published in time for the two-day SharePoint Technology Conference in San Francisco that finished yesterday, is the result of 830 responses from users familiar with SharePoint across all enterprises roles. It aimed to:

  • Find how deep SharePoint 2010 has penetrated the market
  • If and how companies are deriving value from its deployments
  • SharePoint challenges

Needless to say, this kind of information is invaluable to companies that are either looking to deploy SharePoint or companies that are building their business by developing SharePoint "extras."

From that point of view, they will be encouraged that 44% of respondents say SharePoint is now present in their enterprise and that 57% of those have deployed it across the entire enterprises or regions, indicating a high level of business user acceptance generally.

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SharePoint 2007 deployments v SharePoint 2010 deployments

However, the 26-page report also throws up some interesting challenges that are worth considering here.

1. Deriving SharePoint Value

The report shows that, while many companies initially deploy SharePoint as a portal technology or as a simple content repository, it is increasingly being used as an enterprise application.

Over half of organizations are now using it to manage document workflows (68%) and business processes (58%) with 33% of enterprises indicating that more than half of their mission-critical documents are being stored there. This indicates a drive by businesses to get more value from SharePoint by linking it to business processes, the report says.

2. Applications Development

While most enterprises that have deployed SharePoint said it has been useful for them, in both the 2010 and 2011 surveys, enterprises identified development time and the effort to build business applications as their biggest problems with the platform.

This has a knock-on effect on user adoption and training, and the report suggests that if the development of good applications does not keep pace, adoption rates will fall behind expectations. In this respect, the report says, third-party developers are critical.

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What SharePoint is used for

3. SharePoint Perceptions

The flip side  is, when asked about  the most beneficial new capabilities introduced with SharePoint 2010, most respondents indicated that the ability for improved application development – however difficult that may be – was a major selling point, as was the enhancement of social computing tools.

This is in contrast to last year’s survey, which showed that nearly 25% of respondents couldn’t identify beneficial SharePoint 2010 features – probably because of a lack of familiarity – but said improved workflow design and search was the biggest SharePoint 2007 benefit. Only 7% of SharePoint 2010 identified these processes.

4. Inadequate Interfaces?

Problems with interfaces also arose, with 11% of users citing the lack of intuitive and easy-to-interfaces offered by SharePoint out-of-the box as one of the biggest challenges.

In fact, 76% of those surveyed said that the interfaces were only adequate or even inadequate for their needs, with all those suggesting that improvements need to be made. Only 24% said that they were happy with them, with the number of those surveyed saying they were happy with the overall experience rising by only 6%, from 18% to 24%.

5. Managing Documents

There are clear indications, though, that those users are happy to store their mission-critical information in SharePoint, particularly across the Insurance, healthcare, and government verticals.

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SharePoint document storage

While over one-third of respondents stored more than 50% of their mission-critical documents in SharePoint in this year’s survey, only 27% did so in the last survey, perhaps marking SharePoint’s maturity as an enterprise platform.

It also points to an increased need of businesses to manage the content as part of mission-critical business processes, improve their governance of the environment and protect the assets housed within the platform.

These are just some of the notable points that stand out in this survey, and there are many more. While SharePoint 2010 has improved the productivity of organizations in managing content, offering simple portals for collaboration and helping direct process workflows from one user to the next, it also has a significant number of challenges that need to be faced. If you want to learn more, you can download the full survey.