Apparently many managers think SharePoint is the defacto industry standard when it comes to collaboration. While Microsoft has indeed designed a flexible solution with more features and functions, it seems to have become Microsoft’s solution to all things social too. After reading a few posts at Digital Landfill on the topic, we all need to consider how SharePoint addresses content management, collaboration, Enterprise 2.0, etc. It may create more silos and IT governance headaches than you bargained for.
What SharePoint does best is collaboration when dealing with “working” documents like construction contract negotiations. The iterations and revisions are easily captured and perhaps the sense of why a phrase was removed or a paragraph was added can be captured in the process. I have also seen it widely embraced to relieve the need for shared drives and to offer project portals for job documentation. The key to continued success in these deployments is implementation consistency.
SharePoint 2007 has been marketed as a content management system, but as explained in “8 Things SharePoint 2010 Needs to Be a True ECM System“, there are definite shortcomings that need to be addressed. These include:
Your Enterprise Content Management System surely can ingest Sharepoint posted documents.
While I’ve seen some consistent deployments, there are far more that are less than perfect.Even in a simple intranet scenario, allowing new folder creation and having no user naming conventions creates chaos. One salesman told me that he knew a document was on their “site” but called into the office and requested it be emailed to him as it was faster than randomly guessing which folders to look in.
Establish SharePoint site auto-provisioning is just one of the “8 More Things You Need to Know About SharePoint“. You’ll also want to review “8 Things You Need to Know about SharePoint Governance“. Two gems from there are: There is no Easy Button and Some [SharePoint] options don’t have an undo button. Plan accordingly recognizing that IT Governance and discovery issues will be your Achilles Heal. Do your research on products like Kazeon eDiscovery SharePoint Manager to minimize your e-discovery review costs before you need to.
Finally, if you are considering using SharePoint for Enterprise 2.0, there’s one more blog you need to read, “SharePoint 2007: Gateway Drug to Enterprise Social Tools“. You’ll thank me for knowing what’s viable and what’s not.
I’d like to hear from you if you’ve deployed Sharepoint…both successes and challenges you’ve face. Comments on this blog are always welcome.