Here’s a quick pointer to a good article on the status of SharePoint in the enterprise by J. Nicholas Hoover of InformationWeek. Over the past year there has been a noticeable shift in the SharePoint zeitgeist. Before that SharePoint mostly flew under the radar while word of mouth and Microsoft events and press releases touted its ease of use and popularity. Now it’s been picked up on radar and is being examined more closely. I have had several conversations with the IT press writing articles such as Hoover’s that describe pros and cons, question its abilities, or warn against wandering into it without thinking. Another good example is “Microsoft SharePoint popularity comes with issues” by John Fontana of NetworkWorld. Our SharePoint workshops at Burton Group continue to be filled by attendees that want a more objective view of SharePoint’s good and bad points than can be found in inexpensive seminars by Microsoft partners. And our clients continue to ask us these questions on a regular basis. All of this points to a shift in the way SharePoint is being examined.
I want to point out these articles are cautionary in tone, not negative. The frequency with which you see common sense advice being applied to SharePoint (understand it, plan, manage your resources, pay attention to governance, avoid or shore up its weak points, etc.) reflects the hurried, ad hoc approach that SharePoint is often deployed with. I’m glad to see that SharePoint is now being tracked by the IT radar so its benefits, of which there are many to go along with its faults, can be exploited by the organizations that are desperately in need of collaboration support. And I hope that the extra introspection and examination step being introduced before deployments encourages organizations to perform due diligence against alternatives from other vendors, some of which they may already have in house, before assuming that the end users cry for SharePoint isn’t just a general cry for a simple web-based collaboration or content management solution.