Is SharePoint a …
Irwin Lazar asks:
Is SharePoint a Web 2.0 platform? Is SharePoint a content management system? Is SharePoint a workflow manager? Is SharePoint a social computing platform? Or is SharePoint a portal to other applications?
and concludes that although SharePoint is to some extent all of these things:
Well…the answer to all of these questions is a conditional “yes.” SharePoint does have the capabilities to function in all these roles. SharePoint supports Web 2.0 capabilities such as blogs and wikis, as well as user customizable data to enable searches based on meta tags. SharePoint’s content management capabilities enable users to manage documents and other files, assigning permissions, controlling modification, and establishing a trail of changes. SharePoint’s workflow capabilities allow users to assign tasks to document or workspaces, enabling SharePoint to become a project management tool. SharePoint supports extensive capabilities for users to customize their information and share it with others, essentially allowing users to create their own private LinkedIn-style information systems. And finally, SharePoint provides either its own portal system, or the ability to integrate with other portals such as SAP.
but it’s really best thought of as a platform with a rich eco system of best of breed solutions that can be used to extend it:
As enterprises create their SharePoint strategy it makes sense to look beyond the core capabilities of SharePoint when those capabilities don’t meet your needs. Microsoft’s ecosystem for bringing best-of-breed services into the SharePoint ecosystem continues to grow, meaning that rather than viewing SharePoint as the be-all-end-all of enterprise collaboration, it is instead wiser to view SharePoint as the platform that can support both internal capabilities as well as leverage external best-of-breed products to fully meet enterprise requirements.
I’ve also thought of SharePoint in this way – but I now express it as follows:
- SharePoint has most of the core functionality that business needs
- Microsoft itself is experimenting with functionality in lots of new areas, blogs, wiki’s, business data catalogue – with capabilities that are useful enough to get used, but not best of breed
- Companies will use these capabilities and pressure Microsoft to improve in key areas, helping Microsoft prioritise resources
- The most popular of these early features will rapidly evolve either through development or acquisition
- For many customers Microsoft will move forward at a pace that meets the evolving needs, whilst leaving partners to meet the needs of their leading edge customers. Doing what they do best – low cost, well integrated solutions for the mass market