Firstly, apologies for not blogging recently; I’m working on some innovative and groundbreaking stuff at work right now which is really interesting but I’m not in a position to share it just yet.
Firstly, go and read this article…I’ll wait.
I found the article intriguing because I usually find these articles to be either 90% aligned with my thinking or 90% not aligned, (or “wrong” as I like to call them). In this case I found that I disagreed with certain points but completely agreed with others. Then it hit me…the authors missed one point that is critical to understanding SharePoint deployments in enterprises today; SharePoint is as not really a monolithic application or a pizza pie of functionality, it is really a development platform that comes pre-configured. I find that if I talk to the people who manage successful SharePoint deployments in organizations they completely get this but perhaps there is a disconnect between that reality and people’s perception of SharePoint.
If you assume that this premise is correct and go back and read the article you realize that many of the points are moot – in fact most of them are. That said, the author is right to point these issues out as they do exist, it is just that they are more acceptable in a development platform than a standalone application.
There were a few other sections in the article that I wanted to call out specifically.
"Recognise that a really good SharePoint installation is as much organisation as it is technology," says Creese. I could not agree more however let’s be fair to SharePoint…I’ve never met any ECM system that wasn’t 85% planning and 15% technology…or should I say that I have never met a successful ECM implementation that wasn’t 85/15! Make that any enterprise deployment of any kind of software!
He goes on to add "We have been finding that a highly tuned SharePoint installation needs custom coding and third-party add-ons." His former point falls in to the “recognizing that SharePoint is a development platform” but the second point is potentially more interesting to me. I agree completely and think that SharePoint has opened up a huge net new market for people who understand the subtleties that make for a successful enterprise deployment of any part of SharePoint.
Later Craig Roth also from Burton says “governance is a critical factor in determining SharePoint success. That includes combining people, policies and processes to determine who can do what, when and how.” I think that this a real area for improvement in the SharePoint architecture overall. It is not just about governance – it is about a common centrally managed governance model that includes all SharePoint sites and all other relevant systems in the enterprise.
In conclusion I think that the article brings up some great points and some areas that make me feel that maybe we need to see more clarity in how Microsoft message what SharePoint is…not everything to everyone but a specific layer in an enterprise infrastructure with some very specific functionality.