Thursday, 4 March 2010

Do people like SharePoint?

IT departments, or maybe just IT people who blog, seem to universally hate SharePoint. And their point of view is not entirely off the mark. SharePoint is riddled with compromises that should not have been made. The source code produced is a nightmare, the administration model is confusing and inconsistent, and the UI is a mess.

People like to point to Google Docs, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social networks as how things should have been done.

I have to take an opposing opinion. It is not a case that SharePoint has grown because Microsoft has forced companies to take it on in some mind control conspiracy. Vista proved that Microsoft has no such power.

SharePoint has grown because it is the only ECM that people actually do like to use.

And that is actually a bad thing.

Well its not entirely a bad thing. To quote British Conservative Leader David Cameron "it is a good thing and it is a bad thing." Users take to SharePoint. I have seen time and time again the take up explode on firms who had not strategy for promoting or controlling it. Users flock to the tool because it is fairly easy to use, employs a web based UI, and allows devolved solution design by local experts that can then be shared.

I don't have any proof so I can only state that I assure you that people take to using SharePoint in vast numbers and create a large number of solutions in it. I have seen it time and time again.

So what could be wrong with that? Well the problem is that people like it and IT hates it, and I see organizations fall in to the same trap time and time again. IT never learns to understand SharePoint or work with the business to provide Enterprise support. The end result is that SharePoint gets cluttered with inconsistent user generated solutions and does not work as an Enterprise.

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