SharePoint Predictions for 2008: Be Aware

The good folks at CMS Watch wrote their "crystal ball" predictions in CMS world last December. There is one prediction regarding SharePoint 2007, originally posted at http://www.cmswatch.com/Feature/172-2008-Predictions:

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MOSS enters the valley of disappointment

SharePoint will continue to grow at viral rates as a low cost, low touch, document collaboration system. But in 2008 we will see the start of a noticeable backlash, particularly among larger enterprises.

The backlash will be two-fold. First larger enterprises will exhibit major compliance and litigation discovery issues across numerous unmanaged and unaccountable SharePoint locations. You will also see a backlash against sizable development costs and times to build maintainable applications in the MOSS environment. With the more complex SharePoint projects struggling to launch, customers are realizing a disconnect between Redmond’s heavy promotion and the realities of a product that is significantly less out-of-the-box than most expect.

Well, I’m going to add my humble two cents on this issue. I do partially agree with the analysis.

I think that there’s indeed a disconnect between the marketing movement behind SharePoint and its real experience in a more that out-of-the-box scenarios. There are some features in SharePoint that are unacceptable to almost any company as they come by default, such as Record Center or Publication, even the workflows are too basic for the most. However, these basic features are a huge improvement for the companies that do not have them, as having a basic document center or a rudimentary workflow approval is better than not having them at all.

For a bigger company or a bigger project, there are two realities often neglected:

  • SharePoint out-of-the-box features MUST be customized or extended to be of business value. It’s the "one-size-doesn’t-fit-all" adage in action.
  • There MUST be a clear Governance Policy in place for SharePoint applications and content. This cannot be overstated. Failure to do so is an invitation to SharePoint chaos.

So, the message I want to put across is this one: yes, SharePoint default settings are a no-go for the most of the customers; and no, there won’t be a "valley of dissappointment" for the customers. Well, not while there are qualified Microsoft partners to guide them through the customization and governance opportunities.

USEFUL RESOURCES

Sample SharePoint Governance Plan by Microsoft Consulting Services fellow, Mark Wagner
SharePoint 2007 Governance Checklist Guide by Microsoft, nicely formatted and ready to print
SharePoint Customization Policy, an excellent "menu-choice" book where all the varieties of SharePoint tweaking customizing are listed, with advantages, shortcomings and a short example.
SharePoint Governance workspace at CodePlex, steadily growing toolbox to help control the exploding sites nightmare.

2 thoughts on “SharePoint Predictions for 2008: Be Aware”

  1. ‘out of the box’ SharePoint has got limitations, but the amount of third-party software now being developed shows how customisable it really is.

    officetalk (http://www.office-talk.com) are now offering ShareKnowledge which uses the SharePoint backend to produce a superb E-Learning environment. This is just one example of how SharePoint can enhance so many business processes.

    SharePoint is here to stay and will continue to grow.

    Andy Dale
    officetalk – The SharePoint Specialists
    http://www.office-talk.com

  2. I fully agree with your comment.

    Hmm, haven’t noticed OfficeTalk before…ShareKnowledge seems a nice complete eLearning solution. Does it leverage SharePoint Learning Kit in any way?

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