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:
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.
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.