Don't take my word for it - Byrne and Koplowitz on SharePoint

November 29, 2011 · · Posted by Jordan Frank

At the Enterprise 2.0conference two weeks ago, Tony Byrne (President, the Real Story Group) and Rob Koplowitz (VP and Principal Analyst, Forrester Research) were joined for the SharePoint Analyst Panel. David Carr's Information Week column Does SharePoint Have Future As A Social Platform frames the debate as lopsided with a simple conclusion: No.

IT Managers across the globe are deploying SharePoint in hopes that it will form the basis of their collaboration and social strategy, but SharePoint's ability to check off the feature lists (yes, it has a notion of profiles, pages, tagging, discussion, tasking) belies the actual outcome.

Koplowitz said: "it's a lot better portal than it is a social platform." (I am not convinced that this implies it's a good portal)

Byrne said: "They've built a decent platform for lightweight file-oriented collaboration... But SharePoint only provides two of the 10 or 11 key applications enterprises are looking for" in a social platform.

Byrne said: "the dirty little secret of SharePoint is that the vast majority of its usage is for very basic file sharing."

Koplowitz said: "If you're going to take on this beast--if you're going to take the buffalo down--you'd better be prepared to consume every part of it."

Not very promising.

An easy way to handle basic file sharing or even construct a basic portal may be an important part of an information strategy but isn't worth the true cost of SharePoint and doesn't merit the upside down 3 to 1 (by a conservative estimate) services to licensing cost ratio that any company should be ready to swallow if they want to tune and customize SharePoint to do more than what it's good at out of the box (some portal and lightweight file oriented collaboration activities). Following that path is expensive and led Thomas vander Wal to write SharePoint: Gateway Drug to Enterprise Social Tools.

If you don't have SharePoint, Koplowitz' fair warning is you better be ready to take the buffalo down. But the good news if you already have SharePoint is twofold:

1) It is OK at short term, small team oriented file collaboration and always will be.

2) You can break down the workspace and content type silo problem and make that locked up content more findable, social and valuable by adding TeamPage to the mix. For far less than it would cost to re-engineer "social" into SharePoint or even upgrade it to the 9s to run their FAST Search, you can unlock it's silos and socialize around it with TeamPage Attivio Plus Search and Social Enterprise Web.

Why stop with a social wrapper around or inside SharePoint. By making Connected Workpossible with TeamPage, you can also engage across all your other enterprise systems, content, and even the entire web.

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