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SharePoint Review
The SharePoint 2013 Intranet – Pros and Cons


SharePoint has conquered the enterprise intranet. Although the conquest is never as bloody nor expensive as more invasive conquests, such as the Mongols under Genghis Khan, intranet citizens are not always thrilled by the new system and structure under Gates Khan.

SharePoint is present in 80% of the Fortune 100; and plays a prominent intranet role in about 70% of knowledge worker intranets (either powering the main intranet portal, or delivering associated collaboration sites and/or document repositories). This in spite of its history.

SharePoint 2007 was a dog; SharePoint 2010 was a dressed-up dog; but the latest, SharePoint 2013 represents a considerable improvement compared to its canine predecessors.


The SharePoint 2013 Intranet Home Page @ Prescient Digital Media

There are a lot of reasons to buy into or upgrade to SharePoint 2013: the latest iteration of Microsoft’s portal-web development platform represents a massive, multi-million dollar upgrade on the previous version of SharePoint (a version that was typically oversold given its underwhelming if not frustrating performance and lack of execution). SharePoint 2013 is a massive upgrade to 2010: noticeable improvements to social computing (social networking via My Sites), mobile computing (PDA access and accessibility), Office integration, cloud integration, search and more.

But it’s not all good news, and it’s not a solution that fits every organization.

Here at Prescient Digital Media, we upgraded to SP2013 at the beginning of the year, and haven’t looked back. Though some problems persist, the bugs and challenges are not as persistent as 2010. There are some obvious improvements (pros) and some persistent issues (cons):
PROS:

  • Cloud – feature parity cloud version (of course this was supposed to be the case, in large part, for 2010)
  • Mobile – enhanced mobile access experience (of course, this was promised for SP2010, and it fell embarrassingly short)
  • Social – enhanced social networking (nearly completely lacking in prior versions)
  • Web CMS – enhanced publishing and management interface (employing the ‘ribbon’ from Office)
  • Branding – although it’s apparently easier to implement new custom designs on SP13, MS has openly cautioned against customizing the home page
  • Social networking – My Sites and Newsfeeds are still isolated and separate of the main intranet
  • Search – search is still not best-of-breed, requires considerable configuration work, and underwhelms most users (though offline, consistent content management policies are mandatory)

There are far more pros than cons, but there should be at the price MS charges. SharePoint is perfect for a small to medium-size intranet in a .NET environment that requires a web development platform focused on enterprise content management. But it is not cheap, typically requires a lot of work and customization, and doesn’t always work as promised.

The Prescient Digital Media intranet features a lot of customization and customized web parts, including those for:

  • Calendar
  • Sales Pipeline
  • Client Projects
  • Invoicing
  • Social Feeds

This intranet case study is a featured case study at the 2013 Intranet Global Forum conference in New York City, October 24 and 25, but a sneak preview can be viewed online a free webinar replay called SharePoint 2013: Social Intranet Case Study.

Speaking of conquest, the Chinese learned Mongol lessons the hard way, and built the Great Wall. Although a firewall is requisite with any intranet, not just a SharePoint intranet, walls kill collaboration and employee knowledge management. More salient, key lessons can be drawn from implementing and working with SharePoint 2013:

  • Licensing represents a fraction of the cost
  • Planning and governance are mission critical – mission critical
  • Custom or third-party web parts and applications are almost always required
  • Social collaboration doesn’t just happen, it’s earned
  • Change management is the key to success
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
6 visitors found this review helpful
63838853 979e 4b1e a4d8 edce36196a72 avatar?1448447542F99dee0a 116f 45fc ae46 1e011ea825ce avatarE394015f 03c6 41de 9b5a 3fb1b7f82ab0 avatar?1446777058Jeffrey torres li?1414329908Anonymous avatar x30Anonymous avatar x30

9 Comments

Picture 1467 1364040686b
Alin RaduReal UserPOPULARLEADERBOARD

Can you tell me, please, what is the difference between SharePoint Server Standard, Server Enterprise and Foundation? Thank you.

Like (0)04 September 14
Ken lam li?1414338847
Ken LamVendor

Standard is not that powerful (with v limited capabilities, like version control). Enterprise you have some online editing functions for office document, n u have some basic workflow. Foundation is just a file server....

Like (0)04 September 14
Anonymous avatar x30

Enterprise includes things like:

Access Services;
Excel Services;
Visio Services;

There are over 150 features that are in the Enterprise version (of which Foundation and Standard contain a subset).

Are there specific business functions you are evaluating these versions/features against? It might help with the edition evaluation.

Like (0)04 September 14
Anonymous avatar x30
D. RahimReal User

The best thing about SharePoint is users are no longer frustrated by large documents being rejected. Finally there's a place that will accept them no matter the size. More people can read, edit and add comments while someone else is using it. And you don't have to be in the same city to do this. Nice!

Retraining employees will take time but they'll learn how to use SharePoint once they see how to use it and the advantages it can have on their work.

Like (0)16 November 15
Eda93caf 38e4 4774 b5d7 b3db404b68a8 avatar?1445046971
Martins NwosehConsultantTOP 10

There has been far more significant improvements in SharePoint online as opposed to the on-premises Sharepoint. With the release of the on-premises SharePoint 2016, though, the gap is a lot closer. But when it comes to availability and reliability, the on-premises is far more reliable because you don't worry too much about latency issues.

Like (0)30 August 16
20b0d439 9eb6 4125 8d28 613b35072a5c avatar

We use SharePoint mainly to store Microsoft Office documents.
We support some business process with this tool to cover the lack of functionallity of our current BPM, and also to do some simple Company workflows (request form, authorization forms, etc), mainly we cover the IT request forms with this tool.

Like (0)13 September 16
Add tward
Toby WardConsultantTOP 5POPULAR

Yes, this is a typical approach and scenario for most companies. Most use it for document management, and team sites. However, more and more are using it for their enterprise intranet portal.

Like (0)13 September 16
1cc11b77 fb2b 45da b8e1 caaaacc64493 avatar

Scored quite high when we evaluated it on compliance and compatibility with required ECM features (Gartner ECM assessment criteria used in our assessment), i.e. scored in the range of 92% to 96%. Among the criteria evaluated were library services, record services, content creation and capture, metadata management, workflow and BPM, navigation and search, security and access control, and architecture and integration functionalities.

Like (0)28 March 17
Anonymous avatar x30
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