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 SharePoint 2013 represents a leap forward, and SharePoint 2016 and Office 365 represent considerable improvement into a a very usable, complex digital workplace solution. SharePoint 2019 has become a truly mobile friendly solution, with a number of improvements to collaboration (particularly Teams) and for hybrid cloud scenarios.
There are a lot of reasons to buy into or upgrade to SharePoint 2016 or 2019: the latest iteration of Microsoft’s portal-web development platform represents a massive, multi-million dollar upgrade on the previous versions of SharePoint (a version that was typically oversold given its underwhelming if not frustrating performance and lack of execution). SharePoint 2019 is a massive upgrade from 2013: noticeable improvements to social computing (social networking via Delve and Teams), mobile computing (responsive design with "modern" pages and a dedicated mobile app), better Office integration, cloud and hybrid 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 move to SharePoint Online in Office 365 (which is nearly at feature and function parity with SharePoint 2019, and in some cases, more rich). Though some problems persist, the bugs and challenges are not as persistent as 2010 and 2013. There are some obvious improvements (pros) and some persistent issues (cons):
There are far more pros than cons, but there should be at the price MS charges. SharePoint is very good 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.
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: