SharePoint Review

My advice? Run (Hell, sprint) away from Sharepoint for something more capable.

Just watched a Fortune 500 client struggle with Microsoft and their build partners to create a global enterprise CMS-driven website. 6-7 months in it turned out Sharepoint was totally incapable of delivering on many common object-oriented, tag-driven, rules-based dynamic web mamangement syste. $100,000s totally wasted. Adobe CQ5 could do almost all of it out of the box with configuration, not development required. Sharepoint also could not deliver on the desired faceted search.

Over the years I have found that Sharepoint is much less capable and flexible than Microsoft or their build partners claim. My advice? Run (Hell, sprint!) away from Sharepoint for something more capable. (Like Sitecore for .NET or Adobe CQ5 for Java).

Specifically Sharepoint could not

  1. handle multiple instantiations of a kernal "standard" site to support multiple countries and mutiple business units

  2. faceted search

  3. sharing of content across instances

  4. complex taxonomies and tagging

This was with Microsoft's biggest build partner and supposed Sharepoint experts to boot.

It was Sharepoint 2010.

If you have a globe-spanning company with a multitude of business units offering a wide offering of products and services you really need an extremely flexible system -- preferably one that is object-oriented from the ground up using tagging and multiple taxonomies. That is not Sharepoint. The best solution I've seen so far is Adobe (nee Day) CQ5. You can describe an object by tag values with the object connected to branches of more than one taxonomic tree. Try to do that in Sharepoint.

With users using search as their default reserach method (and bearing Pirolli'sapplication of Charnov's Minimal Value Theorem) to how users find information a faceted search system starts to look like a valid option as the main navigation. Again not Sharepoint's strong suite.

Despite MS PR Sharepoint is best used for internal document management. It is not designed to be highly flexible, nimble or freindly. Sharepoint may be OK for an Intranet or simple website. Sharepoint also has a strong positive in the huge number of pre-existing plug-in modules and a sizeable number of developers/partners supporting it. Finally, Sharepoint is natively supportive of a .NET infrastructure which is very popular with enterprise level IT folks.

CQ5 for example is Java-based. It can work in a .NET world but not as a native.

Sharepoint 2010 is not a bad product, but MS and its partners oversell it like crazy for very inappropriate projects. 2010 has also decoupled Sharepoint the engine from thee front end. This allows you to use an alternative publishing system -- either off the shelf or purpose built.

If you need to share content between instances, update content across instances from a central "master" source or need powerful rules-based dynamic web publishing I would say look elsewhere -- that's not Sharepoint's gig.


**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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ITCS user

author avatarit_user210033 (User)

You might appreciate this old post on Sharepoint too:

author avatarit_user249441 (User with 10,001+ employees)

I like this review because it sounds "real"

author avatarit_user295143 (Director of Marketing and Content at a consultancy with 51-200 employees)

As someone who developed on older versions of Sharepoint (between 2007 and 2009) I completely agree with much of what was said in this review. I found it to be an inflexible system that required many workarounds to do simple things like create an intuitively editable knowledge base. With so many free to paid solutions out there I would think that Microsoft would be able to deliver something more dynamic. Again - I haven't used Sharepoint 2010 - not sure how much it's changed since when I used it, but my experience was also painful.

author avatarit_user446067 (Managing Director Business Change and Quality Assurance at Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island)

I would agree with this as you are talking older versions of SharePoint. Even research firms like Gartner and Forrester agree that SharePoint 2013 or 2010 are not built for CMS.

With that said my former team deployed a fully functional CMS on SharePoint in O365. Supporting the requirements you pointed out. We even added in DITA XML support from a publishing perspective.

Was it easy - no. But we did use SharePoint O365 out of the box along with Javascript for all the user experience customizations. And used their API to integrate to applications on premise. What we did learn is from a DevOps perspective, automating configurations between 'environments' was the most complex portion. When I say 'environments' it was automating the configuration between tenants that we used for our dev and UAT environments. Some Microsoft service providers offer solutions but we found them lacking.

Look at SharePoint in the cloud - a much better option than any other version of SharePoint. Of course there are other CMS solutions you should consider, open source or propriety.