Microsoft 400x400

SharePoint Review
It integrates collaboration, e-mail, document management, workflow, and content management.


Valuable Features:

When an organization is using Microsoft products already, the integration with the Microsoft Office products and the ability to leverage web-based Office products can transform business processes. I think there is a great benefit in integrating collaboration, e-mail, document management, workflow, and content management in one product. When I have been in the role of Information Architect, I took advantage of site content, metadata, advanced searches (FAST), web parts and the free applications.

There are a large number of solid third-party vendors that develop web apps that are easy to integrate and configure.

In smaller organizations or organizations with limited budgets, I was able to leverage SharePoint to provide a lot of functionality around workflows, content and document management with very limited customized development.

Improvements to My Organization:

When implemented correctly, SharePoint and Office 365 can provide knowledge workers with the information they need quickly and it can provide for team collaboration. I have used it to transform relationships between business units and to break down silos.

Room for Improvement:

I would focus on improving:

  • Integration with other enterprise products.
  • Simpler API.
  • Enhanced ability to report against structured and unstructured data in the environment.
  • More flexible security or training: I have noticed in organizations I joined that they lock down SharePoint so much, there is very limited functionality. As a result, teams in the same organization move to other collaboration tools when they would not need to.
  • Enhanced ability for users to back up and restore at various levels of the architecture.
  • Have SharePoint and Office 365 expand so that additional third-party products for document management are not necessary.

Use of Solution:

I have used it for over 10 years.

Stability Issues:

Any issues regarding stability are generally caused by a lack of governance from planning of the underlying infrastructure through ongoing operations. With best practices in rolling out any application from an infrastructure planning and operations perspective, stability is not a significant issue.

Scalability Issues:

Frankly, I would make a case for many organizations to go with the SaaS-based option. I investigated the security around Office 365 in the past and it was HIPAA and PSI compliant. When organizations host these types of solutions instead of leveraging commodity hardware and expertise in a SAAS environment, that is where the issues of stability and scalability come up.

Technical Support:

Technical support is excellent.

Previous Solutions:

I have used Google and still do today. It is less expensive as a personal solution to document management, archiving and collaboration. It also integrates with my personal Google e-mail solution.

Initial Setup:

Rolling out the enterprise version and ensuring integration with other products, budgeting for the hardware, and ensuring governance was not easy for SharePoint. However, I did leverage all of the plans and checklists that Microsoft provided, which made the process much simpler.

Office 365 was very simple to setup and I liked the ease of expanding storage when needed.

Cost and Licensing Advice:

It really depends on the size of the organization. For small organizations, I would advise them on just purchasing Office 365 for what they need in the next year or two. They can always scale up. In larger organizations, I would love to have the enterprise version. However, not every organization can afford the cost.

Other Solutions Considered:

I compared it against Google's solution.

Other Advice:

I would advise others looking into implementing this product to consider Office 365 as a SaaS solution. I would also provide a governance plan and some common templates and training to get them started.

I would advise them to start with the teams that will leverage the product.

I would recommend finding ways to combine business process re-engineering with rolling out sites. This would be an easy win: combining process improvement with content management, document management, workflow and collaboration.

I would tell them to expect some amount of customization depending on what they wanted to leverage the product for.

As a portal, EDM platform for organizations, I think it is an excellent product. The limitations I have seen are the implementation and expectations of the technology, not the technology itself.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
1 visitor found this review helpful
Anonymous avatar x30

6 Comments

A5223938 eed9 42af 9f16 9a9bd1568f21 avatar
Orlee GillisCommunity Mgr

What can you advise to other users to make sure they are implementing SharePoint and Office365 correctly?

Like (0)26 October 16
Anonymous avatar x30

The key points to be considered towards implementing SharePoint online
1. Overall wish list however to be broken down into a checklist as to how much can be achieved as out-of-box (native Sharepoint features); how much can be achieved by coding & how much can be achieved by integration. The best way forward for this would be 70:20:10 (can be sometimes 60:30:10) in the above order of preference. Duly consider, the feature set of integration of 0365 with Sharepoint online, and how it can be achieved. This solves 50% of the rollout time, if properly architected and planned.
2. Rather than getting into a total automation of the back-office process through Sharepoint online, divide them into Phases of evolution, so that the end-user as well as the IT team gears up for the rollout; Phases means not only about the project but how the data and access happens - to plan scenarios as to how much of the service we shall run on premise and how much of the service we shall run on-cloud (purely from Sharepoint perspective and its integration requirements)
3. And finally, identify a good partner who understands your organization better as well as the project. If this is not balanced, how much ever you have a skilled marksmen, you would still miss on the target of making a project successful.

Like (0)04 November 16
A5223938 eed9 42af 9f16 9a9bd1568f21 avatar
Orlee GillisCommunity Mgr

Bharathy, thank you for your input!

Were you able to identify a good partner who met the description you've provided? If so, can you describe how you were able to do so?

Like (0)06 November 16
Anonymous avatar x30

Orlee, thanks for your reply. We ourselves are a Microsoft Technology services implementation organization.

Like (0)08 November 16
A49de8ad 2c8f 41d5 aae5 973ab76a75ec avatar
James KekicReal UserTOP 20

I believe that Centralpoint is superior and much cheaper!

Like (0)26 December 16
38971197 a73c 4d37 8e11 97d3b3353db3 avatar

Thanks for your write up, I am wondering if you have done workflows from a use of a form created in SharePoint Designer? I am finding that the workflows are not compact ( or least I have not figured out how do so yet) and the user(s) in line may not understand what they are supposed to do without some cerebral damage. Any example you could provide would be most appreciated.

Like (0)05 January 17
Anonymous avatar x30
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