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SharePoint OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

SharePoint is the #1 ranked solution in our list of top Enterprise Content Management tools. It is most often compared to WordPress: SharePoint vs WordPress

What is SharePoint?

SharePoint is a Microsoft-based platform for building web applications. It covers a widerange of capabilities and while it is appropriate for experienced webdevelopers, even non-technical minded users can easily navigate through thesystem and execute functions such as collaborating data, managing documents andfiles, creating websites, managing social networking solutions, and automatingworkflow.

Major areas that SharePoint deals with are websites,communities, content, search, insights, and composites. The purpose is to give usersthe ability to create or develop these key business components on their owneven without technical knowledge of, for example, how to build a website or howto integrate coding. Configuring SharePoint into a business's system is meantto cut out all of the complicated steps, and pave the way for easierimplementation all around.

SharePoint is also known as SharePoint 2007, SharePoint 2010.

SharePoint Buyer's Guide

Download the SharePoint Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: September 2021

SharePoint Customers

Toyota, Aeroports de Paris, ASBBank Ltd., Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals, CambridgeshireConstabulary, D&M Group, NPL Construction Company, and The Regional Municipality of Niagara.

SharePoint Video

Archived SharePoint Reviews (more than two years old)

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EW
IT Director / CIO at Matanuska-Sustina Borough
Real User
Leaderboard
Integrates well to improve access, coordination, and collaboration

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable features are the Integrations, web site, and search."
  • "The areas of this solution that need improvement are the relationships between lists, cross-site web parts, and page-building tools."

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution for intranet, extranet, web site, content management, collaboration, integrations, eCommerce, inventory, portfolio, project, and process management.

How has it helped my organization?

This solution has given us better access, coordination, collaboration, and visibility. It is an enterprise system for many functions instead of multiple systems to support. Interactive intranet instead of static web pages, integration of other systems to include GIS. We also have better search capability. 

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are the Integrations, web site, and search.

What needs improvement?

The areas of this solution that need improvement are the relationships between lists, cross-site web parts, and page-building tools.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for nineteen years.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
CR
User at Command Results, LLC.
Real User
Supports us in software development projects and integrates well with Microsoft Project

Pros and Cons

  • "This solution has helped us with the categorization, organization, management, discovery, and delivery of program and project related information."
  • "This solution would benefit from the implementation of enhanced online forms and template development capabilities."

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution for supporting software development programs and projects.

How has it helped my organization?

This solution has helped us with the categorization, organization, management, discovery, and delivery of program and project related information. 

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature of this solution is the integration with MS Project.

What needs improvement?

This solution would benefit from the implementation of enhanced online forms and template development capabilities.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using this solution for fifteen years, off and on.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Again, no problems on our applications.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have never seen it hit a wall in terms of supporting our programs, and I have been the senior contractor program and project manager overseeing two large Health IT projects, both with more than 100 team members and as many as 11,000 assigned tasks.

How are customer service and technical support?

he Microsoft reps were always helpful; although they were not always up to speed with the latest offerings and capabilities from Microsoft. Persistence pays off thought. I usually eventually got the answers to my questions.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

NO, client requires use of SharePoint for content management on IT programs and projects.

How was the initial setup?

It seemed easy enough.  The one issue I had was setting up a project portal where we wanted to implement a number of SDLC Templates via SharePoint. This was a couple of years ago, but the integration of a legacy Microsoft forms product was not very clean or adequate. It looks like the previous tool has been replaced with Microsoft Forms. I haven't had a chance to use this product yet. 

What about the implementation team?

In house.

What was our ROI?

Confidential

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I don't have experience in that area.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

No, client requires use of SharePoint for content management on IT programs and projects.

What other advice do I have?

No

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Learn what your peers think about SharePoint. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: September 2021.
540,984 professionals have used our research since 2012.
MichaelSoliman
Owner at Alopex ONE UG
Real User
Leaderboard
Good for optimizing business processes in organizations of any size

Pros and Cons

  • "For any organization with more than one person in it, if they are trying to organize things to let people in the company know what others are doing, then this solution is good for them."
  • "I would like a simpler, more cost-effective solution for connecting data sources with workflows and BI tools, or data mining tools."

What is our primary use case?

I have been consulting with this solution, combined with SQL server, since 2005. The majority of my consulting at that time changed from Active Directory and C++ to SQL Server and SharePoint.

What is most valuable?

This solution is a workflow operating system with many metadata services. Information is taken and automatically triggers actions. The specific action is based on the information itself, which is used to calculate a complex answer that results in the action.

What needs improvement?

I would like a simpler, more cost-effective solution for connecting data sources with workflows and BI tools, or data mining tools. There are different tools for data mining and for data evaluation, but you have to be a skilled programmer to tie them together. There is no simple and low-cost method to do this, provided that development time is a cost factor.

There are some automatic solutions for this task, such as Team Foundation Server, which is built on SharePoint. These tools can learn specific errors that are being made, using data mining techniques, and they are able to target these errors for correction. Having this capability built in, and customizable for the customer would be of great interest.

I would like to see support for Visual Studio to connect to SharePoint and have a wizard to connect data processes to iHubs, like an analysis server or data mining model, to an output, and to have a smart way of creating workflows. Microsoft will tell you that they already have that for SharePoint online, it's called "Flow", but it is not customer compatible.

For how long have I used the solution?

Since 2003.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is stable after the hotfixes, or service pack has been applied. This has been the case for each release since 2003. If you take the release directly to the customer then it is almost always a big mess for them during implementation.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This solution is extremely scalable. It is a highly performance-optimized web service that you just have to install correctly and then add the machine to the farm with the proper permissions. That is one of the biggest strengths of SharePoint.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is extremely well developed with Microsoft. It's just that you have to pay for it, so it is not for someone without Software Assurance.

How was the initial setup?

The setup of this solution is complex. There are SharePoint deployment architecture scenarios, and sometimes the C-level deciders underestimate the complexity of it. You have to know SharePoint very well.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

For this type of solution, it is not wise to buy it without Software Assurance. It depends on the customer, but most are using an agreement that covers four to ten free incidents per year. You really need that, and it's well-invested money.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

When comparing this solution to other workflow operating systems like Oracle or BP Logix, I give this solution a ten out of ten.

What other advice do I have?

My advice for anyone implementing this solution is to first try everything that you want to do in a virtual environment, with people who know how SharePoint is programmed. You need to understand the psychology of business users because most of them omit essential steps when they are creating the business process model. They are used to doing things in their head, but the machine is not aware of everything that they know so some steps are missed.

Ideally, you want to buy a bunch of post-it notes and test your processes manually, by playing with different scenarios. You have to tune the business processes. I have seen projects fail because the debug phase of the business process design was not thorough.

This solution is useful for optimizing usual business processes, like writing an invoice. For any organization with more than one person in it, if they are trying to organize things to let people in the company know what others are doing, then this solution is good for them.

While this workflow operating system is better than others on the market, it is uncomfortable and expensive to really implement what you need. 

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
ITCS user
Director at a consultancy with 51-200 employees
Real User
Underpins solution which streamlines project workflow; the workflow intelligence could be improved

Pros and Cons

  • "The workflow feature is valuable because it enables us to cascade responsibilities."
  • "Workflow is something that can become more intelligent."

What is our primary use case?

We have a customized solution called TeamCenter. The technology behind it is SharePoint.

The use case is to distribute project mandates among team members, track and collaborate on the work that has been done. It creates the work breakdown, and assigns tasks, manages the workflow accordingly. We are able to check what is being done, who is been handling it, and where the workflow is at right now. It eases control, messaging, and provides a common view where we are at.

How has it helped my organization?

Now that this system has been put in place, we have email integration and a lot of work which we were doing manually is now done by Teamcentral, thanks to SharePoint, thanks to Microsoft.

What is most valuable?

The workflow feature is valuable because it enables us to cascade responsibilities. It cyclically keeps tabs on work and to what extent it has progressed, where it is stuck. That feature is really very helpful.

What needs improvement?

There is always room for improvement. Workflow is something that can become more intelligent. I can't say to what extent intelligence can added, but I think there is always a scope for making it more intelligent.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's going to last until Microsoft revokes the license on which it is built.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Since scale is not challenging me right now, I haven't really paid attention to its scalability. We have 12 users on it. Their roles are primarily deployment, resource management, and fulfilling the technical mandates people are working on.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We did not have a previous solution, other than mail-messaging and Excel.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward for sure. I didn't see any complexity in it. The implementation took about three-and-a-half months.

What about the implementation team?

We used a consultant. He was technical enough to use the plug-ins and integrators that were required. He was a specialist.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The pricing works for us.

What other advice do I have?

Workflow is helpful in the allocation of tasks in any close-knit teams, teams which are not sized beyond 20 to 25 at the most. If the workflow can be made more intelligent, adding value to the information rather than just pinging and cascading and shooting of alerts, that can really help with value-add and to save time.

There was one techy who designed and implemented this. Currently he continues looking at what is required, but in terms of continued support I don't have any staff on it. When any fixes are required, he handles them remotely. We don't have anyone on staff to manage it.

We expect the scale to go up and more business to pour in so we expect the number of users is going to increase. We would definitely be looking at a little more intelligent implementation of workflows so that we've got better control and better delegation of mandates.

I would rate it at seven out of ten. It works for me. I haven't seen anything parallel.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
VeyselOzdemir
Managing Director at Ictnet
Real User
Sharing and workflow are beneficial features, but special implementation and development should be easy

What is our primary use case?

For intranet and file sharing and internal communications.

How has it helped my organization?

Yes, especially reducing the print paper and having a very quick response, and reducing the time between department and people.

What is most valuable?

Sharing and workflow.

What needs improvement?

Special implementation and development should be easy.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability is OK.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is OK.

How are customer service and technical support?

Partner was not good. They did not have so much experience.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

FileNet and…

What is our primary use case?

For intranet and file sharing and internal communications.

How has it helped my organization?

Yes, especially reducing the print paper and having a very quick response, and reducing the time between department and people.

What is most valuable?

Sharing and workflow.

What needs improvement?

Special implementation and development should be easy.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability is OK.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is OK.

How are customer service and technical support?

Partner was not good. They did not have so much experience.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

FileNet and Documentum.

How was the initial setup?

Very hard.

What about the implementation team?

Vendor and partner.

What was our ROI?

I did not measure, but it is useful.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Pricing is very high.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

No.

What other advice do I have?

No.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
AA
CIO at GDELS
Real User
Creation of communities is very straightforward, but the user experience is very poor

What is our primary use case?

It is used to support Intranet. It has good content handling and MS Office integration, but poor user experience.

How has it helped my organization?

It has allowed documentation control and distribution through the organization, managed easily from the AD.

What is most valuable?

The lists handling is perfect, and any kind of content linked to them very easy to publish. Creation of communities is very straightforward.

What needs improvement?

The user experience is very poor. Configuration for new aspect means usually buying add-ons or a very high level of customization.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What is our primary use case?

It is used to support Intranet. It has good content handling and MS Office integration, but poor user experience.

How has it helped my organization?

It has allowed documentation control and distribution through the organization, managed easily from the AD.

What is most valuable?

  • The lists handling is perfect, and any kind of content linked to them very easy to publish.
  • Creation of communities is very straightforward.

What needs improvement?

The user experience is very poor. Configuration for new aspect means usually buying add-ons or a very high level of customization.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
BB
HRIS Consultant at Express Scripts Holding
Consultant
It is easy to administer as a business user

What is our primary use case?

Shared document repository and communication tool for projects and teams I love SharePoint lists; they are pretty flexible and easy to create and export data from.  You can also restrict the view to customize to specific audiences.  It is also easy to create subsites, and security can be applied to individual pages.

How has it helped my organization?

It is a good tool that makes managing projects and teams much easier. All documents and calendars are in one central location.

What is most valuable?

SharePoint lists Calendar Subsites Security Survey It is easy to administer as a business user.

What needs improvement?

The UI could be more flexible out of the box. With coding, you can customize the look and feel to your heart's content, but…

What is our primary use case?

  • Shared document repository and communication tool for projects and teams
  • I love SharePoint lists; they are pretty flexible and easy to create and export data from. 
  • You can also restrict the view to customize to specific audiences. 
  • It is also easy to create subsites, and security can be applied to individual pages.

How has it helped my organization?

It is a good tool that makes managing projects and teams much easier. All documents and calendars are in one central location.

What is most valuable?

  • SharePoint lists
  • Calendar
  • Subsites
  • Security
  • Survey
  • It is easy to administer as a business user.

What needs improvement?

The UI could be more flexible out of the box. With coding, you can customize the look and feel to your heart's content, but configuration without coding is limited.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
CG
Delivery Director at Ciber, Inc
Real User
A central repository for artifacts

What is our primary use case?

Project management activities.

How has it helped my organization?

A central repository for artifacts, and planning for corporate projects.

What is most valuable?

Libraries, lists, and reporting.

What needs improvement?

Better wiki offerings.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What is our primary use case?

Project management activities.

How has it helped my organization?

A central repository for artifacts, and planning for corporate projects.

What is most valuable?

Libraries, lists, and reporting.

What needs improvement?

Better wiki offerings.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Information Technology Manager at a transportation company with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Plenty of out-of-the-box solutions for record management projects but they should make changes more infrequently

What is our primary use case?

To initially set up as part of a records management initiative. The company I was working for needed to better track and support how and where documents are located. 

How has it helped my organization?

While there were plenty of out-of-the-box solutions for records management projects, this probably under-utilized aspect of SharePoint can help better track documents and retention. 

What is most valuable?

Ease of implementation. Certainly, IT needs to give appropriate access to a sandbox, but learning is easy and quick.

What needs improvement?

Microsoft seems to always be making changes. Sometimes you will get a message saying some aspect of what they deliver is being discontinued and often you simply never had time to explore what it had to offer in the first place. 

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
KY
Senior Consultant at Mesiniaga
Consultant
Enables teams to work on the same document but search integration across platforms could be worked on

What is our primary use case?

Team place where sharing of documents and co-editing occurs.

How has it helped my organization?

Ease of access to shared documents.

What is most valuable?

Co-editing of documents. This enables teams to work on the same document and the work gets done faster.

What needs improvement?

Search integration across SharePoint, Yammer, Teams, and OneDrive.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What is our primary use case?

Team place where sharing of documents and co-editing occurs.

How has it helped my organization?

Ease of access to shared documents.

What is most valuable?

Co-editing of documents. This enables teams to work on the same document and the work gets done faster.

What needs improvement?

Search integration across SharePoint, Yammer, Teams, and OneDrive.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PM
Founder & CEO at Solution Enablers
Real User
The workflow is a valuable feature

What is our primary use case?

Collaboration.

How has it helped my organization?

Single window information sharing.

What is most valuable?

Workflow.

What needs improvement?

It should have a lighter interface.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What is our primary use case?

Collaboration.

How has it helped my organization?

Single window information sharing.

What is most valuable?

Workflow.

What needs improvement?

It should have a lighter interface.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
SR
Enterprise Architect Channels at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Helpful with document storage and indexing

Pros and Cons

  • "It has helped us with storing all the documents, which means that people are not going to intervene. There is a way of extracting knowledge within documentation and tracking it. There are knowledge assets for where documentation is stored, indexed and searchable through SharePoint."
  • "Search can be improved a lot because we are always trying to compare it with Google Search. Beyond that, it would be helpful to tag the documents."

What is our primary use case?

I use this solution for storing documents. It is a single sign-on with the identity system and so it will sign me on and I will upload, download some document, and share it with my colleagues at work.

How has it helped my organization?

It has helped us with storing all the documents, which means that people are not going to intervene. There is a way of extracting knowledge within documentation and tracking it. There are knowledge assets for where documentation is stored, indexed, and searchable through SharePoint. I think this represents the collective knowledge, which is highly valuable.

What needs improvement?

Search can be improved a lot because we are always trying to compare it with Google Search. Beyond that, it would be helpful to tag the documents.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is stable.

How was the initial setup?

I was not personally involved with the setup. My IT team did this.

What other advice do I have?

When I am choosing a product, I think of the quality of service, economy of sale, licensing, implementation, the skill set of documentation, SaaS availability, and skill set. These are the constellations in mind when I'm choosing a product.

I think SharePoint can definitely look at taking it to the next level of customer experience. It's not about how jazzy it looks and so on but it's more of how intuitive it is and how it can basically enable a user-friendly experience. When downloading a document, ask yourself how can you enable it? How can you enable some kind of a decision tree, and how can you have some kind of a bot in there which can do some assistance for the customer who was supposedly struggling to find the document, or is not able to find what to search. The bot can intervene and help the user with some alternate keywords and to clearly define what the user is looking for. Those kinds of things should be the next addition to SharePoint.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
AG
Senior Systems Analyst at KWSP
User
We can monitor when the content is being updated and who is editing it.

What is our primary use case?

It's used as the intranet portal. It is used to inform the users about upcoming activities in the company.

How has it helped my organization?

To share information and latest news. We can monitor when the content is being updated, and we can see who the person is.

What is most valuable?

The list library. And also the document libraries. And also other apps like survey which is heavily used in the company.

What needs improvement?

Advise users to update the content. Maybe allowing users to change their background and text by themselves.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What is our primary use case?

It's used as the intranet portal. It is used to inform the users about upcoming activities in the company.

How has it helped my organization?

To share information and latest news. We can monitor when the content is being updated, and we can see who the person is.

What is most valuable?

The list library. And also the document libraries. And also other apps like survey which is heavily used in the company.

What needs improvement?

  • Advise users to update the content.
  • Maybe allowing users to change their background and text by themselves.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
RD
CIO at MMI Holdings
User
It has helped with document management and sharing with user-controlled security

What is our primary use case?

  • Company intranet and extranet.
  • Enabling the employee workforce to be more efficient in their day-to-day work they need to deliver for the organisation.

How has it helped my organization?

  • Document management and sharing with user-controlled security
  • Ability to use lists, document management, and workflow to manage the hand-off of work efforts internal to the organisation.

What is most valuable?

  • Document libraries (tagging and search)
  • Lists
  • Workflow (added)
  • Security
  • Alerts
  • Publishing features and co-authoring.

It is functionalities that improve the efficiency of the employee workforce.

What needs improvement?

  • Better collaboration, and team sites (social flavour) mobile enabled
  • More and improved integration capabilities into the eco-system of solutions available.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
MichaelSoliman
Owner at Alopex ONE UG
Real User
Leaderboard
The metadata services, the WCF service integration and the Voxel feature are three most valuable elements of this solution.

Pros and Cons

  • "The metadata services, the WCF service integration and the Voxel feature are three most valuable elements of this solution."
  • "Tech support tops off as excellent."
  • "The initial setup was very complex."

What is our primary use case?

I have been using SharePoint for over twelve years. 

It's a big solution comprising many services similar to an active directory installation with connections to Skype, Exchange services, metadata services and stuff like that, it can do basically everything you need in order to deliver something like a Twitter website or similar solutions. So I do not think that anything rivals SharePoint on the market. Maybe if a lot of effort is placed upon some WebLogic solutions, this may happen. But, this would need a lot of customizing.

How has it helped my organization?

So if you want to have something like a business, or if you want to have something like a product catalog and you are selling something like Amazon, you want to uniquely identify your product like Amazon does it with its ASIM numbers and these to be identified with a name. So the service identifying these unique ASIM in numbers with their names which might be localized in English, German, Dutch or other languages. These are being identified by a managed Metadata service. Amazon does something very similar to Metadata and SharePoint. So, that's the basic technology everyone needs for this web service experience and order to identify the same object with different names.

What is most valuable?

The metadata services, the WCF service integration and the Voxel feature are three most valuable elements of this solution. The Voxel feature, for obvious reasons, because you want to implement business processes and you do not want them to stop if the machine stops so they have to be automatically started. This is What the Voxel feature in SharePoint does. The managed Metadata allows you to define your own notions or terms denoting notions within your companies. And I if I want to disarm them, or disarm power supplies of different types, I need something to denote the names pointing to entities, any program can identify.

Perceptively it does what people used to do with the pens and pencils, on paper. For Millennials, by taking a note of what to do on the paper or stone or whatever they have been using and let anyone else read it and execute with it. So what any back flow or business process you have did legal one for King Nebuchadnezzar 2,700 years ago or for any business where you are taking a phone call, we two are doing right now and writing down something or I have to remind myself to do whatever and sent that over to pop and be while having receipts from department A and have to digitally sign it and send out the paper. It streamlines everything for us.

All of this business processes, people have been performing solely within their minds. Maybe automatized with the structural feature, but it depends on all the metadata that has been stored within the managed metadata, service, user profile data or whatever. So you can not just say, "Oh, I want to send a car" to whom do you want to send it to. Which car do you want to send? So, all of these parameters have to be stored somewhere else. This is what drives the business process and SharePoint solution allowing you to automatize them.

What needs improvement?

I would be liking to see the talk features included in SharePoint because Microsoft effectively discontinued this talk and put something like logic apps but only for Azure, and most German companies do not like Windows Azure because they do not want to put that data into a cloud where everyone can see it. So, there's a lot of distrust with Azure environments and you need something to have on premises as a similar solution. And this talk is something like a big playing ground. For instance, if you want to play monopoly and anyone wants to move the pieces but moving the pieces on street A to street B means you are changing your business process from, I have been starting tax declaration, to I've been finding it but not yet sending it out. So, if you wanted to have something like a business process be denoted as a board game, which is what Monopoly did in 1945, effectively.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is very stable if you know what you are doing and make some precautions. Microsoft lists these precautions, but these precautions are not automatized. It would be nice to have precautions such as: disk size, backup checks, or whatever automized that can be integrated with the SCCM team foundations server.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Well, that's one of the strengths because it not just using soap web services where it sends some XML file to different machines, but it's using WCF, which is a version of a web service, web services being used if you have a different machine where you want to call a function. The type of machines we are using now are invented by Alan Turing, a guy from the hacking Enigma code and Robert Dennard, who invented RAM. These types of machines do not allow you to, all functions on the remote machine. If you want to do that, you have to send a hint which is what web services does.

How is customer service and technical support?

I have been using the commercial technical support and they're always professional. It's not cheap, but they are always professional. So if there's problems to be solved, Microsoft tops off as excellent.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very complex. We had to keep in mind all of the backup solutions. It is kind of like remodeling a kitchen. You must think of all of the parts, the architecture, the electricity, the air flow, etc.

What was our ROI?

I think that SharePoint is the best on the market in terms of stability, quality and capability. I also suggest that if a company has chosen SharePoint, the company must have at least a two day training prior to implementation.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The cost is expensive, but worthwhile.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Salvador Sibrian
IT Solutions Architect at a transportation company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
It's just for internet and communication. It's not a busy implementation.

Pros and Cons

  • "It is very stable."
  • "I understand that some functions are lost when you store the information in a file system, so maybe that's a way SharePoint can improve."

What is our primary use case?

It's good but we are not using a lot of load in the system.

How has it helped my organization?

It's the look and feel and maybe the integration with the Office platform.

What is most valuable?

Basically, it's just for internet and communication. It's not a busy implementation.

What needs improvement?

We need the storage of the files, the documents right now are in the database. Maybe SharePoint has to improve the capability to store the information in file systems. In theory right now, it could do that. But, I understand that some functions are lost when you store the information in a file system, so maybe that's a way SharePoint can improve.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is very stable. But, I think it depends on the infrastructure. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's scalable because you can add more and more SharePoint's installations and maybe you can divide the content and everything, so it's scalable.

How is customer service and technical support?

We have not yet had a need to contact tech support.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
JC
Director, Business Development at Armedia
User
Sometimes it cannot handle the amount of co-editing that we do

What is our primary use case?

We use it for collaboration and document management in the process of developing proposal responses.

How has it helped my organization?

SharePoint has made it easier to collaborate across the company during the process of developing proposals.

What is most valuable?

The collaboration is incredibly helpful.  The ability to have version control and co-editing is vital to our workflows.

What needs improvement?

SharePoint sometimes cannot handle the amount of co-editing that we do. Of course, this could be the user, not the tool.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What is our primary use case?

We use it for collaboration and document management in the process of developing proposal responses.

How has it helped my organization?

SharePoint has made it easier to collaborate across the company during the process of developing proposals.

What is most valuable?

  • The collaboration is incredibly helpful. 
  • The ability to have version control and co-editing is vital to our workflows.

What needs improvement?

SharePoint sometimes cannot handle the amount of co-editing that we do. Of course, this could be the user, not the tool.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
JL
PCV Engineering & Bus Driving Recruitment Consultant at Likewise Consulting
User
Helps with document collaboration and workflow

What is our primary use case?

Enterprise collaboration.

How has it helped my organization?

Helps with document collaboration and workflow. Provides us with a records center.

What is most valuable?

Records center Shared calendar.

What needs improvement?

Ease of use. Improvement on the user interface (UI).

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What is our primary use case?

Enterprise collaboration.

How has it helped my organization?

  • Helps with document collaboration and workflow.
  • Provides us with a records center.

What is most valuable?

  • Records center
  • Shared calendar.

What needs improvement?

  • Ease of use.
  • Improvement on the user interface (UI).

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
MD
Owner at CTC
User
The product makes it easy to manage lists, forms, searching, and security

Pros and Cons

  • "The product makes it easy to manage lists, forms, searching, and security. One of the most valuable features is its integration with Active Directory."
  • "Processing data from multiple site collections is not easy as they reside in different databases."
  • "The management of the product/back-end is complex."

What is our primary use case?

Collaboration and document sharing are the primary reasons for using SharePoint. We have used the product in many government agencies for documents management, workflow, enterprise search, departmental solutions, Intranet, etc.

How has it helped my organization?

SharePoint is a big product with many features including customization flexibilities. We have deployed it in many government agencies which were in much need of process and automation improvements.

What is most valuable?

The product makes it easy to manage lists, forms, searching, and security. One of the most valuable features is its integration with Active Directory.

What needs improvement?

  • Processing data from multiple site collections is not easy as they reside in different databases. 
  • The management of the product/back-end is complex.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We have purchased add-ons to handle multiple site collections, form creation, and design. 

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Consultants.
Kumar_Rajesh
Vice President & Head Technology Transition at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Consultant
While the tool has more functionality available, it should have more user-friendly customization

Pros and Cons

  • "It allows for simultaneous users to be on it."
  • "Information is much more readily available."
  • "SharePoint has made things easier with the increased functionality for building the portals, microsites, and total integration with Microsoft categories."
  • "It should have more user-friendly customization, as it still requires developers to get engaged and build sites."
  • "I would like it to be more compliant with global regulations. There are certain features which could be included that currently are not there, such as compliance and record management capabilities."

What is our primary use case?

My primary use case is largely content management. The product is good.

How has it helped my organization?

  • Information is much more readily available. 
  • There is more functionality available.
  • It allows for simultaneous users to be on it.

What is most valuable?

A combination of:

  • Auditing
  • Logging
  • Collaboration.

It has been very useful and easy to use.

What needs improvement?

It should have more user-friendly customization, as it still requires developers to get engaged and build sites.

I would like it to be more compliant with global regulations. There are certain features which could be included that currently are not there, such as compliance and record management capabilities.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is very stability. I don't foresee any issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have not faced scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

I would rate Microsoft technical support as a six out of 10. They are just okay.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Previously, we were using file share. We switched because SharePoint made things easier with the increased functionality for building the portals, microsites, and total integration with Microsoft categories.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was fairly complex, but that may just be our environment. A fair amount of design and consolidation needed to go into it.

What other advice do I have?

With this product, have a decent skill set in-house. 

Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: support.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
KM
Cloud Solution Architect at a tech services company with 1-10 employees
Real User
Its cloud-based technology is more accessible, but we would like to see more security features

What is our primary use case?

Compared to other products, SharePoint is not only a content manager, but a wider product, like enterprise content management. You can use multiple components in SharePoint. Moreover, SharePoint is already moving to cloud, if you are using SharePoint online, which is cloud-based technology, it is more accessible. 

What is most valuable?

Data classification Search These two elements are cheap.

What needs improvement?

We would like more security features, like automating. 

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There are some limitations on storage. 

How is customer service and technical support?

The product and technical support teams are really good.

How was

What is our primary use case?

Compared to other products, SharePoint is not only a content manager, but a wider product, like enterprise content management. You can use multiple components in SharePoint. Moreover, SharePoint is already moving to cloud, if you are using SharePoint online, which is cloud-based technology, it is more accessible. 

What is most valuable?

  • Data classification
  • Search

These two elements are cheap.

What needs improvement?

We would like more security features, like automating. 

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There are some limitations on storage. 

How is customer service and technical support?

The product and technical support teams are really good.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The replacement costs for it are cheaper if you use only SharePoint.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
RB
System Manager at a financial services firm with 11-50 employees
Real User
Widely used and well known, there are always solutions for any problems we encounter

Pros and Cons

  • "It's stable. It's very widely used by companies. Also, the knowledge of the product has improved over the years, and by other companies that support it or are Microsoft SharePoint partners. So if there are problems, there's always a user or company that knows the information or can help you; even with very uncommon problems."
  • "The integration with Outlook could be improved."

What is our primary use case?

The use case is based on internal processes. We want a central place for storing data, documents, and user processes, to automate processes.

In this case, it's a financial program. All customers starting our financial program are automatically created on SharePoint. From there, all the documents that are related to each customer will be stored on SharePoint, and we then use it as a kind of a black box. You put everything in, you do not know where it is. Then we have other applications around it that give you information that you need. Or you can save it and, based on customer information or the kind of document, it knows where to store it on SharePoint.

How has it helped my organization?

It manages processes. I personally think a very strong point is that we use it in combination with OneDrive. Now that we have been handed the GDPR law enforcement, in combination with OneDrive, we can synchronize documents or part of a customer's information to a laptop. If they make changes it will automatically be synchronized back. In the case of a lost or defective device, you always have the information. I think this is a very strong point.

What is most valuable?

It's stable. It's very widely used by companies. Also, the knowledge of the product has improved over the years, and by other companies that support it or are Microsoft SharePoint partners. So if there are problems, there's always a user or company that knows the information or can help you; even with very uncommon problems.

Another strong feature is the search engine. It can search all documents. It can find everything.

We also have our own developers. What we want with SharePoint, we can program it and create many reports, every kind of information needed. Developers can easily create an application for it and display this information.

What needs improvement?

We are mainly using third-party tools for it, at the moment, for automating processes. In the new version, for 2019, I know that some of the processes are finally in SharePoint. They are a now using third-party tools for it.

Also, the integration with Outlook could be improved.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's fairly easy to scale. You can just add front-ends to it. Just a little installation and it's done. It's very easy to expand.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is very good.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

The switch was handed to our default supplier of software, in this case, Microsoft. The whole platform we used was based on Microsoft.

It's not a vendor we select, we select a product. After that, we look at the vendor. If the product looks good, promising, and it looks stable - and of course we test it before we go any further with it - then we look at the vendor, especially the support. Then we find other cases, where they have implemented a similar product or feature and ask for their feedback.

How was the initial setup?

A partner initially installed it. That was the start of our use of SharePoint. I believe there was a lack of information or a lack of knowledge on the part of the external party that initiated this project. As our internal IT department has improved, the setup of SharePoint - we migrated to a new version - has improved.

What other advice do I have?

My advice would depend on the use case. SharePoint, for us, is the most suitable because we use mainly Microsoft products. So for us, it's the way to go because the integration is solid. If colleagues have other products, it depends on what they're asking. Look at the best option. It's not that I'm saying, "You have to use this product because it's the greatest." Consider what you need, what you want.

It's very stable. I don't call it a document management system, I call it a multifunctional document system. You can do a lot of things with it. It's just incredible how much. I really like that we have been able to automate a few steps that people had to do. Also, this process was only possible with SharePoint, because of the integration of other Office products. We're using the basic Microsoft suite and integration was a very big part of it.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
JY
Information Technology Manager at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Real User
Needs to be better integrated with all Microsoft solutions

How has it helped my organization?

Everyone knows SharePoint. It is very common.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable facet of SharePoint is the content, the ideas, all the information, all in one content management system. But I don't think we have explored or used 100 percent of the capabilities of SharePoint.

What needs improvement?

They need to integrate all the solutions, for example, Office 365, into SharePoint. The idea is to create a workplace for people in the company. There should be only one place - it could be Skype for Business, OneDrive - for the news, for internal information about the company, or new documents. This is the idea, to create an ecosystem for people in the company.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability is okay. The performance is great.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is not high. It's medium.

How is customer service and technical support?

We have support with Microsoft, we pay for support for every year. The support is okay.

How was the initial setup?

You need Microsoft or a partner involved for setup.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We are looking for increased functionality on SharePoint or to change to something else. We have a CapEx for content management and I'm looking for the best solution for my company.

The most important criterion in selecting a vendor is that the solution gives me value. It should be very easy to integrate with workflow or BPM. I'm looking for a partner and a solution that gives me value.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
GP
OTA Manager, VRA at US Army - TARDEC
User
Its configuration management ability is critical for document-based systems

What is our primary use case?

Most departments use SharePoint for their own organizational homepages and their document repositories

How has it helped my organization?

It is better than static repositories via shared drives, and better than having to use software that is not mainstream (i.e. Microsoft is very mainstream).

What is most valuable?

Its configuration management ability is critical for document-based systems. It offers ease of use, which is crucial.

What needs improvement?

During uptime under our network, it is hard to find info when content is hefty. It should have a Google-caliber search ability and a model-based GUI.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What is our primary use case?

Most departments use SharePoint for their own organizational homepages and their document repositories

How has it helped my organization?

It is better than static repositories via shared drives, and better than having to use software that is not mainstream (i.e. Microsoft is very mainstream).

What is most valuable?

  • Its configuration management ability is critical for document-based systems.
  • It offers ease of use, which is crucial.

What needs improvement?

  • During uptime under our network, it is hard to find info when content is hefty.
  • It should have a Google-caliber search ability and a model-based GUI.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
MJ
User
User
Enabled staff to share documents and work on a document simultaneously

Pros and Cons

  • "SharePoint enabled the staff to share documents and work on a document simultaneously."
  • "Our staff found it simpler, as they did not have to work within a classification system."
  • "Staff training is reduced because learning basic SharePoint is not as complicated as an EDRMS."
  • "It does not integrate despite being part of the Microsoft family."

What is our primary use case?

Used as a site for staff to add records. It is integrated with RecordPoint in the back-end, so the staff did not have to work within an EDRMS.

How has it helped my organization?

SharePoint enabled the staff to share documents and work on a document simultaneously. Our staff found it simpler, as they did not have to work within a classification system (it was all done in the background).

What is most valuable?

Sharing of information is much easier within an organisation and staff training is reduced because learning basic SharePoint is not as complicated as an EDRMS.

What needs improvement?

Integration with Outlook would be a major improvement. Staff also commented that it does not integrate despite being part of the Microsoft family.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
AM
Business Technology Analyst at Deloitte
Vendor
Increased employee collaboration across our organization

What is our primary use case?

Document and data management Information sharing across the organization Collaboration Knowledge management

How has it helped my organization?

Improved transparency around work products. Ease of access to documents. Increased employee collaboration across our organization.

What is most valuable?

The ability to easily upload and modify documents has been a huge help. In addition, the ability to quickly and easily create team sites has been great.

What needs improvement?

SharePoint designer workflows can be buggy sometimes without any apparent reason. Also, customization can be somewhat burdensome.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What is our primary use case?

  • Document and data management
  • Information sharing across the organization
  • Collaboration
  • Knowledge management

How has it helped my organization?

  • Improved transparency around work products.
  • Ease of access to documents.
  • Increased employee collaboration across our organization.

What is most valuable?

The ability to easily upload and modify documents has been a huge help. In addition, the ability to quickly and easily create team sites has been great.

What needs improvement?

SharePoint designer workflows can be buggy sometimes without any apparent reason. Also, customization can be somewhat burdensome.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user799479
Assistant Manager at Li & Fung
User
It speeds up document sharing. Replication needs improvement.

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use is document sharing.

How has it helped my organization?

It has improve our organization by speeding up document sharing.

What is most valuable?

Its most valuable feature is the document library.

What needs improvement?

Replication needs improvement.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use is document sharing.

How has it helped my organization?

It has improve our organization by speeding up document sharing.

What is most valuable?

Its most valuable feature is the document library.

What needs improvement?

Replication needs improvement.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user880446
Lead Engineer at AVENCOM
User
Its functionality is enormous, but the product is too heavy

What is our primary use case?

We are a middle-sized company with around 200 users.  We use SharePoint for some basic business processes: CRM, ECM, etc. Our maturity reached a certain level and it allowed for some further improvement.

How has it helped my organization?

Company portal was finally set up. The CRM system for the commercial department went into production and opened the door for further improvements, KPIs, and metrics.

What is most valuable?

Its functionality is enormous.  It looks nice.  It has good integration with other MS products.  It is well supported by Microsoft.

What needs improvement?

It is too heavy. MS should not have paid foreign coders dollars per each row of code. They wasted the stability and reliability in the end.

For how long have I used the

What is our primary use case?

We are a middle-sized company with around 200 users. 

We use SharePoint for some basic business processes: CRM, ECM, etc. Our maturity reached a certain level and it allowed for some further improvement.

How has it helped my organization?

Company portal was finally set up. The CRM system for the commercial department went into production and opened the door for further improvements, KPIs, and metrics.

What is most valuable?

  • Its functionality is enormous. 
  • It looks nice. 
  • It has good integration with other MS products. 
  • It is well supported by Microsoft.

What needs improvement?

It is too heavy. MS should not have paid foreign coders dollars per each row of code. They wasted the stability and reliability in the end.

For how long have I used the solution?

Still implementing.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user848835
Manager at cavok
User
It keeps our company organized and everything is in one place

What is our primary use case?

It is a whole package solution: Document management Workflows Requests Sites Permissions Integration.

How has it helped my organization?

It keeps our company organized and everything is in one place. It integrates well with the whole Microsoft production. It is flexible, but still structured.

What is most valuable?

There is not just one valuable feature; it is all of them working together:  Document libraries Lists Workflows Sites Integration.

What needs improvement?

The product could be improved in a lot of way. It is so frustrating to get things to work as advertised.  

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

How is customer service and technical support?

The support is the worst. It is bad when Microsoft support…

What is our primary use case?

It is a whole package solution:

  • Document management
  • Workflows
  • Requests
  • Sites
  • Permissions
  • Integration.

How has it helped my organization?

It keeps our company organized and everything is in one place. It integrates well with the whole Microsoft production. It is flexible, but still structured.

What is most valuable?

There is not just one valuable feature; it is all of them working together: 

  • Document libraries
  • Lists
  • Workflows
  • Sites
  • Integration.

What needs improvement?

The product could be improved in a lot of way. It is so frustrating to get things to work as advertised.  

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

How is customer service and technical support?

The support is the worst. It is bad when Microsoft support does not even know what to do and you have to tell them. Also, they take too long to solve a problem.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user848442
Founder at ARICAN Proje Merkezi
User
It is very expensive.​ It arranges all our documents on one platform so we can view changes and edits.

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use of SharePoint is document management and collaboration from our team. It is very important for us.

How has it helped my organization?

We can arrange all our documents on one platform and see the document's changes and edits. We can arrange all the document archives.

What is most valuable?

Office 365 integration is most valuable thing in SharePoint. It is so much easier to create documents. 

What needs improvement?

Using SharePoint is difficult. It will fully use your system resources. 

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

It is very expensive.

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use of SharePoint is document management and collaboration from our team. It is very important for us.

How has it helped my organization?

We can arrange all our documents on one platform and see the document's changes and edits. We can arrange all the document archives.

What is most valuable?

Office 365 integration is most valuable thing in SharePoint. It is so much easier to create documents. 

What needs improvement?

Using SharePoint is difficult. It will fully use your system resources. 

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

It is very expensive.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user836682
Technical Project Manager with 501-1,000 employees
User
Information is now available instantly to managers on all devices

Pros and Cons

  • "Information is now available instantly to managers on all devices."
  • "The ability to take Excel files and make them dynamic SharePoint lists with instant reporting capabilities has been a major benefit."
  • "OneDrive and SharePoint provide a secure, fully auditable way of storing information."
  • "Annoyingly, many new Office 365 apps always end up being only US locale for the first year of their life. Microsoft needs to realise that most of their customers are not in the USA."
  • "You still need a bit of expertise to add branding."
  • "The company also needs to make sure that their policies are dictating how information is stored and used, instead of letting SharePoint take control."

What is our primary use case?

Majority of our employees (around 800) all have Office 365 E3 Enterprise licences. Using at first purely email and Skype, we have now created a SharePoint Intranet and all users now use OneDrive.

Teams are now being linked to SharePoint document libraries and embraced by many of our departments. Yammer is now the centre communication tool for company-wide information. We are starting to find the benefits of Power BI, Forms, and Stream.

How has it helped my organization?

It has allowed improved auditing and opened up the cloud. Considerable in-house savings. We are able to add IRM and DLP to company information. This has made the auditors happy.

We have given users a common platform and increased reporting. Information is now available instantly to managers on all devices. 

What is most valuable?

The ability to take Excel files and make them dynamic SharePoint lists with instant reporting capabilities has been a major benefit. Teams are now heavily used in how all our departments work.

Skype/Teams are now the main way our company communicates internally. OneDrive and SharePoint provide a secure, fully auditable way of storing information.

What needs improvement?

You still need a bit of expertise to add branding. It is still important to have Super Users to keep moving sites forward. 

The company needs to make sure that their policies are dictating how information is stored and used, instead of letting SharePoint take control. 

Annoyingly, many new Office 365 apps always end up being only US locale for the first year of their life. Microsoft needs to realise that most of their customers are not in the USA. 

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user816477
Consultant
User
Moved from papers to digital

What is our primary use case?

Digitizing the document flow, storage, exchange and backups along with integration of Epicor. Also, it provided a direct interface with third-parties.

How has it helped my organization?

Moved from papers to digital.  Removed the need of paper storage and people flow into the office.

What is most valuable?

Document flows, storage, and numbering take off the actions for checking and assigning the numbering and running around with approvals and pre-approvals. 

What needs improvement?

Improve the user-friendliness. Make it more intuitive. Make it more like a flow/BPM view style. More hints and make it more user-customizable.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What is our primary use case?

Digitizing the document flow, storage, exchange and backups along with integration of Epicor. Also, it provided a direct interface with third-parties.

How has it helped my organization?

  • Moved from papers to digital. 
  • Removed the need of paper storage and people flow into the office.

What is most valuable?

Document flows, storage, and numbering take off the actions for checking and assigning the numbering and running around with approvals and pre-approvals. 

What needs improvement?

  • Improve the user-friendliness.
  • Make it more intuitive.
  • Make it more like a flow/BPM view style.
  • More hints and make it more user-customizable.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user227412
Technical Writer at a tech company with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Automates the version control, change control, and publication processes. I would like to see a more powerful and easily configurable search feature.

What is our primary use case?

We use SharePoint as a document management solution.  It has allowed us to centralise and more efficiently manage our templates, letterheads and other company-branded elements.  Our Document Library is a central repository for our user manuals making it easy for consultants to access the right information for each implementation.  We also use SharePoint to manage our policies and procedures. 

How has it helped my organization?

SharePoint has streamlined our documentation management process by allowing us to automate several functions. The version control function has been particularly useful, helping us keep detailed records of changes to documentation. This has removed the risk of human error and streamlined the process.  The ability to review the notes for each version has and to easily revert to a previous version has proven useful.

SharePoint has also helped us improve the accessibility of official company documentation across our different teams.

In conjunction with SharePoint Designer, we’ve also been able to create a social hub on our SharePoint homepage where we can share news, photos, and company announcements.

What is most valuable?

SharePoint's document management and workflow features have proven to be the valuable. We have been able to implement a reliable, easily accessible document library with version control (previously managed manually) and an announcements workflow that allows us to communicate site specific news easily.

What needs improvement?

I find the search feature in SharePoint foundation to be limited to the basic document properties. This is at odds to the type of customization that you can apply in the library. For example, we added a field to specify the department but found that the field had little or no bearing on the search results. We found it hard to determine how SharePoint uses the document properties in the search, and whether it uses anything beyond the document title.
Once we had a better understanding of Foundation's limitations, we updated our properties accordingly, with a strong focus on the document title property as a search term. This involved an extensive rework of our existing documentation structure and naming conventions to better suit SharePoint. Despite these changes, we still can't seem to get our version of SharePoint to return meaningful results, even when searching an exact document title.
I realize that this is a limitation of the version that we are using but I would like the Foundation search criteria to be more clearly defined so that document managers know what they are working with from the start.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have had no stability issues that I am aware of.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

So far, we have not had any issues with scalability. We are investigating upgrading to the Enterprise edition in the future, so this may change.

How are customer service and technical support?

Our technical support is all in-house, so I can’t really supply a meaningful response.

I have found a wealth of support information (on SharePoint blogs and forums) which has helped me troubleshoot a variety of issues.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

As already mentioned, our previous documentation solution was manual, using a folder structure accessible through Windows Explorer.

The switch to SharePoint was motivated by the desire to improve availability of our documentation and to streamline our document management processes.

How was the initial setup?

Initially, I was only involved in the setup of the document management portion of our site. I found it very user-friendly and easy to configure.

Since then, I have been involved in the setup and maintenance of a second site from scratch. Although certain aspects have been quite easy to configure, I experienced a lot of difficulty when working with user permissions and content types.

The content types were difficult to configure initially. When I need to edit or update certain properties, I could not determine where, or how, to change them. We eventually decided to remove them from our implementation.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I’m not able to offer an informed opinion about pricing, but if you are looking for a robust document management system, the Enterprise edition might be the better choice.

The metadata features promise to improve the document search function. The built-in document management workflows seem very promising. These are the features motivating our desire to upgrade.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We considered replacing our SharePoint system with Atlassian Confluence. Although it does offer basic document management, it is not robust enough to meet our document management needs.

SharePoint has built in document management functionality, while Confluence relies on macros and third-party apps. We felt that the risk of relying on potentially unsupported apps outweighed any other benefits.

We still use Confluence as a collaborative work space and will be using the Confluence wikis as our knowledge base solution.

What other advice do I have?

Our implementation could have been improved by a more detailed implementation plan that mapped out the exact use of each area and how to use it.

With this in mind, I would recommend that anyone who is considering SharePoint plan their implementation thoroughly before beginning.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We are a registered Microsoft partner.
it_user802194
Business Analyst, Global IT with 5,001-10,000 employees
User
Provides combined reports and data with timeline tracking. Emails stored now do not display metadata in native format.

What is our primary use case?

Small process tracking for in-house requirements investigations, which are shared across several departments.

How has it helped my organization?

Combined reports and data with timeline tracking. Better than looking into three systems to find the full picture.

What is most valuable?

Metadata store Cascade dropdowns for selection of data sets.  

What needs improvement?

Links to Outlook and native storage of emails.  Emails stored now do not display metadata in native format. No good process to import emails from several users into a single comprehensive SP repository. The linkages to external record stores could be beefed up.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What is our primary use case?

Small process tracking for in-house requirements investigations, which are shared across several departments.

How has it helped my organization?

  • Combined reports and data with timeline tracking.
  • Better than looking into three systems to find the full picture.

What is most valuable?

  • Metadata store
  • Cascade dropdowns for selection of data sets.  

What needs improvement?

  • Links to Outlook and native storage of emails. 
  • Emails stored now do not display metadata in native format.
  • No good process to import emails from several users into a single comprehensive SP repository.
  • The linkages to external record stores could be beefed up.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user803202
analyst, programmer
User
It has made us faster and more efficient

What is our primary use case?

Some solutions have been implemented in the company that I work for. Most of them are based on workflows and team collaboration.

How has it helped my organization?

It has made us faster and more efficient. Users just like working in this environment, as an MS Office desktop.

What is most valuable?

Team collaboration Unique permissions MS Office web access  Quantity and variety of partners with solution development ability on the platform.

What needs improvement?

Allow more functionalities for the on-premise version. Do not force the move of content to a non-private cloud.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What is our primary use case?

Some solutions have been implemented in the company that I work for. Most of them are based on workflows and team collaboration.

How has it helped my organization?

It has made us faster and more efficient. Users just like working in this environment, as an MS Office desktop.

What is most valuable?

  • Team collaboration
  • Unique permissions
  • MS Office web access 
  • Quantity and variety of partners with solution development ability on the platform.

What needs improvement?

Allow more functionalities for the on-premise version. Do not force the move of content to a non-private cloud.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Andy Sworan
VP, CRS Manager at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Offers an easy way to store unstructured content and to tag it with metadata

Pros and Cons

  • "It offers an easy way to store unstructured content (.pdf, .doc, .xls, images) and to tag them with metadata."
  • "Too many versions being released in a short time period. Too much time being devoted to migration planning."

What is most valuable?

It offers an easy way to store unstructured content (.pdf, .doc, .xls, images) and to tag them with metadata. More complex solutions may involve workflow up receipt of the content.

How has it helped my organization?

Replace paper file cabinets with electronic images which can be duplicated for disaster recovery purposes. Workflow can be used to notify or obtain approval covering the document.

What needs improvement?

Too many versions being released in a short time period. Too much time being devoted to migration planning.

For how long have I used the solution?

Over 10 years, working with different versions up through 2013.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability issues are usually related to poor architecture planning, or solutions developed without a knowledge of how the tool works.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

If properly deployed, the solution is very scalable. It’s really easy to have many servers in a farm solution, and many farms in an enterprise solution.

How are customer service and technical support?

Trying to get technical support from Microsoft is always challenging. It seems large Fortune 1000 companies can get support.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

You can deploy a web/database solution but it will take a lot of development time. SharePoint is a Rapid Application Development platform where a simple library, indexed, can be deployed in minutes.

How was the initial setup?

The setup is straightforward, however many of the architecture issues should be discussed prior to deployment. Matching the setup to the organization’s needscan make the installation complex.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

It’s not cheap. Through version 2010, there was a "free" version called Foundation. All of the good features are in the Standard and Enterprise versions. Starting with 2013, the Foundation version was discontinued.
Licensing can be by server or by seat.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

There are similar solutions, like Lotus Notes/Domino and open source versions.

Open source rarely offers support, and I wouldn’t want to have a systems issue with all of my content locked up.

What other advice do I have?

As long as you work within the constraints of the software, working with out-of-the-box tools, the product is great. If you start to customize the solution too much or install code on the servers, migrations and upgrades become a problem.

Spend some time and money up front discussing your wants and needs with someone who is knowledgeable. For content management, think about the whole lifecycle, from receipt to purging the content from your system.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Technology Manager - Applications at a local government with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
It has an easy to distribute administration capability. The licensing structures don’t fit the needs of their products.

Pros and Cons

  • "It has an easy to distribute administration capability, and can also scale to meet a large number of future needs."
  • "The product does not perform 100% when used outside of a Microsoft based browser, Chrome, Firefox, etc."

What is most valuable?

It has an easy to distribute administration capability, and can also scale to meet a large number of future needs. It also has the ability to produce very simple web application development products, freeing up my team’s development activities for more advanced needs.

How has it helped my organization?

We mainly use this product for our intranet and capital projects team. It has allowed each business unit the ability to “own” their portion of the intranet, and allowed our capital projects team the ability to effectively manage projects that require a multitude records request requirements and archival tasks. It is very customizable, and it possesses a very logical architecture.

What needs improvement?

As usual, Microsoft’s licensing structures don’t really seem to fit the needs of their products. This leads to always paying for a project you will never use fully or always be adding to. Also, the product does not perform 100% when used outside of a Microsoft based browser, Chrome, Firefox, etc. It’s getting better, but the architecture is still behind. This is largely the case for mobile as well.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have used this solution for almost nine years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of the system is fine, so long as you have a well prepared support team for your Windows offerings.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is one of the great strengths of the product, in that it scales very well. As an added benefit, due to the ease of administration, a lead in a business unit can take over such responsibilities.

How are customer service and technical support?

The level of technical support from Microsoft is very little to poor.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We did not have a similar solution in place. Our intranet was previously an added product to our hosted CMS. And for Capital Projects, we were using a mixture of standalone Microsoft Project install and file shares.

How was the initial setup?

After getting the infrastructure setup and deployed, installing and rolling out the product was fairly straightforward. A little bit of planning was required to better understand the differences in Web Applications from Site Collections, but that was largely straightforward.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Really take your time in planning the needs you are trying to meet. The licensing is very difficult to get right, and not as easy as many other alternative. Add in about a 15% cost to the initial cost estimates. You will find yourself needing to add something.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did a brief overview of the market, and found that 9 years ago, SharePoint was a viable solution. Since then, we’ve settled on using it in very narrow cases, and fill the majority of our needs with custom development.

What other advice do I have?

Invest a lot of time and energy in the planning for your needs. You will find that infrastructure needs are imperative to map out in the finest detail. Otherwise, your system will be continually under-performing. Also, pay special attention to the CAL needs.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user689550
Sr DevOps Manager at a tech vendor with 51-200 employees
Vendor
It facilitates collaboration and provides the ability to create custom workflows. Extending its functionality is painful.

Pros and Cons

  • "It facilitates collaboration and the ability to create custom workflows."
  • "Flexibility and extensibility, above everything, could be improved."

What is most valuable?

  • Documents storage
  • Collaboration features (lists, discussion boards)
  • Surveys
  • .NET extensibility
  • Workflows

Mostly, because it facilitates collaboration and the ability to create custom workflows.

How has it helped my organization?

For the past few years, we've been mapping some of our manual procedures into SharePoint, through the use of lists, workflows, centralized documents, etc. This has allowed our organization to start moving away from manual and non-standard practices, to more repeatable procedures.

What needs improvement?

Flexibility and extensibility, above everything, could be improved. Extending the functionality of SharePoint is painful, at the bare minimum. Complex .NET coding, testing, debugging is necessary to extend the native functionalities. Even with the new "apps" concept in SharePoint 2013, the difficulties in expanding it are present.

For how long have I used the solution?

I’ve been using SharePoint for the last three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have had difficulty with stability. The configuration and administration of SharePoint is complex. This resulted in incidents when changes to other products were made, like Active Directory or Exchange. Time consuming maintenance tasks are necessary, otherwise your SharePoint instance will become unstable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have had scalability issues. I cannot speak about horizontal scalability, but the mapping of environments (Dev, QA, Production) is difficult. There's no logical segmentation that allows the creation of several environments to facilitate development and testing tasks. Additional instances of SharePoint are necessary.

How are customer service and technical support?

Support is deficient. We depend on local vendors to get access to support and most of the issues we presented took more time to resolve that we wanted. It is not a platform for running business-critical applications.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We did not have a previous solution.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup was complex. The multi-step installation process is complex and has too many dependencies on other Microsoft products, such as Exchange and SQL Server.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I cannot speak about this as our product comes in an MSDN package.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Unfortunately there were no alternatives; I didn't choose this product.

What other advice do I have?

Look for other options from different providers.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Founder/CEO at a computer software company with 51-200 employees
Vendor
There are no happy customers, only happy contractors.
We have used SharePoint for more than eight years. In the 10+ years of being in traditional IT, I have never once heard of a happy customer of SharePoint, only happy contractors and IT personnel who feel safe in their jobs because SharePoint never quite works. I’ve even tried to find a happy customer. I couldn’t.  This is probably harsh criticism to some readers, but in my honest view, SharePoint is a system that only really works for IT departments and the contractors who develop SharePoint, because the solution is folded into the existing enterprise agreements. It’s free because it wouldn’t have value on its own. There are no happy customers of SharePoint, only happy contractors. Let’s talk UX. Employees today have little time for systems that don’t address their needs. If a team…

We have used SharePoint for more than eight years.

In the 10+ years of being in traditional IT, I have never once heard of a happy customer of SharePoint, only happy contractors and IT personnel who feel safe in their jobs because SharePoint never quite works. I’ve even tried to find a happy customer. I couldn’t. 

This is probably harsh criticism to some readers, but in my honest view, SharePoint is a system that only really works for IT departments and the contractors who develop SharePoint, because the solution is folded into the existing enterprise agreements. It’s free because it wouldn’t have value on its own. There are no happy customers of SharePoint, only happy contractors.

Let’s talk UX. Employees today have little time for systems that don’t address their needs. If a team needs the ability to share files and that system restricts them, then IT has failed. SharePoint doesn’t really help in today’s world of mobile access, collaboration and sharing of content. 

SharePoint doesn’t provide real workflow so common practices are always having to be redone. This frustrates end-users and always makes IT look less than capable, which is unfair, because it’s SharePoint.

When systems require lengthy timelines to spin up, require additional expert staff to create and then ultimately under-deliver solutions to end users who then feel constrained, force-fed and unable to use the system, then the only conclusion I can make is that the product is sub-standard. While Microsoft has no doubt put tremendous resources into developing SharePoint (and is now saddled with a massive contractor partner channel that refuses to change its ways), the world has moved on. 

SharePoint requires too much administrator-level effort in order to launch. Typical installations of SharePoint require conversations regarding hardware, storage and access permissions which slow business down. SharePoint requires all of these things because the architecture is — in IT time — ancient and inflexible. Once those lengthy conversations are finished then the actual work begins in order to ensure SharePoint can function. This takes business time, money, and contractors are usually very happy in making sure everything is just right. 

Software should not require additional effort to operate effectively. Business should not need additional outsourced expertise in order to get a fileshare running. Then there are the operating concerns of security, governance and collaboration. SharePoint offers only read or read/write ability to files which is far less than competitors offer for a lower price. 

SharePoint isn’t necessarily any more secure than anything else and doesn’t offer the level of governance required for many companies. It cannot report in-depth user activity or provide policy automation out of the box. Ultimately SharePoint offers less than what you need for more than what you bargained.

Competitors are solidly in the market who offer better workflow, security, governance and collaboration. Box.com offers higher degrees of collaboration AND Office integration than SharePoint. 

If you’re a business that needs to collaborate on content, and has the desire to share that content outside your building to your executives on their phones or vendors in other locations, SharePoint is not the solution for you.


Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Network Manager / Senior Network Engineer at Warnock, Tanner & Associates
Real User
We are using it for boarding processes, PTO requests and company-wide document management.

What is most valuable?

I have found SharePoint team sites to produce much more value to our organization. As a consulting company, it allows multiple consultants to collaborate on a team project for a customer.

We use SharePoint for company-wide document management.

Although the workflow is limited in SharePoint, we have used it for many boarding processes, PTO requests etc.

How has it helped my organization?

SharePoint has streamlined many processes and has provided additional organization for our company. It has become a central location for both documents and productivity.

What needs improvement?

SharePoint has workflow built into the software however it is very simplistic. Third party applications integrate with SharePoint to provide a more feature full workflow. For example, if I wanted to create a workflow for new employee onboarding process I could use SharePoint built in workflow. Doing so would provide me limited configuration options, no version control, only attach to one list, sequential workflow only, and not very customizable.

Using a third party you can create intuitive workflows, customize branding with CSS, easy drag and drop implementation, comprehensive workflows actions (loops, foreach, parallel actions, variables), and maintain retention history.

I would like to see it built-in the product itself.


For how long have I used the solution?

I have used this solution for two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Some stability issues have been found with the database. From the infrastructure side, most people use dedicated databases for SharePoint so a simple reboot usually fixes the communication issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

SharePoint is extremely scalable but requires planning ahead of time.

You must answer some questions about your environment in order to determine the number of servers and also as to what SharePoint function(s) they will serve for meeting the demands of your organization.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have never used Microsoft technical support for SharePoint in particular. However, Microsoft support is very good.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Initially, we were using simple file shares and emails for this purpose.

How was the initial setup?

SharePoint can be very complex to set up initially both in terms of the infrastructure as well as the backend design and implementation. The more scalable the environment, the more complex the setup will be. Generally, third-party consultants will be needed to implement the solution.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

There are two options with SharePoint. They have an on-premises and a cloud solution as well.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We have not evaluated any other solution before this one.

What other advice do I have?

You will need to hire and communicate with a third-party consultant.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We're Microsoft partners.
ITCS user
Project Manager at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Consultant
Among the most useful features are the site permissions and the social enterprise features.

What is most valuable?

Among the most useful features I like are: the site permissions (distributed governance model), the social enterprise features (micro blogs, activity feeds, community sites, Following, Likes and Reputations), app store, search and query, external data access, security, site management and site customizations.

How has it helped my organization?

It's been a process-improvement catalyst in the sense that it enabled and empowered real-time collaboration and dashboard tracking of business intelligence reports and performance analytics. It's certainly reduced the number of hours needed to create, update and maintain worksheets and forms hosted on legacy systems, databases and it also reduced overhead on obsolete file repositories.

What needs improvement?

Well, for SharePoint Online, the add-on features which are free tend to expire within a month or earlier. It would be great if these free add-on features would last longer or last permanently.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using SharePoint since 2012.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

We have not encountered any deployment issues, fortunately.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have not encountered any stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have not encountered any scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

The customer service I would rate a 3.5 out of 5 (5 being highest); responsive, timely, proactive.

Technical Support:

The tech support I would rate a 3.5 out of 5 (5 being highest); responsive, strategic, proactive and precise.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We used an open-source CMS (Joomla-based) and due to the limitations, we switched to SharePoint.

How was the initial setup?

Very straightforward setup and not that complex.

What about the implementation team?

We used our in-house support team to deliver the implementation.

What was our ROI?

Not sure about ROI.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Do your due diligence first and conduct an in-depth discovery session with stakeholders prior to designing your solution that uses SharePoint as a platform

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Alfresco and Confluence, and then decided on SharePoint.

What other advice do I have?

Ease of use, ease of setup, ease of administration, ease of configuration, ease of customization... what's not to like? SharePoint's got exactly what you need. Just don't expect too many frills, bells, whistles in terms of UI, but even then, it gets the job done.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user631614
Senior Technology Architect at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Some of the valuable features are collaboration, DLP, and the search capability.

What is most valuable?

Collaboration, DLP, and the search capability are some of the features I like the most.

How has it helped my organization?

It has improved our productivity to a great extent with its great collaboration features. Previously, business users were sharing documents through emails while different people contributed to the same document. This created a lot of confusion, such as:

  • Issues with merging changes from some users
  • No tracking of changes
  • Version management

The business users had to spend a lot of time to get this to closure. SharePoint has helped a great deal in this space.

What needs improvement?

  • UX
  • Performance (especially Office 365): This is an issues when the sites are accessed from Asia/Australia, which is bad compared to accessing from the USA
  • The mobile experience

For how long have I used the solution?

I have worked with this platform/tool for more than eight years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The current version is very stable compared to versions 2007 and 2010.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There are some performance issues with respect to the amount of data that has to be stored.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is very good.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have seen customers using other tools and switching to SharePoint. Technology upgrades and feature upgrades are the key reasons for this.

How was the initial setup?

The setup is complex, as you need to consider lots of things for the farm design.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The pricing is good. I have heard that MS gives very good deals on volume licensing.

What other advice do I have?

It's a good tool, but be prepared to adapt to the new way of working with SharePoint and Office 365. They bring their own new features which are very good, but you will experience a learning curve.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Practice Manager and Solutions Architect at a tech vendor with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
It has transformed the way departments collaborate.

What is most valuable?

Depending on the customer’s needs, one or more features become more relevant and important. If I were to generalize and extract the most common features that the customers have used, I would say:

  • Web\document content management
  • Integration with the Office suite
  • Collaboration over the content, sites, BI, search, and workflows
  • One or two-way integration with other enterprise applications

I see the strength of SharePoint working as an extendable framework/platform for customers of various sizes, on premise as well as on the cloud, but not as an independent niche product/solution around a specific feature.

How has it helped my organization?

Our Intranet is built using SocialXtend, a SharePoint based product.

It has transformed the way we do our daily tasks and the way the departments collaborate over projects, opportunities, and other operational activities.

Knowledge sharing and access to information has been highly simplified.

What needs improvement?

Almost all of the areas of the product have room for improvement; some more than others.

  • At a high level, mobile, custom development/testing frameworks, BCS, external services integration, and BI may need to catch up more as compared to the other feature sets.
  • SharePoint is a combination of multiple products working together. It has come a long way, and the improvements are being pushed at a much faster pace than they used to be earlier. This fail-fast approach of adding features quickly instead of a longer release cycle is a much better way to develop a product in my opinion.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using SharePoint since 2001 in multiple capacities, such as a solution host, or as a full-fledged enterprise solution for on premise, as well as on the cloud.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

My personal observation is that if the implementations are done in the right way by following the recommended best practices and guidelines, the product works just fine.

To be clear, I am referring to all the underlying products (IIS, SQL Server) as well as to the O/S.

There have been genuine issues. However, we have used SharePoint and CU to address them.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have not had scalability issues in SharePoint 2010 and onwards.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is good.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We used solutions from the Java world. Those, as well as this one, are based on the customers' needs.

How was the initial setup?

For simple farms, things are pretty straightforward. But for complex farms, I have not yet had that experience.

To be fair, it’s not SharePoint all the time. It’s a combination of other environmental factors and third-party products as well.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We are Microsoft Gold Partners.
ITCS user
Technical Writer and Developer at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
Consultant
The search function locates and updates information for our global and diverse teams. I’ve had difficulties creating new pages.

What is most valuable?

Documentation management is the most valuable feature for me. As a technical writer, the ability to add, edit, manage and move documents is a daily task and SharePoint allows me to do that effectively.

The search function is imperative in this product and used frequently to locate and update information for our global and diverse teams.

How has it helped my organization?

SharePoint has allowed our organization to effectively share important information across lines of business globally. I am able to deliver effective information to all of our internal orgs immediately and can receive feedback for updates in real time.

What needs improvement?

I’ve personally experienced some difficulties in creating new pages, as this tool isn’t a web designer’s dream. Providing a list of existing pages that are named the same or similar to the new pages one might create would be helpful. Being able to toggle into those pages without exiting your original page would also be beneficial. I’ve also noticed limitations with copying and pasting fonts and images.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used it for seven months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I did not encounter any stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I did not encounter any scalability issues.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Our company has used other solutions to meet various needs. We are still in the process of converting into using SharePoint for our knowledge base, etc.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Before choosing this product, I also evaluated Confluence and ZenDesk.

What other advice do I have?

Create a structure for organizational pages from the beginning and document that for anyone who wants to create new pages/structures within it. One confusing thing I see often are existing pages that are “named” the same as ones that I need to create, and the existing page doesn’t have any of the information I’m trying to share.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
IT & PMO Manager at a retailer with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
Integrates with Office 365 and Active Directory. We went with it because of it's familiarity to our users.

What is most valuable?

Integration with Office 365 and Active Directory, and access from all our company users as part of the Office 365 licenses. Also, hassle free access from mobile devices to sites, forms, and lists, with powerful content search and preview.

How has it helped my organization?

We use it for all intensive document sharing business units and especially for document versioning control (quality control area in manufacturing). We also use the online forms (Infopath) to automate simple procedures in conjunction with Microsoft Flow..

What needs improvement?

The cloud-local file synchronization application (OneDrive for Business). It is not as simple as expected, but it works.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used SharePoint since 2013. From on-premise to the online version.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

Sharepoint Online is a mature product.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have had no issues with stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have had no issues with scalability, but you must buy additional storage if you use the given amount within your tenant (enterprise plans: 1 TB + .5 GB per subscribed user).

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

The customer service is very good.

Technical Support:

Technical support is really good; fast responses and good resolutions within the standard included support.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We used SharePoint 2010 on premise. We switched due to the license cost and to give access to all our company users. Also, because SPO was included in the Office 365 plans. As a SaaS, it is always up to date.

How was the initial setup?

Setup was not complex at all. We used third party tools to migrate productive sites and the new sites were created easily. The main difficulty is user adoption. It must be done with a lot of workshops.

What about the implementation team?

We implement through a Microsoft Partner. The expertise was very high.

What was our ROI?

No ROI calculation, but today we have almost all of our procedures online - paperless office.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

You can always make a good deal with Microsoft, especially shortly before the end of their fiscal year (July).

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did a business case and technical evaluation of Google Apps and Office 365. The winner was Office 365 due to user familiarity.

What other advice do I have?

It is always good to start with a special need in a business unit and show quick wins to other units, as part of the adoption plan.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
IT Business Analyst for Sales Enablement with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
I like the way we can create the views of documents and create column metadata. The mobile experience is wanting.

What is most valuable?

  • Document management and permissions: For the document management functionality, I really like the way that we can create the views of documents and very easily create column metadata.
  • The flexibility of document sets and being able to manage access with permissions
  • The permissions functionality is outstanding. There is the ability to have group or individual permissions. The complete granularity of being able to apply permissions at collection, site, library, list, folder, and doc set levels give ultimate flexibility.

How has it helped my organization?

It has completely replaced our Intranet and provides a great central storage area that is far more accessible than traditional shared folders on file and print servers.

What needs improvement?

As we are still on an older version, it is difficult to answer this. Primarily, the mobile experience is wanting in SharePoint 2010.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used SharePoint for five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We did not have any stability problems.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We did not have any scalability problems.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is good.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Our previous system was shared folders and file and print servers.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I was not involved in the decision.

What other advice do I have?

Office 365 and SharePoint online is the way moving forward. Integrating it with Yammer and Office 365 groups provides a much greater feature set than SharePoint alone.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We're enterprise partners.
ITCS user
Consultant - Business Intelligence at a comms service provider with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
I especially value document sharing. I would like to see more freedom given to a power user.

What is most valuable?

I especially value document sharing.

How has it helped my organization?

The product has made document sharing with customers easier instead of emailing.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see the following:

  • More freedom given to a power user
  • Feature development on a site collection level without the need for farm-level rights

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used the product for three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I encountered no stability issues.

What other advice do I have?

I don't think that this whole review is worth the effort as we are talking about a product (Sharepoint 2010) that is six years old, close to end of life, and not sold anymore. People who are new to this will certainly look for the latest version which I have no experience with.

We are mainly using the document sharing feature to share documents with customers in a secure way. 

Actual development depends on server-side tools (Visual Studio running on the Sharepoint server itself), administrator access rights, and activities that cannot be done from machines. I guess this is by design, and probably is not going to be changed.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Caressa Naidoo
Technical Writer at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Documentation management and workflow features enable better organization, control, and knowledge sharing. Workflows have glitches.

What is most valuable?

  • Mostly the documentation management features.
  • Managing information such as events and announcements, document libraries, picture libraries, using calendars, lists and custom lists.
  • Sharing files, document storage and retrieval, the check-in and check-out functionality, version history, custom properties, customized views, customizable workflows.
  • Collaborative team sites for sharing and managing information.
  • Search features, including advanced content processing, managed metadata, and continuous crawls.
  • Security features, including permissions and document/page/site control.

How has it helped my organization?

We are now able to organize and control our documentation easily. Versioning, check in, check out and setting permissions for pages and sites enable us to manage our document and picture libraries without a fuss. We can now easily find documents within sites and pages, as long as documents are named and tagged appropriately. We can now create more complex workflows using SharePoint Designer, which is easy to use. However some improvements to SharePoint's workflow functionality could prove useful.

Approved and updated templates and documentation are now available on SharePoint. This ensures consistency and standardization across the organization. Documents and templates are centralized in this one repository, and only selected individuals are permitted to edit documents within the organization’s main documentation library.

There is transparency to the organization; whereas, previously there was none. Knowledge sharing and collaboration is more prevalent; therefore, communication has increased. We use the SharePoint home page to make company announcements, such as employee birthdays, anniversaries ,and upcoming events. We have also recently started using SharePoint to automate some of our manual processes.

What needs improvement?

SharePoint Designer enables creating workflows easily. However, they produce errors at times. There seems to be glitches which require workarounds to sort out. It is an amazing feature to have because workflows can fully automate processes that would otherwise be manual.

For how long have I used the solution?

SharePoint Foundation was found to be adequate to our prior business needs and has been used company-wide for the last two years. However, due to its limitations in features, a decision was recently made to move away from Foundation to either Standard Edition or Enterprise Edition.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have not experienced any serious issues regarding stability, except for the minor glitches with workflows. As previously mentioned, we are still on the Foundation version. However, I believe if SharePoint has been properly set up on a stable server, using proper governance and a strong infrastructure, we should not experience major issues with stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have not yet encountered any scalability issues. SharePoint 2013 is reportedly scalable. As long as the solution has been properly configured, our organization should not experience any foreseeable issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have not engaged with technical support from Microsoft at this time. We deal directly with in-house technical support. We will definitely be using external technical support from Microsoft when moving over to the Standard or Enterprise Edition.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We were previously using a network drive that we accessed directly from our laptops and desktops. There was simply no control of information and documentation; and loss of information occurred. There were inadequate, non-existent, or deep folder structures, messy content structures, and a lack of document management and control. Versioning was done manually. Important documentation with sensitive information was being stored on local drives. Updated templates and documentation were not being used.

How was the initial setup?

There was a fair amount of research, investigation and infrastructure planning involved prior to its implementation and setup. SharePoint was a new initiative that was attempted by our in-house team. Initial setup was not so straightforward. It was a bit complex, as it is with most new products; but we did eventually get it up and running.

Our technical team is now up-to-speed, and the current process moves smoothly. With that said, it is useful to have prior technical knowledge and experience in SharePoint in order to facilitate a smooth setup and integration process.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Pricing and licensing options are structured according to the size of the organization. Good business leaders make the best decisions and choose the best fit for their organizations based not only on its business needs, resources and budgets; but also based on what people at their organization need and will use. Make sure that all areas of the organization buy-into it. Don't invest in a solution that you have not properly investigated first. Weigh out all your options first.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

The SharePoint project had already been initiated before I joined the organization. However, since we are only on Foundation, the organization has embarked on a comparison between SharePoint and Confluence. After proper investigation and research, it was decided that both solutions were useful in their own right. Confluence is a collaborative working tool; and SharePoint offered a documentation management solution.

SharePoint and Confluence integrate well with each other. Confluence also connects with SharePoint. The business leaders and decision makers of our organization decided to test the SharePoint solution using Foundation 2013. Based on user feedback and interaction with SharePoint Foundation, they have recently decided to go with the Enterprise version.

What other advice do I have?

I advise organizations or business leaders to fully investigate and research SharePoint, as well as all the features that are available for each edition. Based on your business needs, it might or might not be the right fit for your company. Properly weigh out your options and make the right decision for your organization, based on what your organization’s needs; how people work; or ideally should work.

Indecisiveness from a management and leadership perspective on what tool to use reflects poorly on the rest of the organization. Therefore, people feel discouraged.

SharePoint is a great document management tool. It works for me and fits the specific needs of my job. However, while it works for me, it is not being used in the same way by the rest of the organization, or sometimes not at all. There must be buy-in. It is best to survey whether people in your organization find this tool useful, and help them understand how it could best be used. It is also in the best interests of the organization to consult with a SharePoint Expert before, while, and after implementing SharePoint. Many organizations implement the best tools without helping their people realize the full potential of their use. Therefore, people become wary of new technology. They don't welcome the change and fail to engage with the new product.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Our organisation has a strategic partnership with Microsoft.
ITCS user
Assistant Manager, Operations Automation at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
You can assign permissions, create user groups, and automate workflows. I would like to see a more intuitive way to assign permissions.

What is most valuable?

  • Flexibility to create customized lists and folders
  • Ability to assign permissions
  • Ability to create user groups and automated workflows
  • Easy to use
  • Provides flexibility to create separate user groups with specific read, write, and access for certain folders
  • Ability to restrict access: Prevents the vendors from touching our master files

How has it helped my organization?

It has allowed my team to seamlessly share requirements with one another and provide feedback while working off one version. It is a one-stop shop for all our project documents.

We are currently working with two different vendors (one from Europe and one from India). We used SharePoint as a central workspace where the different groups can upload their files respectively without restriction. They can also have a central folder where RBC and vendors can edit simultaneously.

What needs improvement?

For this version, assigning permissions should be more intuitive.

An improved user interface would be beneficial. Achieving our goals in a multi-vendor project was not an easy task because of the 2010 UI.

I’m not sure if SharePoint 2013 makes it easier to assign specific access for folders. I found a lot of help online that was mostly for 2013.

We should have the ability to create customized permissions for user groups much easier than it is today. For example, being able to specify which lists and folders a group can access. In 2010, there is no easy way to do this.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used SharePoint for about two years now.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I did not have any stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I did not have any scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is excellent.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have always used Microsoft SharePoint for my projects.

How was the initial setup?

We have an excellent onboarding process that our IT team put together, so setup was not particularly complex.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I was not involved in this process.

What other advice do I have?

Look at scalability and stability and see whether the features of the product really meet the needs of your organization.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Lewin Wanzer
SharePoint Architect at a computer software company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Overall Assessment of SharePoint 2013

What is most valuable?

The collaboration features of SharePoint 2013 are probably the best I have seen in an enterprise product out of the box. Along with the integration of Office and other enterprise solutions, this product cannot be beat in the market currently for what it brings to the table.

There are times you may want to alter how SharePoint works using custom code. This is very important as I have seen developers who are here one day and gone the next with bad code that was based on .NET, recreating what SharePoint does naturally, no acceptable documentation left behind to work from and will not accept calls accept for a fee.

So think before implementing customizations using code, you leave room for error in the code and a gaps in business processes that may need to be updated later. If the code is not using best practices for development on the SharePoint platform Microsoft updates to the server could also effect the successful implementation of these updates as well. If you can bare with using out-of-the-box tools this gives you a stable environment, where Microsoft updates these features and the foundation of the product for you.

There are third party solutions that would be a better fit for the platform that are tested and vetted by Microsoft for a price and maintenance fee. These are better suited for a SharePoint platform than custom code because you know what you are getting and you have someone to call on when things go wrong. I am not saying these are going to fit your every need but most of the time they do help get you a lot closer then where you are out-of-the-box.


How has it helped my organization?

The use of the document management features such as versioning, check in and check out, search, managed metadata and other out-of-the-box features help you organize and manage documents easily. Finding documents and being able to track documents wherever they are in your site makes this tool easy to use and cuts down on an employee’s time looking for documents, using email to manage documents and knowing they have the right version of the document because it’s in a centralized location.

There are training aspects in using the tool effectively, but do not take long to grasp and understand. Workflow is also improved in this version of SharePoint. Workflow lets you create a business solution using the combination of functionality within lists and workflow actions to create a business process that flows through an easy or more complex process. SharePoint Designer 2013 allows you to create these flows within the tool once the SharePoint farm is configured to host the integration of the tool.

What needs improvement?

From my experience, it’s not the product needing improvement, but the way organizations deploy the enterprise solution. When 2007 SharePoint came around, there was no documentation and information given by Microsoft on their website. You were on your own, basically, looking at blogs and relying on others' failures. Now, there is no excuse to have a badly configured SharePoint farm and or using best practices to make sure your configuration is solid.

There are organizations who deploy this solution enterprise-wide with no training for users or administrative IT support, which is also a big area that needs improvement. Although SharePoint is fairly easy to use, you still want to get total buy-in on the product, so training helps bridge the gap to get that buy-in to use the product going forward. It also helps to show how users can make the most of the solutions and services SharePoint has to offer. Coming up with a couple of how-to demonstrations and even a site with some bells and whistles the users can play with always helps with getting support of the new solutions and services.

Organizations are also not providing governance as to how the user community will use the solution within the organization. Governance is the most important aspect of getting the solution configured for your organizations use. Providing rules for everyone who plans to use the services of SharePoint 2013 is the key to success. Also, bringing representatives from all departments as stakeholders into a working group to meet, vote and share information about what they would like to do with the new tools is also key. You can avoid duplicate efforts for development and other pitfalls that may fall outside of your governance plan by including other departments. This way, your new SharePoint farm does not get the wild, wild west treatment where everyone is doing their own thing.

After working and supporting over 100 companies, I can honestly say only two companies had governance documents in place at their organization, with working stakeholder groups to support the solutions and services. Remember, governance helps with looking at restricted and accepted practices within the solutions and services provided by, in this case, SharePoint 2013. It's just like going to the Office 365 site and looking at exactly what I can and cannot do within the cloud offering, which could be based on data sizing and other parameters I might be looking for to support my organization.

The governance document is used for on-premise implementations, so you can design, install and configure your internal farm based on those configuration parameters laid out in your governance documentation. After you get the governance rules in place, you then create a design document that will capture all configurations within the farm. This will layout how the SharePoint farm should be configured based on SQL, SharePoint, backup, restore, DR and any other third-party tools and configurations.

The next document would then be your installation guide, which is based off of the design document. This shows how all the components mentioned in the design document will be installed and configured based on the design document's configuration parameters. This is just a quick summary of what needs to be done before you do anything with installation of software. Following best practices and other Microsoft documentation for all these documents and the installation of the software is the key to success with this enterprise solution.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used this version for 3 1/2 years (15 years overall with SharePoint).

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In some very rare cases, you might see that Windows updates can interrupt your service, but Microsoft is very quick to fix the issue. Other than that, it’s the users’ empowerment that is in play in this environment overall. You are providing a platform that empowers the users of the product to manage themselves. For example, instead of a call to the help desk, you have what are known as site collection administrators and owners. These power users manage the security of the site. So, instead of having a call to the help desk, the group’s power user can manage these calls themselves, which takes a load off of the help desk. This is one of many examples.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

SharePoint 2013 is very scalable. The problem is IT departments that don't understand the solution start in the wrong direction, which can lead to reinstalls and other interruptions because of the initial configuration. Again, following best practices and building a good solid foundation is how you avoid complications later with growth and other scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

Microsoft has great support for this product, as well as the SharePoint user community, where there are sites with information you can search from any search engine. Microsoft also has technical support pages that give you insights to installation, configuration and troubleshooting the product. You can also call 24/7 and get support from technicians from all aspects the product uses, such as SQL Server, Visual Studio, SharePoint Designer, PowerPivot and other integrations. There are also many third-party solutions out there to help with all aspects of the product from functionality, usability, 508 compliance, BLOB storage, backup and recovery, and a host of other areas in this version of the software.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I was a FileNet administrator but switched to SharePoint because of the integration of the Office products. I know that FileNet is a great product as well, but Microsoft has done a great job of integrating SharePoint with the Office suite. This drove my decision to move to SharePoint as a support engineer.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup as explained is complex. You need to understand what you’re doing as an IT engineer and also where this product will be in five years, as far as it being part of your enterprise. If you set up the wrong version of the product or the wrong version of SQL Server, you will not get the features you might be looking for. It’s best to see how the product will be used by your organization, and the bells and whistles your management is looking for to solve issues within your company.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

When choosing a platform, just be aware there are choices. The choice you make in the beginning can make or break your installation and your goals for your organization. Think clearly and meet with other departments. Don't let IT do it alone. You want the buy-in and input from all parts of your organization.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

In choosing options for services we looked at eRoom. eRoom’s interface was primitive and did not provide the functionality we were looking for and integration with Office. It also was not easy to use and it was not easy to empower users to create sites and manage their own security easily. I also believe that the training would have been more in depth with this product, as with Microsoft they have a way of making interfaces similar so you know where to look to find information and menus.

What other advice do I have?

Find a certified person or company that can help you get started. This might cost a little up front, but your return on investment will be great. Do not go it alone. Again, the initial implementation is everything to the foundation of the product working for you. The version of software you choose can also determine what services you can make use of and can save you money.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: My company at the moment has a relationship with Microsoft and we are in the process of working towards a partnership through the Partner program.
ITCS user
Sr. Manager - IT Security, Compliance and Administration at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
MSP
We use the content management features and workflows to create ticketing and document management systems.

What is most valuable?

  • Intranet and extranet: We set up a robust and easily maintained intranet and extranet.
  • Ticketing and documentation management: We use the content management features and workflows to create ticketing and document management systems. We also make good use of the wikis.
  • HR Requests: We built a system within SharePoint that allows you to create a ticket in HR. For example, terminations, job status changes, pay change, and name change. The user opens the form in SharePoint. Depending on what type of action is necessary, the user is given the exact items that need to be completed for the HR action to proceed. After the user completes and sends the form, it copies the department manager for approval. An email is then sent to the various departments to work on it. With terminations, for example, an email is sent to payroll for final pay, to benefits to get the separation paperwork activated, to IT for equipment pick-up, and to others who have a role when someone leaves the company. I know that we can purchase software to do this, but it would have been expensive. Building this within SharePoint took a few weeks and has received many kudos for helping HR actions.
  • Moving from folders to storage: We are moving items from the thousands of Windows folders on storage servers to SharePoint for easy management and retrieval using a SharePoint search. All policies are now on SharePoint and are easy to find and view, even with a smartphone.
  • Wikis: We are turning department standard operating procedures into wikis for easy management and documentation. We use security so that only those who need to see these documents can access and update them as needed on the fly.

How has it helped my organization?

Building workflow systems within SharePoint that allow for corporate tracking of work issues and work items. The intranet was an instant hit with everyone and wikis have been very popular.

What needs improvement?

Little quirks that make it difficult at times to fine-tune some items. The usual Microsoft items where 90% of the product is great, but that 10% makes little things difficult to work with. It is hard to pin down, but Microsoft has you do things their way, when their way is not the best for our needs.

  • Developer code: Some areas of SharePoint require you to have a .NET developer code so that it works correctly.
  • Numbering: We have production support tickets that we wanted to number in a certain way. However, SharePoint could not do it until we got our .NET developer to create a workaround for the numbering system.
  • Sorting: We needed some sorting done, and this required coding. This additional coding is only about 10% of our projects, but it is still there. Thank goodness we can do that when we need to.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have used SharePoint for approximately seven years and version 2013 for the last two years. It has been our intranet, extranet, and corporate website for the past year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is VERY stable if you follow the recommended settings and read the SharePoint blogs.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have not encountered any scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

I would give technical support a rating of 3/5. We had some small issues and called MS tech support, but they were only able to help us 60% of the time before we fixed it ourselves.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We had no other solutions before this one.

How was the initial setup?

With so much online help and blogs, setup was straightforward. We did use a third-party to assist us with best practices. Once the system was up, we were able to support ourselves with no issues.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We have an EA. It was easy to get pricing, but it is difficult to manage.

When trying to use it as an extranet, we found issues with how expensive it is per individual user. We have 15,000 contractors who serve as staff at various locations.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We decided on SharePoint early on.

What other advice do I have?

Use a third-party expert who can help with the initial setup and development. You can then manage yourself once you are up and running.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We provide temp staffing to Microsoft.
YD
Senior Industry Expert with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Provides site templates, permissions, and publishing features. I would like to see performance and UI improvements.

What is most valuable?

  • Site templates
  • Document management
  • Permissions
  • Publishing features

How has it helped my organization?

The solution has helped host our intranet and thereby helped in content publishing and distribution.

What needs improvement?

  • WYSIWYG needs improvement.
  • Performance and UI can improve.
  • Mobile rendering is not up to the mark.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used this solution for over three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I did not encounter any issues with stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I did not encounter any issues with scalability.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We did not use a previous solution. We did upgrade from SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2013.

How was the initial setup?

The multi-server farm setup was not straightforward.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Pricing and licensing is not as complex as some of the other MS suite products.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Jive and Cisco.

What other advice do I have?

Plan for global deployments using a distributed deployment topology.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Syed Fahad Anwar
Principal System Developer at a government with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Offers check in, check out and in-built approval workflows for documents/lists.

What is most valuable?

  • Enterprise content management: It is one of the biggest features of SharePoint, which includes the use of enterprise columns for keyword searching and content organization.
  • Collaboration tool: It provides seamless integration with other Microsoft Office tools like Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel.
  • Enterprise search
  • Other vital features are check in, check out and in-built approval workflows for documents/lists.

How has it helped my organization?

SharePoint provides enterprise content management, which includes the enterprise document management tools. Also collaboration tools such as workspaces and team sites improve the productivity and increase collaboration. My Site provides rich personalization features.

What needs improvement?

  • SharePoint should provide more out-of-box templates. They should add more site templates like blog templates, forum templates, and so on.
  • They should stabilize the platform more.
  • Document management requires some performance tweaks as well.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used this solution for about four to five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

When used with large data, SharePoint may produce performance degradation; that requires some optimization and tweaks.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is great, but again huge data will be a little cumbersome to manage.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is good.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We have always used the SharePoint content management system.

For document management, we use IBM FileNet, which is great for managing document but poor with collaboration tools.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is not that complex, if the architecture is laid down properly.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

There are multiple licensing options available. You should select the one that is suitable to your needs.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated some other products, like Telerik CMS.

What other advice do I have?

Plan yourself properly in terms of the architecture. If you plan early for proper architecture, you will have a long-term solution.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Consultant (SharePoint Specialist) at a consultancy with 51-200 employees
Consultant
It is a good solution for the enterprise level.

What is most valuable?

Team sites Reporting services Power pivot Excel services Search services.

What needs improvement?

E-forms Workflows BPMN

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used SharePoint for 10 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We did not have stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We did not have scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support rates a 3.5/5.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We did not have a previous solution.

How was the initial setup?

Setup was complex. As an IT techie, it is setting up a farm that includes five servers.

What other advice do I have?

It is a good solution for the enterprise…

What is most valuable?

  • Team sites
  • Reporting services
  • Power pivot
  • Excel services
  • Search services.

What needs improvement?

  • E-forms
  • Workflows
  • BPMN

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used SharePoint for 10 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We did not have stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We did not have scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support rates a 3.5/5.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We did not have a previous solution.

How was the initial setup?

Setup was complex. As an IT techie, it is setting up a farm that includes five servers.

What other advice do I have?

It is a good solution for the enterprise level.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Lead Enterprise Architect at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Consultant
I like the eServices Platform for developing applications on top off it.

What is most valuable?

  • Enterprise Content Management.
  • eServices Platform for developing applications on top off it.
  • Organization Portals.
  • Collaboration, Team working and sharing.
  • Document Management.
  • Simple workflows.
  • Enterprise Search.

How has it helped my organization?

  • Team sites and collaboration.
  • Main entry point for all applications.
  • Utilizing as a sign-on.

What needs improvement?

  • Workflows.
  • Performance.
  • Content Migration and sharing.
  • Reporting.
  • User experience and design response.

For how long have I used the solution?

I’ve used and implemented this software since the 2007 version until now (almost 9 years). My last implementation was in 2014, but I’m still using this as an end user.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We did have stability issues in the old versions and there were too many hotfixes, in the 2013 version. It’s more stable now, but it can still be better.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I've never encountered any scalability issues. In the past, I’ve implemented it in with 3TB of information, without any problems.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support was very good, very responsive and professional.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We used to employ Oracle UCM, but we replaced it because of the features provided in SharePoint along with the customizations, flexibility and ease of creating websites, workflows, pages and applications.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup was straightforward, easy and successful.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

SharePoint is a suite of features and products within one product. Purchasing and implementing it needs optimal usage planning. I would recommend that you select the pricing or license type based on your usage. (In general, the internet license is the best).

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated multiple alternatives including:

  • Oracle UCM
  • EMC Documentum
  • FileNet IBM
  • Alfresco
  • Liferay

Based on two selection exercises in two organizations; SharePoint was the best fit solution. The 2nd was EMC Documentum, then Oracle followed by FileNet and Alfresco, with Liveray last.

What other advice do I have?

Plan, Plan and Plan again! Usage planning is needed with up to 70% of your efforts being expended in information gathering and implementation and usage planning.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Senior Business Analyst at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
We like the synergy with other applications in the MS Office suite.

What is most valuable?

Synergy with other applications in the MS Office suite. For example, with a single click from the MS Lync client, you can create an email in the Outlook client and vice-versa, amongst many other similar integrations between applications that previously did not speak to one another.

How has it helped my organization?

Collaboration became a lot easier. Meetings happened more frequently between colleagues across different locations sitting at their desks and not in special video conference rooms.

What needs improvement?

Better mobile optimization and a similar experience level across device types (desktop, tablet and phones). For most applications, MS SharePoint included, users are treated to different experiences across devices. For example, Excel works slightly differently (has fewer features/capabilities) on mobile when compared to the desktop experience. It would be nice to close this gap as much as possible, such that a user may have no qualms transiting between devices.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using SharePoint for over four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We did not have any stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We did not have any scalability issues. It is as easy as adding new licenses for new users.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support was not as good as expected. Sometimes request took upwards of three business days.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We used several single purpose software tools for each area of our need. We switched to MS SharePoint/Office 365 for a number of reasons, including: the seamless integration between the many apps in the suite; colleagues (users) are familiar with the MS office interface from Excel, Outlook, Word and PowerPoint and that shortens the learning curve considerably.

How was the initial setup?

Setup was straightforward.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

For non-profits, seek out non-profit licensing.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated eleven others.

What other advice do I have?

It’s the best in the class, but make sure your existing solution doesn't already meet your needs before making the decision to go the MS SharePoint route.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Office 365 Consultant at a hospitality company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
Workflows transformed our paper processes into digitized and faster processes. Document libraries lack flexibility.

What is most valuable?

The ability to create workflows.

How has it helped my organization?

Using the workflow as an example, it has helped to transform the conventional paperwork processes into digitized and faster processes.

What needs improvement?

Document libraries. At the moment, they still lack the flexibility you get in conventional Windows file systems. However, it has lots of features that make it a good replacement.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used SharePoint for two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The fact that it relies on the Internet and runs in a browser means it is bound to have performance issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I didn't encounter any issues with scalability. What I do know is that, when this is required, you will need the right skilled IT specialist to make the change. Often the right skilled specialists are not easy to find.

How are customer service and technical support?

Microsoft provides both online and phone support. Phone support depends on the plan you are subscribed to.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We did not have a previous solution.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is a simple process. However, planning requires more time in order to gather user requirements.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Setup an initial trial account with a pilot group to ascertain what is best for your environment.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We didn’t look at other options.

What other advice do I have?

If your users are already familiar with an existing Windows product such as Office applications, you won't regret jumping in.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Consultant with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
The developers and project stakeholders can share information in the form of documents/Updates. Migrating SharePoint sites can be a cumbersome process.

What is most valuable?

I have used SharePoint as an integrated solution with Team Foundation Server.

The most valuable features are the SharePoint lists and the documents feature.

How has it helped my organization?

SharePoint integrates well with the Team Foundation Server and provides collaboration features for team members on a TFS Team Project. This has helped developers and project stakeholders in the organization to collaborate better and share information in the form of documents/updates.

What needs improvement?

Migrating SharePoint sites can be a cumbersome process and it usually results in the incomplete migration of SharePoint sites and data.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used SharePoint for three years, mostly as an integrated solution with the Team Foundation Server.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The product is quite stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The product is scalable.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We were not using any other solution.

How was the initial setup?

The setup and installation are straightforward. Microsoft provides a good installation wizard for the same.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I was not involved in the pricing and licensing activities.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

As both the Team Foundation Server and SharePoint are Microsoft products, they can be easily integrated. Thus, we did not evaluate other options.

What other advice do I have?

SharePoint works very well within a Microsoft ecosystem. Hence, SharePoint would be a good choice if the organization uses the Microsoft technology stack extensively.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Senior Consultant/Project Manager at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Consultant
My project sites can include views that apply to specific business uses. We can assign attributes to artifacts and then create views based on them.

What is most valuable?

The ability to assign an attribute to a library artifact allows the site owner to create the appropriate views based on artifact attributes (category, owner, etc.).

How has it helped my organization?

I have updated my project sites with views that apply to specific business uses, such as a project manager looking for a document assigned to a phase in the project (i.e., planning, design, execution) or an engineer looking for a document type (i.e., vendor contract, design build diagram, user acceptance testing worksheet).

What needs improvement?

Unless you have worked with a SharePoint business analyst, designer or power user, managing individual sites does require training to understand the components of the site settings and content. Folks usually start using SharePoint as a file repository without any structure. It can be overwhelming when you have 1,000's of document that a user has to parse through if just looking for a specific title. Without a consistent framework consisting of a standard nomenclature established in the initial strategy of rolling out SharePoint, using SharePoint as a file share becomes unruly.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've worked with various SharePoint versions since 2008 but more recently with 2010 and 2013 as a power user in managing artifacts for various project and programs.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Most instances of SharePoint are stable. I have rarely experienced instability. Usually, it’s the management of user names and groups that results in problems.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I am not at the experience level to notice such an issue.

How are customer service and technical support?

Most of the technical support has come from SME's and internal developers.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I always used Sharepoint.

How was the initial setup?

I have no experience with rolling out templates or actual new instances.

What other advice do I have?

Get training for IT and training for your base user. Developing a framework (nomenclature, categorization and user needs).

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Test Lead at a comms service provider with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
Team sites allow multiple consultants to collaborate on a team project. We use workflows for onboarding processes.

What is most valuable?

I have found team sites offer much value to our organization. As a consulting company, it allows multiple consultants to collaborate on a team project for a customer.

We use SharePoint for companywide document management.

Although workflow is limited in SharePoint, we have used it for many onboarding processes, PTO requests, etc.

How has it helped my organization?

SharePoint has streamlined many processes and provided additional organization for our company. It has become a central location for both documents and productivity.

What needs improvement?

I would love to see a more robust workflow. There are 3rd party products such as Nintex and K2 that can be used, however I would like to see it built-in.

For how long have I used the solution?

I’ve used SharePoint for 2 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability issues have been found with the database. From the infrastructure side, most people use dedicated databases for SharePoint so a simple reboot usually fixes the communication issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

SharePoint is extremely scalable but requires planning ahead of time. You must answer some questions about your environment to determine how many servers and what SharePoint function(s) they will serve to meet the demands of your organization.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have never used Microsoft technical support for SharePoint in particular, but Microsoft support is very good.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We used to use simple file shares and emails.

How was the initial setup?

SharePoint can be very complex to setup initially (both infrastructure and back end design and implementation). The more scalable the environment, the more complex the setup will be. Generally speaking, a 3rd party consultant will be needed to implement the solution.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

There are two options with SharePoint. They have an on premises and a cloud solution.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did not look at alternatives.

What other advice do I have?

Hire and communicate with a 3rd party consultant.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user410514
Deputy General Manager at a engineering company with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
Acts as a central repository for the corporate information systems. Complex administration.

What is most valuable?

The valuable features are:

  • MS-Office integration
  • Workflow and approval process
  • Security

How has it helped my organization?

We use this solution as central repository for all the corporate information systems. It is a point of reference in our organization.

What needs improvement?

Administration is still very complex.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using this solution since 2005.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I did not encounter any issues with stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I did not encounter any issues with scalability, although our installation is a small one and doesn't have that problem.

How are customer service and technical support?

The solution is a strategic product for Microsoft, and the technical support is very good.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Prior to this solution, we used shared files provided by the operating system.

How was the initial setup?

The installation was very complex. Since our initial implementation, that process has been improved dramatically.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We considered open source products like Alfresco. We decided to purchase a commercially supported product.

What other advice do I have?

It is a complex product that should be implemented carefully. Take into account the organization’s details.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
IT Services Manager at a educational organization with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
We use it for storing, collaborating and archiving documents with versioning and custom workflows.

What is most valuable?

I find that SharePoint when used for the right purpose, lends itself to be a fantastic collaboration and workflow service.

It is very easy to store documents, collaborate and archive documents with versioning and custom workflows.

How has it helped my organization?

SharePoint provides a simple way to store documents and we created lots of subsites to contain the courses and materials for our students.

We found that applying permissions were very easy, due to the integration with the Active Directory.

What needs improvement?

It was a shame to see the SharePoint Design being deprecated, as this was a great way to create very customizable workflows.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used SharePoint since the 2003 release, back in the year 2007. We initially used it as a Virtually Learning Environment and a business platform for our college.

We found it simple enough to manage and were able to integrate it with third parties.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There were very few stability issues. The issues are usually related to problems with the related Microsoft stack such as Windows Server/ SQL/ IIS.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

When you set it up as a single server, you will quickly outgrow it. If deployed correctly SharePoint scales very well with the ability to provision multiple web front ends, dedicated reporting servers and SQL clusters. This all helps to remove a single point of failure.

How are customer service and technical support?

As this is a Microsoft product, it can be difficult to obtain direct support. That being said, there is a thriving partner community around this product.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Before SharePoint, we used internally designed websites, WordPress and Drupal. We found that they did not provide the collaboration features and integration that we would have liked.

How was the initial setup?

As we were new to SharePoint, we found that the initial process was complex. So, we hired a partner to perform the installation. Over the years, this experience has improved drastically.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

As a an education institution, we had a very favourable pricing policy.

What other advice do I have?

Read and research this subject area thoroughly. Reach out to the large community and visit others that have adopted this solution.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user303465
Business Analyst at a tech company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
There are integrated workflows and it has the flexibility to store various document and lists.

What is most valuable?

It has a lot of flexibility to store various document and lists. There are integrated workflows and it helps to improve the end user's ability to be more efficient.

How has it helped my organization?

Automating the basic approval processes is an easy win. You are no longer required to do the work in emails, but instead using the email as a conduit, you can facilitate the work in the work flow.

The rock solid central document storage makes it very easy for all business departments to have a standard location for their documents.

What needs improvement?

The user interface should improve. It is still a bit clunky for the new user to navigate around.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used this product for three years as an administrator and twelve years as an end user.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

For the enterprise environment, I did not encounter any stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There were no scalability issues as such. However, the 500 items limit in views can be limiting in some instances.

How are customer service and technical support?

I would rate the technical support a 7/10, i.e., by using the internal support teams with various level of knowledge.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We were not using any other solution previously.

What other advice do I have?

For a medium to large scale business, it is excellent.

For a small business, there may be too much overhead costs and a steep learning curve for the solution to be adding any value.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Sr. Business Systems Analyst at a insurance company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
Libraries and lists enable capturing and organizing large amounts of information.

What is most valuable?

In general, I find SharePoint to be a very useful tool when it's configured to allow end users a certain amount of flexibility. (In one of my previous assignments, all options were completely locked down. In that kind of configuration, the usefulness of the tool is highly dependent upon whoever configured the product. In this case, they weren't particularly good.) The latest versions of SharePoint are highly useful for configuring pages for managing and conveying large amounts of information, while giving users the ability to pinpoint the specific things they need with speed and accuracy.

Libraries and lists have a feature set that enables capturing large amounts of information and organizing that information in ways that enable multiple audiences/roles to use it effectively.

How has it helped my organization?

In my previous job, I built a site to support the PMO. It consisted of a top level site that gave a view of all projects undertaken by the organization and then individual project sites that were used to manage issues, risks, changes, action items, key milestones.

The top level site also contained links out to our scheduling software (SmartSheets). The individual project sites were based on a site template, making it very easy to instantiate a new one whenever a new project was introduced. All project information was contained within a single site collection and allowed both broad and deep searches and visibility of key project metrics.

What needs improvement?

I think that the current version of the product is actually quite good, but it's not always easy to find solid training and reference information, especially from Microsoft. Typically, third parties have better offerings than Microsoft, but it still requires a bit of searching to find the most relevant and easily absorbed material.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used Sharepoint in various forms since around 2003.

Over the last three years (three jobs as well), I've used SharePoint 2007, 2010, and 2013.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have not encountered stability issues with either the on-premise or cloud hosted versions of the product.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I was never involved in planning for scalability, and have never been aware of any scalability issues in any of the places where I've used the product.

How are customer service and technical support?

I generally avoid using Microsoft or Microsoft partner support where possible. Unless you are paying for their top-level consultants (which is frightfully expensive), you're often better off just looking things up on the internet and bookmarking the most helpful sites. In situations where support is being provided by internal staff, the results have been variable.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

There's nothing truly like SharePoint in the marketplace that I'm aware of. You can use wiki's of various sorts and cobble together any number of open source or paid solutions that address a component of what SharePoint does. But that approach doesn't have the current product's level of integration and the maturity of its feature set.

How was the initial setup?

I don't know about setup. It was never my responsibility. Since the products were in place when I arrived, I don't know who the vendors were that partnered with Microsoft to configure and deploy the product.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

It's Microsoft; empty your pockets. Seriously, if you obtain SharePoint under one of their blanket licensing agreements you really need to pay attention to the terms and conditions, especially if your acquisition is part of Office 365. It's typically not very easy to drop licenses for a particular subcomponent under such agreements if you find that you're not using that particular piece.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

This wasn't my choice. However, there's nothing truly like SharePoint in the marketplace that I'm aware of.

What other advice do I have?

Know what you want it for first. Talk to other businesses using the product to understand their experiences. If it looks like SharePoint can bring real business value, then find the best implementation partner that you can find. I don't know the economic ramifications of cloud vs. on-premise, but I found the cloud version of the product takes a lot of headaches out of your hands with Microsoft being responsible to administer and maintain the back end.

Finally, be very wary of proposals from within your company to build all manner of applications, web sites, and data marts with the tool. Although SharePoint is capable of a lot of things, it may be better to purchase a purpose built product rather than rolling your own.

In the same vein, it is still important to have standards and enforce them within the organization, especially on how sites are structured if they are to be used by people in various roles and departments across the enterprise. Someone has to have a vision for the architecture of your SharePoint installation and use in order to assure you get full value. If folks get to do anything they want, you'll have a crazy quilt of unrelated data, applications, and web pages.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Chaan Beard
Senior Data Center Solutions Architect at ChaanBeard.com
Reseller
Top 10Leaderboard
Provides team site sharing, internal collaboration, intranet websites, and document archive storage.

What is most valuable?

  • Team site sharing
  • Internal collaboration
  • Intranet websites
  • Document archive storage

How has it helped my organization?

Our pre-sales, technical and sales folks use SharePoint to archive files, share configurations and presentations, etc.

What needs improvement?

Intranet/website publishing tools and features are kludgy and sometimes defy logic.

The ribbon interface is not intuitive. Information rights management is difficult. It is not standards based.

The custom .net usage in fact requires Windows Azure, which takes the complexity to another level. Also, you need to build this into your existing business systems to make full use of the features.

Regarding publishing, there seems to be a gap with HTML 5 publishing tools and/or tools like Dreamweaver and such, which lack strategy, synergy and standards, from my point of view.

Also, searching for information appears based on Bing and that is utterly useless. One needs to bolt a Google search engine onto your solution for optimum results.

SharePoint in either server or cloud offerings is itself very complicated in terms of all the moving parts to consider, which takes time to figure out regarding feature sets and use cases for them.

It would be nice to see a top-notch web-publishing tool that a five year old could use to go with the suite of Office online applications with much better integration with serious 3rd party search tools.

It’s nice to have server or Azure based options, but a hybrid cloud that offers both needs some work. Neither HPE or Dell are competent with their appliance offerings in the CPS space that could be offered as a package, if customized and developed into a single SKU appliance-based platform with all the goodies inside the rack.

Plug, play and connect…customize, develop and deploy. Repeat...

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used SharePoint for four years at various customers plus my own company.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have never encountered stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It has not reached it’s scalability envelope yet.

How are customer service and technical support?

Outstanding support on SharePoint, in particular from Microsoft.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We used NetMax. The OpenStack Linux stuff is hacked like no other.

How was the initial setup?

Setup is very simple, though all the features take a while to get your arms around (foundation, server, designer, business sync, etc.).

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Use volume licensing to get the best pricing from Microsoft for a customer.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at NetMax and various Linux offerings.

What other advice do I have?

Tread slowly and do the basic training.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We are a Microsoft Gold partner.
ITCS user
Senior Technology Architect at a energy/utilities company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
Workflows make sure the right people review and approve documents.

What is most valuable?

Feedback workflows ensure we don't miss someone when documents need reviewing and approval workflows make sure the right people are approving it, especially when there are new or temporary staff involved. They don't have to ask who is next in line. They just pick the appropriate workflow and it's all sorted.

How has it helped my organization?

We automated task workflows for document review and gathering feedback.

What needs improvement?

No additional features are needed at the moment, except bringing some of the alerting functionality from the on-premise to the online version.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used this for four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We did not have any stability problems.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We did not have any scalability problems.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We were using SharePoint 2007. We changed due to the product lifecycle.

How was the initial setup?

Setup was complex. We needed to design governance and implementation architecture before deployment.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Get help. Pricing and licensing is tricky.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We didn’t look at any alternatives.

What other advice do I have?

Consider SharePoint Online unless you have customisations. If you have customisations, try and get rid of them. They cause problems when upgrading.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Chief Information Security Officer at a financial services firm with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
Provides many office-related functions, including document management, file sharing with versioning, forms, workflows, etc. I would like to see better site templates.

What is most valuable?

When properly configured and understood, SharePoint can be an extremely valuable company portal for all manner of office-related functions, including document management, file sharing with versioning, forms, workflows, etc. The platform is also capable of custom applications with database connectors.

How has it helped my organization?

Currently, it is used as the default website for Intranet. Sites are available for each department. News and announcements are available on the main page, as well as the company directory. A custom HR portal has also been developed to be the method for onboarding and offboarding employees.

What needs improvement?

It is not very intuitive to most users. It can be customized, but it requires a SME with a great deal of experience and training.

I would like to see Microsoft build better site templates to help kick start those new to the SharePoint environment. Better documentation, training, and tutorials would also help as well.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using SharePoint for over ten years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have not encountered any stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have not encountered any scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is average.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I’ve not used any other tools.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

It’s now available as a part of Office 365, but a local, on-premises install has some advantages if keeping everything inside your Intranet is important.

What other advice do I have?

Find out how others are using it. Examine good examples of custom applications and workflows. Consider using commercial add-ons as well.

When properly implemented and users are adequately trained, SharePoint can take the place of network file shares for most types of use cases. Instead of users never knowing where to find documents, or which document is the current version, SharePoint makes it easy to share documents and set permissions. A classic workflow that SharePoint handles easily is the review and edit of a document by multiple individuals. By using a workflow, each person that needs to review and edit one or more documents is notified by email, can edit the document (and depending on your release and configuration, multiple users can edit at the same time), and mark their workflow task as done. There is none of the confusion of emailing a group of people a copy of a document, getting all their edits back with a different copy for each person. With workflows, each person edits the same document and the initiator of the workflow knows when each person completes their review/edit. Later releases of SharePoint extend this functionality to the cloud, adding file synchronization for mobile devices.

Out of the box, SharePoint is not known for intuitiveness, and administrators and users alike tend to have a difficult time creating effective and usable sites. However, with some time and effort, and good training, it can be a very valuable tool and centralized location for a company or department. One very useful type of SharePoint site that can be created is a “Meeting Space”, where regular/recurring meetings are held. Agendas for each meeting can be setup, along with tasks assigned to each member, as well as a document library for documents related to each meeting. Project management sites are another useful tool for managing collaborations and project tracking, with optional integration with Microsoft Project.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Senior Manager, Business Intelligence at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Consultant
Replaces our reliance on voluminous reports which took several weeks to produce, with a dashboard which is maintained on a daily basis.

What is most valuable?

From my perspective as a developer I would say that the most valuable features are :

  • the wide variety of data source connections
  • completeness of features
  • strong query possibilities (customisation, SQL, MDX, macros)

How has it helped my organization?

Each year, managers have to take important decisions about the future based on voluminous reports which took several weeks to produce. Now, these reports have been replaced by a dashboard which is maintained on a daily basis.

What needs improvement?

  • The suite is complicated to set up, complicated to maintain, complicated to work with. Cognos requires a bigger and more skilled centralized BI team.
  • Cognos Insight, the self-service, desktop dashboarding and analysis tool designed is not quite at the same level of the competition like Tableau or Qlikview.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using the solution for 19 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have not encountered any stability issues. The version 10.2 we use is very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have not encountered any scalability issues. The contract between IBM and the organisation covers all the needs we have.

How are customer service and technical support?

I would rate the technical support at 8/10. I had very few technical support needs but they answer correctly when required.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I am not aware of any previous solutions. I always use Cognos solutions for my BI needs.

How was the initial setup?

The setup was complex. As I work for a large financial organisation, the security matters are very important. For that reason, we had to deploy the different components on many servers in different zones, separated by firewalls. We also had to support the needs for several tens of users for data analysis and a few hundred more users for data consumption.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

It's not the least expensive solution in the market but if your needs are great in terms of functionality, number of users and amount of data, it is worth purchasing it.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated the solutions available at the time. Among others, these were Micro-Level, Business Objects and Hyperion.

What other advice do I have?

I do not think it is possible to implement a solution to the scale of the one we had without the help of knowledgeable Cognos BI resources. Ideally, it is best to hire an expert or one or more good Cognos consultants.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Manager of Operations at a hospitality company with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
The document repository features are a distinguishing point compared to a file server.

What is most valuable?

Easy management of content and portal and the document repository features are a distinguishing point compared to a file server.

How has it helped my organization?

We use a document library with custom attributes and simple approval workflow. Some program enhancements with .NET enables the Quality Control department to distribute files to an extranet portal after senior Quality Control staff approval. Thousands of documents have been distributed in this way in the past years. This approval flow replaces ordinary emails with much clearer tracking of the workflow process.

What needs improvement?

Notification templates should be editable without coding. Also, summary notifications should be customizable too.

For how long have I used the solution?

I’ve been using SharePoint for nine years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

When the number of documents in a library grows too high, there will be performance issues. There is no easy way to archive files uploaded to SharePoint unless you have extra budget to get 3rd party solutions like AvePoint.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is not a problem as long as you can virtualize the SharePoint server farm. Hardware speed acceleration could overcome the software limitation. In my case, one front-end server served 700 users.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is done by our vendor, not directly from Microsoft. My vendor was good on supporting SharePoint.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We did not have a previous solution.

How was the initial setup?

The setup wizard helps you with the install. It is straightforward and easy.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Pricing on the server itself is acceptable, but CAL licenses could be an issue if you are not an Enterprise Agreement subscriber, or you are opening SharePoint 2007 to external users. With the new license model on SharePoint online, the issue here is not applicable.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Documentum.

What other advice do I have?

I don't think anybody nowadays should deploy SharePoint 2007. However, the SharePoint online that comes with Office 365 is worth a look. But beware of sizing as the fee is charged by data size and processing resources that would affect your SharePoint online response time.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Client Relations Coordinator at a tech consulting company
Consultant
I like the ability to collaborate with others in the organization.

What is most valuable?

Ability to collaborate with others in organization Ease of use Customization

How has it helped my organization?

All employees can view necessary interactions/documents, great task management and contact management functions.

What needs improvement?

Document libraries and document management could be improved.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used SharePoint for two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have not encountered any stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have not encountered any scalability issues.`

How are customer service and technical support?

We have never required support.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We did not have…

What is most valuable?

  • Ability to collaborate with others in organization
  • Ease of use
  • Customization

How has it helped my organization?

All employees can view necessary interactions/documents, great task management and contact management functions.

What needs improvement?

Document libraries and document management could be improved.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used SharePoint for two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have not encountered any stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have not encountered any scalability issues.`

How are customer service and technical support?

We have never required support.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We did not have any previous solutions.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

There are free versions that satisfy most needs.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Project Manager at a consultancy with 501-1,000 employees
Consultant
Provides document storage and version control.

What is most valuable?

In our scenario, Team Portal was a really useful feature.

How has it helped my organization?

We used to keep all of our documentation on SharePoint. SharePoint's version control worked really well with our large range of documents.

What needs improvement?

Configuration and troubleshooting need improvement, especially regarding TFS integration.

For how long have I used the solution?

I’ve used this for more than eight years as an integration with the Microsoft Team Foundation Server.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We had stability issues regarding the TFS integration.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We didn’t have any scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

In Brazil and India, I thought technical support was really poor. In my case, my tickets were transferred to international support. They weren’t able to help me.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We did not have a previous solution.

How was the initial setup?

It was very easy to install, like most Microsoft products. I love Microsoft's way of keeping their setups very similar.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I don't have enough experience with SharePoint's pricing and licensing to give my opinion.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We didn’t look at alternatives. Integration with TFS was crucial to our teams.

What other advice do I have?

I think they can look for free options in the case of small teams of five to ten members. Otherwise, this is an amazing option. I am very satisfied.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user515928
SharePoint Architect at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Consultant
The search feature supports a range of hybrid on-premises and cloud configurations, with customizable display templates and refiners.

What is most valuable?

  • Document management supports a wide range of capabilities including cross-folder views, custom views, group-by views, versioning, alerts, MS Office integration, workflows, and very flexible permissioning.
  • Collaboration in general is quite capable, including calendars, tasks, custom lists, and the ability to easily view data from within MS Office, as well as the built-in apps support found in both cloud and on premises versions.
  • Search is exceptionally powerful, supporting a range of hybrid on-premises and cloud configurations, with customizable display templates and refiners.
  • The ability to leverage multi-level Taxonomy is useful for hierarchies, views, filters and navigation.
  • The out-of-the-box Workflow capabilities are good, and easily extensible with excellent third-party applications.
  • We found SharePoint makes an excellent framework for developing an intranet, with built-in support for multi-language versions that adapt to the user's preferred language.
  • SharePoint has several excellent available APIs for extension, customization and integration with LOB applications.

How has it helped my organization?

By creating a platform for collaboration, it empowers users to collaborate and work together on documents, tasks and calendars.

What needs improvement?

PowerShell for Office 365 is exceptionally limited. The CmdLets available for SharePoint Online are focused on site provisioning and permissioning, and do not include CmdLets for managing Items, documents, libraries, folders, default metadata, tagging, and views.

Development can be a challenge, especially as the development model and direction promoted by Microsoft rapidly evolves, and product components get deprecated. The App model is necessarily restrictive in what it allows to be done, in order to maintain the stability in the multi-tenancy environment. This leads to moving to either client-side object model development, or splitting the application with some functionality done on dedicated servers outside the cloud-based SharePoint environment.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used this solution for 14 years

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The early RTP versions can be buggy. There are always challenges with patches, but the product has improved over time.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The product is designed for scalability, except for the List View Threshold limitation.

How is customer service and technical support?

Technical support is poor. Microsoft makes it tough to get quality support.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup is somewhat complex; it requires a professional for installation and configuration.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Cloud is the cheapest, but less flexible. The cost of the product is quite reasonable considering the feature set. The larger portion of the cost of the product is getting good professional help in shaping it to the organization's needs.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Before choosing this product, we explored alternatives such as Documentum from EMC (now spun off to OpenText), Slack, Box, Dropbox and even WordPress and Jive. However, for all-around capabilities that include not just document management, workflows, calendar, task management, blogging, calendars and overall business process management, we deemed SharePoint as the best overall.

WordPress for basic websites or Intranet is great, but there is no direct competitor for the full breadth of SharePoint. However, for narrow sets of functions, Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, Wedoist, Slack, and others offer competition.

What other advice do I have?

Get a real professional to work with your team. Ensure training and collaborative working with users is included in your deployment plan. Adoption is key.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user415431
Collaboration Service Manager at a consumer goods company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
Enables you to share documents from the web and via mobile devices.

What is most valuable?

The valuable features are its integration with:

  • The Office 365 ecosystem
  • Other Office 365 services
  • The Office application suite

How has it helped my organization?

We haven't rolled out Sharepoint online to the entire organization. However, we have been using it on a small scale within our IT function.

It has brought on improvements due to:

  • Ability to easily share documents which reduces the instances of documents being emailed around.
  • Accessibility from mobile devices which complements the file sharing capability very well.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see improvements in the interface. There is a somewhat convoluted way to change lists, columns, and even the site landing page.

Being new to Sharepoint, it wasn't obvious how to do things and where one actually starts. The recent Microsoft interface improvements are good.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using this solution for sixteen months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I did not encounter any issues with stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I did not encounter any issues with scalability.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We are using a different on-premise platform. The plan is to migrate to Sharepoint online for our document management and business process applications.

We are switching in order to:

  • Migrate to a cloud platform
  • Maximize our investment in the Office 365 platform
  • Consolidate platforms
  • Provide a more accessible, standardized, and integrated platform for our users.

How was the initial setup?

The initial configuration was straightforward. The online support documentation is well written and easy to follow.

What other advice do I have?

First understand the scale of what this product offers.

Don't hesitate to engage with a partner to provide best practice advice if you don't have the in-house skills or knowledge.

Ensure you understand what governance and compliance requirements your organization has to which you need to align the platform.

Have a plan on how you are going to structure the site collections and hierarchy.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Business Architect at a comms service provider with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
We use it use as a platform to run our day-to-Day operational processes. We are unable to use it to archive data and run queries to generate hindsight information.

What is most valuable?

Lists, documents, wiki pages and being able to create sites/subsites are valuable features.

How has it helped my organization?

The fact that our operational process improvement initiatives continue to be assigned on a lower priority in our portfolio management, it has given rise to the use of SharePoint as a platform to run its day-to-day operational processes. Specifically, we moved away from using MS OneNote.

What needs improvement?

It has its limitations. We are unable to use this tool to "archive" data and run queries to generate hindsight information.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution since 2011.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have not encountered any stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I did experience some scalability issues; this could be more because of trying to use SharePoint as a BI tool, which it is not designed for.

How are customer service and technical support?

As it is internal, there is some knowledge that they are unaware of which makes it necessary for me to go check with third party sites (such as wikis) for answers.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Initially, we were MS OneNote.

How was the initial setup?

All I did was request for a site to be created and then the rest of the configuration was up to me.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I am not involved with the purchasing decisions.

What other advice do I have?

There are some features that I am looking for and that I am unable to find, for example creating nested IF functions.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
IT Manager at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
Consultant
I like the document libraries, team sites and workflow engine. It could be more intuitive.

What is most valuable?

Document libraries
Team sites
Workflow engine

How has it helped my organization?

Improved collaboration through multi-user document editing capabilities. Improved governance through process workflows.

What needs improvement?

The product could be more intuitive both from an administrative point of view and from an end user point of view.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this for five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We did not have any stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We did not have any scalability issues. However, we have deployed a very simple system, with no bespoke tooling or plugins. We have, as yet, not had to scale the solution beyond adding more RAM or disc to either the database or application server.

How are customer service and technical support?

Never had to use technical support from Microsoft for this product.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We did not have a previous solution.

How was the initial setup?

Setup was complex. Setting up the solution requires a solid understanding of the various architecture options available. While Microsoft has made significant improvements in changing the deployment method so that it is much more guided, decisions taken at the time of deployment can have long lasting detrimental impacts if the decision is not well understood.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Atlassian Confluence (we use both products in house for different things).

What other advice do I have?

Plan thoroughly and well for your deployment and make sure that you understanding the implications of the decisions you make around multi-server implementations for scalability and resilience.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We're a Microsoft partner.
it_user250926
Managing Director & Chief Technology Officer at a tech company with 51-200 employees
Vendor
It simplifies development of portal and document management.

What is most valuable?

  • Visual web parts
  • Document libraries
  • FBA
  • Document templates

How has it helped my organization?

It simplifies development of portal and document management. Also, by using Office 365, we got good integration with office tools.

What needs improvement?

When we develop portals, we need to develop a lot of web parts that eventually go to a number of pages. These pages must be created manually. There should be some easy way to develop pages automatically via programing.

For how long have I used the solution?

I am working on SharePoint since 2011. I have worked (with my team) on Microsoft SharePoint 2010 and 2013. We have developed enterprise web portals of government entities and large private organizations.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have not had any stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Actually, the scaling is very simple. One of my customers needs their portal in three languages (English, Arabic and Urdu). SharePoint doesn’t have the Urdu language package, hence we had to work hard for it.

How are customer service and technical support?

Most of time we got support from forum and that is good enough.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We did not use a previous solution.

How was the initial setup?

Setup was simple.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I recommend using Office 365.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did not look at other solutions.

What other advice do I have?

if you have a .NET team, the SharePoint is right solution for you.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Web Developer at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Consultant
By using the cleaner user interface, we have managed to assign access requests back to the users.

What is most valuable?

Some valuable features are:

  • The SharePoint document management is second to none. This was one of our main reasons to upgrade from SharePoint 2010 to 2013.
  • SharePoint 2013 had a better and cleaner user interface that has appealed to more users.
  • The improved out-of-the-box Search functionality, was also a driving factor in migrating to SharePoint 2013.

How has it helped my organization?

With the cleaner and friendlier user interface, we have managed to assign access requests back to the users. While our support desk dealt with these requests previously, we have now managed to easily train managers in each team/department to provide access requests easily, thus reducing the load on our support desk.

What needs improvement?

The areas in which this product can improve are:

  • The user experience can be simplified a bit more.
  • The performance and customizability can also be improved.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used this product for 12 months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There were no major stability issues as such, but the user profile service stopped unexpectedly on a few occasions.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues were experienced in regards to the scalability.

How are customer service and technical support?

Being a Microsoft product that is widely used around the world, the technical support is easily available.

The only problem is when there is any customization done to the default SharePoint tool.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We used the older version, Microsoft SharePoint 2010.

Our reason to upgrade was Microsoft decided to stop its support for SharePoint 2010 aand also because our license was soon going to expire.

How was the initial setup?

For someone who had not set up SharePoint previously, the initial setup was somewhat complicating. However, it became very straightforward thereafter.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The pricing and licensing is one of the most crucial parts of using Microsoft SharePoint.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Confluence by Atlassian was the only other option that was considered.

In the end, we chose the Microsoft SharePoint solution because we have a Microsoft Gold membership; so the pricing and licensing was greatly reduced for us.

What other advice do I have?

Try and stick to a vanilla installation/setup as much as possible. When branding your instance of SharePoint, also try not to implement too much of custom codes. The more custom codes you implement, the less maintainable and less migratable SharePoint becomes.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Director of Development with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
It has improved the exchange of knowledge from team to team. There should be an easy way to integrate images into the wiki through the drag and drop option.

What is most valuable?

The collaborative features, the central repository for project documents and the know-how for standard/best practices are valuable.

How has it helped my organization?

It has:

  • Improved the exchange of knowledge from team to team.
  • Provided better product support through the centralized documentation of procedures.
  • Assisted in how-to to fix production issues.

What needs improvement?

The integration of Office document editing and publishing with the wiki component that we use for creating our how-to section needs to improve. At the very least there should be an easy way to integrate images into the wiki through the drag and drop option.

We also have many other tools that create their documentation in the form of HTML pages, sometimes with hundreds of pages. We should be able to directly integrate those into our site, not just through a link but to truly integrate this content as if it was native.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used this solution for four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The only issue that we have is when we are creating a new site from templates. During such a situation, many of the sub-components do not work or have to be completely reconfigured once created. This makes the creation of a new project based on our project site template very painful.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There were no scalability issues but then again, we are only about 30 people who are using it constantly.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support level is practically nil.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We did not have anything before.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was not so complex but our attempt to migrate was plagued with some issue and it was ultimately abandoned. It was not worth redoing everything what was there .

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

For us, in terms of the project development and support tools and for a collaborative repository of live documents, there is nothing like this solution.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did evaluate a few other options. I know we looked at Jostle which we did adopt for the social-side of our intranet and for the publishing of static articles.

What other advice do I have?

What is costly with SharePoint is the customization and maintenance of these custom components.

Unless you are a .NET development shop or are thinking about hiring a SharePoint person on staff full-time, you need to stay close to the out-of-the-box config.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user421563
IT admin at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
Consultant
It's pretty easy to scale services when you require more performance.

What is most valuable?

SharePoint is the ideal platform in the collaboration scenario where is quite easy to set up document repositories with appropriate permissions with just few mouse clicks.

In a publishing/internet scenario, it has a powerful publishing infrastructure that allows editors to publish contents with predefined layouts in a quick and easy way, with features like scheduled publish and unpublish, caching for page load performance and multilingual site support.

The search capabilities empower the company to create new kinds of applications that in the past used to be implemented with a web/database application and now can be realized using SharePoint lists and libraries as a backend.

How has it helped my organization?

It helped us particularly with document digitalization, both from a repository standpoint and from a project documentation sharing and co-authoring perspective, with great integration with the MS Office suite.

It also helped us manage simple processes that used to be carried out through email and now are centralized in a single spot.

What needs improvement?

It would be nice if the platform made it easier to implement a complete document management process (digitalization, OCR, protocols, etc.) without the need to integrate software from different vendors.

For how long have I used the solution?

I’ve been using SharePoint for six years, including previous versions.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have not really had stability issues, particularly in the 2013 version.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Once the guidelines and the hardware requirements are fulfilled, the performance result is in line with expectations. Beyond that, SharePoint 2013 has been created with scalability in mind, with all services deployable on an on-demand basis, independently, even on a dedicated machine. In addition, is pretty easy to scale services when you require more performance.

How are customer service and technical support?

Fortunately, we did not encounter major issues, but support has been generally good.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I did not use a previous solution.

How was the initial setup?

We used a consultancy company to set up the environment and everything has been deployed within the estimated time frame. The seamless integration with Active Directory made it easy to provide access to all company users.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Pricing is in line with other enterprise products. For a small company, the cloud version might be more suitable from a licensing cost standpoint. Bigger companies should take a decision based on the size of the IT department and the number of users involved, which can make an on-premises solution more convenient.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We thought about an open source solution, but the features and the support provided wasn’t sufficient to satisfy our organization’s needs.

What other advice do I have?

Like other products similar to this, it is very important to pay attention to employee’s training regarding the use of the platform. They should be prepared for the change. Otherwise, they would be tempted to reject it without evaluating properly the advantages.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user500811
SI with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Provides faster search results and better document search. Data portability between Excel reporting and Power BI allows us to create beautiful company reports.

What is most valuable?

SharePoint Search. The combination of a central search portal and search-based navigation (search based on predefined metadata) returns faster search results.

SharePoint business intelligence. The data portability between SharePoint Excel reporting and Power BI allows power users to quickly create beautiful company reports.

Hybrid in SharePoint 2016

How has it helped my organization?

SharePoint Search improved document searchability from different sources like file systems and Office 365.

SharePoint Reporting and PowerPivot make it much easier to create a company report portal.

The SharePoint 2016 on-premises version, Office 365 and ADFS integration allow a good intranet/extranet architecture scenario.

What needs improvement?

The workflow engine. MS Workflow Manager is still in Version 1.0 and the future Microsoft strategy for this product is unclear.

Requirement dependencies of the initial setup and support could be very complex.

Companies often decide to buy workflow products such as K2 or Nintex because of larger features set and better stability.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using SharePoint for five months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There were issues with a cumulative update for SharePoint.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The new MinRole feature does not support a small environment. It will be solved with new Feature Pack 1 this year.

How are customer service and technical support?

I rate technical support 3.5/5.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Our intranet portal was based on in-house development. We moved from legacy to a standard product.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup using the graphical wizard is very easy, but the recommendation is to use PowerShell scripts. Ready to use scripts like AutoSPInstaller make it much easier.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

In SharePoint Hybrid Mode, Office 365 User SLs can be used to access your licensed servers deployed on third party shared servers/datacenters via License Mobility using Software Assurance. Check this possibility for saving money.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Alfresco and Liferay Portal.

What other advice do I have?

Take time to plan your portal information architecture before installation and train your users and create a content editorial group.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We have a gold partnership with Microsoft.
Wissam H
Change Management Consultant at a analyst firm with self employed
Real User
Top 20Leaderboard
I used it to build tactical solutions such as a document control management system for the Policy and Procedure Department and a case tracker for Legal Counsel.

What is most valuable?

  • Libraries
  • Lists
  • The workflow module

How has it helped my organization?

It improved communication, collaboration and content/record sharing in the organizations I worked for. It helped us manage our documents and records effectively and at a reasonable cost. The TAT for process/document review, approval and publication cycles have significantly improved from maximum of three months for each document down to two weeks.

Everyone, from the board level down to the most junior staff, was able to utilize SharePoint for their own needs. I even used it to build a simple tactical solution to fulfill the needs of various units within the organization. Eventually, these solutions became instrumental in building strong business cases that convinced management to adopt fully fledged comprehensive solutions. Examples:

  • - Routing of documents to be checked within Trade Finance.
  • - Document control management system for the Policy and Procedure Department.
  • - Case tracker for Legal Counsel.
  • - Specialized workspaces for minutes of executive committees and business cases presented there.
  • - Online approval workflow for executive committee.
  • - Project tracker workspace.
  • - ISO surveillance tracker.
  • - Knowledge management center.
  • - Etc.

What needs improvement?

  • Workflow management module
  • The web page editor
  • The reporting tools

For how long have I used the solution?

I used SharePoint 2007/2013 for six years as the super administrator from the business side.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I definitely encounter stability issues, like all other Microsoft-related solutions.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have not encountered any scalability issues. It’s highly robust, and can be scaled further as the organization’s requirements increase.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is bad, as the support is for all other Microsoft products.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I did not previously use a different solution.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup was complex, but it was due to our experience and knowledge as an organization. Data deployment was a nightmare as the vendor (a Microsoft business partner) was not well prepared.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Don’t really know what to say here. I’d rather not answer. In general, we didn’t have any issues with SharePoint licensing.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did evaluate other products, but I don’t remember the names at this stage.

What other advice do I have?

Go through the vendor-selection process thoroughly. Dig all the information you can about them and try to meet other organizations who utilized them for implementing the solution.

I would give Microsoft SharePoint 2007 a lower rating. SharePoint is an excellent solution that is highly scalable. However, like all other Microsoft products, it has some frustrating bugs and other issues relating to customer experience. However, version 2013 showed significant improvement. The level of empowerment for the business administrator significantly improved as well. The solution is cost effective and licensing is highly flexible and straightforward.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user540288
Project Manager at a tech company with 51-200 employees
Vendor
The two-way synchronization is valuable. The number of files that can be uploaded has a limit.

What is most valuable?

The two-way synchronization is very valuable.

How has it helped my organization?

Automatic synchronization with our file server library: Once all the data is uploaded to SharePoint, changes made by any user (regardless the access location) who has access to given files are automatically downloaded to our file server.

What needs improvement?

There is a limitation on the number of files that can be uploaded.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used it for six months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There is a limitation on the number of files that can be uploaded.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

As per Microsoft support, the issue should be fixed in the next releases. But until now, the same problem is occurring.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support related to Office 365 in general was good, but we have faced some issues related to the SharePoint support. We have received different opinions (some were contradictory) from different support agents.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I did not previously use a different solution.

How was the initial setup?

The setup is not complex; we just create the libraries and the sync will start. (We have downloaded and used various tools including Microsoft’s own tools.)

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

SharePoint is embedded in our Office 365 license. The price is very competitive. (I believe it is one of the best.)

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Before choosing this product, I did not evaluate other options.

What other advice do I have?

Office 365 SharePoint is a powerful and great tool, as long as your libraries’ content is limited in terms of the number of files. For huge data uploads, limitation problems will start popping up.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
IT Manager at a university with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
Exposes data for real-time reporting as well as point-in-time views.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are:

  • MS Office Web Apps allow anywhere/anytime access to the apps used, most often for documents.
  • The collaboration feature allows multiple people to read and edit documents simultaneously.
  • The list feature makes it easy to integrate database information into the same place as documents. It allows exposing of that data to create reports and views within the site for real-time reporting as well as point-in-time views. This is extremely useful.

How has it helped my organization?

We created a hang management system with a simple list including views and reports, instead of purchasing a bloated application. We created inventory tracking in the same way.

Instead of switching, this has kept all the information in one place and within one application. It allows easy data exports into other applications.

What needs improvement?

Latest versions of this product have addressed the functionality issue on non-Windows devices.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used this solution for five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Occasionally, the SQL database backend would have issues to address regarding maintenance.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have not encountered any stability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

Microsoft provided excellent support.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Prior to this product, I have not used any other solution.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was somewhat complex. To get the best results, a farm configuration was needed and many additional components are required to have all the features fully functional.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

If possible, consider using what Microsoft offers in Office 365 as it includes all those features plus email. For a smaller organization, it makes a lot of sense and Microsoft will still manage the environment.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We have not evaluated other options.

What other advice do I have?

Try the Microsoft Cloud Services first and implement on-premise only if you really need to.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
European Business Architect - B2B Marketing & Sales with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
Cross-site search finds knowledge in the organization. Direct document editing facilitates collaboration.

What is most valuable?

The cross-site search is great for finding knowledge stored or used somewhere in the organization. Most documents are created in MS Office. Each MS Office Document can be stored directly on SharePoint. The threshold for people sharing their documents online has gone down. The cross-site search enables browsing all that knowledge with ease.

The ability to edit MS documents directly from SharePoint makes it easy to collaborate on documents with other people.

The strength of Microsoft has never been in its OS, but in its MS Office suite. MS Office 365 in combination with SharePoint, as a total collaboration tool, brings collaboration to another level.

How has it helped my organization?

There is much more collaboration and sharing across SharePoint.

What needs improvement?

Google Docs has two abilities that SharePoint should support as well:

  • The ability to work in the same document at the same time would be a huge improvement. During my MBA studies, we used Google Docs for this. Unfortunately Google Docs doesn’t convert well to MS Word to add the finishing touches.
  • Just like Google spreadsheets within Google Docs, I would like to be able to fill an Excel spreadsheet through a form posted on SharePoint. SharePoint has list views that can do something similar, but I want it to do more, tightly integrated with Excel. This would improve the document collaboration options for spreadsheets.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using it for three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We had issues with stability when we implemented it at a previous company. We had issues where the system was down for a while.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We did have issues with scalability. Performance isn’t so good if too many people use it.

How are customer service and technical support?

At a previous company, Sonepar, we were supported by VX company, and at my current organization, Canon Europe, by Capgemini.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Previously, we used enQuira to store questions.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup was straightforward.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

It is affordable for what you get.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

At Sonepar, we considered using open source CMS systems, like Drupal and DotNetNuke.

What other advice do I have?

Ensure the search is quick enough. If not, look at the indexing configuration.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Escalation Engineer at a tech vendor with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
Indexing, search and BI features are valuable. It integrates with Yammer.

What is most valuable?

The features that I find most valuable are:

  • Indexing
  • Search
  • BI
  • Custom apps model
  • Team sites
  • My Site
  • Integration with Yammer

SharePoint provides out-of-the-box data indexing and caching. BI is optional and driven by content population as well as external sources import. Custom App model is a platform allowing for a variety of home-grown or enterprise based solutions. We have a local team developing proprietary applications available via an in-house App store that is rolled out either globally across all pages, or individually per team site.

How has it helped my organization?

With the use of “My Site”, we were able to minimize our data center shared drive footprint and roll most user data into a searchable database. SharePoint provides file level,content security, and shifting data management to the customer.

What needs improvement?

With version management and recovery options, customers can easily restore files from the recycle bin. However, once files are removed, administrators are forced to turn to third-party tools. Administrative recovery and data management need more attention. File recovery is not made simple. Once files are discarded from within the SharePoint product, recovery turns into a long process of restoration from databases.

Alternatively we use a third party product by AvePoint called DocAve. It allows for an easy point and click recovery preserving original security permissions, which is not possible with direct database restoration. I would like to see a native Microsoft product do this.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have used this product for two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

With an on-premise, or even a hybrid model, local operations and platform teams are responsible for the uptime of the system. Most common issues are service halt, drive space management, and database corruption. All of this can be resolved easily with an Office 365 infrastructure migration.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability was not an issue for us at the time of deployment. Capacity planning and resource management was done well. However, scalability issues with the current version is done much better than in previous versions

How are customer service and technical support?

The quality of technical support depended on the support contract and severity of the issue. An enterprise level contract allows us to raise Priority 1 cases which are addressed on a 24/7 basis. Most issues were resolved promptly.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We upgraded from SharePoint 2007 and 2010. Data migration was the biggest culprit. The main reason for an upgrade was to provide easier platform management.

How was the initial setup?

Deploying essential components was fairly straightforward. "MySite" page customization for multi-brand organization was a bit complicated due to the application of custom templates and role-based access control.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Do your homework and work closely with the vendor during capacity planning. Think a few years ahead.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did not evaluate other products. However, also invested into WordPress and Kentico CMS under the MS Azure PaaS environment.

What other advice do I have?

Make sure the product meets your business needs. Once you make that decision, rollout the proper internal marketing and adoption of the product. Workshops are available by Microsoft along with adoption recommendations.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Senior Consultant | Architect at DHL
Consultant
Applies to a wide range of company scenarios. You can integrate systems using workflow management middleware.

What is most valuable?

What makes SharePoint special is that it applies to a wide range of company scenarios; document management, knowledge management, project management, and records management.

When you want to save information, collaborate, or discover information, SharePoint is the first point-of-contact. You can search, use metadata, or access content via business intelligence created as Excel reports or dashboards. You can also access data from PowerPoint presentations, PowerBI, JavaScript. or jQuery.

Since the core structure is based on ASP.NET technology, you can manage simple development projects using standard .NET developers who have no specialization. You are also able to brand the product using HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

How has it helped my organization?

SharePoint has benefitted us a lot regarding optimization. We can automate document management, project management, and basic service desk functions.

The biggest value is that you are able to integrate systems using workflow management middleware. You can also use business intelligence to integrate data and display output on a SharePoint page with predefined restrictions applied for separate security groups.

There is occasionally a problem when an organization has several in-house developed systems without any integration connectors, etc. But this is only an issue in some really specific cases.

What needs improvement?

The allowed size of document libraries and lists, i.e., the number of items allowed, needs to be increased. This was already improved in the latest 2016 version of SharePoint.

Also, there need to be more options to brand solutions without needing developers. This would be good for end users.

For how long have I used the solution?

I specialized in the implementation, configuration, and branding of SharePoint for about 7+years. I’ve implemented solutions for many customers, large and small, in many architecture scenarios.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability is always a big issue, but not from the view of SharePoint itself. It’s more of an issue from the architecture and infrastructure point of view. Many customers implement SharePoint on virtual machines with dynamic memory allocation. VMs have slow disk access speeds that are below recommended specifications.

In these situations, there are always issues with stability, especially regarding search services, etc. For example, if you installed SharePoint on a virtual machine with dynamic memory, it could destroy the farm without any possibility of repairing it. You will then have to reinstall the whole farm. This would really be a big problem in the case of a farm with 10 virtual servers.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability issue are related to the previous question regarding stability.

How are customer service and technical support?

The main burden of technical support is on Microsoft partners, who implemented the particular solution. If customers want extra support from Microsoft, it is possible I think, but only if they have Software Assurance or an Enterprise Agreement. Even if a customer has one of these, they still mostly use Microsoft Partners for consulting, maintenance, or new projects.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I previously used SharePoint Services 3, SharePoint Server 2007/2010/2013. Now, I am using SharePoint Online 2016 in a hybrid model that has new features and some new innovations. There are many reasons to switch.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was really difficult, because we had no experience. But, together with my colleagues, we managed to solve the initial issues. Then, we used specialized consultants to help us. All subsequent implementations, even in our own environment, were successful. There is always some troubleshooting to do, but this is normal.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I advise to really plan carefully before implementing a solution. You need to allocate the correct number of licenses of various types (standard versus enterprise), including the required SQL licenses. Be careful with SQL licensing as many companies get this wrong. Licenses for other systems, for example, AD CALs or terminal server CALs, also need to be considered.

One of the most common mistakes is that a project plan will not take into account the use of features that require an enterprise license to run. For example, if the planners allocate only 50 enterprise licenses and the rest are standard licenses, there may not be enough enterprise licenses for all the components that need them.

What other advice do I have?

My advice is to look around the Internet and find some justification to negotiate with your boss to buy this product. Alternatively, you could go to the cloud as well and create a hybrid model to reduce the cost of infrastructure (using Azure/Office 365).

Also, optimize your business using automation, forms, document management, etc.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Product Manager with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
It offers customization with MS .NET and related tools, is stable and performs well in a medium-sized environment.

What is most valuable?

Valuable features in this product are:

  • Easy customization with MS .NET and related tools
  • Stability
  • Performance in a medium size environment (100-200 users)
  • Full support by MS

How has it helped my organization?

We implemented custom approval workflows (for approving Opex items) using Windows Workflow Foundation which simplified and helped in speeding up the process of approving HW and SW licenses.

What needs improvement?

Performance: The web page was sometimes not as fast as we'd like to see.

Application of custom CSS/visual styles was cumbersome and usually required a complete re-write of out-of-the box SharePoint site pages.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used this product for three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability was usually good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have not encountered any scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

It's standard MS-quality support. We got the help level we expected as an MS Gold partner.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Previously, we used custom ASP.NET application. We wanted to use SharePoint because it is easy to deploy in a new environment and has out-of-the box functionalities like AD authentication, file versioning, wiki pages, .NET extensible, etc.

How was the initial setup?

The installation of SharePoint server was easy and had no issues.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I cannot make any specific recommendations.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

SharePoint didn't have a direct competition at the time of our evaluation, mainly due to its deep integration with .NET Framework technologies like Windows Workflow Foundation. Thus, it was our only choice to try.

What other advice do I have?

Consider what level of SharePoint Web customization you are looking for. If you would be okay with some basic color changes, adding your logo and other small visual changes, it would be easy for you to build what you want. However, if you are looking to build a custom look and feel website and consider using SharePoint, you will end up building a completely new product using some SharePoint components that may lead into technology/customization limitations.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Sr. DevOps at a energy/utilities company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
It maintains an easy, searchable knowledge base. It is difficult to identify deltas in documents, especially those with drawings.

What is most valuable?

The document library feature in this product is most valuable.

This product does a good job of maintaining an easy, searchable knowledge base, which is the key for supporting applications and business teams.

How has it helped my organization?

I personally don't use this product. However, my clients find it useful for locating documents in a format, that is easy to navigate.

What needs improvement?

Submitting document changes function needs to be improved.

It is hard to identify deltas in documents especially ones with drawings.

The process of updating a document on the fly takes a while to download and update.I am used to robust versions of management systems and hence end up using Apache Subversion (SVN) rather than SharePoint for version management.

I would also like to see who makes the changes inside the documents, that are managed.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used this product on and off for 10 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have encountered stability issues when connecting to TFS 2013 for reporting.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have not yet encountered any scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have not used any technical support.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Previously, I have used HP document solutions. I made the switch to SharePoint as it was what the client was using.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup for me was fairly simple.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I don't know since I did not source the production and used existing licenses.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I did not evaluate other options as I have not purchased this product.

What other advice do I have?

It is best to ensure that all configuration options are explored when connecting
to other solutions.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
System Architect at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
It collaborates with other MS products. Network sharing is no longer required to store attached documents.

What is most valuable?

Collaboration with other Microsoft products has made SharePoint a real tool for us. You can use a personal OneDrive storage to share your own documents with others, but also use SharePoint sites to manage projects with external users.

How has it helped my organization?

All attachments are put under SharePoint. So, no more of network sharing is required to store documents. Document versioning is also a useful feature for our organization.

No need to worry any more about emails with attachments and obsolete versions with those attachments. People can edit an online version at the same time. You don’t have to save and send anything anymore.

Though Office 365 Groups is only partly based on SharePoint Online, it gives a great option to share team information with inside and outside users.

What needs improvement?

SharePoint Online is excellent as is, but licensing for the on-premises version is expensive.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this product for eight years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have not encountered any stability issues. It is an excellent product if you don’t have to customize it too much.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have not encountered any scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

I would rate the technical support level 9/10.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I did not use any other solutions prior to SharePoint and I would not change to another product either.

How was the initial setup?

Setup is very straightforward when you know the architecture.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I didn’t evaluate other products.

What other advice do I have?

Keep it simple. Make use of this product without huge amounts of custom applications and scripting.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We are a Microsoft Gold partner.
ITCS user
ITIL Process Manager at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
We use the list functionality to create integrated test scripts. It provides a Web solution for running integrated test scripts across multiple applications.

What is most valuable?

The key features in this product are:

  • Use of list functionality
  • The ability to easily modify the default screen on a new Web site
  • The ability to quickly create and modify subsites
  • The ability to create unique access rights to the subsites

How has it helped my organization?

We use the list functionality within SharePoint to create integrated test scripts. This has allowed us to have a Web solution for running integrated test scripts across multiple applications, along with multiple testing resources in numerous physical locations.

What needs improvement?

The product can be improved in the following aspects:

  • In order to put certain customizations in place requires the downloading and installation of SharePoint Designer 2013. For large organizations where security has the majority of devices locked down, downloading and installing applications is not a simple process. It would be nice if some of the SharePoint Designer functionality could be baked in/part of the edit page functionality.
  • The reporting functionality needs improvement, to combine multiple lists (for the most part) requires a solution outside of SharePoint. It would be great if there was an option to combine lists that have the exact same layout (fields and order of fields) so that the combined lists could be summarized and reported on.


For how long have I used the solution?

I have used SharePoint for a total of 14 years; 11 years with my current employer.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Mostly, we have not encountered any stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have not encountered any scalability issues.

How is customer service and technical support?

I cannot comment as I simply use Google to find answers for technical issues.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup process was fairly straightforward.

What other advice do I have?

My advice is to not hesitate; just plunge in and implement SharePoint.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Head of Business Intelligence at a engineering company with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
It includes ready-made snippets. You can automate basic processes.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are the high number of ready-made snippets, easy basic process automation functionality, security model, and good integration with other Microsoft products.

How has it helped my organization?

Knowledge management has improved a lot.

What needs improvement?

Analytics and reporting is an area with room for improvement.

It should provide more complex-process automation out of the box.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using it in production since early 2015 for both document management and as Project Server 2013.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have spent some time reconfiguring the farm in order to overcome performance degradation.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have not encountered any scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

We haven't issued any tickets to Microsoft support because we have dedicated SharePoint admins.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We have used no other tool prior to SharePoint.

How was the initial setup?

Installation and configuration were somewhat complex.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

You can always start off with the free SharePoint Foundation version in order to evaluate the platform.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Before choosing this product, we did not evaluate any other options.

What other advice do I have?

Look at the spec list and try to find out if (almost) all of the features you request are covered by SharePoint.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: I guess so, but I don't know the level of partnership (gold, silver,. etc).
ITCS user
Project Manager at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
MSP
It provides multiple site collections, list libraries, a content and document library, and custom development & integration.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features of this product are: multiple site collections, list libraries, the content and document library, and custom development & integration.

Multiple site and subsites are created for around 10 subsidiaries of the main company which has a uniform portal along with subsidiary specific contents and documents.

Discussion forum, content library, document library, task calendar, job postings, integration with ticketing tool, etc. are features which are general as well as specific to each subsidiary and built by using SharePoint 2013.

How has it helped my organization?

We created a uniform portal for multiple subsidiaries of the company; a single place where employees can find all related documents, references and can raise requests to another application via this portal.

What needs improvement?

Areas with room for improvement:

  • A more responsive UI: There is a set of user groups who want to use this application in their mobile devices. If SharePoint provides a responsive UI by default, then no extra efforts are needed to integrate the existing UI with a more responsive UI.
  • The deployment process on multiple servers adds redundant work, mainly for configurations and creating site collections: Same-application deployment requires initial setup to be repeated for any new environment. For example, the very first time we need to set up each environment, we need to create the site collections and so on, and then deploy WSP packages.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No issues have been encountered in terms of stability.

How is customer service and technical support?

I have not got a chance to make use of technical support for any issues.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup was complex for IT resources with a non-SharePoint background.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

License cost is slightly higher so it is suggestible to derive license cost based on relevant features.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did not evaluate any other options.

What other advice do I have?

Using this product, one can benefit from OOB features in regards to content and document management. It provides a single platform where multiple applications can be integrated under one roof.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user366102
Business Process Coordinator at a comms service provider with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Metadata is easy to index in the research engine. Wikis are limited and hard to use.

What is most valuable?

We are using metadata tags on documentation, indexed research, linked calendar to outlook, and controlled navigation.

We are not using libraries to classify information, but columns linked to metadata (customer, services, processes, and so on). We have generated a true document ID card, and metadata is easy to index in the research engine. We have a “Google-like” page dedicated to research, which includes refinement fields available to help in research.

How has it helped my organization?

We are only using it as a documentation storage system for around 500+ people, so we can find the right document at the right moment, as required. With metadata tags and acronyms, we were able to manage the company terms and create a common basis.

What needs improvement?

Various wikis are very limited; there is no integrated solution for communicators; master pages are too limited and require a developer; and libraries are sometimes useless.

Wikis are not simple enough and too hard to use. There could be auto links, for example, like you can implement in Confluence. A wiki should have an integrated table of contents and auto link to already available terms in the wiki, like Wikipedia works.

An integrated communicator would be an asset. You could use it to ask documentation owners when it will be available in the platform. It would work something like Facebook messenger.

Master pages are just too hard to manage because everything in SharePoint is linked. One level on one page might be a different level in another page; so you need time and failures before you succeed.

In general, it is a good product, but it has limited support and too much expertise required.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used it since 2010. The company I work for has been using it since 2003.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We never had any stability issues. In fact, our system is quite simple. We only experienced downtime three times in six years. This was only due to a VM management problem with human resources.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We did not have any issues with scalability.

How are customer service and technical support?

Microsoft’s support is much too expensive and too complicated. We are not using their support at all. We are doing everything internally the best we can.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We tried ShareDrive and Confluence. We stay with SharePoint because of the indexed content and corporate licenses.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was complex. We hired an external consultant to implement the Content Type Hub.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I’ll strongly recommend to adopt metadata solutions, but with a SharePoint expert. This is expensive, but you save a lot of time.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did not evaluate any other options because of corporate requirements.

What other advice do I have?

I recommend hiring experts and architects and preparing detailed business requirements for them.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Limited
ITCS user
Business Development Director at a tech vendor with 51-200 employees
Vendor
The community building feature creates a central working environment.

What is most valuable?

SharePoint’s most valuable feature is its use for community building. It turns large scores of people into a more cohesive group by creating a central working environment for documents, conversations, knowledge sharing, processes, tasks and content.

How has it helped my organization?

We have a variety of use cases internally, but an easy one for everyone to understand is the creation of the “company meeting” slide show. Every two weeks, everyone in our company gets together to hear from each other about the “goings on” in the company. Each area of the business gets the opportunity to present a few slides. In the past, these slides were emailed to a central point and some poor person had to collate it before all staff arrived. Now, with SharePoint and Office 365, all the business areas are able to edit their part of the PowerPoint file at any time, from anywhere. This saves plenty of time, removes embarrassing copy and paste errors, and also gives staff a central reference point after the meeting to catch up on what was presented.

What needs improvement?

The user interface, although extensible, leaves much to the imagination when compared to modern websites. Companies, like ourselves, are able to transform the front end into anything, but this consulting process sometimes scares off would be clients. Adoption remains a challenge (not really a product fault). Lastly, the workflow remains a kind of ugly sister. Improvements have been made in the form of “flow” (only available on Office 365). But, all in all, companies normally have to invest in third-party tools, such as K2 / Nintex, if they really want to create enterprise-grade workflow processes.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for 13 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We did not encounter any stability issues. In most cases, instability is caused by client or vendor implementation errors.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We did not encounter any issues with scalability. SharePoint actually scales really well as you’re able to add roles and servers to your heart’s content. Office 365 also has a number of clever resource throttling capabilities, which allows administrators to prioritize certain areas over others.

How are customer service and technical support?

We received excellent technical support. We have no complaints there.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We never tried to implement a solution other than SharePoint.

How was the initial setup?

In the early days 2003, the initial setup of SharePoint was highly complex, but nowadays it has been streamlined a lot. The challenge, however, is not the basic installations. It is creating something that is ready to take advantage of the scalability and other platform benefits without revising the architecture.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

More than 75% of our interactions now are with clients that already have Office 365 (which includes SharePoint), so the pricing is normally bundled with that. We do discuss specifics when it comes to the amount of storage included. For on site deployments, clients need to license each server, as well as each client access license (CAL).

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

As a vendor, our typical scenario is that the product was already chosen, and we are just implementing it. As SharePoint is a platform with many capabilities, plenty of products compete with specific areas of SharePoint, but hardly anyone can offer everything that SharePoint does.

What other advice do I have?

Before starting the project, it’s critical to understand what you want to achieve. Just installing it because IT owns it, will not accomplish your goals. If you have well-defined use case for it, and the solution is geared toward delivering on that ROI, SharePoint is a great fit. Special attention must be given to ongoing adoption and training and it’s critical that you choose your vendor very carefully. Many vendors understand a bit, but only a handful have walked the walk and know the many pitfalls of splash and dash deployments.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We are a Certified Microsoft Partner in a number of areas namely: Gold Application Lifecycle Management Gold Customer Relationship Management Gold Application Development Gold Collaboration and Content Silver Cloud Platform Silver Cloud Productivity Silver Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions Silver Cloud Customer Relationship Management
ITCS user
CTO with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
It produces workflows down to the user or product level, integrates KPIs and uses standard reporting tools.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are its ease of integration and customization.

How has it helped my organization?

  • Produced workflows down to user / product level
  • Easy KPI integration
  • Use of standard reporting tools

What needs improvement?

The documentation can be improved, so it is easier to use for non-technical people. The documentation was clear only after full training was completed, not for starters.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used it for two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have not encountered any stability issues, but prior infrastructure planning is a must. When systems are well defined, all setup and integration runs smoothly.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have not encountered any scalability issues, but that requires the same conditions that ensure stability.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is perfect; nothing to complain about. Our market is special and they have minimal experience in special market segments, so they had a learning curve as well.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We previously used a solution called Hornbill (Supportworks); it was out of date and had less flexibility in customization and no access to the source code level.

How was the initial setup?

Prior infrastructure planning is a must. When systems are well defined, all setup and integration runs smoothly.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

  • Look very well what your need is.
  • Compare that with the budget.
  • Do a full in-house inquiry to define:


    • What the real need is.
    • How to adjust internal procedures when needed, and if it is possible.
    • Whether the system can be adjusted to the company's needs.
  • Make a clear time line.
  • Make internal resources available.
  • Do not make the error of fixing a time line and not allocating the resources accordingly.
  • Make a clear plan of what you need.
  • Do not plan for your current need; add some space for future expansion.
  • Look into easy expansion; add licenses when needed.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Before choosing this product, we evaluated too many other options to list. We surveyed over 15 providers/solutions, and no one had a 100% fix for our company. We selected SharePoint based on flexibility, the best score, and that we were able to do our own changes. Some suppliers demanded that they do all the changes, so you would be locked to them if you need changes in the future; the system would become more expensive.

What other advice do I have?

In addition to what I’ve already mentioned, if possible, have dedicated implementation staff. Or, get external staff involved after they have reviewed your company processes for optimization; they have a neutral view of the company and are not stuck in current processes the current users work with.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user75573
Software Architect at a retailer with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
It can be used from a .NET programming environment.

What is most valuable?

  • Ability to be used from a .NET programming environment

How has it helped my organization?

We were able to introduce a CMS, which had never been implemented before.

What needs improvement?

For sure, it should offer customisation of data grids, which is not possible, as it seems to use some proprietary OCX control.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used it for three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have not encountered that many stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have not encountered any scalability issues so far.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I did not previously use a different solution.

How was the initial setup?

As with any other product, initial setup is a bit complex to understand how/what is happening, but with a good background and understanding, how it works it is very easy.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

For simple solutions, I recommend this solution. But going large scale, you might consider going with an open-source solution.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Before choosing this product, I did not evaluate other options.

What other advice do I have?

Look at alternatives, and understand your goals and possible future implementations.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user63336
Database / SharePoint Administrator at a manufacturing company with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
It offers the ability to create workflows that can assign tasks and route documents for review and approval.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features to our organization are the ability to store and share documents across the entire corporation, and the ability to use workflows. Our organization has multiple locations and even multiple companies that need to share information both intra-company and within the corporation. The ability to create workflows that can assign tasks and route documents for review and approval allows for documentation automation and project management.

How has it helped my organization?

We used to use project folders to manage new product development. With SharePoint, it allowed us to store all of the related documentation in a single project folder. Another example would be when we have a product quality issue, a single form is filled out and routed to the various people in the organization for review and resolution to ensure the issue does not repeat itself. Several locations use the calendar feature to schedule PTO and at one plant, they use the calendars to schedule the dock doors for freight delivery and shipping.

What needs improvement?

The user profile synchronization feature is cumbersome to configure and at least initially had some stability issues. Since then, it has improved in stability, but is still not a straightforward installation.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have used SharePoint in our organization for 10 years, beginning in late 2006 with SharePoint 2007.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There have been no stability issues other than with user profile synchronization. The only times we have had SharePoint offline in the last 10 years were when we had a server issue in 2010 and when we have taken it offline for maintenance.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have not encountered any scalability issues, but our installation only supports a few thousand people.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have little experience contacting Microsoft technical support in relation to SharePoint, as we have not experienced any issues that would require their intervention.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I did not previously use a different solution.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup can be daunting if you are not familiar with the product, especially if you are setting this up in a multiple-server environment, which would be the common scenario. There are three main servers in the configuration: the database server, the web application server and the web front end server. In larger installations, that number can grow, as you can have multiple front end servers and multiple servers handling the various application services.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

As with any Microsoft product, the licensing can be complex. There are two versions of SharePoint: Enterprise and Standard. Standard does not require an additional user CAL for the SharePoint part of things, but has less features; the most important being able to use Office apps directly in the browser. SharePoint is tightly integrated with Microsoft Office, so this is a critical point.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did evaluate using FileNet as an alternative. We chose SharePoint due to its tighter integration with Microsoft Office.

What other advice do I have?

If you don’t have in-house expertise, you would be well advised to hire a competent consulting firm to help with the planning and installation. You will need to consider things such as in-house servers vs. a hosted solution, along with topology, backup and disaster recovery, security, and capacity plans. And that is just for hardware. You will also need to consider logical architecture: how you want to use social computing, document management, search and metadata structure, records management, and site security. That is just a portion of the details involved.

Beginning with SharePoint 2007, the product has steadily improved with a few minor exceptions.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Systems Analyst at a university with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
We use it as an internal intranet. Users are organized through AD and into their respective teams. There are many end users who find it difficult.

What is most valuable?

  • User permissions and document libraries
  • Basic CMS capabilities with user-based permissions
  • Ability to tie into other products to extend and scale the platform

How has it helped my organization?

We use SharePoint largely as an internal intranet; users are organized through AD and into their respective teams. Each team is responsible for their own websites and areas (including document repositories). Through this form of user organization, we can share resources with one another and in other areas, we can also set up public access so that everybody has access to everything.

On top of that, we can set up applications such as Power BI and web parts to handle data processing, telemetry/analytics, and even document processing. We have web forms that collect all manner of data, with workflows, to help with internal processes.

What needs improvement?

  • Ease of use
  • Out-of-the-box experience
  • Learning curve

For the most part, the tool is useable, but there are many end users who still find it difficult overall. As a developer, I am able to find my way through the interfaces with time, but it takes too much time to learn these things and remember where they are. As an end user, I can understand why some people altogether give up in frustration.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used it for 10 years, through various versions.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have not encountered any stability issues. SharePoint is a very stable platform, provided that it's installed on an equally stable server environment.

Occasionally, we come across strange server-level errors, but they are few and far between. Normal users almost never have problems, except for permission-based incidents.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have not encountered any scalability issues. SharePoint is very scalable, provided that you have the resources to ensure its smooth operation.

For example, enabling Power BI is almost as easy as subscribing to the SaaS and flicking a switch. Similarly, other third-party vendor plugins are as easy as installing them and making the webpages and web parts available to the users. However, making sure that the platform itself is configured correctly and deploying the plugins correctly, is often where some things can fail. SharePoint itself scales well, it's just ensuring that all the additional resources are working cohesively.

How are customer service and technical support?

N/A. I am not a system admin for our SharePoint instances, so I don't contact MS support for SharePoint issues.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

To my knowledge, we have always used SharePoint. We have not switched away from SharePoint because of its AD integration; it makes automatic permissions that much easier.

How was the initial setup?

N/A. I am not a system admin for SharePoint and was not involved in the deployment.

While a business owner of the platform, I can only comment on that the upgrade/migration from SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2013 was relatively smooth, albeit very slow.

The migration process took an entire weekend, and our instance is shy of 150GB total stored contents.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Pricing and licensing is a very subjective topic. Some companies have more resources than others, and some vendors are more flexible than others.

This is very much a "your mileage may vary" type of discussion. The only two things I can offer are:
  • Always find a solution that fits your needs the most; worry about the money later.
  • Always make sure that this is a solution that your company can use and take care of; don't buy the latest and greatest tools because it's the hottest product in the market.

We are an academic institution, and so we have a EDU partnership for volume licensing and other enterprise purchasing agreements.

For this particular product (MS SharePoint), we are using the SharePoint Enterprise CAL license, for our on-premise solution. There are other departments that do the same thing with enterprise CAL, but our overarching relationship with Microsoft is through our central department.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

N/A. This was a pre-existing solution that's been upgraded many times since its first roll out (2003 > 2007 > 2010 > 2013).

What other advice do I have?

Make sure that you have the proper resources to ensure that the product is well maintained. This includes both technical resources and if necessary a governance group.

There is a steep learning curve for those not familiar with the way Microsoft works. They have a specific, albeit predictable, way of doing things. Ensure that your developers and system administrators are familiar with this "way". It seems arrogant and militant to state, but if your resources aren't willing to do things the Microsoft way, they should be taken off this project, else they will slow things down or outright make things worse.

The product itself is very robust and capable, but the success of the tool is largely dependent upon the team that deploys and maintains the product, as well as resources available to it.

Without proper resources, the product can flounder and fail.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Database Senior Manager at a university with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
We have taken advantage of the list features extensively and the ability to clone subsites.

What is most valuable?

We have taken advantage of the list features extensively and the ability to clone subsites.

The creation of lists and the ability to tie lists together is valuable. This has made my job and other different department’s jobs easier. We have many different lists defined on our server. We can use one of the list items on another list so that we have data integrity. That way everyone spells IBM the same, etc.

The ability to make templates of sites means thatt they can be easily recreated over and over.

How has it helped my organization?

An example of how we use the lists is what we call our parking portal. We have a list of pin numbers that parking has given to us to use in our underground parking lot. We have several different departments that use these numbers and they get charged when they use them. We have a separate list for reservations that we tie to the pin numbers. This is used to make sure that:

  • The pins are only used once.
  • The appropriate department gets charged for the parking pin used.

What needs improvement?

It does too many things and some of them seem impossible to set up.

One of the features that I could not get set up was the access interface. It had many steps and I just couldn’t get it to work. It should be easier to build access applications to do some of the things we want to get done.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have used Microsoft SharePoint since 2007. We have upgraded to 2010 and then to 2013.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have run into problems with Microsoft updates killing my test machine for two months...

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have not encountered any issues with scalability.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is 5 out of 10; it is complex and must all work.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We didn't have anything that did this before.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup was complex. You needed to understand the parts before you could set up the whole, and you needed to understand what parts you needed to get going.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Pricing seems fine. Licensing seems straightforward.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Nothing else did this at the time we started up.

What other advice do I have?

Start out in the cloud and see if that will get you where you want to go.

This version is a lot easier to use than the predecessors but it is still not easy to setup and get running. I love the new features and look forward to working with Microsoft SharePoint O365 online.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
VP/Treasurer/Asst Secretary at a construction company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
It provides calendaring specific to the function or department addressed by the site.

What is most valuable?

  • Enhanced communications
  • The ability to set up sites to share data/information in a one-stop shopping method. Including:


    • User-friendly interface to share files
    • Ability to have calendaring specific to the function/department addressed by the site
    • The important links facility, which provides easy access to frequently used items
    • Workflow, which allows us to define processes and make it easier for the user to perform a task. The workflow provides a consistent framework for performing the task, as well as providing behind-the-scenes flow, thus removing the manual process of determining where the flow goes next. This also removes the human error portion of that flow.

How has it helped my organization?

As the employees are spread around the country and the world, this allows us to communicate more effectively by providing an easier interface with the information (files, calendars, links and news) all in one spot. It allows us to collaborate more effectively as people can access this information according to their time availability. The one-stop shopping is critical, as everyone is looking at one version of the truth and therefore are on the same page.

This product has allowed us to coordinate the efforts of individual groups, as well as different groups that need to interact for specific projects/processes. Before this, there was a lot of emails being exchanged and certainly there were times that some of the people that needed to know where inadvertently left off of an email or two.

What needs improvement?

Not so much an improvement as a caveat: Due to the flexibility and power of the product, out of the box it can be daunting to use. Without some consulting work from a SharePoint expert, the product would not be quite as user friendly.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used it for two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

At first, we encountered stability issues, but they have been ironed out and – knock on wood – we have been stable for a while. I believe our issue might have been related to sizing the resources properly, as we started small with the intention of growing as we developed more uses for the product.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

At the end of the day, I would say we have not encountered any scalability issues. We have added more sites and continue to add them as people realize the power and effectiveness of the product. There are times, though relatively infrequent, where it seems to bog down a little but it does not have a major impact on productivity.

How are customer service and technical support?

I believe most of our external support comes from a consultant and from a user point of view, I am satisfied as I have yet to have a question/issue that could not be resolved and I have not had many questions or issues.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We did not previously use a different solution.

How was the initial setup?

Here again, from a user’s view, I would say initial setup was complex as to obtain the most benefit, you needed to understand what you were looking for and how best to fit it into the scheme of SharePoint. It seemed that there was often more than one way to solve the need and trying to map the need with the best approach took some time.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I am unable to comment as I am not involved with the details of this.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Before choosing this product, I did not evaluate other options. We chose SharePoint as we had business partners that were already using it, we had exposure to the product that way and liked what we saw.

What other advice do I have?

Make sure you find the right consultant.

Make sure you invest the proper amount of time to plan the implementation. This is not something like Excel, where you can install, train and use. To get the most out of it, you need a game plan for what you will use it for and how to design/customize it to your needs.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Director, Systems Management & MIS Operations with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Access to files is secured and controlled via roles & permissions in LDAP.

What is most valuable?

There are a lot of valuable features (e.g., ease of use, collaboration, integration with LDAP, security, accessibility, stability, etc.).

Integration with LDAP is valuable because:

  • Access to all files is secured and controlled via the roles & permissions that are sitting in LDAP for each user. This saves time and effort in determining who should have access to what, how and where.
  • Access level in terms of editing capabilities can be controlled easily, too.
  • Advanced reporting: Tracking who accessed what, how and when, recording the details, including all successful access and all denied attempts.
  • Made multiple-factor authentication possible· Password synchronization, password recovery, SSO (single sign-on)

How has it helped my organization?

It provides a common place to communicate and collaborate, common repository of documents, etc.

What needs improvement?

  • Data and use analysis
  • Load balancing
  • Common theme
  • Better editing tools: The editing tools are still not up to par with all the existing hi-tech & GUI editing tools:
    • To name a few: Real-time trapping, dynamic previews, auto-theme regeneration, animation features, 3D features, color grading & saturation, real-time snapshot replication & deduplication, multi-platform and software language adoptability, file-level security & encryption feature, content security capability
    • Hardware Limitations: Responsiveness to multi-gesture input devices (similar to the ones used in the Iron Man movies or the Minority Report), robotic assistance (thumb print, eye retina scan, voice recognition, etc.)
    • WCAG: auto-accessibility compliance capability & assistance

I have seen bits & pieces of these features from different software companies, but none have actually put them all together, yet.

One day – someday – with the fast developments in technology, the best is still to come.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used it for 14+ years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have not encountered any stability issues; very reliable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have encountered scalability issues, but only due to a physical server. With virtual server architecture, this can be resolved easily.

How are customer service and technical support?

From Microsoft, technical support is very good – but rarely needed.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I previously used a different solution; switched because of ease of use and deployment.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup was straightforward; some steps are implied for an experienced IT tech.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We got this through the California Foundation for Community Colleges; a four-site license.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Before choosing this product, we evaluated an in-house solution.

What other advice do I have?

Go for it. It works.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Data Research Analyst at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
Consultant
It integrates collaboration, e-mail, document management, workflow, and content management.

What is most valuable?

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.

How has it helped 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.

What needs 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.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used it for over 10 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

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.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

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.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is excellent.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

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.

How was the 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.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

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.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I compared it against Google's solution.

What other advice do I have?

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.
Sunny Rajpal
Senior SharePoint Architect at a tech services company with 5,001-10,000 employees
Consultant
Top 20Leaderboard
It provides a platform for documentation management, BI, and supports mobile devices.

What is most valuable?

How has it helped my organization?

Global accessibility over O365 increased the collaboration within the organization.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used it for more than 11 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have not encountered any stability issues, as such.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There were scalability issues with SP 2013, but MS made some improvements in SP 2016.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support from MS is great, especially in the cloud area.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We were previously using a custom solution that was hard to maintain and there was also lack of user adoption. With SP, we were able to see great improvement in those areas.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup was straightforward.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Go for O365 plans that have different pricing as per business needs.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

From the beginning, I was in favour of SharePoint. However, for customers, we have evaluated solutions such as Liferay, Sitecore, Drupal, etc.

What other advice do I have?

For enterprise global collaboration, DMS, and ECM needs, this is the right platform.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: My company is a Microsoft Gold partner.
it_user402498
Director at a tech company with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
Easy to use and provides valuable integration options.

Valuable Features:

Collaboration & DMS are the most valuable features of the product, to me.

It is also easy to use and provides valuable integration options.

Improvements to My Organization:

We are a service provider of SharePoint and SCOM to our clients. And we can see the change, how efficiently they are able to carry out their regular productivity works through SP, while the IT team is able to have control and adapt quickly with SCOM.

Room for Improvement:

There are multiple areas with room for improvement:

  1. Scanning engine driver
  2. Mobile integration (just launched by MS, yet to be seen)
  3. Stability

Other Advice:

We recommend this product with the following two main points:

  1. Cost of investment is quite low, while the ROI is quite high.
  2. Plan a proper approach, and look for a capable team for implementation
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We are an SMB partner for Microsoft
ITCS user
Manager, IT Communications at AbbVie
Vendor
There should be more data available to admin but I like the news feed and discussion features.

What is most valuable?

For SharePoint 2013:

  • My Sites
  • News-feed
  • Discussions
  • Communities

The Office 365 version shows real promise, although the mobile use of Discussions does not work as expected. Newsfeed does though. Not sure about Communities.

How has it helped my organization?

It's providing a social collaboration experience to a culture of heavy email users. They are not used to interacting on our intranet or other internal environments, having a profile to provide others more info about themselves, or searching for experts, information, etc. This is a helpful step to evolve the culture to be more digitally collaborative.

What needs improvement?

  • The linkage between items, such as the blog. It does not integrate into communities or team sites, it's totally separate in its own environment. Tags and @mentions are not connected to them either. They feel very disconnected. Our leaders would like to use blogs but since they aren't connected to anything else they aren't a great solution.
  • We are on premise so the mobile experience is also very lacking since users need to use a VPN on their device in order to utilize things.
  • There aren't any metrics provided out of the box. I have to ask for just the number of new users each month and it takes days. There should be more data that we can use available to us as admins.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used for six to nine months.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

We migrated from another company and moved from SP2010 to 2013 during the same time. There were a lot of hurdles, and people have profile problems (most of those issues have not fully migrated).

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability, even after deployment three months ago, still seems to be an issue. Tagging does not always show up in trending hashtags immediately. When tagging and @mentions work is not consistent from place to place.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We are on two farms so it is not a truly global solution which is frustrating when trying to communicate about global programs and events. Those in the Europe farm cannot follow the majority of our content in the North American farm.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Our SharePoint 2013 platform is hosted at HP and they manage services for us. HP support is getting better just as of the past few weeks. They do not seem to have a great handle on SP2013 social however.

Technical Support:

HP has not been great but we've really brought the issues to light over the past few weeks so they are stepping up their game.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

This is the first time using it at this company.

How was the initial setup?

IT was not very transparent about providing what the tools can and cannot do. As a user, I had to figure it all out, ask a lot of questions then get them to explain why or why not we could or could not do certain things.

What about the implementation team?

HP does not seem very knowledgeable about SP2013 social.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I believe IT looked at Yammer but felt our culture could just use SP2013 for free first to get our feet wet before investing in another tool. There are no business requirements for an Enterprise Social Network yet so with the pitfalls of using SP2013 out of the box, we are seeing what we actually need vs. what we have.

What other advice do I have?

Perform a controlled pilot first with social advocates in the company first. Nail down the business requirements with management before rolling anything out. Get their buy-in and support. Once that is decided, pilot several other tools to see what else is out there. Yammer isn't the only other solution for SharePoint. Compare costs, etc, select a solution, create a social governance team, train them well, provide guidance templates if needed and create regular training or webinars for people to get on board. Have leaders use the tool to communicate and move away from email.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ManagerIT306285
Manager, IT Automation and Technical Services at a energy/utilities company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Accessing it from a DMZ (i.e. the internet) allows vendors and outside third parties to work with it, but it tends to be unstable and slow when accessing some features.

Valuable Features:

We can access SharePoint from a DMZ. Vendors and other outside parties can work with it easily.

Improvements to My Organization:

Prior to implementing SharePoint, we accessed our network just via the internet. However in 2013, we implemented it. With accessibility from a DMZ, SharePoint is a good solution for outside access.

Room for Improvement:

It tends to be unstable and slow when accessing different features.

Use of Solution:

I've used it since 2013.

Deployment Issues:

N/A

Stability Issues:

N/A

Scalability Issues:

N/A

Valuable Features:

  • We can access SharePoint from a DMZ.
  • Vendors and other outside parties can work with it easily.

Improvements to My Organization:

Prior to implementing SharePoint, we accessed our network just via the internet. However in 2013, we implemented it. With accessibility from a DMZ, SharePoint is a good solution for outside access.

Room for Improvement:

It tends to be unstable and slow when accessing different features.

Use of Solution:

I've used it since 2013.

Deployment Issues:

N/A

Stability Issues:

N/A

Scalability Issues:

N/A

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
President and Founder with 51-200 employees
Vendor
Integration with Outlook could be more stable, but MS Dynamics integration is a key feature.

What is most valuable?

  • Office integration
  • Collaboration
  • Discussions
  • Shared documents
  • MS Dynamics integration
  • Tasks
  • Schedule project integration
  • Subscriptions

How has it helped my organization?

It's allowed automatic distribution of technical updates to shop floor technicians in the FABs.

What needs improvement?

  • Cloud and Office 365 integration with Outlook could be more stable, and an external company collaborator’s connections can be iffy.
  • Custom site provisioning and management
  • Migration from On-Premise to the Cloud has no automation tools to help in migrating the enterprise content, and so this requires throttling the bandwidth to guard against attack.
  • New application models are too complex - in Office365 you are sharing the whole SP farm with all Microsoft customers in a region so fixes take too long.
  • Deploying apps in some cases have limitations because you have no access to the admin console.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using SharePoint since its initial release, including Office365, On-Line 2013, and On-Premise 2013. In total, it's been 15 years, and I was involved in the initial SharePoint Pilot test.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

Getting customers to see it as the de facto repository for collaboration data takes serious investment in training and executive backing. Upgrades and migration are challenging.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Occasional Office365 SharePoint outages have been noted.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues encountered.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

It's poor, and if you want Microsoft support on SharePoint you have to hire Microsoft Consulting Services.

Technical Support:

It's poor, and if you want Microsoft support on SharePoint you have to hire Microsoft Consulting Services.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We used various methods to achieve the same results shared folders and third party document management solutions, e.g. Documentum.

How was the initial setup?

It's complex because you must spend significant time determining roles and train accordingly, or else it becomes an unstructured dumping ground for everyone’s files.

What about the implementation team?

I've done it both ways, and Microsoft Consulting Services is well equipped to properly implement SharePoint.

What was our ROI?

It's very high, I can't disclose exact figures, but it's a seven-figure number.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Use enterprise pricing as a part of Office 365.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

No other options were evaluated.

What other advice do I have?

Budget enough design and training dollars to seed your enterprise with certified electronic workers that can provide thought leadership, mentoring and set standards for use.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Microsoft partners
Toby Ward
President at Prescient Digital Media
Consultant
Top 5Leaderboard
SharePoint 2016 – likely the last release as Microsoft pushes customers to the cloud where releases will be quicker.
Microsoft has announced the next version of SharePoint, to be called SharePoint Server 2016. Though it will not be released until the second half of 2015, not likely before September, there will be a preview version at the big Ignite conference in Chicago in May (Ignite replaces all the previous standalone conferences for SharePoint, Office and other products). SharePoint 2016 (SP16) will be rolled-out with the next version of Office, Office 2016, and we can also expect new versions of Exchange and Skype for Business, which replaces Lync. Microsoft Delve (code name: Oslo), now part of Office 365, and soon to be part of SharePoint Though only about one-third of companies using SharePoint have rolled-out the current version, SharePoint 2013, which among other things features search, social…

Microsoft has announced the next version of SharePoint, to be called SharePoint Server 2016. Though it will not be released until the second half of 2015, not likely before September, there will be a preview version at the big Ignite conference in Chicago in May (Ignite replaces all the previous standalone conferences for SharePoint, Office and other products).

SharePoint 2016 (SP16) will be rolled-out with the next version of Office, Office 2016, and we can also expect new versions of Exchange and Skype for Business, which replaces Lync.

Microsoft Delve (code name: Oslo), now part of Office 365, and soon to be part of SharePoint

Though only about one-third of companies using SharePoint have rolled-out the current version, SharePoint 2013, which among other things features search, social networking, content management, collaboration, among other bells and whistles, the new SP16 will likely integrate some of the latest bells and whistles now being rolled-out on Office 365 (the cloud version of Office, which includes the cloud version of SharePoint, SharePoint Online). Some of these new features we should expect include:

  • Delve – a dashboard like interface using machine learning and artificial intelligence (using Office Graph) to display the most relevant information of interest to you, based on your work, and of those in your network. Delve (code name: Oslo) indexes and analyzes emails, meetings, contacts, social networks, etc., and presents this information as cards.
  • Insights – Insights for Office searches, indexes and displays related, relevant information adjacent to content in a document or page, without leaving the document. Insights puts a search box to the Office ribbon and it allows you to search the web while inside a document; you can also access this feature by right-clicking on a word; right-click on the word SharePoint and selecting Insight will produce a sidebar of what the Bing search engine deems the most relevant information, including Wikipedia definitions.
  • Yammer – better integration with the micro-blogging platform, with new capabilities.
  • Video Portal – allows users to upload, store, stream and discover videos securely.
  • Inline Social – enables users to have conversations right inside their documents.
  • Mobile – expect tighter integration, and better rendering on PDAs including iOS and Android devices.

Online tech news website Neowin also leaked news on additional functionality that can be expected in SP16:

  • Forecasting Functions
  • Time Grouping for Model Based Pivot Tables
  • PowerView over an OLAP connection
  • Data model PivotTable Automatic Relationships Detection
  • BI in Excel - BI features discoverability
  • Updated Backstage UI
  • Skype for Business (replaces Lync)

Read the Microsoft announcement on the Microsoft Office blog, the Evolution of SharePoint.

SharePoint 2016, like Office 2016, is expected to be the last big-bang release of its flagship enterprise technology platform as Microsoft pushes customers to the cloud, where releases will be smaller, frequent, and more easily and quickly rolled-out.

Again, while the official announcement on the expected features and functionality, and the official date, won’t likely be announced until the Ignite conference in May, don’t expect SharePoint 2016 to hit the mainstream market before October.

What does this mean for intranets? Most intranets will likely be in the cloud, within 4-6 years. So too will SharePoint; SharePoint Online will be but one of the jewels in the Office 365 crown cloud, and expect it to be more robust, more complex, and more nimble than the traditional on premises versions.

-

Toby Ward is Founder and CEO of Prescient Digital Media, and the author of the first blog on intranets, www.IntranetBlog.com. You can download for free his white paper, SharePoint for Intranets.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Project Manager with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
SharePoint 2007 (MOSS) - Decent product, poor support

What is most valuable?

The best feature that I found for SharePoint was having a main point of contact for everyone involved. Whether it be for the entire company or it for a specific department, this has made it easy to create a common place.

How has it helped my organization?

When I took over SharePoint 2007, it was fairly basic in its execution. It had sections for the various departments, but it wasn't common for users to actually use it. I ended up creating various lists and libraries to begin pulling processes into the system. It was fairly shoe horned, but it did the job.

In addition to this, without the use of an extension, I began using SharePoint to do more collaborative tasks and projects. There are extensions for SharePoint to increase its functionality, but using task management, was able to create sites and manage projects in that way.

What needs improvement?

SharePoint is extremely bare bones when purchased. To really bring it into a functional state, it will require decent configuration and extensions for what you need. It comes with the basics like site creation, lists, libraries, and things of this nature. However, if you need more functionality, you will need to either go to Microsoft for those additional functionalities or to a 3rd party that provides it. This is where the cost for SharePoint balloons.

Depending on the version, there are server requirements so if you're not up-to-date on software, this will also increase the price of the service. For the functionality you get at this price point, it leaves a lot to be desired.

For how long have I used the solution?

3 years

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

Sharepoint was deployed prior to me coming on-board so I'm not familiar with it.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

For the most part, SharePoint was stable based upon the set up that we have. When installing the R2 update, it did end up creating issues with the .NET code and eliminated some of the extensions. For example, the Excel extension that is used to view Excel spreadsheets within SharePoint was either damaged or deleted. This has caused issues with exporting to and from SharePoint and hasn't been corrected.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

SharePoint is tied to Microsoft's CAL pricing model so depending on your agreement, can be in line or balloon the cost. This is primarily for an on-site solution. If you're using the cloud solution, then it's still on a per user basis, but may/may not be a better fit. Our company didn't have any issues with scaling within the existing software version, however, if we were to upgrade to newer version, it would require a sizable investment.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Microsoft doesn't offer support for SharePoint unless you purchase the option. There are also 3rd party solutions for this. Support for SharePoint is minimal at best on its own. You will need support so your best bet is to purchase some type of support package through the vendor you purchase it from.

Technical Support:

See the customer service section above.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

N/A. SharePoint was the original solution.

How was the initial setup?

I wasn't with the company during the procurement and deployment phases.

What about the implementation team?

Our solution was done in-house.

What was our ROI?

Unknown.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

This will vary greatly depending on your CAL agreement with Microsoft and what vendor you purchase options from.

What other advice do I have?

SharePoint is a good solution and is very flexible if you're willing to invest the time and money into it. It requires full buy-in from various departments within a company and will require heavy configuration to get it to where it typically needs to be for your needs. I personally wouldn't go with SharePoint again as it doesn't fit my needs and is currently being used, but in very limited fashion.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Head of Consulting & Solutions EMEA at a tech consulting company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
Will Office 365 change the SharePoint vendors focus?
Office 365 is a comprehensive platform that delivers main pillars like email, calendar, collaboration (including search, document management...etc.), unified communications and social. Microsoft keeps adding to this platform like Project Online and PowerBI. Office 365 is not an isolated platform, it works in tandem with Microsoft Azure to extend its services through Azure websites, Active Directory, and more to come. The platform is fully managed by Microsoft and supported Microsoft SLA. Having that said, how this will affect the existing SharePoint ecosystem and Microsoft partners specifically? I would categorise existing Microsoft partners into Boutique services: they deliver software services in the shape of custom developed solutions on top of SharePoint and consultancy services.…

Office 365 is a comprehensive platform that delivers main pillars like email, calendar, collaboration (including search, document management...etc.), unified communications and social.

Microsoft keeps adding to this platform like Project Online and PowerBI.

Office 365 is not an isolated platform, it works in tandem with Microsoft Azure to extend its services through Azure websites, Active Directory, and more to come.

The platform is fully managed by Microsoft and supported Microsoft SLA.

Having that said, how this will affect the existing SharePoint ecosystem and Microsoft partners specifically?

I would categorise existing Microsoft partners into:

  1. Boutique services: they deliver software services in the shape of custom developed solutions on top of SharePoint and consultancy services.
  2. Products companies: they develop ready-made products that utilise or serve SharePoint as a platform. For example workflow products, governance management, administration, back and restore, custom web parts, custom HR solution, ideas management...etc. You can check a lot of these products on Sharepointreviews.com
  3. Hosting and platform management companies: they provide managed services to clients who want to outsource the hosting of their own SharePoint platform.

Let's see how each category will be affected:

Boutique services are the least affected in these categories. However, they should adapt and understand the change and the vision. Microsoft is pushing all the custom development to be outside SharePoint in the form of apps hosted on Azure websites or develop custom applications (websites, windows apps, mobile apps...etc.) that utilise SharePoint as backend; the applications will connect to SharePoint (or Office 365) using the new Office 365 APIs.

Products companies will need to reassess their strategy, review their market segments and how their clients are flexible to the new changes. There are clients slower to change or may be rejects the cloud concept.

In my opinion, the companies focusing on the platform management like upgrade and migration, back and restore, administration are hurt by the new move. In Office 365 there is no new versions that need upgrade or new farm that requires content migration. These companies needs to repurpose their products, move up in the technology stack (rather than focusing on the platform move up to the application).

The companies building ready web parts or solutions on top of SharePoint, they will need to re-architect their solutions and keep a close relation with Microsoft to stay to top of any upcoming platform changes.

Hosting companies are the most affected category. Simply they are going to lose all of the clients who are going to move to the cloud. It is not only about SharePoint; most of the clients move the email and unified communication workloads first then SharePoint follows.

Cloud strategy is an important item on all the CIOs agenda; either in the short term or long term. That's why all IT professional service firms need to re-innovate their offerings, focus on maximising the business value for their clients and divert the focus from IT only solutions

Glad to hear views and comments

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Microsoft partner
it_user143376
Consultant with 201-500 employees
Vendor
Full functionality is available from anywhere in the world with a web browser so everyone is always connected.

Valuable Features

The features which are most valuable to us are its powerful search, edit in browser, social features.

Improvements to My Organization

It’s a single entry point to all internal systems with integrated security: no password management issues as with disparate products. All functionality is available from anywhere in the world with a web browser, so everyone is always connected.

Use of Solution

I have been using the solution for 2 years.

Deployment Issues

No

Stability Issues

No

Scalability Issues

No

Customer Service and Technical Support

Customer Service: Customer service is very good.Technical Support: Technical support is very good.

Initial Setup

Straightforward but user profiles take some time to set up.

Implementation Team

We implemented in-house.

ROI

Being able to drop all the cloud service subscriptions saves a lot: the amount depends on how many of those services can be replaced.

Other Solutions Considered

If you’re on corporate Active Directory then there are no real competitors.

Other Advice

Read the planning documentation: running the installer without planning has some disadvantages for auditing, for example.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Director Cloud Solution Consulting at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
Works on any device, any place and anywhere for everyone. Synchronization of files in OneDrive can take some time.

What is most valuable?

The feature that it works on any device, any place and anywhere for everyone.

How has it helped my organization?

Microsoft Office 365 has provided us many ways to share documents across a diversity of platforms with a diversity of people (both inside and outside our company).

What needs improvement?

Synchronization of files in OneDrive can take some time which can ‘annoy’ some users.

For how long have I used the solution?

At my current company we are using it one year, personally I’ve been using Microsoft Office 365 around 3 years

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

Since we came from a Small Business Server the Exchange migration is a minor point of attention. There is no mailbox by mailbox migration, but only a cut-over migration. Furthermore we had some issues with MacBook users and their Office settings. Also we encountered some issues with mail not arriving correctly. This was NOT caused by Microsoft Office 365. A support partner had hardcoded settings which were not communicated. Once we deleted these hardcoded settings, the problems were solved within one hour.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There are no issues with stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There are no issues with scalability.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service: The level of customer service could be better, but it all depends on the person in the other side.Technical Support: The level of technical support could be better, but it all depends on the person in the other side.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We had a Small Business Server environment which has a cap in the user environment. Since we grew out of the number of users, we had to change. Microsoft Office 365 was the fastest and most powerful way for both short and long term vision.

How was the initial setup?

It was straightforward, since the migration wizard provided by Microsoft is a good wizard for the environment we have.

What about the implementation team?

We did an in-house implementation.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

No

What other advice do I have?

Take a good look at what your customers wants and needs are before choosing any other product than what you’re currently using. This will make implementation and migration easier and also makes it easier for people to change to a new platform. With Microsoft Office 365 things changed radically in our environment, which had its effect on the day-to-day business, although none which couldn’t be resolved, but a good discovery and inventory before making choices is the better option.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Change Manager at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
Sharepoint is a good solution for collaboration but needs a good technical support

Valuable Features:

Meeting workspaces, version history, bulk tagging.

Improvements to My Organization:

It has helped us collapse all our versions into a single file. It has also improved our meetings.

Room for Improvement:

Setting up permissions can be overwhelming. If this can be improved it would be great. Also Sharepoint search out-of-the-box needs improvement.

Use of Solution:

Five years. Started out with Sharepoint 2007.

Deployment Issues:

Most issues are from the change management part.

Stability Issues:

The solution appeared unstable at deployment but it's been more stable since then.

Implementation Team:

We implemented through a vendor team.

Valuable Features:

Meeting workspaces, version history, bulk tagging.

Improvements to My Organization:

It has helped us collapse all our versions into a single file. It has also improved our meetings.

Room for Improvement:

Setting up permissions can be overwhelming. If this can be improved it would be great. Also Sharepoint search out-of-the-box needs improvement.

Use of Solution:

Five years. Started out with Sharepoint 2007.

Deployment Issues:

Most issues are from the change management part.

Stability Issues:

The solution appeared unstable at deployment but it's been more stable since then.

Implementation Team:

We implemented through a vendor team.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Tech Support Staff at a government with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
Top 10
Great application but I would like to see co-authoring be real time

Valuable Features

Alerts and co-authoring

Improvements to My Organization

So far our HR department has seen the benefits in terms of having a central calendar where everybody in the department can be updated regarding meetings and appointments, creating discussion forums regarding important topics affecting the agency or the department. Having a central repository for documents (rather than at different locations creating storage issues)

Room for Improvement

Co-authoring needs to be real time.

Use of Solution

2 months

Deployment Issues

no

Stability Issues

no

Scalability Issues

no

Customer Service and Technical Support

Customer Service: okTechnical Support: ok

Implementation Team

In-house

Other Advice

I would recommend it. Good software to help:
  • Centralized management and editing of documents
  • Team brainstorming and exchange through discussion forums
  • Synchronization and centralization of appointments and meetings
  • The provision of one portal or web site to access documents, calendars, forums etc.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user68340
Director of Development at a tech consulting company with 10,001+ employees
Consultant
SharePoint vs Yammer. What’s the difference?
How does Yammer compare to SharePoint? Does it fit into an organization that is using SharePoint 2013? Ben Skelton SharePoint 2010’s social features were pretty rudimentary. Organizations that really embraced social had to turn to third-party vendors, such as NewsGator or Yammer. Although powerful, I always felt NewsGator was a little complicated and the user experience wasn’t ideal. SharePoint 2013’s social features are miles ahead of what was available in SharePoint 2010. Personally, I don’t understand why an organization would adopt both SharePoint 2013 and Yammer. I would leverage the social tools within SharePoint 2013 as they are fully integrated within an organization’s employee portal. The mobile apps for SharePoint (both Windows Phone and…

How does Yammer compare to SharePoint? Does it fit into an organization that is using SharePoint 2013?

Ben Skelton

SharePoint 2010’s social features were pretty rudimentary. Organizations that really embraced social had to turn to third-party vendors, such as NewsGator or Yammer. Although powerful, I always felt NewsGator was a little complicated and the user experience wasn’t ideal. SharePoint 2013’s social features are miles ahead of what was available in SharePoint 2010.

Personally, I don’t understand why an organization would adopt both SharePoint 2013 and Yammer. I would leverage the social tools within SharePoint 2013 as they are fully integrated within an organization’s employee portal. The mobile apps for SharePoint (both Windows Phone and iOS) will also help complete the social story. That said, if a client wanted to stay on SharePoint 2010, Yammer might be a good fit.

Chris Radcliffe

While Yammer and SharePoint 2013 share similar social capabilities (discussions, feeds, ratings, individual profiles, etc.), the difference is that Yammer’s social features have been utilized for years and the Yammer team appears to be evolving the social experience more rapidly than the SharePoint team. It is much easier to setup and use Yammer, so fostering collaboration can happen much more quickly. Yammer employees may also tell you that the service was built around people, whereas SharePoint was built around documents.

Yammer spoke about their intended SharePoint integration scenarios at the SharePoint Conference and highlighted concepts such as a Yammer Web Part, embeddable feeds, document and list integration, profile synchronization, and federated search. At this point, I’m only seeing talk about Yammer integrating with SharePoint Online, not the on-premise verion, but that could be coming. I could see organizations using both SharePoint and Yammer when the business case or appetite for social is not yet clear and there would be benefits in piloting Yammer. Agreed though, it would be weird to have a Yammer and SharePoint 2013 mixed social experience.

Ellisa Calder

I have to agree with Ben. SharePoint 2013 has expanded social features allowing you to create community sites, post micro-blogs, use hash tags, and mention colleagues and communities; but it’s still a light social feature set compared to Yammer, NewsGator, and a host of other social products on the market. SharePoint is still the extensible platform that is playing catch-up in the social computing space. That said, I think a lot of organizations will find SharePoint 2013’s out-of-the-box social features sufficient, at least as a first step into this space.

Yammer is completely about conversations in the open. It’s for sharing, collecting company knowledge (especially tacit knowledge), and creating opportunities for connections around work, interests or specializations. Yammer is a social web community experience. We heard over and over again, it exposes the opportunity for serendipitous discovery, and it does this a lot better than SharePoint 2013.

Right now, there isn’t a clear story about an integrated Yammer and SharePoint 2013 experience. For organizations just looking to dip their toes into social, SharePoint 2013 will probably suffice. For organizations looking for rich, social computing capabilities, they will need to look at other options. As for running Yammer and SharePoint 2013 simultaneously, it could be hairy to sync these two experiences for users. It will require a lot of work on the community/portal management side to do the manual integration that is required at this point. With the future of Yammer and SharePoint being so unclear at this point, I think it is going to make any decision regarding which social computing product to purchase very difficult.

Sarah Berg

I’m also having a hard time visualizing how organizations would utilize Yammer together with the social features of SharePoint 2013. I’m really impressed with the improvements Microsoft has made to the social story in SharePoint 2013, although as Ben mentioned, there was nowhere to go but up from SharePoint 2010. I would agree that Yammer has a more polished social experience, but SharePoint 2013 is definitely closing the gap.

One of the biggest things I was hoping to get out of the SharePoint Conference this year was a better understanding of how Microsoft plans to integrate Yammer into SharePoint and what that unification will actually look like for users, and I have to say I was pretty disappointed. It feels like a question that Microsoft doesn’t yet know the answer to, or they just aren’t ready to share it yet, but either way we’re left wondering. Until we have more clarity it will be hard develop an enterprise social strategy around these technologies, which is disappointing for organizations who have already invested in SharePoint and Yammer, or had been considering them for the future. In the meantime, I think the new social features in SharePoint 2013 are a great starting point for organizations that are looking to introduce social functionality into their portal environment.

Why do you think Microsoft bought Yammer?

William Hardy

In my opinion, Microsoft acquired Yammer for three main reasons:

  1. 1. Leapfrog perceived social capabilities: Regardless of how good SharePoint 2013’s social capabilities are (and I think they are great), Microsoft would constantly be battling a perception of being one step behind in the enterprise social space (as they have been). Acquiring Yammer gives Microsoft the instant perception of being a serious contender in the enterprise social space and signifies to the market that they are willing to take bold steps to get there.
  2. If you can’t beat them, buy them: By buying Yammer, Microsoft takes out a key competitor and arguably the most established brand in enterprise social. This turns them from a threat to strength.
  3. Shake things up and accelerate innovation culture: It’s clearly not business as usual for the social team in Redmond. The acquisition of some relative rock stars in the enterprise social space means that the thought leadership and opinions for SharePoint social are now coming from entirely different directions. That includes a shift in focus to rapid innovation development cycles (90 days or less) and a Silicon Valley start-up culture.

Chris Radcliffe

I suspect Microsoft sees Yammer as a core pillar of their cloud strategy to help customers move to the cloud and break down barriers IT may present. The Free-mium model of Yammer reminds me of Windows SharePoint Service (WSS), where collaboration was given away for free in SharePoint, and as a result was lit up like crazy in North America. Based on the valuation, you have to imagine that a big part of Yammer’s value proposition was modeled around the future potential of cloud-based subscription revenue in the current Micorosft Enterprise Agreements.

Another way of looking at this question is, why did Yammer let themselves be bought by Microsoft? If you suspend belief that the massive valuation was the sole reason, the only other reasons I’ve heard that sound remotely possible are the fact that Microsoft’s partnership allows Yammer to more quickly accomplish their vision, and that Microsoft brings scale both technically and from a market share perspective.

Sarah Berg

Microsoft’s acquisition of Yammer was a smart move. Yammer has been adopted in many organizations and brings a wealth of experience around enterprise social. Social functionality was almost nonexistent in SharePoint 2010 and Microsoft bringing Yammer into the fold will boost their impact and presence in a space where they desperately needed to make big advances. With over five million corporate users, Yammer is an invaluable addition to Microsoft’s portfolio.

The benefits to Yammer were a little less obvious to me upon initial consideration, and I really like Chris’s idea of approaching this question from the other perspective. If I had been asked to pick two software companies with similar identities, cultures and values, I certainly wouldn’t have chosen Microsoft and Yammer. It seemed like a sell-out by Yammer, but the Yammer team seems genuinely excited about the change. Partnering with Microsoft will extend Yammer’s reach and will give them access to the resources needed to innovate on a much larger and more impactful scale.

Ben Skelton

I agree with everyone else, although I am not quite as enamored with Yammer as the rest of the group. I think the acquisition was similar to that of Skype. Microsoft saw a best-of-breed technology for an area that was strategically important (and they were under-performing in) and decided to acquire.

It’s interesting because both of these tools don’t look or feel Microsoft-y. I wonder if that will change over time or if they will keep their own identity. It will be an interesting time over the next few years for organizations that are standardized on the Microsoft stack as Microsoft determines how these social tools will all work together (or won’t).

What is the future of social with respect to SharePoint vs. Yammer?

Ellisa Calder

This is the million dollar question! Right now, I think it’s anyone’s guess. The Yammer group and the SharePoint team were adamant at the conference that Yammer will never be an on-premise solution; it will always exist in the cloud. Microsoft and SharePoint are pushing hard for the cloud, but there are many clients that will be on premise for the foreseeable future.

Given this reality, I can see Yammer, Office 365, and SharePoint Online integrating really well and becoming a dynamic collaborative, social online environment. For clients using on-premise installations of SharePoint, they will either end up with some half-baked Yammer integration paired with out-of-the-box (OOTB) SharePoint social features, or OOTB SharePoint social features on their own. For organizations that have yet to dip into any significant enterprise social technologies, SharePoint 2013 OOTB will likely be sufficient as they wade into the social enterprise space.

William Hardy

There’s no way Microsoft can continue to offer such vastly different and competing social directions going forward — they need to communicate a clear and cohesive integration story soon. Microsoft took a fair bit of criticism post conference for not presenting a well thought out vision of integration and left customers in a fairly awkward position when approaching enterprise social on the Microsoft platform. With no explicit integration road map, the vibe at the conference was one of a shift in direction to following Yammer’s new way of doing things. Therefore I would suspect future changes to SharePoint social will be heavily dominated by Yammer capabilities, with the bulk of the thought leadership and influence coming directly from that team.

` Sarah Berg

At the end of the day, I want to see a highly usable set of social features and capabilities that are tightly integrated into SharePoint. The big issues right now with SharePoint and Yammer are the confusion between where one ends and the other begins, and why an organization might use one over the other (or how they could use both). I’m not sure how this will play out for on-premise installations vs. organizations who are leveraging Microsoft’s cloud offerings, but my hope for the future is a seamless and exceptional social experience in SharePoint.

Where would Yammer be a good fit? Are there risks to be aware of or things to consider?

Chris Radcliffe

I think the answer is easy. If an organization has an older version of SharePoint (such as SharePoint 2007) or a similar legacy platform and is interested in exploring the benefits of social collaboration in a low-cost, efficient way I’d suggest Yammer! If the organization is on SharePoint 2010 and has already developed a very strong collaboration model or perhaps has had success with some of the social concepts, I’d recommend SharePoint and not complicate the user experience. Setting up an Office 365 trial would be the fastest and easiest way to test-drive the new social capabilities in SharePoint.

Biggest risk point to consider? If your current employee portal has a rich set of social capabilities, I would be careful extending an isolated Yammer solution. The risk is that employees could become confused about what the organizational standard is for managing information, collaborating, and communicating across teams. For years, organizations have tried to simplify the personal information management strategies that employees have to deal with, and adding Yammer without the right change management and communication could make matters worse!

Sarah Berg

I agree with Chris. I think if an organization is running an older version of SharePoint or is using a non-social portal platform, Yammer could be a good fit, especially as an introduction to the world of enterprise social. In this scenario it’s still important for the organization to provide clarity to employees around the use and benefits of Yammer, what is considered acceptable (and what is not), and how Yammer can be used to supplement the communication and collaboration that is already being delivered through the portal. Without change management and governance an organization is definitely at risk of confusing and alienating users, resulting in poor adoption and continued challenges down the road!

William Hardy

If an organization were likely to move to SharePoint 2013 in the near term, I would recommend adopting the native SharePoint social features, as they are excellent and likely capable enough for most organizations. SharePoint’s social capabilities have finally been extended beyond the My Site and have been blended throughout the platform in a fairly seamless fashion.

If clients were running SharePoint 2010 or a prior version with no immediate plans to upgrade and have a limited enterprise social footprint, then I would certainly take a good look at what Yammer has to offer. While the story has changed recently, earlier versions of SharePoint including 2010 can’t really claim to have competitive enterprise social features with Yammer. Yammer can also be deployed quickly and with relatively little effort.

Risks to consider? As mentioned by the others, introducing Yammer (in its current state of integration with SharePoint) could leave users with some confusion and detract from the use of your existing employee portal and collaboration platforms. Once you rollout a tool like Yammer, there’s no going back! Employees will become accustomed to the social capabilities and they will profoundly influence future directions/options. Even pilot rollouts of Yammer should be planned carefully for this reason.

https://www.habaneroconsulting.com/insights/SharePoint-Yammer

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user67752
Principal with 51-200 employees
Vendor
Why SharePoint Is So Popular, Yet Gets Such A Bad Rap
It’s rare to come across an organization (typically mid or enterprise size) that doesn’t have Sharepoint deployed. In fact out of all of the large organizations I have worked with or talked with I can’t think of a single one that doesn’t have an instance of Sharepoint deployed. Many collaboration vendors today all claim that they are being used by all the Fortune 100 (and they are), Yammer recently announced that they had over 800,000 paid users. Compare this to Sharepoint which over the past 5-6 years has sold over 36 million user licenses! So it appears that Sharepoint is widely popular among many companies yet when I talk to employees at these companies it’s rare for me to hear anything positive said about the platform. It’s a bit of a conundrum, Sharepoint is…

It’s rare to come across an organization (typically mid or enterprise size) that doesn’t have Sharepoint deployed. In fact out of all of the large organizations I have worked with or talked with I can’t think of a single one that doesn’t have an instance of Sharepoint deployed. Many collaboration vendors today all claim that they are being used by all the Fortune 100 (and they are), Yammer recently announced that they had over 800,000 paid users. Compare this to Sharepoint which over the past 5-6 years has sold over 36 million user licenses!

So it appears that Sharepoint is widely popular among many companies yet when I talk to employees at these companies it’s rare for me to hear anything positive said about the platform. It’s a bit of a conundrum, Sharepoint is everywhere yet it appears that many people hate it, well, if they hate it then why are companies deploying it?

There are a few major reasons for why companies end up going with Sharepoint:

  • they get it a very low cost (oftentimes free) because they are Microsoft partners
  • they are already so dependent on Microsoft products that Sharepoint seems to be the logical choice
  • a proper vendor evaluation never takes place and instead the company goes with the apparently easiest and lowest cost alternative
  • enterprise security from a reliable vendor
  • companies know that Microsoft isn’t going anywhere whereas some of the other collaboration vendors in the space might not be around the long
  • it was one of the earlier collaboration platforms available (initial release was actually in 2001)
  • they focus on what Microsoft says it can do and is good vs what it can really do and is good at (marketing vs reality)

I’m not going to go into detail about the platform itself and why so many people are upset with it. You can do a simple Google search for “I hate Sharepoint” or “Sharepoint sucks” to find more than your fare share of articles, blog posts, and videos about why people are unhappy with the product.

Companies that deploy Sharepoint (or any other collaboration platform) and then realize it’s not the right fit end up in a bit of a pickle. It’s very tedious and expensive to switch collaboration vendors especially if you’re a large company. Some companies such as TELUS use certain features of Sharepoint integrated into a broader collaboration platform toolset but many other companies out there simply feel stuck and lost.

The reality is that Sharepoint is getting such a bad rap because many of the companies using the platform shouldn’t be using it, Sharepoint is not the right fit for many companies that continue to deploy it. This is why companies such as Newsgator were created, to help improve the usability and functionality of Sharepoint. This is also why so many vendors out there continue to integrate their solutions with Sharepoint. Some vendors try to replace Sharepoint but many acknowledge that it’s not going anywhere since it is so deeply rooted within many companies.

It’s unfair to criticize Sharepoint by saying “it sucks” because it certainly has its uses within organizations but that doesn’t mean it should be used in EVERY organization. Sharepoint 2010 has definitely seen some improvements and I believe that Microsoft will continue to make enhancements to the platform (or they will buy Newsgator). Honestly companies that deploy Sharepoint only to see negative feedback about the platform really don’t have anyone to blame but themselves, harsh but true.

Moral of the story is that organizations need to do more when it comes to making sure that they are deploying the right tool for their employees. Sharepoint isn’t necessarily a bad platform but it is certainly not THE collaboration solution. Make sure to do your homework before deploying tools.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user11634
Principal at a tech consulting company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
Choosing between SharePoint and Yammer
A caveat before we start: This post is referring to the current release of SharePoint – SharePoint 2013. If you are using SharePoint 2010 or older versions and want to introduce enterprise social networking (ESN) tools, your decision is more straightforward. Use Yammer or an equivalent product such as Jive or Newsgator, or do without until you upgrade. Here’s the summary: For organisations already using SharePoint 2013 for content management who want to leverage social networking features… Use Yammer when: Use SharePoint when: You want to use the superior social networking technology You want a social network spreading beyond your organisation There isn’t a good reason not to You want to avoid confusing users with multiple user interfaces You want to…

A caveat before we start: This post is referring to the current release of SharePoint – SharePoint 2013. If you are using SharePoint 2010 or older versions and want to introduce enterprise social networking (ESN) tools, your decision is more straightforward. Use Yammer or an equivalent product such as Jive or Newsgator, or do without until you upgrade.

Here’s the summary:

For organisations already using SharePoint 2013 for content management who want to leverage social networking features…

Use Yammer when: Use SharePoint when:
  • You want to use the superior social networking technology
  • You want a social network spreading beyond your organisation
  • There isn’t a good reason not to
  • You want to avoid confusing users with multiple user interfaces
  • You want to minimise identity management overheads
  • You have compliance needs that SharePoint meets but Yammer does not
  • You want an ‘on-premise only’ solution (and don’t want to use additional products)

Read on for the long version:

Do we have to use Yammer now instead of SharePoint for social activities and news feeds?

It’s a question I have been asked by many clients and event attendees who have invested in using SharePoint 2013 and/or Office 365 since the beginning of the year. The confusion has been caused by Microsoft seeming to be more in love with Yammer than SharePoint of late:

“In my customer meetings over the last few months, people have often asked, “What should I use for social? Yammer or the SharePoint newsfeed?” My answer has been clear: Go Yammer!”
- Jared Spataro, Director, Microsoft SharePoint Product Group1
“OneNote, Yammer, SkyDrive are growth drivers for Office”
- Kurt Delbene, President, Microsoft Office Division2

So the advice from Microsoft is pretty clear. If at all possible, choose Yammer.

There is also a specific reason for choosing Yammer over SharePoint:

  • You want to invite people into the network who are not licensed SharePoint/Office 365 users.

i.e. you want your social network to spread beyond the organisation. You can invite external users to participate in content within SharePoint, but they don’t get a profile or any level of personalisation features. They just get access to the content. Yammer gives every participant a profile and personalisation such as an activity stream of who and what you are following.

But there are reasons to not use Yammer, at least for now if you are using Office 365:

  • Do not want the overhead of maintaining an additional set of users accounts
  • Want enterprise search and Office integration
  • Regulatory issues with using the service

Whilst Yammer is included for free within an Office 365 Enterprise plan subscription, it still has its own separate user identities. There is integration thanks to federated sign-on: logging in to one will also log you in to the other. But it’s still two separate identities to maintain which adds to IT overheads. This is due to be resolved in the Autumn.

The social features within SharePoint are fully integrated with search and Office. This means you can view people and conversations in search results, and can co-author documents direct within the browser using Office Web Apps. None of this is currently possible with content stored within Yammer. Office integration is slated for Spring 2014.

The final key blocker for now is regulatory issues. Office 365 has higher security credentials than Yammer. It goes beyond the basic EU Safe Harbor Agreement to also support EU model clauses which covers additional EU member state data protection legislation. In the UK, that means IL2 accreditation for UK government bodies. At the time of writing, there’s still no comment as to if or when Yammer will be IL2 accredited.

There’s a reason to not use Yammer specifically for on-premise deployments of SharePoint 2013, and that’s simply that Yammer is cloud only, it’s an online service. If you want social networking content restricted to on-premise services, then stick with SharePoint 2013 or use an alternative on-premise enterprise social networking tool.

And finally, there’s another reason to not use Yammer for now. And that’s the ‘keep it simple’ principle. If the preference is to keep the choice of technologies as simple and consistent as possible for users, and you are already using SharePoint sites for content management, then stick with SharePoint unless you have a compelling reason to use Yammer that SharePoint cannot satisfy. Running two solutions that look similar, with some overlapping features but also some fundamental differences, can be confusing and may increase training/support overheads.

Is Yammer the future? Microsoft seems to think so and given they spent quite a lot of money to buy it, you have to assume they are serious. Integration with the other Office 365 services – Exchange, Lync and SkyDrive – is on the cards, along with integration with the Dynamics range including CRM. But enterprise social networking tools are still immature and who knows what the future may hold. I’m surprised the likes of LinkedIn haven’t started to encroach on this space. For now, use the tool that offers the most value for your organisation today. Vendors will say what’s in their interests. That’s not always as in alignment with what organisations need.

References

1 Yammer and SharePoint: Enterprise Social Roadmap Update – Microsoft, March 2013

2 OneNote, Yammer and SkyDrive are the growth drivers for Office – Microsoft, February 2013

3 A short guide to business impact levels – HMGovernment G-Cloud

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user10962
Business Analyst at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
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 handle multiple…

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.

PLEASE NOTE THESE ARE MY PERSONAL OPINIONS BASED ON MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE AND NOT NECESSARILY THOSE OF MY EMPLOYER

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Data Expert with 51-200 employees
Vendor
What is SkyDrive Pro in SharePoint 2013
With the release of SharePoint 2013 came a new feature that has proven to confuse almost everyone, SkyDrive Pro. The confusion lies with another Microsoft product called SkyDrive that is completely unrelated to SharePoint. Confused as well? You’re not the only one and you shouldn’t feel bad about it, I have talked with people that make a living with SharePoint who are just as confused. I am writing this to answer some of the many questions I get when speaking on SharePoint 2013 “What People want from SharePoint 2013”. First, there was SkyDrive Let’s start with the one everyone knows, SkyDrive. SkyDrive is free to the public; anyone can have a SkyDrive account it is usually attached to your Hotmail, Live or Outlook.com account. SkyDrive is a place somewhere in the “cloud” as some…

With the release of SharePoint 2013 came a new feature that has proven to confuse almost everyone, SkyDrive Pro. The confusion lies with another Microsoft product called SkyDrive that is completely unrelated to SharePoint. Confused as well? You’re not the only one and you shouldn’t feel bad about it, I have talked with people that make a living with SharePoint who are just as confused. I am writing this to answer some of the many questions I get when speaking on SharePoint 2013 “What People want from SharePoint 2013”.

First, there was SkyDrive

Let’s start with the one everyone knows, SkyDrive. SkyDrive is free to the public; anyone can have a SkyDrive account it is usually attached to your Hotmail, Live or Outlook.com account.

SkyDrive is a place somewhere in the “cloud” as some would say. Essentially, a place where you can store your files without having to worry about it and Microsoft is taking care of the storage for you. A competitor to the very popular service called Dropbox.

 

What is SkyDrive Pro in SharePoint 2013

If we try to simply the service, because I could write quite a bit just on SkyDrive, you can put your files there and share them with others. After adding your files on SkyDrive, you assign “Public”, “View” or “View and Edit” permissions and generate a hyperlink for people to access the files or folders. You do have 7GB of storage, though you can always purchase more. There are a few other fun features like commenting on files and folders but this is not the focus of my article.

Do you remember the SharePoint “My Sites”?

These became popular with SharePoint 2010 though in many cases, it wasn’t really used to its full potential. The same goes for SharePoint 2007 where it was even less popular. The way I see it, My Sites is the new “My Documents” found on our computers.

In SharePoint 2013, we still have the concept of My Sites.

What is SkyDrive Pro in SharePoint 2013

SharePoint My Sites:

If activated, it allows users in your organization to have a “personal” environment, so to speak. It creates a SharePoint Site Collection for every user that uses a My Site. This Site Collection comes with a few things including a Blog subsite, a Tasks List and of course… a Document Library.

Teaser: This Document Library is what some confuse with “SkyDrive Pro”.

The SkyDrive link in the Top Bar of SharePoint 2013

So why did I talk about the My Sites earlier if we are covering SharePoint 2013 SkyDrive Pro exactly? Well, we established that when you create a My Site as a user, you get your own Site Collection, which includes a Site with a Documents Library amongst other things. The SkyDrive hyperlink at the top is just a link to this Document Library.

What is SkyDrive Pro in SharePoint 2013

If you look at this screenshot, you’ll notice that after I clicked on the SkyDrive link, I arrived to my so-called “SkyDrive Pro” which, if we look at the url, really just is my Document Library. Here is the fun part, this is still not SkyDrive Pro, all it is, is a hyperlink with the name SkyDrive to a personal Document Library.

SkyDrive Pro – The document synchronization service

SkyDrive Pro is not really something that comes with SharePoint 2013. It actually comes with Microsoft Office 2013 and very recently as a standalone download from the Microsoft site.

Let’s take the Document Library in our personal My Site for example, which is called SkyDrive Pro in many places. SharePoint 2013 has a new “Sync” button that tells your installed SkyDrive Pro to launch and sync with this document library to make the documents available offline and on your desktop.

What is SkyDrive Pro in SharePoint 2013

Once you click on it, SkyDrive Pro will launch

What is SkyDrive Pro in SharePoint 2013

and will allow you to Sync this Document Library to the specified location.

The result:

What is SkyDrive Pro in SharePoint 2013

So is this SkyDrive Pro?

Well this is what I am trying to explain; SkyDrive Pro isn’t a specific Document Library or place in SharePoint. It’s the service that runs on your computer that does the Sync job for you. You can even launch SkyDrive Pro from the start menu. 

What is SkyDrive Pro in SharePoint 2013

SkyDrive Pro can be used with almost every Document Library

Right now we established that there is a public service called SkyDrive and that there is also a link called SkyDrive in SharePoint that actually points to your Document Library in your My Site. Then, we looked at a “Sync” button that launches your installed SkyDrive Pro service to Sync that Document Library to your Desktop.

But, what about other Document Libraries? 

The Sync button is contextual to the url or where you are when you click it. So if I go to my Team Site and click on Sync, it will want to Sync with the Document Library there. If I go to a specific Document Library and click on Sync, then it will want to Sync with that Library. Let’s see.

 

What is SkyDrive Pro in SharePoint 2013

The only difference with the Document Library from your My Site is that this one will not be stored under SkyDrive Pro in your Favorites but under SharePoint.

What is SkyDrive Pro in SharePoint 2013

But it’s still SkyDrive Pro on your computer doing everything and making it happen.

Prevent Document Libraries from being sync’ed with SkyDrive Pro

If you do not wish for a Document Library to be available to Sync through SkyDrive Pro, there is an option in the Advanced Settings of a Document Library.

What is SkyDrive Pro in SharePoint 2013

Once set to no, the Sync button for the Document Library will not longer be available.

What is SkyDrive Pro in SharePoint 2013

 

Launching SkyDrive Pro from your Computer

The SkyDrive Pro client on your computer can also be launched and used to browse your Site and available document Libraries.

Once launched, it will appear in your tray as an icon with blue clouds. You can use it to Sync to a new Library by right clicking and selecting “Sync a new Library”.

What is SkyDrive Pro in SharePoint 2013

This will launch a new menu where you can enter a SharePoint 2013 url and select a Document Library to Sync.

What is SkyDrive Pro in SharePoint 2013

Problem with the terminology and things to know

Let’s try to put everything we learned in an easy summarized view. 

SkyDrive: A free online service offered by Microsoft that lets you store and share files and folders. It has nothing to do with SharePoint. 

My Site: This is not SkyDrive Pro; it’s still your My Site which is a Site Collection owned by the User. 

SkyDrive Pro (the link): In SharePoint 2013 there is a link at the top called SkyDrive which points to the Document Library in your My Site. Once “Sync’ed” it will appear in your Computer by using the application SkyDrive Pro installed by Office 2013 or standalone. This Document Library will appear as “SkyDrive Pro” in your local “Favorites” which can lead to confusion.

The Real SkyDrive Pro: A synchronization service installed by Office 2013 or standalone from the Microsoft download site. Once installed it will allow you to Sync any Document Library from SharePoint 2013 or Office 365 to your Computer. These will then appear in your Windows Explorer under “Favorites”.

Things to know

SkyDrive Pro is not a Migration Tool: Just because you can drag and drop files to SharePoint using SkyDrive Pro does not mean it is a migration tool for content. You will want to preserve the authors and timestamps (created, created by, modified, modified by). This is something SkyDrive Pro will not do while copying your files.

Work Offline: When it Syncs your files from SharePoint 2013 to your Computer, the files are actually copied. This lets users work offline. SkyDrive Pro is the new Groove 2007 and SharePoint Workspace 2010 but simplified. 

Stopping a Sync: Important to know, especially for security reasons is that files that were copied by a Sync with SkyDrive Pro will stay on the users computer once the Sync is stopped.

The real challenge for you

You’ll have to see how you will take on this confusion within your own organization. Microsoft has opted to call the Document Library in your My Site “SkyDrive Pro” in hope to keep the confusion to a minimum no doubt. This would probably help users think of SkyDrive as the free service and SkyDrive Pro a similar service but with files and folders stored in their own corporate Document Library on SharePoint 2013 or even Office 365.

Everything will depend on how you bring this terminology in.  If you are migrating to SharePoint 2013 or Office 365 this is something you’ll want to make sure is understood beforehand by your Power Users.

I wrote this article because I saw a lot of confusion both online and during my conference sessions on SharePoint 2013. I wrote an article “What People want from SharePoint 2013” which covers many other questions and uncertainties I have noticed. You can also check out my comparison of SkyDrive Pro vs Dropbox.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user9723
Consultant at a tech consulting company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
Lync and SharePoint Integration: More Than Presence Information
Today I had a conversation with a client who is investigating using an IM/UC vendor other than Microsoft. They let me know that the vendor said they integrate with SharePoint just like Lync because “they show presence information on SharePoint sites.” So my response was “Oh really?” Then I proceeded to share several of the ways that Lync and Sharepoint integrate. I realized it would make a great blog post to share this information so here it is. Here are major ways that Lync and SharePoint integrate: 1. Online presence indicator next to an individual’s name wherever their name appears in a site collection in SharePoint. 2. Assist in providing colleague suggestions for use in My Sites, My Profiles and People Search. 3. Through Lync, provide access to SharePoint people and skills…

Today I had a conversation with a client who is investigating using an IM/UC vendor other than Microsoft. They let me know that the vendor said they integrate with SharePoint just like Lync because “they show presence information on SharePoint sites.” So my response was “Oh really?” Then I proceeded to share several of the ways that Lync and Sharepoint integrate. I realized it would make a great blog post to share this information so here it is.

Here are major ways that Lync and SharePoint integrate:

1. Online presence indicator next to an individual’s name wherever their name appears in a site collection in SharePoint.

2. Assist in providing colleague suggestions for use in My Sites, My Profiles and People Search.

3. Through Lync, provide access to SharePoint people and skills search including names and skills and a link to the user’s My Site.

Let me provide more detailed information about each of these aspects listed above.

Online Presence Indicator

The online presence indicator shows whether the individual is offline or is online and available to respond to queries via an instant messaging client. When an individual is online, you can click the online status indicator to send an instant message. Also it provides the ability to send and receive e-mail, call the person, and to display free/busy information. The indicator status is rendered by an ActiveX control that is installed with Microsoft Office. The ActiveX control enables online status to be displayed. This control verifies the e-mail address on record for the user and directs a query to the presence server for that client to see if they are online. The ActiveX control does not store online information or e-mail addresses; it simply directs queries from the site to the e-mail address and renders the appropriate status.

To display the presence indicator and its associated contact card (in Office 2010) or menu (in Office 2007 and Office 2003), SharePoint uses the Microsoft ActiveX control name.dll. The ActiveX control makes calls directly to the Microsoft Lync 2010 API, and then Lync makes MAPI or Exchange calls to supply the requested information. More information about name.dll can be found here:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms455335%28v=office.14%29.aspx

Colleague Suggestions

Lync as well as Outlook are used to provide colleague suggestions. It is good to know why colleagues are important in people search and how the suggestions are gathered:

SharePoint Server uses your list of Colleagues to help compute the social distance used to rank People Search results. Your Colleagues list starts with your manager, anyone who reports to your manager, and your direct reports. You can remove any of these names and add any name from your company’s directory. You can organize your colleagues into groups and choose whether to show a colleague on your public page.

SharePoint Server proactively suggests colleagues and displays them in a Suggested Colleagues web part on a user’s My Site. It does this through a number of different features.

The user’s Communicator or Lync contacts are examined and are collected from the Communicator client via the ActiveX control (name.dll) for colleague suggestions.

The SharePoint Server Colleague Add-In in Microsoft Outlook 2010 scans the user’s Sent Items folder periodically (every 5 days or so, depending on usage) to look for names and keywords along with the frequency of those names and keywords. The list of possible colleagues is updated periodically and stored under the user’s profile on the user’s local computer. This list is accessed by the Add Colleagues page on a user’s SharePoint My Site through an ActiveX control when you click Suggested colleagues where they can choose the colleagues they want to add to their My Site. The user can approve or reject contact names before they are added. Outlook 2007 supports this functionality but is not as extensive in searching for colleagues.

Although you can enable e-mail analysis for all users in Outlook or only for specific groups by using Group Policy, users can opt out of this feature. If e-mail analysis is disabled for all users, individual users can still opt in. Also, you can choose not to install the add-in as part of the Office install. More information about configuring the add-in can be found here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff384821.aspx.

Lync client direct integration with SharePoint

Through Lync client policy, the Lync client can be configured to use the Skill view, in Lync search results, to search Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 My Site pages for people with specific skills or expertise. Also, it can be figured to access the user’s personal SharePoint Server 2010 My Site profile page from the Lync – Options dialog box.

To see a good overview of skills integration, see this blog post: http://blogs.catapultsystems.com/tharrington/archive/2010/11/15/enabling-skill-search-in-lync-2010.aspx.

To get the best overview of most of this integration, see the SharePoint Integration chapter in the Lync Server 2010 Resource Kit: http://download.microsoft.com/download/9/4/E/94ED1EF4-A2EF-4686-9841-B0390072D524/Chapter_16_SharePoint_Integration.doc.

For instructions for adding the link to the user’s My Site, see the ShowSharepointPhotoEditLink field information on this page: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg398806.aspx.

Well, hope you found this informative and feel free to comment away!

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Data Expert at a tech company with 51-200 employees
Vendor
Sharepoint–how do I hate thee?
Sharepoint is Microsoft’s document sharing and collaboration tool. It allows you to share and manage documents, and to build websites – so it’s a content management system too. In my previous role I was strapped to the mast of Sharepoint: we needed to share files across the world, previously we used shared network drives, as a byproduct individual teams can also create websites. There were close on 100,000 of us at my previous employer. The file sharing/content management schizophrenia can lead to horrible websites, on a normal website you might expect that following a link in a page will take you seamlessly to another web page to be rendered in your browser. Not in Sharepoint: the siren voice of the file sharing side means that all to often website authors are going to link you to…

Sharepoint is Microsoft’s document sharing and collaboration tool. It allows you to share and manage documents, and to build websites – so it’s a content management system too. In my previous role I was strapped to the mast of Sharepoint: we needed to share files across the world, previously we used shared network drives, as a byproduct individual teams can also create websites. There were close on 100,000 of us at my previous employer.

The file sharing/content management schizophrenia can lead to horrible websites, on a normal website you might expect that following a link in a page will take you seamlessly to another web page to be rendered in your browser. Not in Sharepoint: the siren voice of the file sharing side means that all to often website authors are going to link you to documents – so you hit a link and if you’re lucky you get asked whether you want to open a document in Microsoft Office, if you’re unlucky you get asked to enter your credentials first. Either way it breaks your expectation as to what a website should do: hit link – go to another webpage.

For every function you can imagine Sharepoint has a tick in the box:

  • Blogging – tick.
  • Social media – tick.
  • Wiki – tick.
  • Discussion forums – tick.
  • Version control – tick.

The problem is that whilst it nominally ticks these boxes it is uniformly awful at implementing them. I’ve used WordPress and Blogger for blogging, phpBB for discussion forums, moinmoin and Project Forum wiki software, source control software, twitter, delicious, bit.ly, Yammer for social media and in comparison Sharepoint’s equivalent is laughable.

This ineptitude has spawned a whole industry of companies plugging the gaps.

Sharepoint does feature some neat integration into Microsoft Office: viewing shared calendars in Outlook, saving directly to Sharepoint from office application but this facility is a bit flakey – Office will try to auto-populate a "My SharePoint sites" area but does it via a cryptic set of rules which can’t be relied on to give you access to all of your sites.

For the technically minded part of the problem is the underlying product but part of the problem is down to how your company decides to implement Sharepoint. My WordPress-based site looks pretty much how I want it, bar the odd area where my CSS-fu has proved inadequate. In a corporate Sharepoint environment other people’s design decisions are foisted upon me, although Sharepoint’s underlying design often seems to be the root of the problem

Take this piece of design (shown below), this is part of the new Sharepoint social media facilities but it’s ugly as sin, most of what you see for each Note is Sharepoint boilerplate (Posted a note on – View Related Activities – Delete) rather than your content, furthermore I have repeatedly set my dates to format dd/mm/yyyy in the UK style and this part of my site remains steadfastly on the US mm/dd/yyyy format.

NastySharepointDesign

Here’s another nasty piece of design.The core of the document sharing facility is the Document Library, below is a default view of one of my libraries (with some blurring). All of the Sharepointy magic for a document is run off a dropdown menu accessed via a small downward pointing triangle on the "Name" field, the little triangle is only visible when you float over that particular line, note also that if you click on the name in the name field then that takes you to the document – so you trigger two different behaviours in one field.

NastySharepointDocumentLibraryBlurred

Other items in this table are hyperlinks but take you to entirely uninteresting content.

It didn’t have to be this way, the Document Library could functionality could have been integrated into the Windows File Explorer. Applications like the source control software TortoiseSVN and TortoiseHG do this, putting little overlays onto file icons and providing functionality via the right click menu. Windows 7 even has a panel at the bottom of the screen which seems to offer quasi-Sharepoint functionality – you can set tags for documents which could map to the "properties" that Sharepoint uses.

Users are familiar with the file explorer, Sharepoint discards that familiarity for a new, clunky web-based alternative. Furthermore users sharing files are often moving from a directory-based shared hard-drive scheme, Sharepoint allows you to use directories in Document Libraries but it breaks the property-based view which is arguably a better scheme but forcing users over to it wholesale is unreasonable.

In summary: Sharepoint suffers from trying to be a system to share documents and a system for making websites. It features a poor web interface for functionality which could be integrated into the Windows file explorer.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user9321
General Manager with 51-200 employees
Vendor
Don’t invest in SharePoint social…
(I think I am getting better at outrageous headlines to drag you in to read the post! … please don’t leave) I recently read Jeremy’s post about picking SharePoint social over Yammer “for right now” and wanted to weigh in on why I think they are not making the call I would have.  It’s all just personal opinion of course and Jeremy and I are close friends and no doubt he will attempt to convince me otherwise over a few beers shortly :) In my humble opinion the only reason you should consider using SharePoint 2013’s social features over Yammer is if your organization is 100% unable to use a cloud based service. Why? Because there isn’t a future in SharePoint on-prem social features.  It’s just not what Microsoft does when it changes direction. When Microsoft takes a bet on…

(I think I am getting better at outrageous headlines to drag you in to read the post! … please don’t leave)

I recently read Jeremy’s post about picking SharePoint social over Yammer “for right now” and wanted to weigh in on why I think they are not making the call I would have.  It’s all just personal opinion of course and Jeremy and I are close friends and no doubt he will attempt to convince me otherwise over a few beers shortly :)

In my humble opinion the only reason you should consider using SharePoint 2013’s social features over Yammer is if your organization is 100% unable to use a cloud based service.

Why?

Because there isn’t a future in SharePoint on-prem social features.  It’s just not what Microsoft does when it changes direction.

When Microsoft takes a bet on something big there are never two options to pick from. There is only one option and the rest is dead to them.  Rightly or wrongly, whether you like it or not, for good or bad … that’s just the way it works.  This basically means that after that speed it approximately takes for one synapse to fire Microsoft and all its muscle (sales and otherwise) stopped selling on-prem social and started selling the new cloud social story like it was never any other way.  You won’t hear anything pitching on-prem social over Yammer and it will only be used as a fall back position if the organization cant use the cloud for whatever reason.

“What should I use for social?  Yammer or the SharePoint newsfeed?”  My answer has been clear: Go Yammer!  Yammer is our big bet for enterprise social, and we’re committed to making it the underlying social layer for all of our products.” – Jared Spataro, Senior Director – SharePoint, Microsoft Corp – 19th March 2013

Update 19th March 2013:  If you want more of a nail in coffin then look no further then Jared’s latest update on the Enterprise Social Roadmap. The quote above is from this post Yammer and SharePoint: Enterprise Social Roadmap Update. If you read that 90% of the post is dedicated to Yammer with a fraction dedicated to “If you are old and clunky and stay on-prem then here is a skinny bone to chew on”.

“Cool” you might say.  “That doesn’t change what you can and can’t do with the product.  On-Prem is still my bag baby!”

If you look at the features, pros and cons and line them up side by side on-prem SharePoint social will win the sprint today … by quite a long margin.

But mark my words … it won’t win the marathon.

Here is my prediction for the next couple of years.  SharePoint on-prem social features might be lucky to get a few new features. Maybe a some in the next update, maybe a few the one after.  But where we really quit the crap and bring on the meat will be in SharePoint + Yammer integration. This is obviously not rocket science given MS just spent $1B+ dollars on it. Everything social in SharePoint Online will be ripped out and replaced/backed by Yammer with deep integrations that don’t exist today.  100% effort will be put into this experience as a first class citizen vs. the on-prem story… sad face … I like on-prem too … but like I mentioned above on-prems dead baby.

Eventually there will be no Yammer. It will just be SharePoint Online with a lot more rocking social features built by a team that deeply understand Enterprise social.  MS didn’t buy Yammer for their customers (they were mostly already SharePoint customers anyway) … they bought them for the kudos in enterprise social and the team of people who get it. Microsoft needs to win enterprise social big time and Yammer are the A game.

So why would I say don’t invest in on-prem social with the SharePoint features you get in 2013 if you can at all help it?

I would put money on there not being a great upgrade story on-prem to whatever comes next in the cloud … if at all. There could be one IF you are using SharePoint social features in 365 today … maybe.

Maybe I will have to eat my hat some day when I look back at these words … but if I were made to pick a winning horse today I would be betting on Yammer and having a smoother path to niceness with future releases.

Sure, this might mean having a muddled and semi painful story now as Jeremy points out in his post. This might mean you need to educate users around using Yammer, doing some work to federate for authentication purposes so you don’t have two logins, doing some integration work to make it easier to post stuff to Yammer from SharePoint etc.…   at least until MS pull the next round of SharePoint integrations with Yammer out of the hat and make things a lot less confusing etc.…

But at the end of the day I would be ok with that vs. being backed into a corner that you cant get out of or have a harder time getting out of.  Even if that means living with a less integrated experience today.

Who knows … I could be 100% totally wrong (in some ways I wish I will be) but maybe I wont and I hope to have saved a few of you from writing a kilotonne of migration code trying to get all those posts, likes and follows moved over to Yammer … but having said that I am sure AvePoint will have a nice migration tool ready for that eventuality anyway … so maybe all this is moot :) PS: AvePoint migration tools rock by the way.

PS: The real moment I will freak out about Social in the enterprise will be when Facebook finally gets around to releasing an Enterprise offering walled garden style social experience for organizations.  I have thought for a while now that it would be “any moment now” … but nada so far.  If that happened and they offered light weight document collab etc.… it would be a game changer.  But maybe zuck is holding off while him and Steve continue their wee love fest while trying to stiff Google. Time will tell I guess.

Disclosure: The company I work for is a Microsoft partner

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user8925
Developer with 51-200 employees
Vendor
Comparing the Social Business Platforms: Sharepoint, Jive and Drupal Commons
If you were expecting me to have a real change of heart since my last review 4 years ago, you are probably going to be disappointed. This is the least favorite option of the 3 products I am reviewing in this roundup. I will do my best to explain why. 1. Cost The great news is that now with Sharepoint you have some really nice pricing options. One of my original gripes with Sharepoint was that it was extremely costly. You had a lot of upfront costs + per user costs + hardware costs + expensive Desktop software costs (Visual Studio, etc.). While many of those costs still exist for the server version, Microsoft recently added Sharepoint Online which has a much simpler pricing system. I actually reviewed both the Sharepoint Online $3 user/mo plan and the server edition on Rackspace which…

If you were expecting me to have a real change of heart since my last review 4 years ago, you are probably going to be disappointed. This is the least favorite option of the 3 products I am reviewing in this roundup. I will do my best to explain why.

1. Cost

The great news is that now with Sharepoint you have some really nice pricing options. One of my original gripes with Sharepoint was that it was extremely costly. You had a lot of upfront costs + per user costs + hardware costs + expensive Desktop software costs (Visual Studio, etc.).

While many of those costs still exist for the server version, Microsoft recently added Sharepoint Online which has a much simpler pricing system. I actually reviewed both the Sharepoint Online $3 user/mo plan and the server edition on Rackspace which offers a free trial. I will detail some of those differences as we review this product.

The enterprise server edition is still pretty pricey even if you use Rackspace. Using Rackspace is a way to cut down on your company’s IT costs since you will be outsourcing some of the difficult IT infrastructure to Rackspace. That being said you would still likely have some of the same licensing costs even if you use Rackspace or another hosting provider.

SP online offers $3/mo per user costs with no minimums and they also have a $7/mo option (with a few more features) as well. Crunching the numbers for a small 30 person company you’re paying $90/mo and for a 100 person company you are paying $300/mo. This to me seems a lot more reasonable as pricing goes compared with Jive.

2. Ability to Customize

This is where your Sharepoint version matters. With the online product you have the ability to change the look and feel of the site and add apps to the site including apps from the app store (which offer free and paid apps).

Customizing the theme
Customizing the theme

Adding apps to a siteAdding apps to a site

Furthermore, a big customization aspect is the ability to add multiple site collections and subsites (which has been a strong selling point for years). You can create public sites, private sites and sites that are subsites of others. You can imagine how this is appealing to large businesses with many departments. And remember you can do all of this now online without all of the expensive hardware, IT support, etc. that used to be required to run Sharepoint.

With the server edition you have much more flexibility to customize Sharepoint. Sharepoint runs on ASP.NET. If you have ASP.NET developers on staff, you have the ability to create features using ASP.NET and deploy them to the server. This has also been a big selling point for Sharepoint.

I was very critical of this aspect of Sharepoint in my original blog because as I found then, SP was much more difficult to customized (via development) than what was advertised. Even with several expert ASP.NET develoers and a windows server admin on staff we had difficulty doing simple development tasks. Numerous SP defenders responded to my original post saying these issues have been fixed over time. I no longer have Visual Studio and I no longer work on Sharepoint sites so I can’t comment on these improvements. I can say that for organizations that have ASP.NET developers, the server edition will certainly be an advantage. For businesses that don’t have Microsoft-developers, now they have an online edition only version which will likely be a better fit.

3. Overall features

As I started playing around with Sharepoint 2013 I also read some reviews to compare my experience. A quick Google search provided favorable reviews that are worth mentioning:

After reading these reviews, I discovered what I experienced and what I read were significantly different. It took me a long time to figure out what was going on. And I have built an entire Sharepoint site. I have created and deployed SP features. I have read Sharepoint books and I am familiar with the Sharepoint vernacular. I still had a difficult time figuring out how to navigate Sharepoint.

Sample site administrative homepageSample site administrative homepage

To be fair, with a large platform like Sharepoint there is going to be a learning curve, especially for administrators. TechRadar puts it this way:

It takes time to figure out everything you can do, and to get the most out of it you need to get everyone to put their documents and thoughts and analyses into SharePoint sites.

So that for me is the first issue I have with Sharepoint. It just does not seem user-friendly to me. My feeling is that many of these blog reviews compare Sharepoint with itself, as opposed to comparing Sharepoint with competing products. If you strictly compare Sharepoint with prior versions you could argue that SP has improved in all aspects. But SP is no longer the only enterprise-level offering. In that light, it’s really more of a fair comparison to evaluate SP against other products with similar features.

Here is an example. I see an app for “Custom List”. This is a feature familiar to SP users but maybe not quite as clear to non-SP users. So I add the Custom List app to my site. I am not 100% what it’s for but I take the plunge and add the Custom List.

Screen grab of the “Custom List” content area.
Screen grab of the “Custom List” content area.

I start adding items only to come to the conclusion, “Now What?”.

After adding a few items
After adding a few items

This feels a little bit like Drupal taxonomy but I am not 100% certain. I vaguely remember using it somewhat like taxonomy when I worked on my last SP site, some 4 years ago.

When I click on the options area my hunch is that there are some awesome things I could do if I only knew how. And so maybe a good Sharepoint book would help me out right?

Click on menu options for an item
Click on menu options for an item

But then that’s the issue isn’t it? As the TechRadar reviewer mentioned that a social intranet like this is only useful if everyone is interacting with it. And SP in my opinion is just too difficult to entice everyone in an organization to use it.

Learning curve aside, one of the big selling points for Microsoft is it’s integration with other Microsoft products. Now I should mention that Jive (and probably others) also have some Microsoft integration. I did find with the online version of had some Office integration that the server edition did not (maybe because I was using a barebones version perhaps)? I found this to be a pleasant experience.

Adding a SP document
Adding a SP document

Adding a Microsoft Word docAdding a Microsoft Word doc

Office 365 is Microsoft’s online suite of products meant to compete with the very popular Google Apps suite. At Mediacurrent we use Google Apps and love it! I have looked at Office 365 and my impression is that there’s no compelling reason for companies to pay the added cost unless they have already been in the Microsoft ecosystem / upgrade cycle for many years. That being said, for a full blow-by-blow comparison check out this recent comparison from PCWorld: “Office showdown: Microsoft Office 365 vs. Google Apps.”

Conclusion

My conclusion is that Sharepoint is better in it’s current form but not significantly better than the competition. I would not be able to recommend this product to anyone who is not already entrenched in the Microsoft ecosystem. What I mean is that for companies who use Microsoft products for years, run Windows servers, and who perhaps who have even used past versions of Sharepoint, I would certainly think that those organizations would be more comfortable with this product. I am sure I will get feedback from such people who will tell me that I am overly critical of Sharepoint. I just want to reiterate that companies that have ASP.NET developers and run Windows servers, for that audience Sharepoint is probably your best bet. For other organizations I am pretty sure it wouldn’t be the best fit.

To me the best feature of Sharepoint is the ability to create multiple site collections and multiple subsites, with permission inheritance. And you can have it all plug into Active Directory. This is really how you can harness the power of Sharepoint. I also think that Sharepoint is much more suited for intranet sites and public sites. That being said, there is certainly an advantage to using one system for all.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Data Expert with 51-200 employees
Vendor
What does SharePoint 2013 mean to the Power Users?
Recently, we have been gradually exposed to SharePoint 2013. I mean sure, you might have been one of the 10,000 attendees at the Conference in Vegas but have you taken the time to sit down and analyze what a migration to SharePoint 2013 would mean for you? Previously, I have covered in a SharePoint 2013 migration (http://en.share-gate.com/blog/migrate-to-sharepoint-2013-introduction) series the different features and supported scenarios to help you get started. In this article, I want to focus on what SharePoint 2013 means to the Power Users. It’s all just technology If you are like me, you might get excited about the latest and greatest gadgets and features that come with a new version of a product. When SharePoint 2013 was announced I was looking at apps, the new Design Manager,…

Recently, we have been gradually exposed to SharePoint 2013. I mean sure, you might have been one of the 10,000 attendees at the Conference in Vegas but have you taken the time to sit down and analyze what a migration to SharePoint 2013 would mean for you? Previously, I have covered in a SharePoint 2013 migration (http://en.share-gate.com/blog/migrate-to-sharepoint-2013-introduction) series the different features and supported scenarios to help you get started. In this article, I want to focus on what SharePoint 2013 means to the Power Users.

It’s all just technology

If you are like me, you might get excited about the latest and greatest gadgets and features that come with a new version of a product. When SharePoint 2013 was announced I was looking at apps, the new Design Manager, how pages are coded, etc. However, to the Power Users in your company, it’s just another technology to help them do their job. And a big one that is bringing them a lot of work in fact. They are forced into the world of IT to provide solutions to the End Users. Columns, Tables, Site Columns, Web Parts, these are things they now have to learn and understand to provide the solution in SharePoint.

You can call it SharePoint 2013 now, it won’ t matter to them. They want a tool to help them do their job. SharePoint 2013 will only be good if it actually helps you increase the amount of work you do for the same amount of time it used to take you.

Why Power Users will love SharePoint 2013

I was lucky enough to be speaking in SharePoint Saturday St Louis on January 12th of 2013. My session was related to some of the benefits Search will bring to us. More specifically, the Content Search Web Part.

In short, the Content Search Web Part is the new and improved Content Query Web Part. If you don’t remember what that is, the CQWP allows you to query any content in your Site Collection and display it using reusable styles. It is one of the most powerful tools for a Power User in SharePoint 2007 and SharePoint 2010. Why? Because it allowed the Power User to provide no-code, reusable solutions throughout the company. The Content Search Web Part, takes it somewhere else. Instead of querying the Site Collection like the CQWP, it actually talks to Search directly. This means it has access to everything the SharePoint Search has been configured to Crawl.

The real power of the Content Search and the flexibility it provides

The real power of the Content Search Web Part is in its easy to use Query Builder and the Design Templates that go with it. You can learn more about that by downloading the slides (http://www.slideshare.net/benjaminniaulin/sharepoint-2013-content-search-web-part-get-it-all-in-one-place-and-style-it) I made available after the SharePoint Saturday.

Basically, it allows the Power User to build his own queries without knowing much about coding or managed properties. Ex: Get me all the blog posts in the company where the category is SharePoint. Or, Get me all the Tasks assigned to the user currently logged in. These are queries the Power User will be able to build in just a few minutes now.

Even better, it allows them to display the results using “Display Templates”. These are reusable HTML files that will give a look to the results of the query done above. It can show up as a slider, events calendar or even a full page. In SharePoint 2013, an entire page could be rendered as the result of a search on the logged in user.

Licensing

Unfortunately, this is something that is only available on the On-Premise Enterprise version, though there is an expected release on Office 365. But I wouldn’t count it in the less expensive plans

So what does this mean to our Power Users that need this Web Part to build Sites in just a few seconds? Well, you can actually do mostly everything with the Search Results Web Part. It allows you to build queries and use display templates as well. There are a few differences however. The Content Search Web Part was really built to make it easy on the Power User to manipulate the content that comes out of this Web Part.

Happy Power Users

During my session on the Content Search Web Part at the SharePoint Saturday, I could tell by the reactions of the Power Users in the room how helpful this will be for them. Creating a Query based on search and styling it without too much effort, perfect!

Of course there are a lot more features in SharePoint 2013 that will alleviate the work from Power Users to provide specific solutions using SharePoint to their Business Users. The message I am trying to convey in this article is to remember that SharePoint 2013 is nothing but a technology that helps your business run better. To do that, it needs to help the Business Users quickly and with the least amount of efforts possible. I believe there are a few features that will help you do that in SharePoint 2013.

Which feature do you think will give your Power Users an advantage?

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user9219
Consultant with 51-200 employees
Vendor
Challenges of using SharePoint for Library Applications
Inmagic recently blogged about the limitations of using SharePoint for library applications, and this prompted me to write this post sharing my recent experiences setting up a SharePoint site for a library catalogue. We have been working with a client to create a SharePoint 2010 site for a new resource library to manage codes, standards and related documents.  SharePoint is this client’s preferred platform, and as their processes for getting approval for any new software such as a proper integrated library system are onerous, time consuming and often futile, it was decided to just accept the limitations of SharePoint.  Once it was established that we would need to design a library catalogue in SharePoint, I went searching the web for advice and suggestions.   This in itself is not…

Inmagic recently blogged about the limitations of using SharePoint for library applications, and this prompted me to write this post sharing my recent experiences setting up a SharePoint site for a library catalogue.

We have been working with a client to create a SharePoint 2010 site for a new resource library to manage codes, standards and related documents.  SharePoint is this client’s preferred platform, and as their processes for getting approval for any new software such as a proper integrated library system are onerous, time consuming and often futile, it was decided to just accept the limitations of SharePoint. 

Once it was established that we would need to design a library catalogue in SharePoint, I went searching the web for advice and suggestions.   This in itself is not easy, as a core concept in SharePoint is “Libraries”,  so it is hard to differentiate terminologies and find results relevant to SharePoint usage in a corporate Library setting.  However the references I did find were mostly concerned with how unsuitable it was, although none gave any detailed specifics of particular issues.  I found one SharePoint based library system advertised, but the vendor website is no longer active, and I chatted to a reputed ILS vendor who mentioned spending three years trying unsuccessfully to port their ILS to SharePoint. 

The prospects for designing a catalogue in SharePoint for our client were therefore not promising!  I started our project with SharePoint 2007, but very fortunately the client was able to upgrade the site to SharePoint 2010 mid way through.  I would never attempt to design a catalogue (or anything else) in SharePoint 2007 again.   However with either version, there are still many frustrations, especially as in our situation we were not allowed access to SharePoint Designer which allows editing the underlying website and HTML.  We were required to work with our client’s templates, stylesheets and site structures to ensure a consistent branding across all their SharePoint sites. All comments below are therefore based on just the out of the box functionality available to a site administrator. 

Designing any site in SharePoint needs a thorough planning process, and discussion of this is beyond the scope of this post.  However for anyone contemplating designing a catalogue in SharePoint, here are some factors to consider.

Specifying content types:

  • Most corporate library catalogs will include different types of material, i.e. books, reports, journals, videos, websites etc.  Some of these may require columns (fields) unique to a specific type.  For example you will probably want to add a Frequency column for a journal but not for the rest.
  • By default, all columns show in all displays regardless of whether they have data.  (This reminds me of the original library systems which have now all long since hidden any empty fields!) SharePoint_1000x569
  • To get around this, we set up different reusable Content Types each inheriting from a core set, and different views (display forms) for each type of material.
  • Depending on your version of SharePoint and your specific site settings, there may be a lengthy list of content types and existing site columns to choose from.  There is a very rudimentary description of the expected content for each column,  but no indication in advance of parameters such as if the column type is pre-set, i.e as single line of text, multiple line of text, choice, lookup etc.  Changing a column from one type to another after the fact is often not an option.  Some may also have unexpected settings, e.g. the Route to External Location column.  There is no indication when adding it to your content type that this is a Required Yes/No column, or that it is a  persistent or “sealed” column that cannot be deleted!   There are 28 or so of these persistent columns including others with innocuous sounding names such as Article Date.
  • SharePoint has several reserved column names that cannot be changed. Therefore “Author” in SharePoint terminology is the person creating the resource (record), not the author of a book. It’s not difficult to add a new column for BookAuthor or equivalent, but on the default search results, all records include this SharePoint Author column which is of course inappropriate in a library context. “Date” is also included by default too, but this is the Date entered not a Publication Date.

Formatting views:

  • Most default views in SharePoint are columnar which is perfect for many types of information but does not work well with variable library data where for example, a title can be very short in one record, and very long in the next.  There is no easy way to force a set column width unless you have access to SharePoint Designer.
  • There is a Datasheet view option which is very similar to Excel and would be great for quick editing, but SharePoint does not support this type of view if your content type includes any Managed Metadata columns. 

Managed Metadata:

  • Managed Metadata provides a new taxonomy capability in 2010 which mitigates some of the other negatives when working with SharePoint. 
  • We are using this new column type in several ways: SPTermStore
    • As a controlled vocabulary for our LC Subject Headings so that our technician can start typing and any matching terms are displayed. 
    • Synonyms or abbreviations can be included, so we use this for Publishers so that they are findable by both their full name and their acronym.
    • Terms can be added in a hierarchy so we use this for specifying a general Location and then a specific Office where the items are stored.
    • Multiple terms can be added to a record quickly, and new ones added either on the fly, or through the Term Store.  (However there is no way to batch add an existing list without SharePoint Designer.)
    • Best of all, we can use these Manage Metadata columns as Search Refiners to produce a faceted search results page.
  • The downsides are that you cannot import records from a spreadsheet or use a Datasheet view if the list contains any Managed Metadata columns. 

Search Refiners:

  • We were able to set up several custom search scopes and set the default search to the Library Catalogue only.  
  • Our custom search results page is set up with multiple Search web parts including a Refinement Panel.  Choosing which columns to use as refiners is picky requiring editing a popup XML Editor, but at least it can be done without requiring SharePoint Designer.  However we have not been able to force a consistent order for displaying these refiners, so if a result set mostly belong to the same material type, that refiner is not considered important so it appears lower down the list. 

We have had to lower our expectations regarding what we will be able to accomplish without SharePoint Designer or any IT support. Fortunately the collection is predominantly virtual, so we have not had to think about printing spine labels or shelf lists sorted by LC Classification.  We now have a functioning catalogue and some workflow created with InfoPath forms to support requesting and approving new orders, but there is no question that a purpose built integrated library system would be preferable. 

It may appear that migrating an existing library system to SharePoint or starting a new catalogue would be a cost saving measure if an organization already has SharePoint.  However, as there are no commercial library packages offered on the SharePoint platform, any system will have to be developed and maintained internally.  This reminds me of the many library systems set up over the years in Microsoft Access that end up unsupported when the particular developer leaves. We have converted many of these Access databases to standard library software, but this can be a time consuming process as often the records have limited fields or authority control, requiring us to upgrade the cataloguing. 

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Head of Consulting & Solutions EMEA at a tech consulting company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
The problem with SharePoint social is all or nothing
The problem with SharePoint social is all or nothing. Some organizations doesn’t want to enable the personal sites but keep newsfeeds and follow! Also SharePoint social doesn’t have any alerting features. So when someone mentions you don’t receive any email and you have to check the news feed. No way of sending direct message like twitter. I feel MS decided to stop in the middle of journey because of yammer acquisition

The problem with SharePoint social is all or nothing. Some organizations doesn’t want to enable the personal sites but keep newsfeeds and follow!

Also SharePoint social doesn’t have any alerting features. So when someone mentions you don’t receive any email and you have to check the news feed. No way of sending direct message like twitter. I feel MS decided to stop in the middle of journey because of yammer acquisition

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Microsoft partner
it_user9207
Owner at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
When to stop using SharePoint
For a few years now I’ve been pushing myself to see what is possible with SharePoint 2010. Some of these things are small, out-of-the-box (OOTB) solutions: creating custom search scopes, customizing table styles, and messing with itemstyle.xsl. But more often than not, the solutions I like to create are the ones that go beyond what SharePoint does OOTB. I rely heavily on SPServices for a lot of these solutions. It’s a great tool that does everything I need to do with lists in SharePoint. More recently I’ve been using SharePoint’s REST service and wiring in things like Backbone.js to create some interesting solutions. Side note: if you want to see some great front-end solutions using SharePoint, check out the book Black Magic Solutions for White Hat SharePoint. Where is the line? I…

For a few years now I’ve been pushing myself to see what is possible with SharePoint 2010. Some of these things are small, out-of-the-box (OOTB) solutions: creating custom search scopes, customizing table styles, and messing with itemstyle.xsl. But more often than not, the solutions I like to create are the ones that go beyond what SharePoint does OOTB. I rely heavily on SPServices for a lot of these solutions. It’s a great tool that does everything I need to do with lists in SharePoint. More recently I’ve been using SharePoint’s REST service and wiring in things like Backbone.js to create some interesting solutions.

Side note: if you want to see some great front-end solutions using SharePoint, check out the book Black Magic Solutions for White Hat SharePoint.

Where is the line?

I was training a SharePoint newcomer last week in New York. My trainee had a strong developer background, and just needed to get familiar with SharePoint for an upcoming job. As I was explaining things to her, I started to talk about a few custom front-end solutions that I’d built, and she latched on to those (coming from the developer world). But as I was explaining things to her, we started to discuss the legitimacy of doing some of these things in SharePoint. When does it change from a “SharePoint solution” to a “solution that uses SharePoint as a relational database”?

Let’s say you are using jQuery, SPServices, and maybe the Google Charts API. You can hook into a list, display a really great chart, and put it on a SharePoint page. That’s a great use of SharePoint. It’s a single page, accessing a single list, and enhancing the experience for the end user. Now say you have several lists that need charts. So we put several charts on the page. Easy. But how about when it comes time to organize all of these charts (say we have 30)? Now we need to add some UI elements that organize the charts in, say, tabs, or maybe an accordion. Ok, that’s great. But now instead of hardcoding in all of our lists to our scripts, we want one list just to organize our other lists. So now our code is much cleaner, we get all of our chart references from one list, and we organize it on the page with one cleaner, bigger script. At this point we have now made a list into a relational connection to other lists. But this is fine, even SharePoint allows this, right? (think Lookup fields)

So where is the line? How many lists must be connected before we pump the brakes and say, “wait…things are getting a little hairy”. See, in my opinion, SharePoint is a great place to store data. It’s also a great place to store data from external sources. It’s a great collection point for everything from a SQL server with lists of students, or to a connection to a 3rd party Gradebok. That’s what SharePoint is great at, being a central point of contact for many different systems. So the logical next step is to build things on top of this central point in order to interact with the data, right?

My personal line

All of my solutions are front-end, nothing server-side for me. But I recently ran into the limit of what I felt comfortable doing using javascript and SharePoint. A client of mine was building a re-enrollment process for the following school year. This process involved parents logging in, seeing their children on the page, and then initiating a re-enrollment form for each child. The form was build using javascript, jQuery, SPServices, and a host of other little plugins (for validation, navigation, etc). It was based on at least 3 lists, one that stored parent data, one that stored student data, and a connector list that connected families together. Functionally, the app worked. There were bugs like anything else, but overall, it worked.

Here’s the problem I had with it. In order to give parents rights to see their data, as well as their child(ren)’s data, we needed to give them access to the parent and student lists. This meant that for that period of time, all parents (if they knew the address) had access to all the data for all other parents. Now, this school is a fairly tight-knit community. There was nothing more in those lists that couldn’t be found out through the directory and doing a little digging. But nonetheless, it was all right there, in an easily exportable format. The intranet is password protected, but who is to say a parent with malicious intent couldn’t have really caused a headache for a lot of people?

But for the sake of argument, let’s say that the list is obscured somewhere or somehow the parents couldn’t directly access it. Well that still leaves a hole on the javascript side. Because it’s javascript, all of my code is loaded in the browser for any tech-savvy user to check out and study. If they weren’t deterred by sloppy code :), then they might be able to get in there and see what’s happening. At very least they can check the requests sent through the console. Once they have this code, they could modify it however they want and run it on their browser. How about if they could figure out how to impersonate somebody else by hardcoding in a username? What if they figured out a way to delete all other re-enrollment forms?

All this aside, we weren’t really worried because a) the time period was so short, and b) the stakes weren’t too high. That said, this was definitely a clear line for me in where I stop using SharePoint. Keep in mind, that’s when “I” stop using SharePoint. A back-end developer could have a field day with this project. Put everything server-side, secure it to the logged-in user, and you’ve got a much better system.

When to stop designing

The other question I have is: how far do we veer from the ‘spirit’ of SharePoint? Branding a master page, making a site look ‘not like SharePoint’ is one thing. But how about these custom solutions? I generally start with a blank HTML file, add in the javascript I need, and then wrap it in some ASP goodness to make it look like a page on my site. But how about the UI elements? Do we use SharePoint list views, or do we built our own repeating table with HTML and javascript? What should we do? Do we use SharePoint forms? Do we only go so far as to create forms in InfoPath? Do we completely customize every aspect of the form because we can “do it better”? I think at some point we need to leave SharePoint alone, let it do what it does, and relegate ourselves to ‘enhancing’, not always ‘replacing’.

SharePoint has its faults, many, many faults. But I think we are doing ourselves an injustice to use SharePoint for some of these solutions. While we may be thinking, “look what I can do with SharePoint,” maybe we should take a second and think “should this be done in SharePoint”? There are faster ways to do things. There are more efficient ways to go about linking data from relational tables.

So where is the line? Where is the line for you? When do you stop developing front-end and go a different route? What are your personal limitations?

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