Apparently, my rant about marketing ploysI will no longer tolerate was written one day too soon. I left out the “when you’re ready for a big-boy bike” technique. I had a call from an ECM vendor yesterday who, after hearing that we have been successfully using SharePoint for years, asked me: “do you see a point where your company will want to get serious about ECM?” Yeah, I see that point, it occurred about 10 years ago. Back then, we couldn’t afford any ECM software, so we wrote our own. We moved to SharePoint in 2005 and we never looked back.
I am sure that there is some aspect of content management that SharePoint doesn’t do as well as other ECM software, but it certainly isn’t the case that SharePoint can’t be used by serious people. It was ironic that this call came about an hour after I read a very good blog post on SharePoint Governanceby Chris McNulty. Maybe the person calling me figured that I implemented SharePoint without any thought to governance or control, and it’s spinning out of control today. Maybe he is hoping that when, as Chris put it: “I’m ready to grab the wheel” I will think that my mistake was in choosing SharePoint, not in implementing it badly. Sorry Mr. Vendor, I didn’t make that mistake, and I’m not falling for that marketing trap.
While it isn’t fair to say that we are only now getting serious about ECM, it is fair to say that we are getting more serious about the way in which we handle content. However, instead of causing me to look longingly at a new solution, I am finding more things that I like about SharePoint. As we sharpen our focus, we are looking at trying to remove or at least blur the line between structured and unstructured content. We are starting to look at information as a whole, and we are hoping to build our next generation systems around that view. We have proven that we can tie our desktop application systems to SharePoint, and I see this capability giving us a huge advantage as we start developing new systems. We can let SharePoint do what SharePoint does well, and we can expose SharePoint content whenever we need it. For example, we can maintain our customer list in SharePoint, but we can use that to drive the “people selection” process in our fat-client applications. That way, our employees have one list to manage as opposed to one for policies and one for everything else. We can also look forward to creating output in SharePoint, eliminating the capture/intake process entirely. When we create a policy document, we can build a PDF copy, put it in the appropriate library and set the required metadata.
Again, I won’t dredge up my past few dozen blog entries, but we have also proven that we can build a content-centric application totally in SharePoint. In other words, we can bring solutions closer to the dividing line from both sides. If you are serious about content management, I truly think you can use any system – serious is a frame of mind, it doesn’t come from a box.#ECM #applications #SharePoint #vendors