SharePoint - No Joke

By DANIEL ANTION posted 07-10-2012 13:33


Sometimes, Tuesday rolls around and I have nothing to say about SharePoint. I don’t stress too much, but I do admit to feeling the “presence of Bryant” when I start thinking “who would care if I skipped a week?” Of course something usually happens that spins me up just enough to form a few hundred words into a (I hope) cogent argument. Today’s spark is courtesy of Chris Wright, founder of the Scribble Agencyand Matthew Hugheswhom I follow on twitter. Chris wrote an article for CMSWiresuggesting the need for SharePoint to better support blogging, and Matthew reacted to what he sees as a pattern of comparing individual SharePoint features to their best-of-breed counterparts. I tend to agree with Matt on this one.

That said, Chris is right when he says that blogging is hard work, and SharePoint makes it harder. Still, I am drawn to the “Doctor it hurts when I do this…” joke, you know the one that ends “then don’t do that!” If SharePoint makes blogging harder, don’t use it for your blog. I have three blogs; one is on Blogger, one is on Word Press and I’m not actually sure what platform this blog is on. The fact of the matter is none of those platforms actually make it easy to write my blog – for that, I use Word and Live Writer. I would have ended that sentence with “score one for Microsoft” but they are threatening to drop Live Writer. I use Word because I’m comfortable writing in Word and AIIM’s blog app includes a “paste from Word” feature. I use Live Writer because it works so well at posting to both Blogger and Word Press. Notice that these facts expose a flaw in the best-of-breed theory. Think of the user community where you work, how many of them use three different products to perform a single task? Once you step outside of the tech community, people don’t value best-of-breed over simple – they want simple.

SharePoint’s features might pale by comparison with specialized services, but when you consider everything that it does well, it’s an amazing platform. Sure, I complain about it from time to time, but our use of SharePoint has done nothing but grow since we installed a single WSS server in 2006. I don’t have the space to talk about all the things SharePoint does well, but our uses include:

  • ECM
  • Managing lists a.k.a. store stuff in a database
  • Handling permissions
  • Marshaling documents through a process with a workflow
  • Task notification
  • Linking unstructured content to line-of-business data
  • Oh heck, just read my previous 200 blog entries.

Is it “hard” for my CEO to update his blog on our customer facing website? No, he writes it and gives it to me. Does the blog look good on that website? It looks good enough. Would it look better if it was on Word Press? Sure, but where would I put the customer’s policies? How would I control which people at the customer site can see the policy, which can see the engineering reports and which can’t see either but can browse our company library? How would I dynamically sift through a list of our company’s employees and present to the customer only the ones that work on their account? I can do all that and more with SharePoint, without breaking a sweat.

There’s another doctor joke that I like. It’s the one where the patient repeatedly pokes himself here, there and everywhere, and each time says “doctor, it hurts when I press here.” After a few animated iterations, the punch line comes when the patient asks “What’s wrong Doc?” and the doctor replies: “your finger is broken!” That joke doesn’t apply to SharePoint. SharePoint is not broken. It might not be best of breed in very many individual categories, but it just might take best of show.

#platform #ECM #SharePoint #blogging