Will 2013 be the Beginning of the end for SharePoint?

By DANIEL ANTION posted 01-02-2013 11:56


I don't like starting the year off on a negative note, but I just have to wonder if 2012 won’t be considered to be the year that SharePoint stopped expanding and began to collapse due to its own gravity.

As I look back across my world in 2012, I see a nice sized list of SharePoint achievements that make me proud, but I also see a list of accomplishments that absolutely required development resources. Now, if you’re not sure what I mean by “development resource” welcome to the club. You might want to read Bjorn Furunap’s latest blog entry or you might want to avoid reading it because it might scare you. I know that it scares me! It scares me because the question of what constitutes a “SharePoint Developer” has been kicked around in the blogosphere for several years, and it seems to be getting harder to answer. It also seems to be getting more important to answer because less and less “stuff of value” can be accomplished in SharePoint without the aid of a developer. I can remember only one occasion in 2012 when an end-user suggested that he might want to make his own changes to a SharePoint solution (a series of sub-sites that contain a collection of predefined libraries). Last week, we had to set-up a new site from the template we revised in September, and he asked me to do it. This task involves:

  • Creating the new site from the right template
  • Editing the few things that make a site unique
  • Verifying or modifying the inherited permissions
  • Adding a link to a part on this department’s main SharePoint site

Sure, these are things that anybody can do, but almost nobody will choose to do them if they can, as Homer Simpson said “let someone else do it”, and these are the easy things. The things that have always been difficult to do, seem to heading toward getting even more difficult. Consider the top three on my list:

Deployment – Cloud, on-premises or hybrid? These are good decisions to have, but they are also opportunities for people to make big mistakes. These are decisions which will require the involvement of IT (and we know how the SharePoint and ECM communities feel about the IT Guy) if there is one, or an outside consultant if there isn’t.

Development – The days of building a sweet user experience in SharePoint got much harder with the removal of Design View from SharePoint Designer and took development out of the hands of the people on the edge of the user-developer boundary. If you’re developing a SharePoint solution in 2013, you are either working on SP 2010 or you are working with development tools.

Cost – SharePoint cruised past the point where it can be effectively deployed to meet an ECM challenge without the aid of third-party tools. Email integration alone will cost you, and if you throw in the goal of accessing SharePoint (integrated with email) on a tablet, you need multiple tools. If you’re going to point out that “it will be easy if you just switch to Windows 8 devices across the board”, I might ask you to think about that poor IT Guy (me) and his budget. I might also ask you to consider the effect on his already anemic popularity when he publicizes that decision to iPad and Android fans.

As Microsoft expands SharePoint’s field of view to take in the ever expanding options afforded to us by today’s technology, I worry that it will start to only appeal to a much smaller universe.

#cloud #SharePoint #mobile #sharepoint