Making SharePoint part of the Enterprise Puzzle

By Garth Landers posted 09-17-2012 14:23


Join me tomorrow at 2 PM EDT for the AIIM Webinar; The SharePoint Puzzle - Showcasing the Solution. Register today.

’s hard to believe, but it’s been over a decade since the world first met SharePoint back in 2001. Everything we expected to happen back when SharePoint was called “Tahoe” has occurred as expected-the natural integration with Office, the inevitable widespread adoption, its overall impact on the ECM marketplace.  And over time, SharePoint has adapted and grown, such as delivering support for the social enterprise.

In the AIIM community, we know what SharePoint is good at -document collaboration, traditional library services, and Microsoft Office integration; all while providing intuitive, easy to use features to end users. SharePoint has made content management mainstream during the last decade in way that didn’t exist previously.  Think back to pre ECM and pre SharePoint. The industry we worked in was then known as “integrated document management”.  That era contained a vital set of technologies, but back then in the mid to late 90s, organizations required a lot more hand holding, and education about what was possible and why it made sense. With the arrival and subsequent success of SharePoint, that is largely, no longer the case. SharePoint didn’t invent ECM, but it certainly has contributed to its acceptance.

For all of its aforementioned strengths, organizations are seeking to augment SharePoint in a number of ways.  Organizations know what SharePoint is and what it’s good at, and what it doesn’t do it all. Looking at the marketplace today- there are organization needs and third party solutions for capture, business process management, records/retention management, customer communications, ediscovery , archiving and much more from a functional standpoint, and infrastructure requirements such as greater scalability and storage management. In this sense, SharePoint has become monolithic. Its ubiquitous and pervasive in its usage, and represents a starting point for ECM, but is not typically the end point for content centric applications, vertically specific solutions or orchestrating business process management that spans across an enterprise’s  IT and business landscape.

The requirement set for SharePoint customization, as you can imagine, varies quite a bit. However, organizations of all types have a few non-negotiable elements- don’t disrupt the way users interact with SharePoint, meaning, retain the friendly interfaces and ease of use that SharePoint excels at, and just as importantly, any customization should be seamless, and not overly complex in design and execution.  In essence, keep productivity high, and configure, not code, where possible. Time to value is paramount, of course.

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