SharePoint is moving from little g to Big G

By Jeff Shuey posted 02-08-2013 02:00


SharePoint has, for the most part, been relegated to smaller solutions. Also known as “point solutions” that address a specific segment of the business. There is nothing wrong with this and it’s a great way to get in the door.

Which SharePoint has done very, very well.  As proven by the market stats. Jeff Teper, the Father of SharePoint, should be very proud.

  • With over 125 Million licensed users (aka CAL’s – Client Access Licenses) – meaning people that have access to use SharePoint
  • over 65,000 Servers deployed in over 25,000 customer sites
  • and most important ---
    • 700,000 developers
    • and a very strong, 4000 strong, Partner Community.

What’s Changing?

SharePoint is helping to drive the adoption of Big Governance.

As mentioned above a lot of SharePoint deployments have been aimed at specific point solutions. More and more these point solutions are being expanded to connect with and interoperate with the Big Data Silos.

Where these silos represent Line of Business (LOB) solutions that drive various aspects of the business. Usually these include ERP, SCM, PLM, CRM and ECM solutions. There are other LOB solutions in place, some are home grown and custom developed solutions to address specific business needs. Each of these has their own level of governance.

Usually these systems are Mission Critical --- meaning if they go down (fail) the business suffers significantly. Perhaps in lost orders, reduced customer satisfaction, perception in the marketplace (think Amazon or Microsoft’s Office 365 going offline) and in many cases there are financial penalties due to Service Level Agreements (SLA’s) and other contractual arrangements.

Note: I am not including Social Media channels here … that will be part of another post. Trust me Social Media and Social Computing will require a lot of Big G.

All of these solutions need some level of governance. Traditionally SharePoint solutions have required “little g” to accomplish what needed to be done within these point solutions. I say “little g” because the governance required may be very specific to that point solution and may not have a significant impact on the overall business. This is changing. Partially because companies are “going to the cloud” and partially because people are “bringing their own devices (BYOD)” to the office, to the coffee shop and to the airplane. But mainly because more and more SharePoint solutions are being plugged into the LOB systems. Organizations need to adjust … both from a little g and BIG G point of view.

Why do companies care? Mainly because Corporate Data is at risk. Along with this there are Corporate Responsibilities to provide access while protecting private and privileged information. From a Social and Community perspective companies have an air of Corporate Authenticity to maintain as mentioned here.

Hint: Everything Needs Governance

Why is this Happening?

  • LOB systems are expensive and costly to maintain
  • LOB systems are Mission Critical
  • SharePoint is Pervasive

Let's talk about these facts. Let's talk about the transition from little g to BIG G.

  • FACT - LOB Systems are Expensive
    • It will surprise no one that running line of business systems is expensive. Why? Because the people and the systems themselves are expensive resources.
    • The costs of a hiccup are increasing
    • The risks and threats to corporate data are increasing every day in every way. Protecting corporate data while providing access is an ever present challenge. 
  • FACT - Mission Critical
    • If a LOB system goes down … there can be significant impacts on many levels.
    • Managing the risk requires governance with a capital G 
  • FACT - SharePoint is Pervasive
    • As noted above … SharePoint is Everywhere. These numbers are just going to continue to increase – for CAL’s, Servers, Developers and Partners.
    • As more and more companies start to realize the POWER they have within even their “Free” SharePoint components I’m confident we will see transitions from point solutions that require “little g” to connections and extension to LOB systems that require BIG G.
    • Hint: The best SharePoint sites don’t look like SharePoint and aren’t called SharePoint sites. and theSPS.CloudApp sites for thousands of examples. As was previously mentioned here in The Gamification of ECM

Let's talk about what’s next for SharePoint.

What does this mean for the SharePoint Community?

It’s all Good!

The vendors … ISV’s and SI’s and Training Partners that have built their business around SharePoint are in for a Great Awakening. As these point solutions get more and more integrated into LOB systems there will be incredible opportunities to design, develop, deploy and extend their current offerings into new markets.

The Office 2013 and SharePoint 2013 model of using Applications as a way to reach the masses is going to be critical. This is where I believe the pursuit of Appyness will be in full effect. See my post The Pursuit of Appyness for more.

For a few more of my thoughts on this see my posts:

What do you think?
  • Has SharePoint made the transition from little g to BIG G?
  • Can SharePoint make this transition?
  • Will this effort be led by customers, partners or Microsoft?

Drop me a note here or at one of my Social Media communication points below. I do want to hear your thoughts.

Legend: A Few of the more common Big Data Silos and examples of the companies that make them.


Enterprise Resource Planning 
For example - SAP, Oracle, Lawson, Microsoft Dynamics, etc.


Supply Chain Management 
For example - IBM, Infor, Sage and again SAP and Oracle.


Product Lifecycle Management 
For example - Siemens, PTC and again SAP and Oracle.


Customer Relationship Management 
For example -, Microsoft Dynamics, and again SAP and Oracle.


Enterprise Content Management 
For example - Documentum, FileNet (IBM), OpenText, Microsoft SharePoint, HP, Oracle and numerous smaller players that have created niche solutions.


#partner #PLM #ChristianBuckley #cloud #community #CRM #ERP #ElectronicRecordsManagement #lob #governance #sharepoint #ecosystem #BigData #SCM #SharePoint #BYOD