I was reading an excellent blog post by Jesse Wilkins at AIIM called “A Reintroduction to SharePoint,” in which he reminds readers that SharePoint’s roots are in document and records management. For many organizations, the need to organize their documents and have workers use them collaboratively are the drivers to purchasing SharePoint.
The reality, of course, is that SharePoint only begins to offer the tooling necessary to create a records-management system on par with those required in highly regulated fields, such as healthcare and financial services.
And that’s the rub. When you hear people lamenting that “SharePoint doesn’t do this” or “SharePoint can’t do that,” they are bemoaning the lack of out-of-the-box functionality they need. But then, when they go to create custom solutions, the cries of “Why is SharePoint so hard?” can be heard from every corner of the market.
This, to me, is the conundrum Microsoft needs to address. I think it’s great that the company has left so much for the third-party ecosystem to fill in that it is a vibrant one, with folks ready and willing to lend a hand solving some gnarly problems. On the other hand, this creates cost on top of cost for companies adopting SharePoint: paying Microsoft for the license, and then paying again to give it functionality Microsoft has left out.
A July survey of SharePoint users showed that almost half of them use some other form of ECM/document-management tool alongside SharePoint. Only 14% of the respondents used SharePoint as their single ECM solution.
This shows that for ECM, Microsoft has a lot of work to provide enterprises with the type of robust, feature-rich solution they require. Passing it off creates frustration and cost, which is the reason folks came to Microsoft in the first place.