MFG 2.0

Microsoft Sharepoint Grows Up; MBA Expected In 2010

Fresh from the CMSWire site comes the best "sneak peek" review I've read so far of the next release of Microsoft's super-selling Sharepoint platform. Note that even with a reported 17,000 customers and more than $1B in sales, I didn't say "runaway success," as there are questions as to how successful many of these Sharepoint implementations to date will ultimately be (stories already abound of CIOs having to wipe the Sharepoint slate clean and start over at fileshare square one).

However, from what I've seen and read, the 2010 release may well solve some of the issues currently plaguing enterprise Sharepoint deployments worldwide. Highlights include integration with (what was formerly) Groove to provide an offline capability, tighter integration with other essential Microsoft products (Office and Visio are namechecked), improved Search (maybe users will be able to track down the needed content even across a proliferation of unsanctioned, ungoverned Sharepoint sites) and multi-browser support (the CMSWire story notes Firefox and Safari but, notably, leaves Google's Chrome browser out).

The authors do sound a note of caution about Sharepoint Designer:

Now if you are one of those who worry about the power SharePoint Designer provides the power user, this may worry you more. We need to get a closer look at this tool to see if any of these concerns have been eased. This overview doesn't provide that warm and fuzzy feeling.

This lack of warmth and non-fuzziness stems from full knowledge of how out-of-control implementations of Sharepoint can actually be harmful to both knowledge/collaboration workflow and usability -- two of the very business issues that the software salesguys would posit that SP is purported to solve in the first place. (Consider this Oracle/AIIM-sponsored study by Information Architected that found 40% of enterprises don't even know their Sharepoint scope, leaving gaping holes in governance for overstressed, understaffed IT departments.)

To end on a final, positive note, take a quick look at Microsoft's new, grown-up, biz-friendly value proposition.

Here is Sharepoint 2007:

And here is Sharepoint 2010:

The first focuses explicitly on the technology itself; the second explicitly focuses on how the end business user will create value with that technology. A simple step, to be sure, but a step that Microsoft hasn't exactly taken with stunning regularity in the past. And in this day and age of constant "justify your existence" budget gauntlets, IT leaders looking to continue funding and managing ballooning (but undeniably useful) Sharepoint implementations will surely appreciate the assistance.

TAGS: Innovation
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