06:33 PM
Irwin Lazar
Irwin Lazar
Connect Directly

Building the SharePoint Ecosystem

Over the past few months I’ve struggled to get my arms around Microsoft Office SharePoint, Microsoft’s “über” platform for asynchronous collaboration.

Is SharePoint a Web 2.0 platform? Is SharePoint a content management system? Is SharePoint a workflow manager? Is SharePoint a social computing platform? Or is SharePoint a portal to other applications?

Well…the answer to all of these questions is a conditional “yes.” SharePoint does have the capabilities to function in all these roles. SharePoint supports Web 2.0 capabilities such as blogs and wikis, as well as user customizable data to enable searches based on meta tags. SharePoint’s content management capabilities enable users to manage documents and other files, assigning permissions, controlling modification, and establishing a trail of changes. SharePoint’s workflow capabilities allow users to assign tasks to document or workspaces, enabling SharePoint to become a project management tool. SharePoint supports extensive capabilities for users to customize their information and share it with others, essentially allowing users to create their own private LinkedIn-style information systems. And finally, SharePoint provides either its own portal system, or the ability to integrate with other portals such as SAP.

When one reads through the list of SharePoint capabilities they might be taken aback by the sheer number of things that SharePoint can do well. Common sense dictates that by trying to be all things to all people, it’s very difficult to be best of breed in all areas. Microsoft recognizes this and has established a number of partnerships to integrate best of breed functions with SharePoint.

For example, Microsoft recently announced strategic partnerships with companies such as Atlassian to support integration of Atlassian’s “Confluence” wiki with SharePoint for those users who need a more robust wiki solution than SharePoint provides. Socialtext’s SocialPoint provides similar capabilities. For advanced RSS capabilities Microsoft partners with Newsgator to bring Newsgator SocialSites to SharePoint users, enabling easy integration of RSS feeds into SharePoint services.

As enterprises create their SharePoint strategy it makes sense to look beyond the core capabilities of SharePoint when those capabilities don’t meet your needs. Microsoft’s ecosystem for bringing best-of-breed services into the SharePoint ecosystem continues to grow, meaning that rather than viewing SharePoint as the be-all-end-all of enterprise collaboration, it is instead wiser to view SharePoint as the platform that can support both internal capabilities as well as leverage external best-of-breed products to fully meet enterprise requirements.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
The Business of Going Digital
The Business of Going Digital
Digital business isn't about changing code; it's about changing what legacy sales, distribution, customer service, and product groups do in the new digital age. It's about bringing big data analytics, mobile, social, marketing automation, cloud computing, and the app economy together to launch new products and services. We're seeing new titles in this digital revolution, new responsibilities, new business models, and major shifts in technology spending.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest - July 22, 2014
Sophisticated attacks demand real-time risk management and continuous monitoring. Here's how federal agencies are meeting that challenge.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.