Cloud // Platform as a Service
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1/9/2013
01:13 PM
Russ Edelman
Russ Edelman
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Is SharePoint Trustworthy For Business-Critical Processes?

With workflow improvements in SharePoint 2013, more companies may consider it. Here's what else to consider in Microsoft's latest version.

Claims-based Authentication. SharePoint 2013 offers OOTB Claims Authentication using Open Authorization 2.0 (OAuth). OAuth is an industry-standard security protocol that provides temporary redirection-based authentication. This means that SharePoint 2013 will let users give apps access to SharePoint resources (sites, lists, items, etc.) without the app having to obtain, store or submit the users' credentials. This allows for improved authentication between server-to-server and app authentication.

This differs from the default Active Directory (AD) authentication model and will be the default authentication model going forward. In the AutoCAD file-comparison app example cited above, the app would be able to take the files for comparison and insert the compared file back into the document library without having to use or verify the user's credentials.

OAuth allows for different credentialing systems to be integrated more easily into SharePoint. For example, if OAuth credentials are established with Live ID accounts, this could be used for authentication purposes in SharePoint. Because these features are so new, it is recommended that your IT team gets up to speed on the capabilities of OAuth 2.0 and what it means in the world of SharePoint.

Search. Microsoft has embedded FAST search into SharePoint 2013. In prior versions, FAST was a secondary search engine that had to be purchased. With the combined SharePoint search and FAST search architecture, new capabilities include the ability for visual refiners to more quickly get to the right results, and a new "hover panel" that shows details about a file when a cursor is over it.

Workflow. Features such as support for calls to Web services, REST, visual workflow design, looping and the calling of other workflows are among the improvements that weren't supported in prior versions. That meant SharePoint-based workflow would often require Visual Studio development or third-party workflow products.

These new features mean more workflow operations can be performed by non-technical business analysts and power users. Under the covers, Microsoft introduced a new workflow platform for SharePoint 2013 that can work in parallel with SharePoint 2010 workflows. The new platform, built on top of .NET Framework 4.5, is substantially improved and includes a Workflow Manager for better orchestration across a company. These capabilities should let companies use workflow for more advanced processing such as case management and human resource on- and off-boarding, with integration to third-party service bureaus and other more complex requirements.

So who should consider SharePoint 2013, and who should avoid it? Walton Smith of Booze Allen & Hamilton, a speaker at SPC 2012, offered these three practical guidelines:

-- Companies using SP 2001 or 2003 won't be ready for 2013 and will need more time to prepare for the changes.

-- SP 2007 should bypass SP 2010 and jump to SP 2013.

-- SP 2010 users need a compelling, appropriate use case to justify an immediate upgrade. Smith also recommends introducing some SharePoint 2013 features using the cloud-based option, which is less risky than doing a big quick upgrade.

SharePoint was once seen as not much more than a simple team collaboration site. Those days are gone, and more companies will use SharePoint for true business-critical applications. Law firms such as Clifford Chance are heavily leveraging SharePoint, Merck relies upon SharePoint for business planning and United Airlines uses it in a strategic capacity for procurement. Over the next two years, we'll see a collection of success (and horror) stories coming from the masses, so make sure to take controlled and managed steps in implementing SharePoint 2013.

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Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
1/10/2013 | 6:20:27 PM
re: Is SharePoint Trustworthy For Business-Critical Processes?
I have heard the compliance concerns in recent conversations with CIOs. Can anyone share any feedback on whether MS is doing enough now to ease your compliance worries around SharePoint?

Laurianne McLaughlin
InformationWeek
RUSSIRBB
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RUSSIRBB,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/11/2013 | 5:39:06 PM
re: Is SharePoint Trustworthy For Business-Critical Processes?
Hi Laurianne,

My observations with regard to compliance and Microsoft is that the tool set provides the mechanics of providing such capabilities. For example, they have really stepped up their e-Discovery offering. Through configuration efforts and/or third party ISVs, compliance based solutions are being delivered regularly on top of SharePoint.

Hope this helps.
Thanks,
Russ
asphostportal
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asphostportal,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/12/2014 | 10:00:09 PM
re: Is SharePoint Trustworthy For Business-Critical Processes?
Nice writing and we enjoy to read this article. We also believe that SharePoint is very important for business and it help to reduce the business cost. We have many clients that use SharePoint 2013 for sharing their job easily
moarsauce123
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moarsauce123,
User Rank: Ninja
1/11/2013 | 2:10:29 AM
re: Is SharePoint Trustworthy For Business-Critical Processes?
My biggest complaint is that out of the box SharePoint is dumb as door knob. You need to hire SP savvy developers in order to get any decent use out of that system. And even then you need to pray because often enough SP claims it uploaded a current edit of a document when in fact it did not. The history looks fine, but when downloading the file it is the totally outdated version. There are uses for SP, but for anything that is used in production or even critical better systems are available.
RUSSIRBB
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RUSSIRBB,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/11/2013 | 5:49:26 PM
re: Is SharePoint Trustworthy For Business-Critical Processes?
Hello Moarsauce123!

Thanks for the feedback/complaint. I do have a few points to share in response to your commentary - and please note that all comments on the comments are very much welcome!

1. Dumb as a door knob - the notion of "SharePoint sprawl" would prove otherwise in that people have run with SharePoint OOTB in ways that could have never been imagined by any other ECM vendor. This is not to say that they are optimizing the tool; however, it is being used for more information management functions then any other tool I have ever seen. This comes from a guy who used to live in the world of OpenText/Documentum/Kofax/Filenet/etc.

2. SP Savvy developers - see comment above about broad usage patterns. However, more importantly, I would argue that the majority of SP work is not development, but in fact, configuration and much more learn-able then development - hence its success. In this regard, it needs to be viewed as a platform worthy of investment such that people can properly optimize it for use.

3. Praying for version control - I have on occasion run into such problems; however, it has by far been the exception and not the rule. I've also seen such integration tangos with other products as well.

4. Production or Critical - I find the biggest problem regarding this point is that organizations, IT and users live in the dated world of earlier versions of SharePoint that perceive it as a team collaboration tool. When working with 2007 or greater, the product as a platform must be taken seriously with the right investments. If not, your point is accurate; however, I'd argue that this is the case with any such investments. The reality is that when companies invest properly in SharePoint as an ECM platform, the product can absolutely be used in a business critical capacity.

So...is it the hammer or the guy who is swinging it?

Have a great weekend!
Russ

moarsauce123
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moarsauce123,
User Rank: Ninja
1/17/2013 | 9:16:42 AM
re: Is SharePoint Trustworthy For Business-Critical Processes?
Sprawl yes, because Microsoft overpromises on what SP can do. Aside from that, many use SP to simply serve up static pages, something they can do with IIS or a real web server with much less overhead and cost.
I'm speaking based on my experiences with SP and they all were mainly negative. Currently, using a SP system and my biggest grief is that it only works in IE because it has massive HTML errors. SP is just another tool to lock people into an increasingly unflexible MS ecosystem. In my opinion SP is just bad software, functionally and especially when it comes to quality. How difficult is it to run the pages against the W3 validator?
mrandash
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mrandash,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/11/2013 | 11:30:43 PM
re: Is SharePoint Trustworthy For Business-Critical Processes?
Well summarized Russ. Thank you!
TheSauceZA
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TheSauceZA,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/14/2013 | 4:06:03 PM
re: Is SharePoint Trustworthy For Business-Critical Processes?
good read. what amazes me is how many organisations are still looking at share-point as a substitute for a file share.

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