SharePoint is the collaboration platform of Microsoft. And it is very important to distinguish a platform from a product. SharePoint provides lot of different features and functionality in many areas so it is not a single product. According to Microsoft
“SharePoint is the place to share ideas, content and the vision of your company. It’s scalable enough to organize and manage all your information assets but it’s also designed to organize and store documents to enable personal productivity, keep teams’ in sync, and projects on track. It’s where you go to discover experts, share knowledge and uncover connections to information and people. It’s a hub for developers to build and deploy modern apps and for designers to build eye-catching websites.“
So basically you can think of SharePoint as the Swiss army knife for information management.
At a higher level we can group SharePoint features and functionality in to few main areas. And it is important to understand each of these, in order to clearly define what SharePoint is.
- Portals – SharePoint is a portal solution capable of creation and management of web sites in forms of Intranets, Extranets or Internet Sites.
- ECM – SharePoint provides a rich set of content management tools.
- Search – SharePoint comes with enterprise search capabilities.
- Enterprise Social – SharePoint can be used as an Enterprise Social networking platform.
- BI – SharePoint in combination with tools like Excel, provides Business Intelligence capabilities .
- BPM – SharePoint workflow platform allows us to create workflows and applications that can be integrated with other systems.
Depending on the functionality being used, SharePoint can be perceived in different ways by different users. One of the comments from a recent AIIM industry watch survey was “SharePoint is seen within our organization as a jack of all trades but master of none.”
So what does this mean? It means that SharePoint is not a ECM product. SharePoint is a platform that also provides ECM functionality among its other uses.