Leftovers or nouvelle cuisine? Thoughts following breakfast chat re SharePoint

During a working breakfast this morning, the conversation turned, as it so often does, to the subject of SharePoint. And as it so often is, the question before the jury was “Just what is SharePoint, anyway?”

Overall, relatively little new light was shed on the range of possible answers, leaving us feeling as if we had just been served a plate of yesterday’s pancakes. But during the course of the meal, one interesting line of questioning did emerge that left us with the pleasant aftertaste of a trendy new dish.

Specifically, one diner wanted to know why, if SharePoint is so prominent a point on the solutions landscape, do none of his constituents ever talk about it? At first glance, this was something of a surprise to the people around the table, who often lament how frequently the product surfaces – often inappropriately – in the course of their daily events. But as the discussion ensued, the consensus answer centered on a point that regular readers of this space will well recognize because of the way it focuses on the business need:

The customers in question perform a very specific function in what generally is a self-contained corner of most larger organizations. As such, their infrastructure needs are well served by well-established technology stacks, and there is little reason for them to introduce SharePoint into the equation. Turned around the other way, SharePoint seems not to address their particular business problems, at least not in a sufficiently creative or improved way to warrant displacing what’s already there. So they don’t generally ask for it, and IT doesn’t generally push it on them.

The lesson here isn’t that our breakfast companion is missing something, but rather that SharePoint – as a versatile as it is – isn’t the answer to everything. For our friend, it appeared that an opportunity may exist to leverage SharePoint’s native workflow as a way to improve the efficiency of the point solution he uses. But no one could come up with a reason to suggest that SharePoint could or should actually replace that solution.

And you know what? We all were OK with that, and we left the restaurant with a rather pleasant combination of tastes in our mouths.

Let Holly Group help you choose from among your daily specials – contact us with your dietary needs today!

About the author: Steve Weissman

Steve Weissman is Principal Consultant at Holly Group and Co-Founder of Information Coalition. A trusted advisor for more than 20 years, he is a recognized expert in information governance and process innovation – or as he defines it, in the “’care and feeding’ of critical business information and the technologies used to manage and protect it.” Known as The Info Gov Guy™, Mr. Weissman leverages a proven proprietary methodology to optimize everything from your strategic planning and needs assessment to your vendor selection and user adoption. He is a member of the AIIM Company of Fellows and holder of numerous industry designations, and can be reached at steve@hollygroup.com or 617-383-4655.

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