SharePoint is WIP Smart

SharePoint is The Gathering Place

SharePoint can be used in a lot of different ways --- as a document repository, a collaboration site, a business intelligence workspace, and as a even as a WIP site, that is, as a Work in Process site. While this may not be what SharePoint was envisioned as it seems SharePoint fits the bill quite nicely.

imageMy Prediction

SharePoint will be used more and more as a WIP site.

My Second Prediction

Microsoft will LOVE this. This will drive even more adoption of SharePoint. Adoption comes in a lot of forms. If companies start to use SharePoint as a WIP site it allows SharePoint to become even more entrenched in the enterprise and to become an integral part of mission critical processes. Again, Microsoft will LOVE this.

The SharePoint Wheel


SharePoint has been described and defined by Microsoft as the wheel shown above. Each segment highlights some of the capabilities within the SharePoint environment. Each segment of the wheel can be used somewhat independently and autonomously, but that’s not what typically happens. When SharePoint is used as a WIP site it will allow SharePoint to gain an even stronger foothold.

Every segment of the SharePoint Wheel can be used as any of the three areas I mentioned and probably a few more that I haven’t thought of. What other areas are you seeing?

As Mark Miller requests on his Nothing but SharePoint site … “erase SharePoint's web interface” – this is something that will not likely happen, at least directly, from Microsoft. However, as a platform --- SharePoint allows and enables developers to create an interface that works best for the end user.

The Future of SharePoint

  • A WIP Staging Area – A Gathering Place
  • An Application Platform – A Base of Operations
  • A Gadget & Widget Enabler – Feeding & Consuming Content

Work in Process
Staging Area

A Platform to Launch and Return

Desktop Gadgets
Composite Apps

image image SNAGHTML5f38cf2
  • As a WIP (aka Staging Area) SharePoint is not much different than a database. However, when the other points of the SharePoint Wheel are added this staging area can become much more powerful.
  • As a Platform it’s easy to see that SharePoint can and will become a launching pad, staging area, WIP area, dashboard and so much more. The potential is only limited by the imagination of the developers building for the SharePoint platform. And there are a LOT of very creative people out there.
  • As a Gadget / Widget Enabler it seems logical that SharePoint, especially when used as a staging area, will become a back end repository. Which means the user will never see a SharePoint site. All they will see, consume and edit is the content that flows back and forth across numerous SharePoint sites. Mark Miller will get his wish.

SharePoint is The Gathering Place

What do you think?

  • Can SharePoint be more than a collaboration site?
  • Will SharePoint take over as a universal WIP site?
  • How do you use SharePoint in your business?

Feel free to join the discussion with a comment here or contact me at any of the coordinates below.

clip_image002About The Author:
I have spent the better part of the last 20 years working in various aspects of the ECM industry. I am currently with Kodak as a Director of Business Development. In my past I have spent time at
Kofax, Microsoft, FileNet, K2, and at Captaris (which was acquired by Open Text in Nov 2008). Prior to that I was a Unix VAR running my own company. Follow me on Twitter, check my blog, send email or find me on Facebook or LinkedIn.


Jed Cawthorne said…

Of course SharePoint (2007 or 2010) can be used for "Work in Process" (or should that be Work in Progress?). The way it is used for this, and the success of its use depends on the context of the process, and the business being conducted.

This could range from just using a document library instead of a file share for your "staging" area, or it could be more sophisticated depending on your users. I might include lots of use of announcements, or blog posts, wikis or discussion forums. All of which is the collaborative corner stone of SharePoint, so am I missing some nuance from your article ? Am I thinking too document centric as you mention databases at one point ?

As an example, at one organisation where I was lead for ECM, we had EMC Documentum and eRooms. eRooms was used as a collaborative space for "work in progress" and once that work was ready to be shared with a wider audience it was passed into Documentum, where it came under retention policies etc. It could also then be "published" to the intranet (surfaced on a particular site or page).

With SP2010 'retention in place' I see no reason why you could not follow this multi-stage model. So is this what you meant, of have I got my wires crossed ?