Friday, October 21, 2011

What role should SharePoint play in a comprehensive ECM strategy?

The role of Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is well established. Smart companies realize they need to manage their critical assets – both paper based and those that are born digital – to control costs, improve profitability and to maintain compliance efforts.

The role of SharePoint in the enterprise is also well established. imageWith 100+ million seats, 50,000+ server licenses sold and over $1 billion in sales, the sheer size and scope of SharePoint coverage is impressive.

However, size and coverage does NOT mean that SharePoint is deployed everywhere. In fact, Microsoft’s greatest boon is also their greatest risk. Microsoft and the entire SharePoint partner community needs to make sure those seats are deployed.

Therein lies the rub. Deployment is hard. Deployment takes work. Deployment takes Partners. The Microsoft sales teams are incented to renew enterprise agreements. Partners are lining up to fill the gaps in the SharePoint platform and help them achieve their goals. Of course, this cannot happen without customers.

Customers need to recognize the need for a comprehensive ECM strategy and allocate resources to deploy solutions.

Does this mean that SharePoint can be written off as
part of a Comprehensive ECM Strategy?

Not a chance.  The upside for Microsoft is that they have a foot in the door. Every deployment of Windows Server has the option to turn on SharePoint Foundation Services.

How does SharePoint fit in a Comprehensive ECM Strategy?

One Word - Partners

It is up to the Microsoft partner ecosystem to help customers understand the possibilities. And the possibilities are endless.

imageMicrosoft has continued to develop SharePoint and with version 4 (SharePoint 2010) they have struck upon gold by building SharePoint as a Platform. As a platform play it allows Partners (and Corporate IT development teams) to extend and enhance SharePoint to create solutions that exactly meet their needs.

What’s next for SharePoint?

Microsoft has not completely exhausted the Enterprise space, but the next step for SharePoint is to further penetrate the Small Medium Business (SMB) space. As the price point continues to be lowered --- especially with the release of SharePoint Online (currently part of the Office 365 offerings) Microsoft will be able to blanket all markets at all price points.

The role of SharePoint as a critical component of a comprehensive ECM strategy is set. All markets will have a “flavor” or SharePoint to serve their needs. Adoption will continue. Partners will continue to fill gaps. Customers will smile.

What’s next for the Legacy ECM vendors?

The traditional ECM vendors will be required to provide integration to SharePoint environments. Over the past few years it has become increasingly clear that the traditional Big Three ECM companies (IBM – FileNet, EMC – Documentum and Open Text) are spending more time talking about how they work WITH SharePoint instead of talking how they are BETTER than SharePoint.

Does SharePoint do everything out of the box?

No. The bigger question is … Should it?

In my opinion, No! This is where the Microsoft partner ecosystem comes in. Partners can innovate faster and fill gaps that Microsoft will likely never fill.

imageFor example, Document Scanning and Storage — what I refer to as Pillars 1 and 4 of an ECM system, will likely never be filled. Not because Microsoft can’t do these, but because they don’t need to. Microsoft strengths is to leverage the skills partners bring to the table.

When this happens … Microsoft wins. More importantly, the customer wins.

Why will SharePoint continue to grow in the ECM space?

The main reason is because Microsoft has developed SharePoint as a platform. Which allows for a Superior Price Point, Better Distribution, Unlimited Extensibility and for the continued Growth & Development of the best Partner Ecosystem on the planet.

What do you think?

  • Does SharePoint play a critical role in your ECM plans?
  • Is SharePoint part of your Comprehensive ECM strategy?
  • Do you see partners as the secret sauce to continued SharePoint expansion and adoption?

Want More? See the following links and tell me what you think.

imageAbout The Author:
I have spent 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). 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.

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