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Sharepoint - a freakin’ glorified file server

15 June 2009 | admin | Intranet-solutions

We are now choosing an ECM (Enterprise Content Management) for our company. We have wiki (on DokuWiki), file server on Samba for linux where we store documents, system of rights, intranet access through vpn and a set of scripts, which are launched from console (ssh) to create/delete users, projects etc. The time has come to get all this stuff organized. We are planning to install an ECM system and NAS (network access page).  

We are choosing between Microsoft Sharepoint Services (not Microsoft Sharepoint Server 2007, that costs about 4,000$), Jive Express and SocialText. The choice defining criteria: necessary functional, and of course high level of usability.  

I have recently came across a very interesting article in a personal blog, where a guy shares his experience in implementation of Sharepoint at an enterprise. He was the head of an IT-department and was directly responsible for Sharepoint implementation. Here is the article.Quite an emotional description of Sharepoint usability problems. 

"Getting users to understand and adopt social software can be hard in general, but SharePoint has so many options and options within options that users are literally scared of using it. I saw the glazed-over stare of users time and time again when they attempted to use SharePoint. Generally, users would have a specific idea in mind and would attempt to click around hoping the answer would appear. This resulted in one of two things: they would give up or the very persistent would ask IT to walk them through it.
For example, one of the managers at my previous employer wanted to “have a web page where sales folks could find and share information about partners”. He tried to implement some things on his own and by the time he called me for help, he had repeat a cycle of “I don’t get it” to “a ha!” to “wait, I don’t get it” several times. Should he use a blog, wiki, document library, web page widget, or perhaps a custom data sheet?
The good news is that he already understood how blogs, wikis and document libraries worked. The custom data sheet blew his head clean off with complexity however. He looked into the other options while I pointed out certain aspects of each to him. He was indecisive… which one of these best fit what he was trying to do? The answer was not clear has each option had merit, but all weren’t quite what he wanted and didn’t seem collaborative enough."

Having read all the above, we will anyway install the basic version of Sharepoint on the intranet to have our own impression of what this thing is all about. 

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