In the enterprises I work with Sharepoint is everywhere. Some IT departments view it as a problem – the viral distribution model spawned loads of independent workgroup environments that lack governance and raise risk related to lack of process and exposure. On the other hand some organizations recognize the value of a reasonably easy to use set of collaboration-centric tools, and they have created centralized organizations with robust support for a shared services model. I’m aware of a company that has determined that MOSS will be the platform for all of their content-based sites and has moved literally thousands of sites off various web server and portal platforms and on to MOSS. It gets more interesting that that, I’m working with companies that are looking at whether MOSS can provide a better front end to their ERP systems.
My more bleeding-edge E2.0 colleagues are likely to cringe at the notion of MOSS as a preferred platform, and it’s my understanding that the Sharepoint folks got smacked around at the E2.0 confabulation in Boston back in June. For myself, I’ve become largely agnostic with regard to platforms in my old age. At the end of the day I’d rather see an enterprise adopt a less-than-stellar tool than none at all. And this gets to why I sense that Sharepoint is beginning to emerge as the E2.0 tool to beat.
A huge part of a CIOs life is managing risk. Another huge part is about optimizing and leveraging resources. A platform that performs adequately from a stable supplier with deep support strength will prevail over a totally rocking product from a boutique unless the enterprise in question has the appetite for maintaining custom code. So when Microsoft offers a collaboration platform that works with their server architecture, integrates with Office, can be managed with in-house talent…that’s mighty compelling to the CIO. Never mind that there may be more effective, elegant or downright sexier products, MS is effective and lower-risk. Simple (and cruel) as that.