Microsoft SharePoint

Comments on the 2010 AIIM Report, "SharePoint – Strategies and Experiences"

Last year, AIIM published a 35-page market intelligence report on SharePoint. Since the report was underwritten by a number of vendors, it is available at no charge. See the PDF on AIIM’s site (4.4 MB, 35 pages).

In this report, we look more closely at the impact SharePoint is having, both for existing ECM-suite users and for those choosing SharePoint to be their first ECM system. Features and functions are changing fast, so planning and policy setting are vital. In this report, we measure the experiences of users so far, and highlight their options for the future.

The report is graphically intensive, so you can read it quickly to get a sense of what’s happening.

Here are my comments after reading the report:

1. The results are based on 624 responses to a Web survey. AIIM has 65,000 members, and invited “a selection of” its members to take the survey. The actual number of invited members is not disclosed in the report. Thus overall, the results are based on less than 1% of the AIIM member base. The results may still be valid – I’m not saying they are not – just pointing out that there was a low uptake of the survey.

2. The report gives evidence of the widespread usage of SharePoint. It’s having a big impact around the world, both for collaboration and other traditional areas for AIIM customers.

3. Over 85% of respondents indicated wide geographical usage of SharePoint. Eg, from 2 to over 500 locations. 2-5 locations was the highest individual number, at 28% of respondents. See Figure 4, page 9.

4. Team sites are covered on page 10, with specific mention of team site sprawl. However, 38% of respondents said their organizations only had 10-100 sites, which doesn’t seem all that many. In my Site Creation Rights report, I tackle the issue of site creation, and lay out an approach to minimize site sprawl.

5. Per Figure 8 on page 11, collaboration (“collaboration / workspaces / team sites”) are the most commonly used SharePoint capability now and into the future. This corresponds with my August 2010 survey findings.

6. The biggest project issues with SharePoint were more business-y than technical. Per Figure 11 on page 15, the three top issues were:
– Managing process change (34%)
– Took longer than expected (32%)
– Resistance from users for additional interface to learn (26%)

If AIIM re-do the survey in 2011, I think it will be interesting to see what happens with the resistance item at 26%. Perhaps, and I’m theorizing here, those people who have had access to Office 2007-2010 and the Ribbon UI will find adoption easier, because the interface with SharePoint 2010 also includes the Ribbon UI. Equally, perhaps given the inclusion of SharePoint Workspace 2010 in Office 2010, the interface issue becomes less of an issue because a lot of the collaboration capabilities can be accessed through a rich client, rather than a browser.

7. In terms of organizational issues, the two most critical issues were:
– No management plan about where and how to use SharePoint (42%)
– No agreement about the relationship of SharePoint to other systems (31%)

Gulp. They’re kind of significant things! Why does this still happen?

8. SharePoint 2007 was “third-party add-on friendly,” and if you ever doubted that, see Figure 15 on page 19. Over 50% of respondents expected to use third-party add-on tools by the end of 2011 for the following:
– workflow / BPM
– security and rights management
– search / analytics
– archiving
– classification / taxonomy management
– records management system
– enterprise 2.0 / social computing

This should immediately show the impact of not having a good management plan. Anyone starting their SharePoint journey now needs to realize that their cost model will be significantly more than what they Microsoft.

9. Back to the issue at #7 about not having a management plan in place – Figure 22 on page 25 shows that “50% of SharePoint installations went ahead without any formal business case being required.” Time will tell whether that was prudent – or not.

10. Page 27 ends with a good set of recommendations – 9 in total, including #4 “Create a strategy for where SharePoint will and will not be used, particularly in relation to other ECM systems. Have the strategy endorsed at the highest level and communicate it to staff.”

Thanks to AIIM for doing the research, and to the sponsors for underwriting it. There is much fodder for contemplation in this report – if you’re doing SharePoint at work, get your free copy today.

3 replies »

  1. Thank you, Michael, for Tweeting about the report and for your synopsis. It caught my eye immediately. Management plan is core! I guess in some cases, maybe the individuals who implemented it just wanted to “see” what the application could do but without focus and support, projects will die. Managing change is also key and the effort to evolve an organization should not be underestimated. Although I often enjoy learning the next tool or application, others just want too be able to do what they’ve been doing and a new tool/technology can/does distract them from doing that.