SharePoint & Sharing a point in blogging

I’ll just start off by saying it’s been fun. It’s been stressful and it has been something to keep me busy during long train rides, but blogging every week has been a good thing. I feel like this ongoing assessment piece has driven me to learn new things about IT that I feel I wasn’t before. Even as I look back, and the amount I disliked blogging in other assessment pieces, I only now see the benefit of being told to “Go research this, then tell everyone what you think”.

An opinion is something that makes us unique to animals. Well, I don’t know if animals can have opinions or not since it’s more instinct for them I think. The point is, is that having an opinion, a voice is important. In high school I studied literary theory, and that is the one most important lesson I took away from it.

Opinion and perspective go hand in hand. If you think back to my last blog, I talked about this with regard to our own perception of whether facebook equates to diminished values on friendships. Opinion and perspective should never be ignored. Even logic is grounded in these concepts.

So I look back and wonder why I ever thought blogging wasn’t my cup of tea. I think I realise now it’s more to do with the fact that I did badly back in my first semester of uni, even though I thought I was doing very well.

So, onto what may be my last entry into this journal (for a while). For weeks now I’ve been hankering to do something original with my blog. That is, something not set by the lecturer. This week is pretty much what I’ve been waiting for as the request from table 346 is “Surprise me, but with a side of Enterprise 2.0”.

So, I want to look at SharePoint, because I feel like it’s something I should be looking at and as of yet haven’t. As of 25/09/2010 10:25PM AEST Wikipedia’s legion of authors have decided that Microsoft SharePoint is best described as “a software platform and a family of software products developed by Microsoft for collaboration, file sharing and web publishing.” The SharePoint website is more or less the same deal, except with some text to make it a bit more flowery.

So, it’s an example of a collaborative workspace marketed at the Enterprise setting. It’s no new concept to what I’ve spoken about before, but what is important is that it’s a real example that is being implemented by companies around the world.

Rather than bog you down with heavy jargon, here’s a youtube movie developed by Microsoft’s SharePoint team.

I am a wordy man. I like words and I like reading them. I find them easier to reference and to interpret. There’s that whole taxonomy issue with videos and images that makes things difficult and messy. However, I found that what SharePoint actually is, felt so broad that I needed to watch a video to properly understand it.

So SharePoint is like a Document Management System (DMS), but it offers more than that. It’s a fully functional collaborative workspace that not only diminishes the reliance and pitfalls of email heavy work processes, but moves work to a space that offers open channels of communication and better means of version control (By having a check out system for documents, meaning only one person can work on them at a time).

The uniqueness I alluded to before by saying it’s more than just a DMS, is described by Ken Stewart as being “presented as a website. What is unique about SharePoint is that it allows for customization of the content on that web page by enabling drag-and-drop and point-and-click editing of the content.”

In this sense, SharePoint is modular and it can be moulded to suit the needs of the business and to top it off doesn’t require the technical proficiency of an A grade programmer to do so.

Are there any disadvantages to SharePoint? Well it depends. Using SharePoint on its own is great. But it suffers from something akin to quality versus quantity – where SharePoint represents the quantity part. It’s an age old issue of off-the-shelf software versus tailored solutions/in-house development.

Ken Stewart quotes a number of advantages and disadvantages outlined by Russ Edelman’s AIIM E-DOC article ‘SharePoint In The Enterprise’ which outlines that SharePoint on its own is limited in certain functionalities, whilst implementing it to co-exist with a DMS that has the depth SharePoint doesn’t equates to higher maintenance costs, confusion and redundant data.

Just like on shopping channels, testimonials are often what people want to see. I decided to cheat once again and poke around Youtube to find something of a case study that shows the benefits of SharePoint. Monsanto is an agricultural company that has implemented Microsoft Sharepoint to great benefit:

So my verdict on SharePoint? Well with success stories like the ones Microsoft has listed on their website it’s hard to ignore as a dominant player in the DMS field and is definitely worth looking into for Enterprises of any scale.

So that’s it for this week. I may have another blog soon or I may not since I go to Melbourne soon. What do you think about SharePoint? Any other DMS’s worth looking into? How about the banner I made last night for the blog?

– Anthony Smith

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4 Responses to SharePoint & Sharing a point in blogging

  1. ctkcrystal says:

    I completely agree with what you said at the start of this blog post about blogging, i was never really knew what blogging was about before this unit nor have ever thought about setting up my own blog to share ideas/information with others.

    I enjoyed watching that video you posted about Microsoft’s SharePoint, to be honest, i have heard of others talking about SharePoint but i never really gotten the chance to understand what it really is as i am not working for a company where i need to form teams and set up meetings with others. However, Thanks for sharing this video to us, as although i may not be able to gain full understanding on its functionality until i actually go and try it out, but at least now i have obtained a bit more about it. 🙂 (you never know when you might need to use it in the future.)

    I recommend two good web2.0 tools for when working on group projects, “Dropbox” and “Google Groups”.
    I haven’t actually mentioned them in my blog but i have actually added them into my portfolio, Here are actually the links to their websites if you are interested. 🙂

    http://www.dropbox.com/
    http://groups.google.com/?pli=1

    • Thanks for the comment Crystal.

      Yeah, blogging was a bit lost on myself too, but I’ve come to appreciate what they are now.
      Thanks for the links, I’m actually a regular user of google groups myself.

  2. Luke Delphin says:

    I can’t say I heard too much of SharePoint, apart from knowing that it’s a Microsoft technology. You would think by that merit alone they would be more aggressive in their advertisement of it. However I’m probably not the target audience for it!
    II think it’s funny how Crystal linked Google groups in her comment above, as it just goes to show who usually adopts to these trends and creates the software to compliment it – the big contenders. Is it driven by market share capture or their own internal needs for collaboration support?
    In any case, I’ll be taking away the definition of a DMS. Another tech type I can add to my repository of knowledge!

  3. Pingback: Watching me, watching you [2 of 3] « In loathe with myself

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