SharePoint A Formidable Enterprise Collaboration Platform

Everyone knows SharePoint has had problems. However, the Radicati Group just released a report that contains words new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella must be more than happy to hear.

According to the Microsoft SharePoint Market Analysis, 2014-2018, edited by Sara Radicati, Microsoft ironed out the wrinkles in the 2013 edition and now offers a powerful enterprise collaboration platform for business users. 

It's unlikely these claims will go unchallenged, particularly in the file sharing and sync space where companies like Dropbox and Box claim to offer easier file sharing and collaboration possibilities than SharePoint does.

SharePoint Collaboration

This is not the place to argue whether SharePoint reigns supreme — a topic that has been covered extensively by CMSWire over the years. In the debate whether SharePoint or file sharing vendors offer better enterprise collaboration, the only clear conclusion is that there can be no conclusions.

The Radicati report looked at the market for SharePoint in both the on-premises and cloud-based collaboration markets. From this perspective, it provides information on the current installed base broken down by business size and regions along with other variables based on surveys of Radicati’s database of user populations, seat count, enterprise adoption and IT use since 1993.

This, in turn, provided three pointers on the way SharePoint is used as a collaboration tool in big and small enterprises.

1. SharePoint Functionality

According to Radicati, SharePoint is unique among enterprise technologies because it has no direct competitors, even if there are many vendors that sell products that can compete with individual components.

As a result, it is competing in a wide range of technology areas and against a wide range of solutions in a number of different markets including:

  • Enterprise Content Management (ECM)
  • Enterprise Social Networking
  • Web Content Management (WCM)
  • Business Intelligence (BI)
  • Enterprise Search
  • Microsoft SharePoint Market Analysis

This has opened it up the criticism that it has been offering a range of features that is too broad. The result, Radicati reports, is that many perceive it as a platform that had no clear focus and which didn’t really excel at anything, even it did cover most of the bases for many enterprises.

In the 2013 edition, Microsoft corrected this through heavy investment so that today “SharePoint provides a formidable enterprise collaboration platform that covers many important business needs in a powerful integrated solution.”

In this respect, Radicati cites the examples of social collaboration, mobility and better e-discovery features.

2. SharePoint Ecosystem

SharePoint continues to develop and work with a very widespread ecosystem, which means that, in many cases, there is often an overlap between native SharePoint functionality and some of the products that are produced by third-parties.

This is hardly a surprise given that Microsoft has encouraged its partners over the years to develop and build out the areas that it sees as lacking in SharePoint.

For the near future at least, Radicati has identified this ability as one of the real opportunity areas for third-party developers, while at the same time adding support for, and deeper integration with, non-Microsoft products and technologies.

3. SharePoint Online

SharePoint Online is the cloud based version of Microsoft SharePoint Server with Microsoft committed to building it up quickly as it encourages enterprises to move to the cloud.

At this year’s SharePoint conference, in the keynote speech on the SharePoint roadmap, Microsoft said that upgrades and releases will start with Office 365 and be followed by upgrades to the on-premises edition. It has also promised new and better things in the cloud

Microsoft has made SharePoint one of the most attractive features of Office 365. But it also provides a standalone online version for those that want SharePoint Online, but not the full Office 365 suite.

SharePoint Online plays a pivotal role in the Office 365 suite of solutions as it integrates fully with Yammer for social networking, Exchange for messaging, OneDrive for Business for file and sync functionality, and much more, delivering, offering a unique integrated environment.

Still, Radicati found SharePoint is still largely an on-premises platform with 77 percent of respondents saying that they have the on premises platform compared with 23 percent that are using the online version.

However, these on-premises deployments are likely to be historical so it is likely that once enterprises start looking to upgrade they will be pointed in the direction of SharePoint Online. This could take some time, however, as we have seen in the past that some companies are still using the SharePoint 2003 and SharePoint.

As a final word, Radicati also found that there is strong adoption of SharePoint across all verticals and geographies as it still provides a feature rich enterprise collaboration platform that comes with enterprise content management, social networking through Yammer and web content management.