SharePoint strength is in the breath of functionality that it provides out of the box. Individually there might be comparable and better products in the market for a specific functionality but all put together there is no other application/product/platform that provides the same range of functionality available with SharePoint. Some of the best in class features available in SharePoint are:
Authentication and authorization– SharePoint provides various authentication methods out of the box and provides the flexibility to use different types of providers. Authorization is implemented through user groups and permission which is very comprehensive in its coverage.
Connectors for integration with external application– SharePoint‘s BCS provides means to bring in data from any external source on SQL platform. Along with it SharePoint also comes with out of the box available connectors of other sources like MS Exchange, Lotus Notes etc. These connectors make integration matter of hours of configuration as compared to days of development.
Enterprise Search– FAST search’s integration with SharePoint has not provided enterprise search as part of the standard package. The two stage algorithm includes indexing and run time ranking to ensure that the right content shows up at the top of the result list. This along with data connector provides a platform to establish a search application which can search through the entire enterprises content.
Quicker time to market– Easy installation and out of the box functionalities which satisfies most of the business requirement reduces the time to market drastically when compared to a custom developed application.
SharePoint is in the active development plans of Microsoft and they have committed significant investment in developing this platform and furthering its capability. The future versions will definitely have additional productive feature and prolonged support for the coming years.
Native integration with office applications– Incorporation of openXML standard into SharePoint has led to seamless integration with other Office application. The latest edition of SharePoint allows users to drag and drop emails from Outlook to SharePoint libraries, save attachment to libraries, check in/out documents from client application etc. If you are a Microsoft shop then the lines between applications like SharePoint, Lync, Outlook, Word etc., is blurring, by providing user related content from different application in the same interface.
User friendly – SharePoint comes with the familiar ribbons and interface which the users on Microsoft base are used to. This improves the adoption and acceptance rate of the applciatin drastically.
The following are the limitations/weaknesses that we at Trigent observed in the latest version of SharePoint
Out of the box connectors allows us to integrate multiple applications with SharePoint but due to the underlying architecture, the performance deteriorates when dealing with millions of record.
WCM requirement– SharePoint lacks some of the advanced functionality and usability which is available in other WCM solutions like Kentico due to which we believe that its not a good platform for WCM
Uniformity between multiple instances of SharePoint– From an enterprise perspective, the various instances of SharePoint should have the same security policy governing them. Currently the only way to do it is the manually replicate the policy which makes it prone to errors.
Data storage– SharePoint stores all documents in SQL which makes it a bad solution for storing millions of documents of low usage.
Managing permission– Permission in SharePoint are implemented using user groups. User groups flow down the hierarchy of SharePoint with the possibility of making changes at any level. This makes it challenging to maintain the user groups and to accurately maintain the access level on a library or content.
Administration– Due to the breath of functionality available, SharePoint administration is a job in itself with its own certification. Getting an appropriate administrator with in depth knowledge can be expensive or difficult.
Limitation and boundaries– The main limitation is that of content database size which is recommended by Microsoft to be kept under 200 GB for active content. In today’s age of extensive storage of digital content, and maintain multiple versions of the same content, 200 GB limitation can be easily reached.
There are workaround available that we at Trigent have been using to overcome these limitations depending on specific requirement and the overall proposed design.
In short, as described in a blog that i once read, SharePoint is the Swiss knife for IT professional- handy, compact, helpful but has its limitation too. If you want to discuss in detail, get in touch with us