At a recent interview, I was asked why a company or organisation should use SharePoint. I find that to be a difficult question to answer as there is no simple, direct and clear answer for that.
The interviewer was persistent anyhow so I responded with the classical response of SharePoint being an platform, that empowers your employees to work together, find back information easily, integrates with Office,… . You know, the usual suspects.
I did however got me thinking, why should you choose SharePoint over other products?
First of all, I believe it’s a business decision and not an IT-centric decision. We’re all too familiar with scenarios where IT has installed SharePoint, sended out a mail to the business and said “Here you go, have fun with it.”. Being told what to use, is not a choice.
Building up a healthy relationship between business and IT is however a key part of your SharePoint success story. Work and discuss together with IT about topics like installation & (search) configuration, security, maintenance, change management, deployments, third-party tools and you’ll quickly set up your first governance draft without much hassle. When IT collaborates with the business about their needs, issues like user adoption, training, support will most likely don’t cross your path (or at least not in a surprising way) and push the platform forwards.
So, what factors could be in play to choose for SharePoint?
- You want to start right away and don’t wait 6 months for version 1.0.
- Your budget isn’t endless, however you need a broad range of out of the box functionalities to collaborate on documents and within teams in a safe and controllable way.
- You want to rely on a mature and proven software stack
- You want users to quickly find their way and recognize in a visual way how to use the platform
- In the future, you want to easily extend the functionalities and integrate with other in house applications or information sources and get rid of X number of login procedures and applications to find the information you need back.
- You want to prepare yourself for the inevitably coming of the “Cloud” and be able to respond to the migration challenge of this in a controllable way.
I’m sure they’re many other answers to this question, but this could be the one I probably give the next time I get this question.