Should Microsoft Kill SharePoint?
Disclaimer: I don’t have access to Jeff’s original words, only his words as reported by the Memeburn article, so there might be some differences in the interpretation.
The article mixes contexts like flammable fuels.
“Hardly anybody likes it” (yet, still 70% of companies see that at lest 50% of their employees use SharePoint at least once a week)
“The problem is that SharePoint is a victim of its own success” (I’ve never understood how this comment can be applied generally to anything. Don’t we want success?)
“It’s too big and complex” (the implication here is that IT Pros are scared of managing SharePoint, and once it is installed it is unusable…)
These points lead to the summary datapoint that drives the fear: “As a result, many people are using versions of SharePoint that are at least four years old.”
ACK! The Horror! The platform is dead because not everyone updated within the first six months! AUGH! Can you hear the anguished cries of IT Pros who don’t understand it when SharePoint upgrades don’t roll onto server boxes as smoothly as the most recent version of Microsoft Office? Or that, given the fact that the release cycle was 3 1/2 years in between SP2010 and SP2013, having a version that is 4+ years old at this point is actually the normal state of things?
A second line of reasoning in the article is that SharePoint “is too big and complex” and that IT shops would be better off using an entire range of point solutions to provide specific features instead of one large platform, such as SharePoint.
Really? What happens when you want to upgrade all 32 of the point applications that you had to install in order to match what SharePoint provided you? Certainly, all of them will upgrade at the same time so you’ll never have to worry about mismatched versions, right?
I’ll be the first to stand up and tell a business group that if you only want to do 4 things, then you should use stand alone tools, and SharePoint is not for you. However, for most medium-to-large enterprise that I’ve worked with, the amount of integration and services that are needed to meet business requirements just simply cannot be managed more efficiently with point solutions. If the organization does not work with SharePoint, they are probably working with another relatively large collaboration platform, from a large vendor. Point solutions are best for small companies, but not for medium-large.
The third point in the Memeburn article is that Microsoft should kill the on-premise version of SharePoint because Microsoft wants to move everyone to the cloud. And Microsoft will be the first to tell you that they believe that every employee can work just fine in the cloud. We have to remember, though, that enterprises are called large organizations because they have a lot of moving parts. It will take time. No need to rush.
And then the icing on the cake that just caused me to shake my head. “The installed base is so large that Microsoft will of course keep supporting it, but upgrades will be slower coming, and users shouldn’t expect the latest or greatest functionality.”
This statement is the most important of all of Jeffrey Mann’s quotes in the Memeburn article, and it is being treated as a consolation point. Users need to have this last quote etched in their minds, and instead of getting all sensational about “Should Microsoft Kill SharePoint???”, the article should focus on the meat of the news – that is, that your investment in SharePoint on-premise is going to be supported going forward, so don’t do anything crazy, but you should be moving to the cloud as your systems and enterprise software packages and tools allow. Moving to the cloud needs to be important.
But, please don’t shoot the horse while it is still attached to the plow.