After waking up to discover that I had a sick kid, I decided to spend my Martin Luther King holiday relaxing and making sure the kid got some rest. I made the mistake of logging onto twitter and retweeting something by Melissa Webster from today’s Lotusphere 2012 conference:
A.Rennie “Content at rest = cost, content in motion = value”, “Sharepoint is today’s document coffin”. Social ->relevancy, currency
The tweet was read by Gabor Fari who took immediate dislike to the tweet. Two facts that are important to know before proceeding. Gabor works for Microsoft and while I have worked with all major versions of SharePoint, most of my experience is with platforms that were mature when SharePoint was first released.
Proliferation of Document Graveyards
Gabor was quick to point out that Documentum is more of a document graveyard than SharePoint. I would argue that the number of Documentum and SharePoint document graveyards created since 2003 are fairly equivalent. SharePoint likely has more, but that is more due to the significantly higher number of SharePoint systems deployed since then.
It is more than technology at play here. It is IT generally just dumping content into a system a expecting people to just behave differently. Many just created a new way of access the traditional share drive.
Essentially, you could rewrite the tweet with almost any legacy Content Management system listed. Of course, SharePoint being the largest, or at least the fastest growing over the past several years, that is the one used. SharePoint has the target on their back.
The real point is that it is important to use your content in processes and collaboratively. If you just store it away, it is a cost, not an asset. This is true regardless of the systems in play.
Collaboration as the Foundation
Gabor then said something that I felt was immensely misleading:
#ECM was not built for collaboration from the ground up, but added as an afterthought.
I agree with this statement. However, I’m pretty sure Gabor isn’t including SharePoint in this categorization. With all due respect, SharePoint’s roots are in basic document sharing. Yes, their first interface was written ten years ago as opposed to 20, but it was still basic document sharing, just like FileNet, Documentum, and Open Text.
SharePoint is actually one of the “legacy” Content Management systems. It may be one of the newest/last ones to fit into that category, but it is there. It lives onsite and it’s initial use cases were the same as most major Content Management systems.
Yes, SharePoint 2010 is much more evolved than the original product, but all Content Management products are. The difference is that SharePoint has been trying to be more Information/Collaboration focused while many of the other legacy vendors have turned to Case Management.
Of course, none of that matters if they aren’t deployed correctly with a strong eye towards Change Management. That truth applies to all Content Management systems.
Final Note Regarding Silverlight
Meanwhile, CMS Wire published an article today asking if SharePoint and Silverlight have a Future. I think the key item in the article is the future of Silverlight. It is theoretically in the last release. Currently, it is believed that HTML 5 is the next thing for SharePoint.
Of course, this had mixed reactions when I share it. For the record, I wasn’t attacking SharePoint.
Personally, I strongly dislike building any user interface using a technology that requires a plugin like Flash or Silverlight. That significantly hurts cross-platform mobility and the ability for changes. Flash is slowly being replaced and I suspect that Microsoft will do the same with Silverlight. After all, it isn’t as if a competitor is going to providing HTML 5. It is a standard.
Oh sure, Silverlight is going to be around for a while, especially during SharePoint 2010’s tenure. I just expect to be talking about SharePoint years after Silverlight has gone the way of floppy disks.