At almost impossible speed, the Microsoft SharePoint wave is conquering the enterprise.
SharePoint took a while to grab the mainstream imagination, but it’s now becoming clear Microsoft has a winner on its hands. While the overall concept of SharePoint has largely remained the same, the architecture has seen more reiterations than a cat’s nine lives. And, as with any product that has gone through such massive growth, SharePoint could still use improvement.
Despite these challenges, SharePoint provides immense value to organizations seeking to gain control over information. Organizations looking to leverage SharePoint’s full value must customize it as it’s one of those products that is ‘80% out of the box.’ SharePoint doesn’t claim to be a high-end ECM solution like Documentum, FileNet or OpenText; but with a few add-ons, it can fulfill the needs of most businesses.
One of the areas where SharePoint is still maturing is in handling storage growth. The problem comes when employees use SharePoint as a dumping ground for all their content and documents stored on their local machines and other file shares. This results in many SharePoint implementations with increasing storage needs. SharePoint uses high-speed storage, which worsens the problem since SharePoint does not have single-instance storage functionality in its content database structure. This means that similar content is stored multiple times in the content database, eating up costly storage space.
More data not only means higher costs, but it also decreases the value of the stored content. It is important to keep the data in SharePoint relevant by deleting old content and freeing-up space for newly generated content. Optimally, this should be set up with a storage management policy, which removes the binary BLOBs from the content database on SQL and results in cheaper storage through single-instance storage and makes the process transparent to the end user.
Besides gaining storage efficiencies, another major impact to the business is the overall dynamic that SharePoint brings as far as Information Management or Information Governance. While many organizations do successfully deploy, the majority have yet to implement information management policies. Basic questions are hardly considered:
- How long is the data that we push into SharePoint going to be retained?
- What exactly are our compliance policies?
- How are we going to do this?
And with the majority of company records being migrated into SharePoint comes the obvious legal risk as well. eDiscovery is an area that is often forgotten, but should be included as part of your information risk management process. When you end up needing to enforce litigation holds, how are you going to do this? How do you ensure you can find all the responsive data inside SharePoint ?
This is where it becomes important to have clearly defined information management policies and procedures that protect your organization from the risks of having too much data that you no longer need. Implementing retention policies and ensuring proper archiving and destruction of data is something that SharePoint, no matter how great it is, simply cannot do for you.
This year’s AIIM info360 Expo will have a focus on SharePoint, and even though I can’t attend, I know this event is going to be a great opportunity for you to discover ways this software can make information manageable across the enterprise. I encourage you to embrace SharePoint, but make sure your organization is prepared for the 20% SharePoint doesn’t do out of the box!
I regret that I will be unable to attend the info360 event this year, but I welcome your questions and comments. Please leave a message below, or email me at email@example.com.
Also, stop by and visit Iron Mountain to talk about SharePoint or ECM in general at booth #1015