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Implementing SharePoint 2013, On Premises, for Enterprise Document Management

SharePoint® 2013, on premises, is, perhaps, a less expensive option for organizations to implement than most dedicated Enterprise Document Management (EDM) applications. SharePoint-Videos.com offers a lot of video training content on the topic, including a set compiled from an online course we held recently, which was led by Chris McNulty, a widely recognized subject matter expert on Managed Metadata Services (MMS), Enterprise Content Management (ECM) and a published author.

Opting to implement SharePoint Server 2013 on premises, rather than exclusively in the cloud, makes sense for two reasons, which may be important, and worth consideration:

  1. The total life cycle cost, per user, is very likely to be less expensive than would be the case with a pure, albeit private, cloud, Software as a Service (SaaS) offer.
  2. The security of an on premises implementation is, at a minimum, manageable by an organization, whereas public cloud, SaaS offers are not. The latter is usually managed by a third party (for example, Microsoft®, for Office 365). Even in the case of an implementation of SharePoint Online via a private Cloud, SaaS offer, security management is still in the hands of a third party, which may not be acceptable to all organizations.

Perhaps it’s worth taking a paragraph to provide further substantiating detail on our claim about a lower life cycle cfost for running software, like SharePoint Server 2013, on premises. Office 365 (a public cloud SaaS offer) is promoted at a likely cost per user, for a larger enterprise of $9.00 per month. An organization with 2K users would, therefore, be looking at a cost of $648K to subscribe to Office 365 for 36 months. An organization of this size will require its own support organization, which will add, substantially, the life cycle cost of this approach. Of course, the monthly expense will be substantially higher for organizations opting for a private cloud SaaS like Office 365 as a managed service.

On the question of security, many organizations will find the prospect of exposing confidential information on the Internet to be unacceptable. Even a private cloud SaaS version of Office 365 is not likely to support the security features required, for example, by businesses in heavily regulated industries. Finally, cloud computing opportunities deliver, successfully, on security expectations when end users are fully educated on their responsibilities, and can be expected to implement them. Unfortunately, recent, highly publicized malicious attacks on the online efforts of some major organizations (think Target Corp) have included serious lapses in user attention to security procedures.

So, given the comparatively lower cost, and manageability of on premises SharePoint Server 2013, an EDM implementation may make a lot of sense. If your organization is grappling with the question of how best to handle a need for EDM, please contact us. We welcome your inquiry.

Ira Michael Blonder

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