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What is the Most Popular Implementation of SharePoint for Larger Groups of Users?

OpenText, an 18 year player in the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) market recently released its annual “How are Businesses Using SharePoint” for 2011, which is the third consecutive year for which they have undertaken this study.

OpenText interviewed 2100 participants for its study. The largest category of participants interviewed, 37%, were “IT Pros,” roughly equivalent to “Citizen Developers” as defined by Gartner. We are particularly enthused about the “Citizen Developer” concept and have targeted many of our SharePoint-Videos.com tutorial videos to an audience of Citizen Developers.

Forty nine percent of the SharePoint communities surveyed by OpenText ranged from a minimum of 1,000 users all the way up to 10,000 users or more; clearly the survey focused on large SharePoint farms and sub sites.

So what was the most pervasive reason that OpenText found for implementing SharePoint? Seventy Eight percent of users use SharePoint as a communication & web content management portal. But take that statistic with a grain of salt, another 46% stated that SharePoint is used as a platform for custom applications. Bottom line, the study doesn’t identify a truly pervasive raison d’etre for SharePoint.

We take the position that SharePoint is most often found within larger organizations as a foundation for a range of “first floor” collaborative objectives that include, but are not limited to:

  • Common Content Repository (Library)
  • Community Communications (Team Sites)
  • Workflow (Forms Engine)

The “second floor” of collaborative objectives include

  • Business Intelligence
  • Enterprise Search
  • Custom Applications (for example, Governance, Risk and Compliance Reporting for Regulated Industries)

The proliferation of these “two story” edifices is supported by the ready availability of SharePoint to most enterprise Microsoft® customers. With nearly 100% penetration of enterprise business for Windows® & SharePoint® Foundation 2010 available for download at no charge (though users must be licensed for Microsoft Windows Server), it is safe to safe that SharePoint is everywhere. Further, bet on horizontal expansion of the second floor objectives identified above as well.

Finally, don’t be surprised should a “third floor” of collaborative objectives emerge that will drive further innovative product development. After all, SharePoint is supported by a large Microsoft Partner community that is fully capable of expanding the range of applications that sit on top of SharePoint Foundation 2010. It is a safe assumption that these Partners are hard at work conceptualizing new applications and vetting these concepts with customers, prospects and the marketplace at large. This process shows no sign of abating in the near future.

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