Last week, on 10/16/08, I attended a day-long seminar on "Automating Document-centric Processes - Is SharePoint Enough?" sponsored by AIIM.
Carl Frappaolo's keynote provided some statistics on why companies are using SharePoint as a business process management solution. The numbers aren't surprising - usability and functionality take second place to cost and the notion of plays-well-with-our-other-applications:
- Integration with Microsoft products - 25.74%
- (low) Cost of implementation - 20.79%
- Usability for process participant (user) - 11.88%
- Vendor preference (for Microsoft solutions) - 9.90%
- Level of functionality - 6.93%
- Reporting capabilities & dashboards - 6.93%
The main theme that emerged during the day is that SharePoint implementations can give rise to rapid proliferation of disorganized silos of information - what the ClearView vendor referred to as the "SharePoint Bunnies." Granted, this theme came from vendors who are focused on providing a solution to this "problem," but it's a point worth recognizing - the ease of site creation and the delegation of content management into the hands of the end users can lead to chaos if not governed. I've seen this at clients large and small - in an ideal world, you define requirements, policies, standards and structure before you start filling up the buckets, but human nature is to keep working now and put off the decisions until later. And if you're working, you need a place to put your work product, and if you're sharing it with others, why not create a team site for it? Another bunny is born.
[requisite extended metaphor about how undesirable bunny proliferation can be controlled and/or averted entirely if you plan and manage your farm carefully...]
--update 10/24/08 - see the article Avoiding "File Share 2.0" at EndUserSharePoint.com for some high-level tips on minimizing the bunnies. --
On a different note, my personal takeaway from this seminar, and one that I wanted to share with all the vendors who presented, is this: make sure your slides will be visible through all kinds of projectors. You can't know in advance the quality of the equipment you'll be using, but you can be fairly certain that white is not going to be white - it's going to be yellowish or purplish or dirty gray. Starkness and simplicity are your friends. PowerPoint Smart Art seems to be particularly problematic in terms of contrast and readability. I like presentations to look flashy and design-centric as much as anybody else, but we're just not there yet in terms of reliably state-of-the-art projection equipment.