SearchWinIT: SharePoint is bursting local boundaries, study says

IDC has undertaken a study into the usage of SharePoint 2001 (version 1) and SharePoint 2003. This again confirms the huge uptake and wide deployment of SharePoint in organsiations and also highlights some of the challenges. Challenges that are very well addressed in the current version of SharePoint, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007

… Microsoft’s SharePoint technology usage is exploding — not just as a tool for collaboration within a department but also as a means of organizing content across the enterprise.

This was the summation of the findings of a study that will be released this month by IDC, a Framingham, Mass.-based market research firm. IDC surveyed 300 customers who were using versions of SharePoint released in 2001 and 2003 to learn how they were using the technology and what their plans were for the future. The study, “Microsoft SharePoint Server Ecosystem and Customer Usage Trends,” identified two key findings.

The first finding is that SharePoint Server itself has expanded from being a portal server or departmental tool for team use and is now in wider use across the enterprise, said Kathy Quirk, an IDC analyst. With the latest release, more content management features were added to SharePoint. There are more plans for IT shops to integrate different applications, such as CRM or content management storage systems, into SharePoint.

Quirk said that 61% of the users surveyed said they were deploying SharePoint enterprise-wide, and 28% of those that are using SharePoint in departments today are expected to expand usage to the enterprise within the next 12 months.

“People are seeing the value of extending it to a wider audience,” she said. “Part of it is that people have become accustomed to [SharePoint] and like it.”

The second finding is around the phenomenal growth of Windows SharePoint Services, which is free with Windows Server 2003 licenses. End users have been launching shared workspaces for years, often in huge numbers, Quirk said. “Many of these were going on without IT knowing about it and that is an uncomfortable feeling,” she said. …

The large- and small-size shops are the most aggressive about upgrading to Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS) within a year. Mid-sized customers seem to be waiting longer. IDC suspects that those organizations are waiting for their Office 2007 upgrades to get underway. Of that particular group, integration with Microsoft applications is important and to get the most of MOSS you need Office 2007, Quirk said. …

Although there’s truth in Office 2007 being best the Office client to integrate with MOSS 2007, it is not necessary to wait. Organsiations can upgrade their SharePoint environment regardless of their Office version. This way they win a lot of time. 

MOSS 2007 combined with Office 2007 provides a lot of new functionality which organisations will most likely not all start using as of day 1. Functionality in the the form of Business Intelligence / scorecarding (PerformancePoint Server, Excel Services); Enterprise Content Management (Document Management, Web Content Management, Records Management); Electronic Forms (Forms Server); Enterprise Search (SharePoint for Search).

I blogged about the ‘Fair, Good, Better, Best’ document some time ago. This document best describes the levels of intergration between the current and older version of MS Offive

… The growth of SharePoint is causing a flurry of partner activity, too. The software has a lot of components – a portal, document management, content management, etc., and there are a number of competitors in each group.

In October, EMC Corp. and Microsoft cut a deal to ensure that EMC’s Documentum ECM document management software would work with SharePoint, for example. On the portal side, SharePoint competes with IBM’s WebSphere and software from BEA Systems Inc. and Vignette Corp. All have some basic capabilities to integrate with Office applications. …

Again a good confirmation of consolidation of the ECM market resulting in less vendors and better integration where applicable.

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