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Is SharePoint a Failed Vision for Collaboration?

Rich Blank (of Jive software) makes a case on CMSWire to consider SharePoint a failure for collaboration. Looking closely it isn't SharePoint to fault.
SharePoint with its place concept and flat views is a 1:1 conceptual copy of Lotus Notes implemented with a (then) current Microsoft technology stack. Thus it does have the potential for successful collaboration, as the (then) success of Lotus Notes clearly showed.
With the right effort of adoption any collaborative technology can be successful, be it shared folders (like Dropbox), Lotus Notes, SharePoint, LinkedIn, Jammer or Connections. It is an too common pattern: failure of collaboration gets attributed to the platform, to avoid the necessity to wake up to the fact that the core reason of failure is lack of skills, vision, execution and adoption.
Of course, and I'm certainly biased here, a more people than place/document centric approach makes adoption and collaboration more efficient, effective and pleasant (read: usable), so SharePoint would need to fuse with Yammer and Skype to get there. This still doesn't negate the need to drive adoption.
The collaboration space has still way to go. With all the tools around we celebrate information scatter for the sake of "social collaboration". A key success factor for eMail was " everything in one place (the inbox) at my disposal". The modern collaborative tools (I'm not fond of the term social, since in my part of the world it still has a different meaning) are wanting in place and control. Activity streams (as the transport protocol) seem most promising, since they are open, don't reinvent the wheels (after all they are HTTP and ATOM) and can be contributed/digested in any programming language.
Nevertheless the UIs offered are to consumption and not enough action oriented. Embedded experiences are a step to remedy that, but I still can't act on the stream, only on some of the information that flows by. So there's way to go to make this collaboration effective, efficient and pleasant. Be it Jammer, SharePoint, IBM Notes or IBM Connections (or any of the nice players).

Posted by on 14 April 2013 | Comments (2) | categories: Software


  1. posted by Don Mottolo on Monday 15 April 2013 AD:
    That's a great quote: 'we celebrate information scatter for the sake of "social collaboration"'

    Yes "information scatter" is apt description of so much social software.
  2. posted by Rich Blank on Thursday 18 April 2013 AD:
    Potential vs. reality is the problem. In todays world, investing in SharePoint is like investing in Lotus Notes. SharePoint has its use cases, but if I'm a CIO I want to get out of managing data centers and applications like SharePoint. You will get more value from collaboration or ECM as a cloud service.