SharePoint. A piece of software that everyone in the enterprise buys and everyone in the enterprise hates using. My last face-to-face encounter with SharePoint was so traumatic that it resulted in the founding of Huddle. As you can imagine, I feel very strongly about the subject; no ‘frenemies’ here.

Here’s why:

SharePoint Problems 1: Worse than a blunt knife

SharePoint is the Swiss army knife of software—able to do almost anything, but nothing of them particularly well. The amount of time and expense that’s required to get SharePoint to do what you need it to defies the point of buying it in the first place.

SharePoint Problems 2: The days of silent despair are over

IT has traditionally liked it and users have tolerated it at best. But we’re now seeing more and more people stand up and say: “I hate SharePoint”.

SharePoint Problems 3: CIOs are off the fence

When I talk to CIOs, it turns out that even they dislike it. Specifically the support and customization overhead combined with the tyranny of the three-year refresh cycle. SharePoint requires hundreds of man-hours of configuration and customization to do what Huddle does out the box (excuse the box pun), and Huddle can be deployed in less than 24 hours.

SharePoint Problems 4: It’s time to count those pennies

As a result of the above, billions of dollars a year (SharePoint is a $8-10bn franchise, comprising of $2bn in license revenue to Microsoft and somewhere between $5-8bn in revenue to the channel) are spent just getting the software to work instead of enabling user productivity. SharePoint destroys value – it doesn’t create it.

SharePoint Problems 5: Cloud doesn’t make it less SharePoint

The best thing about SharePoint in Office 365? Users say ‘Hooray, now SharePoint is in the cloud!’ Then they use it. ‘Oh, but it’s SharePoint …..in the cloud’.

SharePoint Problems 6: Is just like Ning. What? Exactly!

You have SharePoint, I have SharePoint – great. We can work together. Not so fast, more SharePoint problems. Even if your company and your customers have SharePoint as part of their Office 365 license (let’s not even mention on-premise), you won’t be able to work on content with them directly. Because SharePoint installations just don’t talk to each other. So if you remember Ning, a platform for creating separate social networks, that’s pretty much how SharePoint operates. Huddle is more like Facebook.

SharePoint Problems 7: Pig + lipstick

Yammer won’t suddenly turn SharePoint into a user-friendly piece of software. Neither will re-naming SharePoint Office365 sites. You’d be better off with two best of breed systems. And I am not saying that one of them must be Huddle.

SharePoint Problems 8: Immobile

Despite all the pretences, SharePoint has not mastered the art of moving forward. In particular, it has completely failed at supporting mobile working. No native, functional mobile apps exist. If you dig deep, there’s a token SharePoint Newsfeed app, but I haven’t heard of anyone who has managed to get their work done by looking at a feed.

SharePoint Problems 9: It must die

SharePoint has had its time. It’s an anachronism designed for the pre-internet era and it’s surviving at its current size only due to the Microsoft Enterprise License Agreement and the deep ecosystem of on-premise deployments. When we look forward five years, when the cloud is pervasive and internally hosted servers and local storage don’t exist, we’ll wonder why we ever used it.

Do you share my point of view (ahem)? If you do, share your SharePoint problems with me on twitter @alimitchell#sharepointsucks

Alastair Mitchell

Co-founder


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