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I can't form an opinion on how best to use Sharepoint for your particular domain, without knowing any details. Here's something to consider seriously though.
My experience of Sharepoint has been that it is easily configured for simple tasks, but more difficult (and hence expensive) to customise for complex workflows. Migration of data to other systems has also proved to be expensive.
For CI activities where a lot of data is unstructured, it is likely that over time a lot of your valuable data will end up sitting in Word files in Sharepoint document libraries. My personal opinion is that this separates you (and any automated tools you want to use) by at least two degrees from the information which is of use to you.
My advice would be to take specific steps to avoid getting locked in to Sharepoint as your long term solution, and to use it for what it is good at: displaying lists of structured information in a navigable web environment.
I agreed entirely. Eventually we will be moving to a more collaboration based platform called Telligent. The points you have raised about SharePoint are our primary fears; CI output is far too living to sit in a document library. However, SharePoint may be the best shirt term option until we can get something else rolling.
Thanks so much for your input. You have helped to validate many of my concerns!
As others here have noted, SharePoint is a decent first (and/or interim) step in getting a CI platform started. If nothing else, users in corporate environments are familiar with the interface, and it does not require a great deal of time or IT knowledge to get a decent site up and running. At its core, however, SharePoint is a document library and falls short as a true collaboration or KM tool.
In a couple of instances, I've used SharePoint to demonstrate a "proof of concept" for a CI portal. Because non-CI folks often don't have a good idea of what would be on a site, and how it would be used, SharePoint can be a cheap and relatively easy way to show them. Then, as a next step, you start lobbying for something more appropriate.
This is only conjecture on my part, but I would imagine that a number of CI functions are using SharePoint as their only portal-like tool, simply because it is supported throughout the company, and there aren't funds for anything else.
Sharepoint is the best solution for setting up a system as an interim solution. Often this interim solutions last very long :-)
My experience is that half of the CI system in companies are based on "standard software", the other half on specific CI-Software. An interesting development that I noted starting last year is the integration of social media aspects, e.g. bringing facebook into the company. Just recently three large companies told me of using or implementing the software JIVE. From my point of view this new collaboration tools have a deep impact on the whole CI setup in the company.
Thanks so much for the insight. I agree with you about how long those interim SharePoint solutions can be. We haven't quite made the jump to any CI-specific software, but we have very recently launched a collaboration portal using Telligent software (very similar to Jive). May I ask who recommended Jive to you? I would be interested into researching some best practices for setting up an internal collaboration function.
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