Because Technology is Complicated Enough
Over the past several years SharePoint, Microsoft’s large web application software designed for improving production in the business world, has been ridiculed for its poor performance, unfriendly user interface and ludicrous price tag. While SharePoint may not be the best web content management system, Microsoft hasn’t entirely missed the mark with this product. Thanks to the recent software upgrade, namely SharePoint 2010, there are a few things SharePoint now does very well.
One improvement featured in SP2010 is the use of metadata in documents. While SharePoint 2007 had an incredible ability to store all of your documents in an organized file system, there was no easy way of tracking down a specific document unless you traced it through the correct files. If you work for a large corporation that produces hundreds of documents per week, tracking down one document could prove to be very frustrating. Microsoft heard its customers’ lament and, with the release of SP 2010, fixed this issue with the addition of metadata. A metadata is a counting system that counts specific words or phrases that are used in documents or any other publication outlet, and can also make searching for documents significantly easier. Now, instead of digging your way through your company’s extensive filing system, simply type in the title or topic of the document you are looking in the search box, and voila!
While many early adapters of SharePoint tried to morph it into a web content management system, something it was not designed to be, its real strength is in powering intranets. According to Jakob Nielsen, a famous web interface researcher, half of the winning intranets in 2009 used SharePoint; up from zero in the preceding years 2003 to 2006. Enhancing companywide communication, SharePoint provides a transition away from shared drives and public folders that use hardware memory devices into a filing system on your website, where only your employees have access via role-based security models. The results are increased brand loyalty, efficiency and productivity, and freer IT resources.
SharePoint 2010 has improved on much of the intranet’s usability with features such as new widgets, new project templates and a health analyzer that can quickly find and fix any problems occurring within the server. And, with the 2010 release, SharePoint has increased access to multiple web browsers such as, Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari.
In summary, Microsoft has made several advancements since its 2007 version and it does perform well as a company intranet. Just don’t try to build a website with SharePoint -the love just isn’t there.