I’ve read it argued that CMS vendors in general might not have to worry so much about SharePoint competition because its only a Collaborative Content Application. The rest of the models are safe. If you have a web content management (WCMS) or a records management product there is no reason to worry because MOSS is really just about Office documents. I don’t disagree that it is mostly a collaboration tool today. Unfortunately no one bothered to tell Microsoft that this is all it is. I assure you they aspire to much more. If you don’t believe me, read it from them. Despite their acknowledgment of the role ISV’s play, their consistent use of ECM services nomenclature belies the strategy.
From a customer’s perspective, what’s wrong with SharePoint really. The answer? – nothing time won’t fix. It is no worse than any of the other major ECM players were 10 years ago. They just aren’t done with it yet. It has scale, feature and stability things to be aware of and compensate for but who am I to argue that Documentum is much better in that regard. You have to know and understand each product and make informed decisions as to whether or not one is better suited than the other for a given situation. The strategy today is that you use one to compensate for the other. A short term arrangement at best.
Many people that have problems with SharePoint as a platform are Visio jockey’s like myself who can’t seem to get past the fact that SharePoint’s content is stored in the database. You may think on some superficial level that this is not an issue but it is. There is a reason they named one of the scariest movies of the 1950’s The Blob. There are plenty of other CMS’s that do this in some form or fashion and I’m not blogging about them. It’s time I face the fact of my bias. I have concluded my only real problem with SharePoint is that you can’t run it on Oracle.
If you had shown me SharePoint, not told me it was from Microsoft and said you can use it with Oracle as a back end, I am sure my reaction to it would have been far different. I still would want an option for native file system management of the content store but arguments against building on top of it would have far less appeal to me. The UI is simply better than most of the competition and far more consistent with the applications many corporations live in all day (Office and Outlook).
I guess there is a part of me that can’t stand the idea that someone tied eRoom to the tracks and now Microsoft Train is barreling down on it at breakneck speed. Twisting his handlebar mustache, the dastardly Bill Gates will win the day and we will all be buying more SQL Server licenses. It’s bad enough that they capture the front end, but the database too? Unfortunately I can no longer argue that SQL Server won’t scale to Oracle level performance for this class of system. This sadly supports my point that eventually they catch up.
Still, as the proverb reads “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Mama told me big important systems use Oracle or DB2 not SQLServer. (yes I know eRoom was SQLServer – but it was never sold as an ECM framework)In any event, I doubt they are going to port it just to make me happy so I had better get used to it. Kool-aid anyone?