SharePoint Is Not Good for Enterprise Content Management

SharePoint is generating a lot of interest in team workspaces. It's validating the space.

Many organizations are also considering it for enterprise content management. That's a mistake; ECM is too much for SharePoint to take on. The main problems are:

  • Limited Database Scalability. The default database for SharePoint Services is the Microsoft Data Engine. Its storage capacity is limited to 4GB for all content managed on a given server instance. Go beyond this and you need SQL Server, which gets expensive.
  • Weak Searching and Navigation. It's difficult to find information spread across different workspaces.
  • Lack of Security for Regulatory Compliance. There's no built-in means to apply security or manage the document lifecycle at the individual document level.
  • Software Licenses Costly. Windows SharePoint Services is usually free. However, organizations will most likely have to buy SharePoint Portal Server and SQL Server and, potentially, third-party records management software. Based on retail pricing, a typical SharePoint-based ECM environment will cost $270 to $320 per user to acquire.

... David Via

One Comment

  1. Posted October 14, 2005 at 7:26 AM | Permalink

    Articles like this should be taken with a grain of salt. More so, if the author comes to conclusions based on half knowledgeble ‘research’, which is actually the authors own personal view………

    Read the comments here:

  2. Posted October 14, 2005 at 12:29 PM | Permalink

    I raised concerns about SharePoint and the “Free” Sarbanes-Oxley accelerator last year in these posts:

    “BearingPoint White Paper on Looking Beyond Sarbanes-Oxley Falls Flat With Microsoft Alliance”

    Gartner: Lack of Document Management, Workflow Limit Usefulness of Microsoft Solutions Accelerator for SarBox”

    There is nothing you have said in here that changes my views. After reading the ‘rebuttal’ on the blog mentioned above, I am now even more concerned about companies that try to use these MS solutions for compliance.

  3. Posted October 14, 2005 at 7:45 PM | Permalink

    Sharepoint a content management system? I seriously doubt you’d see two products from the same company that are competing in the exact same market for the exact same customer. SharePoint is all about collaboration. Content Management Server (MCMS) is all about… wait… wait… ah ha! Content Management!

    Your article is terribly filled with holes and gross mis-assumptions. It’s very aparent, by the article and follow up comment to Bil’s comment, that you haven’t even discussed your compliance issues with the vendor of the product, Microsoft. I’m certain there are MANY on the product team that could take issue for good read to your comments for the current version of SharePoint and what’s been disclosed so far for the next version.

  4. Posted October 14, 2005 at 11:33 PM | Permalink

    Andrew, get thee back to the Delta house!

    Microsoft has in the past pushed the Accelerator for Sarbanes-Oxley tool, which is Sharepoint-based, as a “free” tool which will help organizations with their SarBox Compliance. But this will not cut it for some very simple reasons:

    1. SharePoint is good for local office implementations, but do not try to scale it up for many users in many locations, because it will not scale or perform. Good luck customzoing it or integrating it with any meaningful data.

    2. When it comes to compliance, corporations cannot wair for “what is promised in the next version”. Heck, we are still waiting for Longhorn or whatever the new FUD name is this week. Vaporware does not cut it.

    3. “SharePoint is all about collaboration.”? Excuse me while I get off the floor from my laughter fit. Microsoft never has gotten collaboration right at the enterprise level and they have even admitted they can’t do it. They either bought Groove to kill it or just to get the genious that is Ray Ozzie. Microsoft is about the individual users, not about enterprise level collaboration. If they were, Outlook/Exchange would have a decent search functionality…oh wait, we are talking about Sharepoint here;-).


  5. Posted October 17, 2005 at 11:18 PM | Permalink

    I note with interest a comment in the Newsletter which said that there had not been more that 50 Virtual Directories sold worldwide. IMHO this is based on incorrect data. I am aware of at least 70 odd sites split acoss at least two vendors operating in this specialised market with one European vendor have at sold at least 30 licences to the one customer. Even in Australia in our markets there are double figures of Virtual Directory licences deployed. IMHO I would say that the number of Virtual Directory licences deployed is more likely to be in the 100+ space. This is still not large but the industry is only just waking up to how effective these solutions can be in delivering real benefits in organisations deployments of Identity Management projects. With the move towards Identity Federation this will in my opinion drive much more business to the Virtual Directory vendors.

  6. Sean
    Posted October 30, 2005 at 3:21 AM | Permalink

    I couldn’t agree more.

  7. Troy - MVP Sharepoint
    Posted August 28, 2008 at 5:27 AM | Permalink

    This post should be disregarded for anyone who is doing research for sharepoint.

    Having specialise in this software, I can vouch for functionality, security is built in to sharepoint and can be integrated with AD or SQL based authentication.

    Search is no where near weak, its a fully indexed search based on SQL. its super fast and searches for words in documents as well as filenames.

    Scalibility, wel yes it is limited, but of database size and so if you dont have 1 Exabyte of data (Broken into 16 terabyte databases) then you dont have anything to worry about. Oh the other limitation is 1 million objects in each document library, im sure this is a limitation people can live with.

    Yes the licensing can be expensive, at present about $7000 AUS and $166 per CAL for the enterprise version. plus whatever for SQL. But itsnot out of the ordinary for document management these days.

  8. Posted August 28, 2008 at 6:19 AM | Permalink

    Troy, much can change in the three years since this post was written. The core concerns of purchase cost and total cost of ownership still stand though.

    BTW, nice MySpace. Glad you found your snowboarder.

  9. Bruce
    Posted February 1, 2010 at 7:53 PM | Permalink

    The first point doesn’t compute. For a company big enough to be interested in ECM buying an SQL Server license shouldn’t be an issue.

One Trackback

  1. By Chan's weblog on October 16, 2005 at 1:27 PM

    SharePoint (mis)Information article feedback..

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