Sharepoint has its strengths, but plenty of weaknesses that businesses should be aware of when considering a file management and collaboration system.
In this post, we will outline the core functionality of Sharepoint and explain how a digital asset management system such as Media Lightbox can overcome the frustrations of a Sharepoint system.
What is Sharepoint?
Microsoft Sharepoint 2010 was designed to help people work together and collaborate on projects. Sharepoint is a web application platform, consisting of several programs and web technologies that work together to make it easier for staff within large organizations to share ideas and expertise. Sharepoint enables business owners to manage intranet, extranet and internet sites on one single platform.
Sharepoint 2010 is an Enterprise solution for companies requiring a customizable and secure infrastructure. It was first released in 2001 and has grown to become a complicated and costly document management solution, in comparison to cloud-based digital asset management system, such as Media Lightbox.
Before looking at the disadvantages of Sharepoint, it’s important to understand Sharepoint’s six core capabilities:
- Sharepoint Sites – Sharepoint makes websites where users can become “contributors” and edit them.
- Sharepoint Communities – Users can upload to Sharepoint and edit sites
- Sharepoint Content – Files are saved to a Sharepoint Library
- Search Sharepoint – Find files and sites on Sharepoint
- Sharepoint Insights – Generate reports from a sharepoint database
- Sharepoint Customize – Composites are Sharepoint Add-ons
These six pillars describe the fundamentals of Windows Sharepoint services. In reality, the number of features is simply overwhelming and business owners are charged for a wealth of additional options that their staff is unlikely to use.
Employees require Sharepoint training and companies often hire a team of support staff to deal with the number of requests.
Highly trained implementors, administrators & technical support staff are required to deploy & run it (Sharepoint), which all add to the total cost of ownership
Sharepoint was initially designed to be a simple, affordable service for businesses, but has since been packed with unnecessary and complex features, which require weeks of training and a large budget.
Before studying the many advantages of digital asset management over Sharepoint (for online backup, to send big files or for project management), we must first look at the disadvantages of a Sharepoint System.
Sharepoint must be installed on an in-house Sharepoint server. This must be purchased and a network established, to give employees the ability to collaborate on documents and websites. The server should be powered 24 hours a day. As well as these expensive hardware maintenance costs, a Sharepoint License must be purchased as well as Client Access Licenses (CAL) for each user.
Costs can range from $5000 to over $50,000. You can find a Sharepoint cost calculator here.
The following table from sharepointforum.com will also give you an idea of the price of Sharepoint:
The costs illustrated above don’t include the price of Sharepoint setup and training. Sharepoint configuration can take weeks of tweaking to solve permission issues and Sharepoint customization.
How to Use Sharepoint
Sharepoint is a costly and excessively complex system to install and maintain. It has relatively weak support for the most common Enterprise 2.0 application types, particularly blogs and wikis, but also social network features. While the desktop versions of Sharepoint Designer and Invisio feel cluttered and outdated, the system hasn’t adapted particularly well to the rise of mobile browsing, with the number of users accessing the internet wirelessly set to surpass wired Ethernet access by 2015.
Users of Sharepoint will require training, even in the most frequently used features such as file sharing and file management. Microsoft is renowned for poor software support and Sharepoint is no exception, with reports of support staff being overwhelmed by Sharepoint support requests.
Sharepointhosting.com and Sharepointhostingprovider.com have some fantastic video tutorials for showing new users the basics of Sharepoint.
Sharepoint was designed to work with Microsoft Office, Windows and Internet Explorer. If Sharepoint is upgraded, the entire stack must also be upgraded.
Sharepoint is a pure Microsoft server stack that closes off any opportunities to substitute third-party databases, Web servers, and other products for Microsoft components.
Limited use of applications can work well internally, but should a company setup a Sharepoint portal, open to travelling team, clients and partners, using various devices, operating systems and browsers, Sharepoint performance and access cannot be guaranteed.
Microsoft are dedicated to making Sharepoint a secure service with Microsoft Global Foundation Services (GFS) working to make Sharepoint sites protected from hackers and viruses.
While this shows Microsofts dedication in this area, it does slow the system down significantly. These security measures can affect Sharepoint access speed, delaying program startup and producing Firewall popups and error messages.
Microsoft releases a new version of Sharepoint every 3 years. It’s easy to understand why businesses get frustrated waiting for Sharepoint updates, when they are paying for an expensive ongoing license.
Microsoft is purposely leaving the development cycle to three years before they evaluate any new hardware on the market and whether they should invest in specific applications for these devices. Users are therefore unlikely to be able to access Sharepoint from new smartphones, tablets and any other hardware released within the 3 year cycle.
Businesses do not need to spend thousands on collaboration and file management software to work more productively. Furthermore, the majority of alternatives do not require an in-house server or any additional hardware. These are cloud-based solutions that work on a Software as a Service (SaaS) model. They are inexpensive, and data is backed up off-site, so should there be a fire/flood/emergency in the office, data will be safe and recoverable. Below are the advantages of online digital asset management over Sharepoint.
• Data backed up offsite
• No training required
• No additional hardware required
• Works across most devices
• Not as costly
• Viewers are typically free
• Storage space is easily customizable
• Updates are frequently released
Benefits of a System Like Media Lightbox
Media Lightbox is a digital asset management system that focuses on the features users require most when managing their files online. The system is easy to use and gives users the power to backup files, send big files, request artwork approval, watermark images and manage folder permissions. Users can access their files from any computer, smartphone or tablet.
Files can be marked as restricted with usage notes attached and shared securely online. Companies can customize Media Lightbox with their own logo and welcome images. Locating files is simple with the powerful metadata keyword search tool.
Media Lightbox was recently named the “Best Emerging Company” in the Seedcorn Business Competition and the system is trusted by thousands of companies worldwide.
Get a Media Lightbox Enterprise account for FREE! Get a 30 day free trial and begin using Media Lightbox today to manage your files, contacts and folder access more effectively.