What is Sharepoint anyway?

Sharepoint seems to be getting plenty of attention, and I expect that to increase as O14 info appears, but still people ask me ‘What is Sharepoint?’

In classic MS fashion they seem unable to describe their product in terms familiar to their target audience.

So here is my attempt.

Sharepoint is an intranet site.

It has a browser front end (even though it needs a proper UI), It runs off SQL Server and it allows you to create intranet sites for a variety of purposes.

Its a bit like the app wizards in Access that let you create a range of application types, they set up the DB structure and the basic switchboard/UI, and then you can go in and tidy things up.

Yes its got more than that, and in some ways I can see it being the Excel of the collaboration age. As in you can do a wide range of things with it, and it will eventually bite you if you do it in a haphazard way.

And my new hobby (Excel services) sits on top of Sharepoint. I feel an inextricable draw to the bark side!

I’m not going to bother to go into the minutiae of Sharepoint, a, because I don’t know it, and b, because I have other things I’d rather focus on. But if you want to take a shot a summarizing what Sharepoint means to you, please do)



6 Responses to “What is Sharepoint anyway?”

  1. jonpeltier Says:

    Excel Services sits on SharePoint, and SharePoint sits on SQL Server. So for me and for most of my clients, Excel Services is irrelevant.

  2. sam Says:

    So… What would be a list of things we could do with Sharepoint that cant be done on a normal network folder

  3. Mike Alexander Says:

    Sam says – “What would be a list of things we could do with SharePoint that can’t be done on a normal network folder”

    On the surface, it seems like a glorified file server, but I think the big picture is to make it possible to share and distribute macro enabled spreadsheets without the hassles of multi-user issues or version control.

    Also, I think SharePoint will eventually be able to host entire Microsoft Access applications; allowing for a single set of source code and avoiding the issues of version control.

    I see SharePoint as Microsoft’s version of the “cloud” (more like an internal mini-cloud). It’s essentially a way to centralize the development and distribution of key organizational reports and applications.

    Although IT departments will probably love this, it remains to be seen whether business organizations will be able to take advantage of these capabilities in any practical way.

  4. Simon Says:

    “What would be a list of things we could do with Sharepoint that cant be done on a normal network folder”

    Make a living?

  5. Harlan Grove Says:

    In re what Mike wrote, the MIS/DP departments of old may have been able to produce reasonable resports, but the IT/IS departments of today can’t manage it (at least in my experience). I haven’t met anyone in IT/IS in the last 20 years who knew the business well enough to design a useful report. Hasn’t stopped them from producing reports, but none of theirs are useful.

    So if SharePoint means relieving business units of the drudgery of generating reports or maintaining business department-level applications, I really hope it fails.


    ““What would be a list of things we could do with Sharepoint that cant be done on a normal network folder”

    Make a living?

    FYI – I just read this out loud to the attendees of a small session at the ODAC about Client Office issues …. Got a hearty laugh.


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