Wednesday, November 2, 2011

It’s more than that



Recently, I have had so many people contact me and ask how can I make SharePoint “look like a drive letter” or say “I want my users to navigate a whole SharePoint site through Windows Explorer”. It parallels the concept that people want to simply ‘dump’ all their static file share data (which hasn’t probably been touched for centuries) up into SharePoint and use it like a big disk.

No, no, no and NO! If you are going to simply use SharePoint as a storage location for all the ‘crap’ you have on a hard disk then you are much better off with something like Box.net. SharePoint is a collaboration tool, it includes features that static file shares have. To name but a few:

- Check in/check out
- Version control
- Filtering
- Meta data
- Tagging
- Ratings
- etc

Most resellers seem to simply want to ‘dump’ a customers data into SharePoint and run away. These are exactly the same people who bemoan the lack of opportunity and revenue afforded by the ‘cloud’. The idea is to help your customers understand the new features that SharePoint has and help a customer incorporate these into their business, and (shock, horror) get paid a consulting fee to do it!

There is just so much more to SharePoint that people fail to realize. Like any tool you need to learn about to get the most from it. Why do people use < 10% of the functionality of other Office applications like Word, Excel, etc? Because they never venture past the default menu options (that’s why the ribbon interface was invented to try and expose all the features).

Sure you can use SharePoint as a big disk and map it to a drive just like you used file shares back in the 15th century. But hey, how about you actually spend some time and learn what SharePoint (and other Office products) can do and really improve your productivity? It may even help you and your customers get your job done quicker and easier. How novel!