Report: Beware of ‘chaos’ SharePoint can create

A report from Forrester is warning customers to consider carefully how they plan to use Microsoft’s Office SharePoint Server product, which they say can wreak havoc in an IT organization when used as a custom application development platform.

The recently published report, “Now Is The Time To Determine SharePoint’s Place In Your Application Development Strategy,” outlines how, while SharePoint can be extremely useful for creating company intranets, companies should be careful when using it to create custom applications because the product lacks features — such as in application lifecycle management (ALM) and enterprise application integration (EAI) — that other, more proven development platforms have.

Also, SharePoint is misunderstood in general, and while it allows users to create their own applications and customize SharePoint intranet sites quite easily, this can turn into a quagmire of complexity for the organization when it comes to managing and supporting those applications, the report said.

This complexity causes IT teams to become busy trying to “fill the product’s gaps in application life-cycle management and enterprise integration as they create policies to prevent a new chaos of user-generated applications,” according to the report, written by Forrester analysts John Rymer and Rob Koplowitz.

The problem becomes further complicated by the lack of people who have advanced development skills for SharePoint, they said.

In the report they outline several customer scenarios in which custom development on SharePoint got out of hand and became more than a company’s IT staff could handle.

In one, a so-called SharePoint “power user” inspired “a reshuffling of IT,” analysts wrote. The user built several popular custom applications using SharePoint, assuming that the development and operational organizations could support them. However, they couldn’t because it required “specialized skills that neither organization possessed,” according to the report.

The firm had to hire a new IT specialist to fill in the gap and expand SharePoint’s role in the company’s application-development strategy, according to a report.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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