For many organisations and projects, SharePoint is the right solution.
There are, however, a lot of myths being thrown around stating “You can’t do X in SharePoint” and “SharePoint is no good for Y”.
So we thought we would take a moment to do some myth busting!
Here are the top 5 criticisms we hear directed at SharePoint & our myth-busters…
1 - “SharePoint is really just a document management and collaboration system”
This might have been true for the 2003 version but with 2007, Microsoft integrated their content management system into the solution.
SharePoint 2010 is much more than a document management solution and is a flexible development platform.
Easier to style and more powerful for search, the platform includes genuine and usable content management capabilities with all the benefits of powerful document management and Office integration.
2 - “You can’t make an accessible website in SharePoint”
In the past, SharePoint faced challenges for accessibility particularly in a European context. Agencies and partners had to work around this with bespoke code and web parts.
SharePoint 2010 is much more suited to delivering front end content which is WCAG2 compliant.
Although SharePoint still doesn’t have a built in accessibility checker, there are now a number of third party applications that can be added to do this job.
3 - “SharePoint licensing for public websites is too expensive”
As an Enterprise content management system, licensing can be expensive.
Commercial organisations have to invest specifically in an Internet Connector license for public website projects at about £5k per server. If you want to use Business Forms for multiple domains, costs can triple.
Look into options to pass this on to an official Microsoft hosting provider who has made the investment already and is willing to break this down into a monthly fee for you.
Academic, not for profit and charitable organisations are also likely to be eligible for big discounts.
4 - “SharePoint websites are ugly and you can’t apply a good level of visual branding and customisation”
For public websites this is simply untrue as there are no constraints.
You will need the time and skills to build the presentation layer as you would for websites using other content management systems, so if you wanted to deploy a highly branded site with the touch of a button – think again!
SharePoint templates and web parts can seamlessly overlap with Office for your users but there will definitely be overhead involved in design.
Anything is possible with enough time. True value of the platform comes with heavy investment for a highly bespoke Intranet, Collaboration or Extranet build.
5 - “SharePoint sites have poor performance and load times”
This is also not correct. That said, you can’t just use the intranet themes for public websites, you have to use the publishing master pages.
SharePoint is a powerful platform that leverages IIS and Windows Server capabilities, so you need to be very aware of how to cache elegantly and get the right infrastructure in place.
With the right attention, experience and capacity modelling in these areas, your website performance will be just fine.
Here at Appius we have been designing and implementing SharePoint websites for 9 years.
We also provide strategic advice, user-centred design, search engine marketing, systems integration and more. Appius Microsoft SharePoint Services