A report from Ferris Research highlights the strengths and weaknesses with the software - mainly the weaknesses - which it says makes Sharepoint difficult to integrate with other suppliers' databases and directories.
The report, Microsoft Sharepoint Server: Industry and Competitive Impact, says users should not rush in just because they are a Microsoft shop and collaboration software from the Seattle giant is an easy option.
Specifically, the report says that Sharepoint Portal Server will not run with SQL databases from IBM, Oracle or Sybase and that users will be stuck with the Web Storage Database that is bundled with it. Also, the report claims, Sharepoint will only integrate with Microsoft NT Domain Directory or Windows 2000 Active Directory which would necessitate users of other suppliers' directories duplicating that layer.
The report warns that these problems would make it very expensive for users to reverse out of a Sharepoint deployment.
Eric Woods, Ovum research director in knowledge management, was sanguine about the Ferris findings. "I don't think it's a great surprise that Sharepoint is aimed squarely at Microsoft shops. It would have been more shocking if it had come out with a cross-platform solution.
"Sharepoint is not an enterprise content/document management solution and Microsoft is not claiming that it is. It offers no real competition to the likes of FileNet or Documentum. Sharepoint's main value will be raising the base level of functionality available to Microsoft Office users in terms of basic document control, advanced search tools and portal development.
The main disappointment for me is that there is very limited integration with Exchange in the initial release. So Sharepoint users will have to decide where their 'home' is - Outlook or their portal interface - unless they do some significant integration work."
Garry Tugwell-Smith, product manager for Sharepoint Portal Server, said, "The Ferris report appears to deliberately concentrate on Sharepoint Portal Server as a document management application. Sharepoint Portal Server also provides out-of-the-box portal deployment, best-of-breed enterprise-wide search capabilities and is tightly integrated to applications such as Office, Windows Explorer, as well as being accessible via standard browsers."
- n Microsoft has announced new versions of its developer toolkit - Digital dashboard Resource Kit - for Sharepoint Server 2001 and SQL Server 2000 and a Web Part Gallery containing 100 components for connecting content to portals.