Computer Sweden has an article in today’s issue, also published online yesterday, called “Impossible to get rid of the cash cow of Microsoft”. To sum it up briefly it discusses how hard it is to get rid of Microsoft SharePoint once you have it installed in your environment and that the licensing costs flies away. An interviewed CTO states that companies he met don’t have control of their SharePoint installations and that they had to step back and look at the ownership and licenses.
The article has some substance, but is is only viewed from one point.
First of all one thing I agree with and that I have experience of - SharePoint installation madness. SharePoint is a complicated product/application/platform and should not be installed or launched if you do not have time or experience of it, period. You should have someone to help you out with these projects so that you have control of your installation, storage, security, governance etc etc. Planning - this is the most basic rule of any SharePoint installation.
Second to think of is the article byline: “Once SharePoint, always SharePoint”. This is in the article read with a negative emphasis. If you invest and plan a SharePoint installation you should of course look into the future, but that future is probably not measured in months it’s most probably the platform you company will use over a foreseeable future. Once again the keyword here is Planning, and this has nothing to do with the platform. Every platform of this magnitude; WebSphere, Alfresco, DotNetNuke whatever you choose requires that you plan your installation and maintenance.
If you one day discover that you need to change platform, this will cost and take time, independent of your choice of platform. Just make sure that it’s well documented and supports standards. SharePoint currently supports several standards, it will support the new CMIS (Content Management Interoperability Services) and thanks to Microsoft’s new openness it’s quite well documented.
Pricing and licensing is always a tough area to discuss. Yes, using SharePoint will cost you in server licenses and CALs but it’s not more expensive than comparable competitors. If you want to publish a web site and use all the powerful enterprise features of SharePoint you can’t expect the licenses to be the same as for a simple CMS system, in that case you choose the wrong platform to start with - Planning.
I truly believe that if you invest in SharePoint you will definitely have a platform that you will use for a long time and not wanting to phase out.