A lot of people still don't know the answer to a simple question: What is SharePoint? There are a few really good answers out there but in my opinion they need to start their explanation a little bit earlier.
Let’s see the common mistake we are confronted with when searching for the answer:
"SharePoint is a browser based business collaboration tool with composites and insights and search and communities and content and publishing and a document management. It’s collaborative, it’s business intelligence, it’s colleagues, partners, intranet, extranet, internet and much more."
This guide answers the question ‘What is SharePoint?’ independent of your role. It shows the reasons why we need it and how it solves our problems.
Our Problem With Information
I bet you know the following situation from your daily work:
Like this video? "SharePoint helps to make better decisions."
What to do next?
- Way Too Much Information!
- Yes, you are an Information Worker!
- The Solution: SharePoint
- SharePoint Product Overview
What is SharePoint for end user? Maybe too complex to use… I don’t know. If you are trying to search a column in a list it works with one column globally defined in the columns gallery but not with another locally created. Well for me SharePoint is easy to use and it comes with a lot of cool things like uploading to, filtering, sorting or grouping a list… there is a lot of out-of-the-box functionality. It has a mix based on lists and wikis: Have you ever tried to create and sort a table in a wiki? Even if they are supported it can’t be compared to the usability of a SharePoint list.
What is SharePoint for developers? SharePoint developers evolve from ASP.NET developers and as a web developer you are used to implement things and to test it right away pressing F5. As a SharePoint developer you need to configure XML, deploy a solution, need to know about infrastructure including Active Directory, SQL Server, DNS or IIS… usually an ASP.NET developer doesn’t need to take it into account. The worst thing as a SharePoint developer is to explain SharePoint and how to use it to consultants, project managers, end user, authors and even administrators. The actual task called development gets smaller and smaller as you knowledge grows.
What is SharePoint for administrators? Instead of having a lot of different systems which are easy to handle for their own but getting complex in a huge infrastructure SharePoint is a complex system. SharePoint is so complex that it doesn’t behave sometimes as expected: On one day it works and on another day it suddenly stops working. E.g. if you have hundreds of different folders on file shares and no global read group you need to manually assign read permission to the search account which can result in the membership of hundreds of groups for the search service account. Using Kerberos the token becomes bigger and bigger and only after a service restart you encounter the problem of the search not working. Looking for the reason takes a lot of time and requires a lot of specialized knowledge.