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Is SharePoint a Platform for Social Business?

Thanks to Erin Maloney (@ErinE) for this great article by James Dellow at Ripple Effect Group.  James starts off by asking the question about whether SharePoint is a platform for social and then delves into all the other things taking place in the world.

Firstly, its important to recognise that Microsoft’s long term strategy is shifting in response to drivers such cloud computing (see Windows Azure), the consumerisation of IT and new technologies that are changing both our relationship to computing and the workplace. That’s a whole lot of change, which Microsoft is aware of.

The first question is how well does Microsoft’s strategy for its stack of products align with the strategy of your organisation? Or perhaps how much do you want to buy into that roadmap? This is important, because it is not just about SharePoint anymore, but understanding where OfficeExchangeDynamicsYammerLyncand even Skype fit. And will you migrate fully to the cloud, build a hybrid infrastructure (some on premises and some in the cloud) or a more traditional in-house model.

So James makes  a great point.  There’s a lot going on at Microsoft and within IT in general.  Think cloud, social networking, social media, always on communication, etc.  Each vendor from Microsoft to IBM to Google and even Salesforce has a lot of solutions that incorporate all of the above.  But James correctly points out that it’s really not about social.  Any technical solution still has to answer to a specific business need.  You then architect to meet the need.  Don’t just start with a cool tool.

If based on that design process you ultimately decided to invest in Microsoft’s stack of products, then be prepared to make the right choices about architecture, customisation and organisational change to make that work. Picking SharePoint is just the start, not a solution for becoming a social business that runs on Microsoft.

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