Microsoft boasts 200,000 organizations use Sharepoint. And it makes sense – it’s collaboration and integration to Office and the Microsoft world is attractive.
There’s one big problem.
Sharepoint was never built, never intended, and never advertised as a project management tool. It’s become one of those tools that IT tells you to use because you already have access to it.
What is Sharepoint?
The first sentence of Microsoft’s “What is Sharepoint?” page reads:
“Organizations use SharePoint to create websites. You can use it as a secure place to store, organize, share, and access information from almost any device. All you need is a web browser, such as Safari, Chrome, or Firefox.”
Aiim.org does a good job curating Sharepoint’s definition across the web:
- SharePoint is an enterprise information portal, from Microsoft, that can be configured to run Intranet, Extranet and Internet sites. – SharePoint HQ
- Microsoft SharePoint is a browser-based collaboration and document management platform from Microsoft – Wikipedia
- SharePoint is a web-based intranet that can help improve your organization’s effectiveness by streamlining the management of and access to data. – Creative SharePoint
- Microsoft’s content management system. It allows groups to set up a centralized, password protected space for document sharing. Documents can be stored, downloaded and edited, then uploaded for continued sharing. – SAIT Polytechnic Teaching – Glossary
- SharePoint is a sort of sharing/blogging/wiki-style server that mainly provides a back end to Microsoft Office – Jack Schofield, Technical Writer Guardian newspaper, UK.
How is Sharepoint used?
With many definitions come many uses. It’s difficult to pin down exactly how Sharepoint is used, but ApteraBlog breaks usage down in six categories:
- Intranet – a company’s internal news site and place for general information
- Documents – central document storage so files don’t live on one person’s computer
- Collaboration – access to team communication
- Extranet – client facing site to give them information and they can upload files to you
- Websites – create and edit public facing websites utilizing a Content Management System
- Business Intelligence – use the data in the system to spot trends and make decisions
So many people use Sharepoint, it has to be a solid solution right?
Yes and no. Depends on your use.
Microsoft SharePoint is extremely versatile. It has a ton of features and has an ability to be adapted to many different uses, and be successful at it (just look at the uses above!). It can extend its full range of features especially when a savvy Sharepoint expert gets a hold of it.
Sharepoint connects to the Microsoft Suite of products. It’s the way the giants of technology are going. Keep users within their ecosystem and they will never leave! With an easy connection throughout the Suite, uploads are automatic and you can jump from project to project.
Sharepoint lives up to its name. “Share”, “Point”. Collaboration comes to a central point where teams can share their work. Besides being bundled within the Microsoft Suite, collaboration is the number one driver of teams using it for project management.
Those are great points to why Sharepoint should be used by a team, but why not for project management?
It comes down to focus.
Focus is Microsoft’s historical sin, especially in Sharepoint’s case. Sharepoint has tried and is trying to be everything to everyone. It’s a large, heavy-weight system designed to become an ultimate solution to all information management problems. As a consequence, it doesn’t perform any of the intended functions really well, but all of them on the average level.
A swiss army knife is useful, but it would never be labeled as the most effective tool for a specific job.
Frustrations with Sharepoint:
- Module Madness: Sharepoint is a content management, internal collaboration and file sharing system. It’s project management side is just that, a side. A module. A feature. It lacks a project management and process component because that’s what Microsoft Project was built for. Building a project plan and assigning owners, stakeholders with progress and tasks notification and tracking isn’t something that SharePoint can easily do. Or designed to do.
- Limited Ownership: Ever get the response, “We have an in-house tool. Use that.”, when you ask IT about a project management tool? Sharepoint is mostly managed and administered by IT teams within an organization. Your team will have limited control in adding new users, managing user privileges, or permissions.
- Difficult Implementation: Sharepoint requires days of implementation and training…and that’s just to setup the software. Additional time is needed to fix and maintain it. You will need a full resource in house or an expensive agency to manage it.
- Measly Support: Reliable Sharepoint support is non-existent for users. Most paid project management softwares have dedicated 24/7 support with training aids readily available. Low-quality documentation leaves users to learn and understand the system through a painful process of debugging, trying, guessing, and experimenting.
- Low Adoption: Not all project management teams are technically strong or technologically savvy. Sharepoint’s interface has become cluttered, much like MS Project has. Only a small fraction of the features it comes with is used. Most SaaS project management software is designed so that the least tech savvy person on the team can pick up the program easily.
Stark differences to Workzone:
- Our aversion to “Modules”: Workzone’s development over the years has specifically avoided bolting on features just for the sake of adding features. We believe in developing features for our users benefit, not just to say we have more features than someone else.
- Complete Ownership: After your initial admin training, you will be adding users, setting permissions, and setting up projects. We’ll be there with you making sure things are going smoothly, but make no mistake about it, you are in control. You are the admin of your site, not IT.
- Smooth Implementation: Side by side against Sharepoint, Workzone requires far less time to setup and implement. From Day 1, you will set a schedule with your Success Manager on how to train the rest of the team. Since Workzone is easy to pick up for the least tech savvy person, the whole team will be up and running in no time.
- Apple Level Support: Our Success team is reliable, honest, and trustworthy. We only hire the best to help your team along (seriously, we only hire certified Apple Geniuses). We offer live and recorded trainings to keep your Workzone skills sharp. Our quarterly site audits help keep your production engine running smoothly.
- High Adoption: Our goal is to help you be successful so that’s why our Success team is on call 24/7 when things go awry. And the training? Free and unlimited. Included in your license. It’s a win-win. Because Workzone only has the features that teams need to be successful, it’s pretty hard to get overwhelmed. When users are not overwhelmed, they are less stressed and become more productive.
A dedicated project management solution like Workzone is far and away the best choice for most teams researching an alternative to Sharepoint. Workzone is still continually developed as a standalone solution for project management. Our unique dedication to our customers’ success is unmatched in the market and when pitted against Sharepoint…its not even close.
What’s left to talk about? Message us today to talk more about Workzone as an alternative to Sharepoint.
Steve Pogue is the Marketing Operations Manager at Workzone. He writes about project management tips and the buying process. When not at Workzone, you can find him playing vintage base ball or playing with his daughter.