How to Save Money and Reduce Headaches with an Alternative to Sharepoint?

In today’s increasingly global economy, companies are continuously looking for the most effective tools to improve collaboration and get disperse teams on the same page.

Email is clearly no longer an effective choice, so what are the options?

On the one hand there is SharePoint: Microsoft’s solution. SharePoint has been popular with companies over the last few years. It is a collaboration tool that allows employees to work on and share documents, presentations, and spreadsheets. But the reality is that SharePoint has not been able to adapt its product to the rapid changes of the modern business world.

A study conducted by Forrester, an independent technology and market research company, showed that many business managers are not satisfied with SharePoint, citing a lack of “business value” added to the company and “uninspired user experiences, technical complexities, and other factors.”

The main issue with the SharePoint is its failure to emphasize on the things that modern businesses need: Social and Mobile.

“People don’t want to be tied down to a single platform. They want the tools that work, that fit their particular requirements, and don’t require a lot of setup and configuration. If I switch from an Android smartphone to a Windows Phone, I expect my apps to be there and work the same way,” says Christian Buckley, Director at Axceler.

Liam Cleary, a Senior Manager at Protiviti notes that he is “seeing the demand for better collaboration tools that allow end users to work from anywhere, at any time.”

People want to be able to collaborate on simple, easy to use platforms, whenever they want, wherever they want.

Social and the mobile are the most essential aspects of modern collaboration, and these are precisely the areas that SharePoint is lacking the most.

According to the Forrester study, social is one of the least successful aspects of SharePoint. In addition, there are very few SharePoint installations that are available on mobile devices unless accessed through standard HTML pages. “Microsoft hasn’t given much attention to mobility on SharePoint, and there doesn’t seem to be a sense of urgency around it, which is bewildering,” says Gartner analyst Jeffrey Mann.

Enterprise social networks have both social and mobile solutions to collaboration, which is why Microsoft, in 2012, acknowledged that SharePoint itself couldn’t deal with the social and mobile needs of modern enterprises and acquired a US based enterprise social network. This was viewed as a great way for SharePoint to compensate for its weak focus on social and mobile. However, the reality is that the integration process of the two platforms was more difficult than anticipated and will take at least 2 more years to complete. In today’s world people need the most effective tools now.

The other main issues with SharePoint have to do with size and with cost, especially in regards to implementation.

In order to implement SharePoint, a company must first acquire a license. Because there is a complicated list of licensing options, a company must know exactly how it is going to use SharePoint. This makes it difficult for businesses to adapt to the software, because there is no trial period to determine best use before purchasing.

After acquiring the license, then comes the cost of implementation. Aptera, a software and web design company, wrote that “the total cost of implementing a SharePoint solution falls into such a broad range and depends on so many variables that we can never really answer the question with any single dollar-figure. For a company with 12 employees using only the most standard applications, the cost of implementation could be $10,000 with operational costs of a few hundred dollars a month, while it is common for a large company to pay $200,000 for implementation costs as well as a few thousand dollars a month to operate.

And in addition to the monetary cost of Sharepoint implementation companies need to spend countless hours training their employees how to use the complicated software and configuring their account.

To put these prices in perspective, Joincube is a cloud-based tool that allows people to collaborate in real time from anywhere and instantly sync across all devices. Employees can share documents, organize meetings, sync with Google apps, and self-organize with groups and task management, all in a more social and engaging way. Companies can be up and running quickly and the similarity of our interface to other major social media platforms such as Facebook drastically reduces training time required for employees.

The cost of implementation: $0. The average cost per user per month for SMEs: $2. You do the math.

The last major issue with SharePoint can be summed up effectively by Forrester Research analyst Rob Koplowitz: “The issue with SharePoint has been that enterprise social moves very fast and SharePoint doesn’t, because it’s a big, complex product.” Specialists within companies much prefer ESNs to SharePoint, because they can adapt their products to new technologies and customer feedback in a much faster and more effective way. In addition, they don’t have to deal with the “competitive mandates of a larger corporate parent,” and have more freedom when forming other partnership and implementing software from a third party.

In today’s world big and complex is bad. Simple and elegant is good.

With ESNs businesses are more flexible, more efficient, and better equipped to deal with the fast-paced nature and constant change of the modern business climate. For a modern business the choice is easy. Enterprise Social wins every time.

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