When doing research, ALWAYS consider the source

Tuesday, July 8, 2008 10:35 AM
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In my days as a SharePoint professional living in the Publishing / CMS space, I frequently come across a customer who pits SharePoint against some of the other Web based CMS products out there. Most of these customers have been to a site called CMS Watch. Many times they quote what these guys say and write about as well as their “SharePoint Report.” And so starts the saga of a long winded email chain, usually a few phone calls and possibly an onsite meeting shooting down, poking holes and mitigating the issues that CMS Watch raises on SharePoint. This is really annoying because I see customers over and over trust a source that is just not unbiased (and thus trustworthy) in my mind.

CMS Watch has a blatant and obvious bias against everything Microsoft, especially SharePoint. Their SharePoint Report paper leaves a lot to be desired and, just like the posts on their site, picks at SharePoint in every chance they get. They attack things that are so edge case that can usually be mitigated. The post that put me over the top that caused me to go off on this little rant was by one of their principals who recently said:

We've critiqued SharePoint's rather awkward web publishing capabilities in different evaluation reports. But we also see customers who seek to deploy SharePoint for their public websites, either because they want to experiment with the platform, or because the business side is being forced to use it (often under the misimpression that it will be “free”).

Let me highlight two statements in that quote: according to CMS Watch, the only reasons people deploy SharePoint (after bucking the rest of their opinions) is either to “experiment with the platform” or “the business side is being forced to use it.” Those for darn sure don't sound like unbiased statements. So… there's just never a reason that SharePoint is a good fit. Nope… that couldn't be the case. So the folks at KPMG, Swiss Air & Orange County Public Schools were just experimenting or were forced into it because they thought it would be free? That's one heck of an experimental budget & visible test. Show me someone who was going to deploy an enterprise CMS system who expects it to be free that they didn't download off SourceForge. Sorry… I don't buy that and I think they'd take offense to those biased statements.

I'd love to see what other reports they've done, but all I find is a SharePoint Report… sure there's a Web CMS Report, but where's the other stuff like BEA Report, WebSphere Report or OpenText Report? Interesting. And even in the page where they sell their SharePoint Report, they point out problems and then point you over to another paper they make you think you just must buy if you're considering using SharePoint for a Web based CMS.

Now also consider the source of this post: I'm an obvious backer & promoter of SharePoint in the enterprise (and no, not just for experimentation or because I was forced to do it). I see tremendous value, and have provided tremendous value, in helping companies deploy SharePoint not only for intranets and internal collaboration, but also for Internet facing content-centric CMS sites. Is it for everyone? Heck no… and I'll tell a customer right off the bat if it isn't. I've got issues with parts of SharePoint too. In fact, many of the painpoints I have are shared with many folks in the SharePoint community, but I find it interesting that many of these points are missed by CMS Watch.

I could go on but I don't want to turn this into a bashfest. Instead let me part with this: simply consider the source of where you get your information… especially those who charge you for their [biased] opinions.

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