Forrester: SharePoint faces challenging future

Mobile, social and cloud are areas in which Microsoft's collaboration server must improve to continue its growth

By , IDG News Service |  Unified Communications

Microsoft also must improve its efforts to deliver SharePoint functionality via mobile applications to smartphone and tablet users of various platforms, the authors wrote.

Koplowitz and Rymer had words of praise for SharePoint 2013, pointing out that an impressive 68 percent of respondents said they plan to upgrade to that new version within two years after its release. Eighty-one percent of respondents are currently on SharePoint 2010, and the rest on 2007 and earlier versions.

In particular, the Forrester analysts like SharePoint 2013's new development architecture, which is consistent with Web standards and is designed to simplify and make more flexible and secure the creation and deployment of applications.

This new architecture "makes the product a native web citizen rather than a proprietary world of its own," as has been the case until now, and will make SharePoint 2013 "more modular and open than any prior release."

At this juncture, CIOs and other IT executives should rethink the role of SharePoint in their organizations. For example, if SharePoint is used only for document collaboration, it is an expensive proposition for which more affordable options exist, according to the authors. It's also a good idea to monitor how Yammer is integrated with SharePoint, and assess how comfortable the organization is with providing enterprise social collaboration via a cloud model. In addition, CIOs must keep a close eye on SharePoint's mobile capabilities.

For Microsoft, the challenges are substantial in areas like social, cloud and mobile, according to Forrester. "At stake is Microsoft's ability to maintain the strong growth curve SharePoint has enjoyed over the past four years," the authors wrote.

Dangerous competitors include IBM, Google, Jive Software and Box. "Despite its rousing success in enterprises, circumstances have changed, and SharePoint must prove its value all over again."

Microsoft declined to comment for this story.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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