Is Sharepoint Taking Over the Intranet Space?

By Deane Barker on February 22, 2009

A month or so ago, my buddy Jakob Nielsen announced his 10 best intranets. Here’s an interesting point he makes:

Most impressively, fully half of the winning intranets used SharePoint, especially the recent MOSS platform (Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007). […] SharePoint use has grown dramatically in recent years. This is particularly impressive given that, from 2003–2006, the winning intranets didn’t use earlier versions of SharePoint at all.

I’ve wondered what the future might be for non-Sharepoint intranet technologies in Microsoft shops. Sharepoint often falls under existing licensing, making it effectively free, and it deeply integrates with everything else in the enterprise. Plus, it’s maturing quite rapidly.

What does this mean for traditional WCMS tools? Are they still relevant on their own, or only to the extent they integrate with Sharepoint? (Might be worth it to reconsider my Three Types of Intranets post here…)

I’ve used Ektron to build a couple intranets, and it keeps trying to stay relevant to the enterprise in the Sharepoint era — they’ve released some Web Parts functionality and a Sharepoint integration layer.

EPiServer has a connector for Sharepoint, and they have some pre-built Workrooms functionality that provides collaboration spaces, a lot like Sharepoint sites. EPiServer also has Community, which can rival Sharepoint in the internal (and external) social networking space.

Alfresco has the Share app, which is as Sharepoint-like as anything I’ve ever seen, which is impressive considering they abandon .Net completely (it’s a pure JEE app).

There are still some pure-plays in the Intranet CMS world like Community Server, then there are the “enterprise wiki” tools like Confluence. But are they eventually going to get squeezed out? Will Sharepoint become the default standard when people say “intranet”?

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  1. Good post. I think for Microsoft shops it’s an easy option, integrates with everything else MS related out of the box and it’s relatively easy to set up.

    However, the same ease carries over to site creation and how it’s used in the enterprise. Sharepoint anarchy soon follows with no rhyme nor reason to where content is stored, or thought given to CMS taxonomy. Good CMS systems are borne out of experience, with Sharepoint it’s all put together too easy.

    What really beggars belief is that MS, with all their resources and brain power, still lag behind in implementing new Sharepoint features. Wikis? blogs? And poor attempts at that.

    Interesting times ahead.

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