Microsoft SharePoint has proven itself to be much more than a fad, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should put all your eggs in the SharePoint basket. In some organizations, SharePoint is ubiquitous and inescapable, but it’s still just one technology in a sea of tools for workplace collaboration and efficiency.
Let’s take a look at five reasons why SharePoint isn’t the most miraculous technology, leading us to conclude that you shouldn’t limit your skills to Sharepoint alone and build your entire career around it.
1. SharePoint technology is complex and sprawling.
Complexity alone isn’t a great reason to avoid advancing your knowledge around a certain technology. After all, some organizations and projects require tools that can accommodate a great deal of complexity. However, SharePoint can be needlessly complex in implementation, to the point of being convoluted. Installation has heavy-duty requirements and is prone to errors. Updates are time-consuming. And its integration with other Microsoft systems means that if you have a SharePoint problem, it can affect many other components in the workplace. If you’re a SharePoint expert, some of these complexities may not seem problematic, but if you’re considering whether to pursue more SharePoint training, consider the downside of working with an often-difficult technology.
2. SharePoint doesn’t play well with other platforms.
While Microsoft has made an effort to bring SharePoint into its cloud-first, mobile-first strategy, it’s not quite there, yet, especially when compared to other tools in the Office suite. If your organization isn’t on Office 365 — and many still aren’t — recent enhancements that allow for mobile use and integration with other platforms may be unavailable or simply broken. Users and administrators alike report frustrations when trying to use SharePoint with anything other than Windows, IE, and PC-based office applications. In increasingly SaaS-based workplaces, SharePoint may be a dead end, due to its limited integrations with other cloud-based tools.
3. SharePoint doesn’t play well with external collaborators.
When you hear that SharePoint is an enterprise-grade solution, you might think that it lends itself well to large-scale collaboration, a requirement for many users in an increasingly global and interconnected business environment. Plenty of projects require collaboration and sharing across organizations, in scenarios involving business partnerships, sales activities, consulting relationships, and so on. But SharePoint’s external sharing capability is anything but friendly, especially when compared to similar functionality in other cloud-based platforms like G Suite. And linking from any outside system of record to content in SharePoint can get messy quickly. This is a big roadblock for many businesses and constitutes a barrier to SharePoint adoption, or at least a reason why many users may circumvent SharePoint for alternatives.
4. SharePoint doesn’t have a great reputation with users.
“Going around” SharePoint for alternatives is a common practice among frustrated users — and there’s no shortage of them in SharePoint environments. Some of the most common complaints have to do with finding and maintaining up-to-date content: search functionality stinks, version control is confusing, and metadata is difficult to use consistently. Microsoft has made efforts to solve this with products like Delve, and SharePoint experts can certainly address some of these problems in their businesses with training and advocacy, but the issue isn’t going away anytime soon. You don’t go into IT to win a popularity contest, of course, but do you want to invest your career in a technology that users tend not to like?
5. SharePoint is an enterprise-grade platform solution.
As mentioned earlier, SharePoint is complex. Its complexity means it can support complicated enterprise-grade initiatives, from content management to business intelligence and beyond. What SharePoint isn’t is a great out-of-the-box solution for smaller-scale projects such as an employee portal and wiki for your SMB. If you’re more interested in roles like IT manager at a small shop than consulting for billion-dollar conglomerates, building a career based on SharePoint probably isn’t for you.
For all its potential, SharePoint can sometimes be frustrating. If you work in an organization that uses SharePoint, or you have your sights set on working for a large enterprise where SharePoint makes sense to use as a solution, then, by all means, brush up on your skills with SharePoint training. But for most IT pros, deep SharePoint expertise isn’t the most practical base for building a career.
Whatever career development path you choose, SharePoint or otherwise, go into it with your eyes wide open, fully understanding the pros and cons of the technologies and career opportunities (or lack thereof). The more you know…
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