SharePoint 2010 and plug-ins

I enjoyed speaking about SharePoint at the Online Information Conference 2010 at Olympia this Wednesday.

Martin White spoke after me.  He said that ‘SharePoint met 80% of most people’s ECM needs.  The problem comes if something you need fits into the 20% that is missing’.

A member of the audience pointed out that there are lots of plug-ins available to fill the gaps, and many of them are relatively cheap in terms of license costs.  True. But how many plug-ins can your organisation afford to purchase, integrate and support?  What is the impact on the time it takes to implement service packs and upgrades?

From a records management point of view there are some fairly fundamental things in that missing 20%.  I spoke to an organisation recently who declined to use SharePoint as their electronic records management system, despite already possessing the licences for it, because the necessity for customisations and plug-ins outweighed the fact that they did not have to pay for licences.

They  identified that they would need plug-ins for :

  • e-mail integration (the facility that enables someone to select an e-mail in their Outlook client and choose a specific location within SharePoint to save it to).
  • export (the facility to export documents and other content, with all their associated metadata, in order to migrate the content to another system)

These two features are not marginal, they are fundamental features for an electronic records management system.  At a recent DLM forum meeting I heard Jon Garde state that export was one of the most important features of the draft MoReq 2010 electronic records management system specification, because the span of time that records are needed for is usually longer than the lifespan of the application in which they are stored.

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