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Posted by John R. Rymer on October 3, 2011
I prepared this research with Rob Koplowitz.
The stage is set for a big upswing in custom application development on Microsoft SharePoint. First, SharePoint Server 2010 adoption is very strong, and this version of the product has the strongest features yet for custom development. Second, with application backlogs growing, many organizations will find themselves taking on SharePoint "customization" projects to meet business demands. Custom application development is the riskiest of the six SharePoint "workloads." For organizations adopting SharePoint, this situation demands a careful strategy now to avoid problems later. This post delivers our latest assessment of SharePoint adoption and discusses its implications for app delivery professionals.
Our latest survey on customer experiences with Microsoft SharePoint shows a successful product moving crisply through a major upgrade, from Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS 2007) to SharePoint Server 2010. SharePoint usage is strong in organizations of all sizes and in most industry sectors. The product's continued success has two conflicting facets for application development and delivery pros:
We find this tension between fast delivery of abundant applications and maintenance of a stable shared environment in conflicts between app delivery pros and the content and collaboration professionals who most often own the SharePoint strategy. The SharePoint "management police" patrolling the farm suddenly clamp down on customization projects that seem obviously useful to app delivery pros.
There's usually a productive middle ground between the application-delivery opportunities and risks of SharePoint. Finding this middle ground is the purpose of a sound enterprise SharePoint strategy. Given the spread of SharePoint through enterprises, the need to create a balanced strategy is now urgent.
We surveyed 511 professionals with responsibility for SharePoint installations. We found, in summary:
If your organization has adopted SharePoint or plans to do so, make the product an explicit part of your application development and delivery strategy. Many organizations still assign ownership of their SharePoint environments to content and collaboration managers, not their app delivery groups. Still, it is just a matter of time before these organizations begin using SharePoint's "customization" features to build and deliver custom applications. When it comes to application development, SharePoint is a slippery slope.
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