SharePoint & Social Networking Is All Fun and Games

Without having to divulge too much, my company use SharePoint technology to process an average of three million documents a year. It’s a complex mission critical Enterprise Content Management platform, used heavily by hundreds of users, with very demanding SLA. Any processing delays have productivity, legal, and real-life implications. My role is broad. Let’s just say I know what shit I’m talking about.

All this talk about Social networking in the workplace is pure nonsense. Management and upkeep of personnel records already falls within the responsibilities of HR, and whatever accompanying system built around it. The idea of engaging employees to spend time in social networking activities, i.e. maintaining personal pages, blogs, photos, experiences, only adds to the strain of IT, operating overhead. And it eats up valuable time that is best spent on projects. Ya know, things you’re being paid for.

My company have its own corporate intranet portal, as well as employee information system that’s integrated with payroll, time keeping, benefits, and employment record. I think that’s the way to go.

It’s not a secret that Microsoft is pushing for SharePoint as a social platform in organizations. But let’s face it, it’s an experimental “feature” at best, not to mention a very expensive one. I know of companies, in my industry, who’s moving away from SharePoint, favoring open-source platforms, due to unjustified total cost of ownership. Of course, this is not great news for consultants and Microsoft. And I can only expect great defense from that side of the fence.

All this talk about enabling social platform in the workplace, albeit Facebook-syndrome, is an example how techies can be out of touch with reality, failing to identify what businesses really need to get the job done… in favor on what they think is cool. And don’t forget, it’s unprofessional to bring your personal life in the workplace.

This won’t be the first time Microsoft, et al missed the mark on coming up with tools based on real business/end user needs.


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