SharePoint Will Not Own ECM (At Least, Not Anytime Soon) – My 2¢ worth

Came across a post via via the other day…

@SharePointBuzz retweeted  @JoeShepley about a post that was written by Linda Andrews in response to a post Joe had originally written about SharePoint 2010. (You may have to read that again).

Here’s Joe’s original post:

And here’s Linda’s response:

I read Linda’s post first, and started writing a response. Once finished, I thought it might be prudent to read what Joe had originally said, and tweaked my response slightly. Originally I was going to post my response as a comment on the page of Linda’s post. But then thought “Nah – I’ll post this on my blog to give it the glory that it deserves”…

Here is my contribution to the debate:

Hi Linda

Interesting article – thanks.

I’ve been working in the ECM for about 16 years now, having cut my teeth on FileNet, and have worked for the last three years with Documentum (and also SharePoint).


When SharePoint 2003 appeared on the scene, it did not even show on my radar. I was aware of the name, but that was it. When SharePoint 2007 took to the stage, I watched the hype and excitement that it bought with it for the first 6 months, but watched that die quickly. While its strengths definitely didn’t lie with ECM, it did offer a lot to collaboration.

SharePoint 2010, on the other hand, I am treating with a modicum of respect, and I have been looking at the “threat” that it is supposedly bringing with it.

I have read Joe Shepleys original post. He makes some very valid points, and while, in principle, you do too, I’d like to share my own thoughts…

For many companies that already have an existing ECM solution in place, the cost, as you pointed out, of swapping to SharePoint is more a reason not to. To uproot a working system, as well as to migrate the documents is not something undertaken lightly.

However, consider a minus of some of the big ECM products. The cost of licences can be quite hefty. This does make SharePoint attractive (even taking into account the points you have made in Reason #3). Any smart company will try and reduce the cost of something that is considered an overhead. As a result, during times of document management system upgrades, it may be that the move to SharePoint could be worthy of consideration.

And, with that in mind, I would like to reiterate Joe’s Shepley’s closing paragraph, by saying that it is not unreasonable to consider that, for the sake of reducing costs, a change in expectations may also be considered. Analyse the actual business process and, if the cost savings are really worth it, adapt it. Maybe a less complex process, that has been built around the “reduced” functionality that SharePoint has, could be put into place.

I’m not going to make any hard predictions, but, maybe SharePoint will actually start owning more and more of the ECM world…

  • AIIM White Paper on SharePoint Deployment (

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