When You Say SharePoint- We Say (Please) Don't
The decision to use SharePoint (SP) is logical for many public and private organizations. Perhaps they take being "a Microsoft shop" literally or leverage the fact that it ships with an enterprise license. So, when talking to a prospect, it's never shocking to discover that they are using SharePoint for enterprise content management (ECM.)
Unfortunately for them, despite being a mature platform, SharePoint issues exist. Some might call it a software amalgamation rather than a platform as it now consists of many Office365 products, Slack, PowerBI, PowerApps, and the kitchen sink— all integrated. Despite improvements, getting SharePoint working for your organization requires a lot of expensive developer work under the hood.
In this era of cloud, on-premises, or hybrid, there are more alternatives than ever, such as Laserfiche (LF), and SharePoint users are pushing their tech departments to look at other options. As IT becomes more decentralized across organizations, collaboration is efficiently expedited with cloud tech and digital channels instead of a rigid, monolithic grouping of functionality ala SharePoint. Here are other problems that cause organizations to flee to alternatives:
For some, the ability for users to stand up sites independently is wonderfully easy for adoption. EXCEPT when chaos rules. When you are a records manager or a compliance officer, all this ungoverned "sprawl" may represent non-compliance, which means possible fines or loss of reputation and clients. There must be standards around site creation, usage, and content creation (which are records or not). Interfaces with other systems must be consistent. ECM systems with more granular security and controls, such as Laserfiche, are the best governance choices in highly regulated industries.
Organizations that can make do with COTTS will be content with SP. However, if you require workflows and significant customizations, keep shopping. Laserfiche offers workflow tools that trained staff rather than expensive programmers can easily wield. You can accomplish many of what some vendors call integrations using database lookups, workflow, and other capture tools. If you require significant customization, the LF SDK is the same toolset that the LF developers use and has libraries that include Laserfiche Server Objects, Document Processor, .Net access, and several others. Microsoft has worked to improve configuration tools, but customizations are still limited. In SharePoint Online, those who desire advanced workflow functionality are out of luck. Inhouse development can't access the Azure servers without third-party tools, and they still won't necessarily gain needed customization. If you require advanced workflow functionality, here's what Gartner had to say about LF tools in the latest Magic Quadrant, "Laserfiche has a comprehensive and well-integrated set of business process automation technologies, including business process design, workflow, forms, and reporting/dashboarding. Gartner rated the cloud nature and configurability of these capabilities highly, and they represent some of the best cloud process automation and application development tools we have seen. Clients seeking best-in-class, content-centric business automation should consider Laserfiche."
One of the primary reasons for deploying ECM is Search and Retrieval. It must be said that SharePoint's Enterprise Search feature is neither user-friendly nor easily configured (yes, this is a pattern). In addition, search functionality can not be extended to all in-house data services using SP. Hence, there's no "enterprise" in the Enterprise Search. In fairness, tools were released to serve Search, but once again, they are difficult and stressful to customize, configure and deploy.