Gartner released its latest Magic Quadrant review of Horizontal Portal products and the top product was SharePoint 2010 (just ahead of IBM WebSphere).

 

Some of the Strengths were:

  • Consistent Architecture – I agree…but only if you believe in MS servers, DBs, and productivity products.  I do believe in them, but some still think that MS is not ready for prime time.
  • Cloud capability – This is especially true when Wave 14 launches in early 2011.  The ability for a business to host their Intranet, Extranet, and Internet in the cloud will open up whole new avenues and business classes to be able to use SharePoint as a portal.
  • Business focused – This is critical to success.  IBM WebSphere is an IT driven product, and the business gets what they get whether they like it or not (and sometimes whether it fits their requirements or not).  With SharePoint business is often the driver of the implementations with IT sometimes drug along kicking and screaming.  When business is driving, it is much more likely for a project to actually be a success.

 

The weaknesses (according to Gartner):

  • Not an “Open Framework” – There are two points here that I disagree with.  The first is the claim that Java is “open”.  Often “open” is just a code word for non-Microsoft.  After all, if you choose WebSphere will you be integrating .Net components into it?  Will you be integrating multiple flavors of Java?  Likely not if you want a smooth enterprise.  Which brings me to point number two.  The idea that the “best of breed” approach is always the best.  I call this the Frankenstein approach because by picking the best of each component you end up with a mish-mash that adds a lot of effort to any integration efforts.  SOAP purists can claim that web services make everything better, but the reality is far from easy.  You end up authoring an Enterprise Web Services layer that every component has to then develop interfaces for and you increase your overall management level as a result.  And, while a particular product might be better than the highly integrated solution…will your enterprise really use the full features of the single product.
  • Upgrade Path not smooth – The issue that Gartner brought up was that many companies are still implementing 2007.  While this is true, I think that Microsoft has put a lot of work into ensuring that upgrades are much smoother than the 03-07 path, as well as the architecture being able to allow for multiple installs and even running 2007 on 2010 farms.
  • Governance – This is a critical aspect of any SharePoint project, and one that is often ignored.  This is a weakness for SharePoint because of its organic growth as opposed to IT control. It is easily addressed by ensuring that Governance is part of EVERY SharePoint installation.

 

Overall, I am very happy to see that SharePoint is the top product and hope that this goes a long way towards ending the “not ready for the enterprise” tag that Microsoft often gets.