Joseff Betancourt posted an article the other day on how to save money by replacing SharePoint with WordPress. Sadly, the comment system at the CTOEdge site didn’t work at the time, so I couldn’t post a response there.
So, here it is:
Joseff, I’m sure you’re a great guy and everything, but apparently you know very little about SharePoint. That’s no necessarily unexpected, after all, even those of us who spend most of our waking hours with SharePoint find it difficult to keep up with everything.
However, what surprises me most is how little you must also know about WordPress and small businesses. You say that you could replace SharePoint as a collaboration tool with WordPress and some plugins that mimic a social site. That is truly like suggesting that you can replace a toolbox with a nail because all you’d use a toolbox for is hanging pictures on the wall.
I come from the SharePoint camp, being a long-term SharePoint developer. However, I am also a seasoned solutions architect. I strongly believe you are making a grave mistake here, one that the SharePoint camp has been doing for years. I absolutely love WordPress, I can’t think of a better tool for putting stuff on the web at the moment, but with your claims, you are doing WordPress a great disservice.
SharePoint should never be used for public websites, especially not for small businesses. For that, it is far too cumbersome and was never really designed to handle those tasks. Even a modest site would require so much in development effort and backend hardware (virtual or physical) that it would kill any reasonable financial analysis. Sure, in specific scenarios, SharePoint may be an alternative for public facing websites, but as a general purpose web content management system, it plain sucks.
For the clients I have that need a public site, I often strongly recommend WordPress over SharePoint. Even for my own SharePoint university, we utilize WordPress in a multitude of websites both because it is easy to use, purpose built for public exposure, and has an immense backing. Many of the biggest websites dedicated to SharePoint (like EndUserSharePoint.com and SharePointMagazine.net) are backed by WordPress. As you, I absolutely love the ease of customization, I build plugins to do pretty much anything that doesn’t come out-of-the-box or as third-party plugins, and I’m amazed at the theme system, outperforming SharePoint by miles.
The error that the SharePoint camp does is forcing SharePoint into a role in which it is inherently not suited. As an analogy I’ve used before, yeah, you can use a Ferrari to swat flies. It’s extremely expensive, difficult to do, and there would be a lot of better ways of accomplishing the same task using other tools.
The same can be said, I’m afraid, for WordPress. Claiming that WordPress can replace SharePoint to save money is missing the point and doing WordPress a great disservice. What you’d end up with is a tool that was not built or even intended for a fraction of the features that SharePoint does. In the end, users will end up with a difficult-to-maintain system that is likely far more expensive to build and will never truly fit _their_ needs. Ultimately, what will happen is that you’re forcing tools to behave in manners to which they are not intended. That’s bad for SharePoint and it’s bad for WordPress.
Yeah, you could get the WordPress Ferrari to function as a charger for your iPod, but it’s not really using the tool for what it is intended, and I’m certain most people would see that it is less than optimal use for such a fine piece of machinery.
Use WordPress where WordPress shines and leave other tasks to tools better suited for those tasks. Leave SharePoint to do what SharePoint does and keep it away from tasks it shouldn’t handle. Both platforms can, in theory, be used for virtually anything, but that doesn’t say it’s a good idea to use it for everything.
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