SharePoint Feels the Heat

September 4, 2012

I know there are quite a few companies who depend upon, integrate with, and otherwise cheerlead for Microsoft SharePoint. Heck, there are consultants a-plenty who tout their “expertise” with SharePoint. The problem is that some folks are not taking advantage of SharePoint’s glories. There are also some, if the data in “Most Popular Content Management Systems by Country” are accurate, who may never embrace SharePoint’s wonderfulness.

The write up appeared in W3Tech and makes clear that the top dog in content management is WordPress, followed by Joomla. Both of these are open source systems. The article asserts:

WordPress, as the most popular CMS overall, also dominates this picture. It is the number one system in most countries in North and South America, Europe and Oceania, many countries in Asia including Russia and India, and surprisingly few countries in Africa. Joomla dominates a fair number of countries in Africa, for example Algeria, Morocco and Nigeria, several countries in Central and South America, such as Venezuela, Ecuador and Cuba, two countries in Europe, Greece and Bosnia, as well as Afghanistan and a number of other countries in Asia.

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Are SharePoint centric vendors ignoring the market shifts in content management and search?

So where is SharePoint popular? Where do companies like BA Insight, Concept Searching, dtSearch, Recommind, SurfRay, and dozens upon dozens of other SharePoint supporters need to focus their sales efforts? According to W3Techs:

SharePoint is the number one system in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar and Lebanon as well as on .mil sites, which again don’t show up as separate country in our chart.

And China? Bad news. W3Tech says:

Discuz is a Chinese system that dominates its home market with 49% market share, but is not so much used outside China.

Thank goodness for Skype and Webex. A sales call and conference visit in these countries can whack an expense budget.

Many stakeholders in search and content processing companies believe that SharePoint as a market will keep on growing and growing. That may indeed happen. However, SharePoint centric vendors are likely to find themselves forced to pivot. At this time, a couple of search and content processing vendors have begun the process. Many have not, and I think that as the cost of sales and marketing rises, investors will want to learn about “life after SharePoint.”

How quickly will this message disseminate? Paddling around in Harrod’s Creek, I think that some companies will continue to ride the SharePoint bandwagon. That’s okay, but the “sudden pivot” which Vivisimo is trying to pull off with its “big data” positioning can leave some people confused.

SharePoint has been a money machine for third parties and consultants for a long time. The history of SharePoint is rarely discussed. The focus is on making the system work. That approach was a money maker when there was strong cash flow and liberal credit. As organizations look for ways to cut costs, open source content management systems seem to be taking hold. We are now tracking these important market shifts in our new service Text Radar.

If the W3Tech data are incorrect, the SharePoint vendors with their assertions about smart algorithms and seamless integration will blast past Autonomy’s record search revenues of almost $1 billion. But most search vendors are not Autonomy and are likely to be mired in the $3 to $15 million range where the vast majority of search and content processing vendors dwell.

Could the future be open source and high value, for fee add ons that deliver a solid punch for licensees? We have analyzed the open source search and content processing sector for IDC, and open source as an alternative to SharePoint content management, content processing, and search may have some wind in its sales. How many SharePoint centric vendors will generate a hundred million in revenue this year? Perhaps zero?

Stephen E Arnold, September 4, 2012

Sponsored by Augmentext


One Response to “SharePoint Feels the Heat”

  1. Andrew Young on September 23rd, 2012 7:59 pm

    Having spent the last couple of years promoting SharePoint as a WCM platform I’m quite familiar with the W3Tech data. Think there are a couple of important points here:

    Firstly – this data is looking at external websites only which traditionally hasn’t been SharePoint’s strongest use case.

    Secondly – “market share” is measured by the number of urls (of big companies or small). Not entirely surprising therefore that WordPress, Joomla, Drupal sites far outnumber those of the big commercial WCM products. Amongst these “enterprise” players SharePoint actually performs suprisingly well.

    SharePoint 2013 promises much in terms of search-driven web experiences so we’ll have to see how the market reacts to Microsoft’s adaptive content play.

    In the meantime, the vast majority of SharePoint (including Search) projects will continue to take place behind the corporate firewall. As someone who works with both BA Insight and Concept Searching, I can assure you that they do not have their heads stuck in the sand as you rather unkindly suggest.


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