SharePoint is an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) and Document Management System (DMS) created by Microsoft. SharePoint is highly configurable, and is also a development platform for organizations to build web-enabled applications. There is an entire ecosystem of Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) that have built add-ons to the system for a variety of needs, including: external storage, metadata management, governance, records management, enhanced document management, and document capture+scanning.
Currently, Microsoft has both an on-premise offering and a cloud-based offering. The cloud-offering is referred to as SharePoint Online, and is coupled with Microsoft’s Office 365.
There has been quite a bit of controversy about the use of SharePoint as a Document Management System. Most of which comes from the industry, and it is highly critical of the lack of “out of the box” functionality. To truly be deemed a complete document management system, SharePoint requires the folowing basic add-ons:
- SharePoint OCR – to convert any image files to searchable content.
- Front-end Capture – this provides an “onramp” to Scan files to SharePoint.
- Enhanced Search – the ability to build a more friendly search interaface
- External Storage – to remove large image files from the SharePoint content databases.
These are just a few of the required pieces to make SharePoint a true document management system.