If you employ SharePoint on your intranet, should you also use it publish your public websites?
The debate rages, and there is no universal answer. In our Web CMS Report, we detail SharePoint 2010's key deficiencies -- around cost, developer-intensiveness, usability, and more -- that tend to argue against the platform in public website scenarios, even for those licensees using it effectively in intranet environments.
Microsoft and its ever-loyal partners disagree vehemently, and point to the thousand-plus sites powered by SharePoint for web content management.
Recently, I've heard SharePoint adherents push a new party line: that customers can benefit from a shared infrastructure and platform expertise (intranet and website). This argument is particularly alluring to IT.
As marketplaces mature, however, lessons get learned and enterprises get smarter. Larger organizations in particular recognize that intranets and public sites remain two very different environments, in terms of both content management and visitor engagement.
I recently encountered two large firms where employees contributing content via SharePoint 2010 on their intranets told the marketing team not to deploy SharePoint for their public corporate sites. At one of the customers, the intranet contributors were in fact quite happy with their SharePoint deployment -- they just didn't think it would fit their public website needs.
Of course these are anecdotes and not a scientific survey. Yet I think the deeper story here is that savvier managers are learning the limitations of individual web publishing technologies -- along with the attendant need for different approaches to different scenarios. Consolidation around a single platform may be useful (sometimes) for IT -- but not always for the business side...