Clearing the confusion on SharePoint costs

Working for a large organization, it should be no surprise to all that my workplace is going down the SharePoint path for its "enterprise software" solution. What may be surprising to some is that SharePoint confuses me.

Is SharePoint a document management system or a content management system? Every executive touts using SharePoint's collaboration features, but behind closed doors I only hear whispers that those collaboration tools aren't so great. I'm told Sharepoint is a cheap solution to implement, yet over the years I have never heard a CIO actually tell me they're saving money using SharePoint. Then there is the Microsoft Sharepoint licensing agreements. Every time I read a Microsoft license I can't help but wonder if I'm on a road that doesn't offer my organization appropriate exit ramps.

Luckily, there are people like Russ Edelman to help better explain the SharePoint experience to me. Russ Edelman is president of Corridor Consulting whose company is co-founder of SharePointGovernance.Org. Edelman has written one of the best articles I've read on identifying the needed resources necessary to support SharePoint, Determining the True Cost of Microsoft SharePoint.

Indeed, the true costs of deploying and supporting SharePoint are not well understood. Fundamental misconceptions about SharePoint prevent organizations from deploying it effectively and realizing its value. Many IT executives view SharePoint as a shrink-wrapped product that can be installed and configured in hours or days. In fact, it cannot. SharePoint is truly an enterprise information platform and must be treated as such. That means SharePoint configuration work needs to be well-planned and designed—not conducted in an ad-hoc fashion.

I encourage you to read the article as Edelman does a good job in explaining the various resources that are needed to adequately support Sharepoint. Now that I'm less confused about SharePoint, can someone help me to be less worried?