eRoom vs Sharepoint

Since I am not an eRoom expert, I did not really elaborate much on the differences between eRoom and Sharepoint as part of my Documentum vs Sharepoint postings.  The following is list of differences provided by a commentor, which I deem very insightful:

  1. One of the biggest issues that SharePoint has is administration.  I’ve had companies come to us and tell me that they are spending 10 hours a day keeping SharePoint up and running.  When you look at eRoom and have customers who have installed it a year ago and don’t have to log into the server again in that period of time, that says alot.  Look at eRoom, launched about a decade ago, is already at version 7.3.  It’s stable, proven, reliable.  When reviewed side by side, it blows away SharePoint.
  2. Some additional key points for eRoom is the ease of extending and building the eRooms by nontechnical business users.  A manager can build her own tracking system for just about anything, such as correspondence, without IT involvement. Try doing that with SharePoint.
  3. Inboxes also don’t exist with SharePoint.  But with eRoom, you can add an “inbox” to a room and then start emailing that project, program or business process as you would any member ofthe team.  Then, all the related emails to the proejct are in your eRoom, within the context of what you are working on.  Stored alongside files, structured and unstructured data.
  4. In SharePoint, you cannot “nest” containers.  In eRoom, we can have a folder inside the room.  A calendar inside the folder.  An event inside the calendar.  Another folder inside the event.  A database inside the folder.  A file attached to a database row inside the database.  eRoom will truly go where you need it to go.
  5. Finally, there’s the customization side of things.  If you can dream it, we can do it as an extension/add-on to eRoom.  The API is rich, stable and reliable.  As I said, we’re at version 7.3.  We’ve built add-ons for numerous purposes including a custom command that will convert the contents of a database row into a fillable PDF form template and uploaded to the attachment area of the database row.  We’ve built custom single sign on.  We’ve built “relational” databases within eRoom.  The point is that it can be extended and customized easily, within the scope that eRoom initially intended, without sacrificing stability of the core product.

I would like to thank Eric Crone from eRoomExperts for contributing his thoughts on how eRoom stands up against Sharepoint.

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17 responses to “eRoom vs Sharepoint

  1. dozyarmadillo

    I was hoping for a list of differences but it appears to be more like “reasons why my favourite toy is better than your toy”. It certainly doesn’t seem to be very objective.

    “I’ve had companies come to us and tell me that they are spending 10 hours a day keeping SharePoint up”

    This is just ridiculous. Are you suggesting that all companies face this same prospect? If this was the case Microsoft wouldn’t sell a single unit. What are they doing for 10 hours a day?

    “When reviewed side by side, it blows away SharePoint.”
    Maybe it does but Eric is not reviewing the 2 products side by side so do we just take this on trust? It’s not even close to being a review ffs! Provide the information so that we can decide! You’ve not mentioned a single feature of SharePoint. From the article title I was expecting something like a matrix of features with ratings or something.

    “eRoom will truly go where you need it to go.”
    Dripping with cheese. God help us from marketing classics like this.

    “We’ve built custom single sign on. We’ve built ‘relational’ databases within eRoom”
    You could probably build a frickin laser gun with eRoom by the sounds of it but that doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea.

    I have no doubt that eRoom is a great product but the “comparison” is so one sided that it comes across as fanboyism. Cmon Eric – post a proper comparison!

  2. I appreciate your comments dozyarmadillo; however, I dont want this to degenerate to some rants & raves posting. I posted Eric’s comments in hopes of getting responses from people in the Sharepoint camp. I support your challenge to Eric, but lets try to tone down the snide remarks.

  3. dozyarmadillo

    Snide? I was aiming for playful jabs but on re-reading my post maybe I did overstep the mark. I stand by by original criticism though. I was hoping for a fair comparison in a similar vein to your Documentum v SharePoint comparison.

    Regards

  4. Pingback: SharePoint and EMC « Word of Pie

  5. I’m going to have to second dozyarmadillo on his feedback here. Eric’s comments about eRoom don’t really help any strategic business decision maker decide what sort of solution to go with. What stakeholders are looking for are key comparisons with specifics as to why one solution is better than the other. Eric sounds like a cheerleader to me than anything else.

  6. Glad I checked back and I apologize that it took me so long to do so. I never intended to produce a side by side comparison of the two products. As my name implies, I’m an eRoom expert, not a SharePoint expert. I’ve had limited exposure to SharePoint but it was unpleasant. My knowledge of the product is really limited to clients and colleagues who have had ongoing stuggles with SharePoint. I don’t think that anyone would argue with me that eRoom is much much easier to install and administer.

    I installed eRoom in 25 minutes max and have walked away from an installation of eRoom without logging into the server for 8 + months and it still plugs along. Can SharePoint do that? Nope.

    My comment about eRoom and SharePoint being compared side by side was from clients who compared the two, not me. I’ve seen SharePoint implementations fail and I’ve seen eRoom implementations fail. The difference is that I’ve never seen eRoom fail where the technology was the failure point. Rather, it was business reasons and lack of buy in from the stakeholders fro the beginning. With SharePoint, I’ve seen and heard of failures for business reasons too, but all too often from the technology. Our company recently had a booth at a trade show and I had dozens of SharePoint Administrators come through and when asked would complain about maintenance. When I asked existing eRoom administrators, I never heard such a remark.

    Can a non-technical user (ie manager) log into SharePoint and quickly/easily create a database to track correspondence or anything else? Not from what I’ve seen or heard. Correct me if I’m wrong someone.

    Can you build a database in SharePoint and then next a calendar attached to a database row with a folder inside a calendar item and files attached to that? From what I have seen and have been told, you cannot nest items in SharePoint.

    Can you add an inbox item to SharePoint so that a project team can cc the project and view the emails in SharePoint? Again, I am not a SharePoint expert, but from what I was told, you cannot do that. At least not out of the box.

    My point: I am an eRoom eXpert. I AM an eRoom Fan, as dozyarmadillo suggested. I am not offended by his remarks. Looking at my post as an objective outsider, I would have come to the same conclusion. Unfortunately, I didn’t have anyone proofread my post before sending to Johnny.

    Summary: eRoom is not for everyone. It depends on your requirements. I would suggest that if you are looking for a product to track information about programs, projects and processes and would like to centralize content within the context of those programs, projects and processes, then eRoom is worth looking at. It is extendable, customizable and flexible to do a myriad of tasks without requiring a PhD in Microsoftology. I am president of the eRoom Fan club and I approved this message.

    PS: I’d welcome comments or arguments.

  7. dozyarmadillo

    Nice response Eric. Thanks for the additional information. I’m glad that you didn’t take offence at my comments.

    Your description of some of the eRoom features makes eRoom worth investigating – I may check after D6 arrives, hopefully there will be tighter integration with Documentum.

    I agree that SharePoint does have more than it’s fair share of problems. Installation is definitely not intuitive but it’s not impossible. After you install the first one it gets easier (wow – what an endorsement). The administration screens are a mess. I definitely see problems in SharePoint but I can see it’s value to MS shops – pricing, integration, the Microsoft badge and enough functionality to get by. It’s hard to ignore the SharePoint hype machine.

    It would be nice to read an objective feature by feature comparison for once. Hopefully someone will publish such a thing in future. Probably me if I find the time.

    Regards

  8. Challenge:
    Does anyone have a SharePoint installation on the internet that I can log into and play around? I have an SMB edition of eRoom on the internet that I can give you a login to in exchange. I’d love to be able to compare the two products, but I may also need some help creating the list of requirements and features to compare. Anyone have such a list? Are there any SharePoint experts out there? Perhaps we can make this a group project. Any takers? Johnny, please let me know if this is an acceptable thing to post on your Blog. I don’t want to overstep my welcome.

  9. I think this challenge is a great idea. I’m still waiting to hear from people knowledgeable about Sharepoint. Havent gotten any takers yet.

  10. I’m going to have access to SharePoint in the very near future. I’m going to see if I can get access to it for next week when life will, hopefully, be slow.

  11. Dear Johnny,
    Very interesting post.
    What about if I tell u that I have to choose between VIGNETTE 7 and MOSS 7 to run a big media portal ?
    Thanks for ur answer :-p

  12. I think that would be a great idea. At the very least, it would give us Documentum folks, a better insight in the strengths/weaknesses of MOSS.

  13. But if you are in a situation where VIGNETTE 7 and MOSS 7 are both finally shortlisted, what will u choose ?

  14. Oops, I thought you were offering to provide the detail comparison. I dont know anything about Vignette to help you out.

  15. djadmax, your question can’t be answered. To be specific, there isn’t nearly enough information presented to even begin to make a decision.

    I’ve used the Vignette portal, but like most portals, it needs content (portlets) to be useful. Where is your content coming from? Are you going to use it to store documents, collaborate, or use it as a traditional portal?

    Two big differences between the 2. MOSS 2007 is a Windows-based, Web Collaboration tool. Vignette is a J2EE-based portal. So think of what you want to use it for and what your organizations skill sets are. You will need to develop in each of them, so look to your strengths.

    Go from there. Good luck.

  16. Pingback: Word of Pie Comparing Features of SharePoint and eRoom «

  17. Pingback: More on Documentum-Sharepoint battle… « Ask Johnny! - Documentum Guru

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