Microsoft SharePoint – Choosing the Right Edition for Implementation and Migration

SharePoint’s document management system and collaboration features have always proved to be unmatched. But how do you choose the right version?

Microsoft SharePoint is extremely powerful and secure collaborative platform which allows users to access, share, and manage documents, sites, portals and much more. It can even be tailored to your specific needs while being cost effective with the features which you choose.

When it comes to SharePoint’s document management and collaboration, it can do just about anything you need it to do. It is necessary that it has the right infrastructure and applications to perform well. Primarily, not every organization would need a full-featured platform for their company. How do you decide the right SharePoint edition for your organization?


After looking at different options, it is important to decide whether your organization could benefit from the innumerable features of SharePoint or can make do with just a part of it. Also, existing SharePoint users need to take the call if there is any need to migrate to a more recent version.

So what do you choose: SharePoint Foundation, Standard or Enterprise? The decision needs to hinge on key strategic factors that are mentioned here:

  • Out-of-the-box features and capabilities

SharePoint offers capabilities in six segments: Search, Insights, Content, Sites, Communities and Composites. But if you want social features within your organization and need basic search features, the standard version is the right choice. For BI services including Excel integration, one would need the enterprise edition. Here are the various features which one can pick depending on the version you choose.

  • Sharing (Sites)– For creating contextual environments for collaboration
  • Social networking (Communities)– For better sharing capabilities
  • Content management (Content)– For better document management and file features
  • Search – For finding people, sites, content, and the like
  • Business intelligence (Insights) – For better access to business information and streamlined reporting
  • Centralize (Composites) – For managing solutions, create sites based on workflows & forms without the use of coding

Cost

SharePoint’s Foundation and Server editions have significant differences since the Foundation edition comes has lower licensing fees compared to others although it offers less flexibility for customization. Cost is always an important criteria although functionality and performance are more important and need to take precedence.

Future needs

Always plan for tomorrow when you need to acquire licenses and need to take other options. One needs to ascertain whether the extra set of functionalities involved with SharePoint deployment will offer any value to business. Low investments might leave you with limited capabilities and might entail significant costs too.