Alfresco VS SharePoint
*Updated for 2016*
In any organisation, the need to efficiently collaborate and communicate in a timely manner is becoming increasingly important. Some users turn to SharePoint, as it is the product that is closest to the software that they already use. But what we often get asked here at Parashift is, why choose Alfresco? And what is the difference between Alfresco and SharePoint?
Now, I’m not saying that SharePoint isn’t a good product, in fact I’m saying the opposite, it serves a lot of people well in the collaboration world. But, Alfresco on the other hand is on the rise to becoming the market leaders, and for this to happen there must be some obvious reasons. Gartner announced that the Alfresco software has outpaced the ECM market growth by 3x the average 8.6% growth rate of any other product in the category1. Consequently Alfresco has also been named a Visionary in Magic Quadrant for six consecutive years2 and even as recent as this week, won the ‘Red Herring Top 100 Global Award’.
So, I am going to explain what I think are the most important differences between the two products:
Alfresco provides the choice of platform you choose to run Alfresco on is also up to you as Alfresco runs on all major operating systems including Windows, OSX and Linux. This ensures that the investment you’ve already made on your system won’t be lost.
Alfresco is completely scalable due to its architecture. When Alfresco stores a document the metadata is stored in a database and the document is stored in a file store. When searching for a particular document, Alfresco searches its index engine Solr which marries the location to the database and file itself in the content store – making the search experience fast. No matter how many documents are stored or saved the speed of searching will still remain the same, removing the bottleneck attitude that may be created with SharePoint.
Alfresco’s software is open source which allows the source code to be seen. By having the source code open, this permits more eyes to be on the code, allowing bugs to be fixed quicker. Along with this, it also allows both customisation and configuration to be completed by anyone who understands the Java programming language. This ensures that you are able to make changes to the software without having to invest extra money into hiring Microsoft to do it for you.
4. Enterprise-wide & Modular Approach
Allowing for an enterprise wide environment is a core function of Alfresco. Other applications such as finance systems, asset management systems and CRM systems are still able to be used, as Alfresco easily integrates with the line of business apps, providing access to the data you need from any system using a modular approach. This means that you don’t need to get rid of any previous systems if you don’t want to – you can use Alfresco at the back end.
No matter what format your files are in, such as PDF, Office Documents, or Digital Assets, Alfresco allows for all binary content to be stored, ensuring that any type of new file created in the future will be accepted. This approach provides future proofing of your system.
So, to understand a little more about the integral differences between Alfresco and SharePoint a comparison table has been created3 4:
|License||LGPLv3||Microsoft Shared Source License|
|Operating System||Cross-system||Windows Server|
|Programming Language||Java (any JVM scripting language)||VB.NET
|Cloud Platform Support||Amazon S3||Windows Azure|
|Operating System Server||Windows Server
Mac OS X
There are many different alternatives to deliberate when considering your current ECM investment and where to go in the future. Alfresco offers scalable, flexible and cost effective solutions for managing your organisation’s content. Is your current system doing the same for you?
1 Calculations performed by Alfresco Software based on Gartner Report, Market Share Analysis: Enterprise Content Management, Worldwide, 2013 Analyst(s): Tom Eid, Bianca Francesca Granetto, 2013 Published: 2 June 2014.
2 Gartner, Inc., Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Content Management, Analyst(s): Mark R. Gilbert | Karen M. Shegda | Kenneth Chin | Gavin Tay | Hanns Koehler-Kruener, Published September 23, 2013
3Alfresco, Products, Published 2014 <http://www.alfresco.com/products>.
4 SharePoint, Overview, Published 2014, <http://office.microsoft.com/en-au/sharepoint/sharepoint-2013-overview-collaboration-software-features-FX103789323.aspx>.
Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organisation and should not be construed as statements of fact.
It is advised that at the time of publishing, all information is correct and gathered from both the SharePoint and Alfresco websites. For further information on products mentioned please visit their websites.