Chances are you have come across quite a lot of SharePoint alternatives. Some of them claim it while others are so defined by users. It is as rewarding to learn about these so called SharePoint alternatives as to learn about SharePoint itself. In a previous post, I introduced two prominent SharePoint alternatives – Box.com and Jive Software. In this post, I am going to introduce another SharePoint alternative – the #1 alternative of SharePoint in the cloud.
Notwithstanding that SharePoint is arguably the dominating ECM and collaboration platform, as a person who cares a lot about UI and UE design, I must say I am not particularly fascinated by SharePoint. To put it in a clear and frank way, I may be biased on this. After this little disclaimer, let’s take a look at the SharePoint challenger – Huddle.
Huddle was established in 2006, and now it is a leader in cloud collaboration and content management for the enterprise. It boasts 90000 organizations worldwide using their product and Disney, Kia Motors and HTC are among them.
One feature that makes Huddle stand out from other SharePoint alternatives is that Huddle can be accessed online, on desktops via Microsoft Office applications, and on the move with BlackBerry, iPhone and iPad apps. It only supports 12 languages though, far behind what SharePoint does.
In the Company presentation page, one sentence states their ambition and confidence abundantly clear: if SharePoint was built today, they would have built Huddle.
Based on information gleaned from their web site, it is safe to say that Huddle has a clearer UI design and wider access options than SharePoint. Pretty much like the feeling of using IE and Chrome, Huddle is lighter and easier to use while SharePoint is more complicated and cumbersome. Remember though, this conclusion is just a feeling, test be damned.
Apparently, Huddle is lighter because of its shortage of features. Compare with SharePoint, Huddle is like a toy (sorry Huddle!). On the flip side, SharePoint has an adoption issue while Huddle has a 90% adoption, guaranteed! Frankly speaking, Huddle and SharePoint are two products with different advantages and disadvantages respectively. Huddle is easier to use and maintain, yet its features are limited. SharePoint has significantly rich features as well as a swarm of third party vendors. Huddle has also some apps though, but they are in way too small amount.
In this perspective, SharePoint is a true platform with a lot of vendors offering additional consulting and web parts. Huddle is a product – at least as of now – Huddle is still a product.
Quite different from SharePoint, Huddle is cloud based. Without any lengthy configurations or trainings for end users and administrators, we could get Huddle up and running. Regarding to adoption, it is obvious that Huddle has higher adoption rate than SharePoint because of the light weight of its features. Here, each one has something in which it excels. For bigger organizations, SharePoint is a superb solution to handle requirements of content management and collaboration. For smaller companies, Huddle may offer a better option to run a lean organization.
Huddle is highlighting its cloud prowess on its web site very much. For small and midsized organizations, their content management and collaboration system on cloud is making more sense. But for bigger organizations, its powerhouse is a limitation. Moreover, SharePoint has its cloud version: Office365. Professional email, shared calendars, IM, video conferencing, and document collaboration can be accessed through cloud with Microsoft Office 365. Some people doubt its future, but personally I do believe Microsoft have the war chest to make SharePoint on cloud as popular as on premise.
Even though Huddle underlines its cloud strength a lot on its website, I think SharePoint and Huddle are on par with each other regarding to cloud. The only difference is the adoption rate of cloud computing among their potential customers. Since SharePoint has advantages among larger organizations and anecdotal evidences suggest that more small and midsized companies have been using cloud computing while bigger ones are still waiting.
But cloud computing is proving its value and I am sure these larger companies who are holding back will eventually embrace cloud. Till then, we will see how Huddle and SharePoint go on their cloud quest.