Most enterprises support a variety of platform technologies to solve a range of IT System needs. Microsoft SharePoint and Quickbase are deployed in various capacities in the majority of Fortune 100 companies. Each of these toolkits provide very different capabilities for solving sometimes relatively similar challenges. The wise business leader will understand the strengths of each technology and when to best deploy.
Both Quickbase and SharePoint are designed to provide flexible, secure and rapidly deployed approaches to collaboration.
SharePoint is fundamentally a system focused on the management of documents within a collection of public and private sites (essentially like websites). Through the addition of Lists, Business Intelligence (BI) Services and Business Connectivity Services, SharePoint supports a limited capability for record-focused interaction. As a Microsoft product, SharePoint is unparalleled in its ability to interface with Microsoft Office products.
Quickbase is, at its core, an online database designed for interaction with forms and tabular reports. With a simple but powerful relational model and in-memory database, Quickbase provides powerful data-driven capabilities for managing up to medium-sized data sets. Some capabilities are provided for handling documents though it’s a highly limited set of features.
Microsoft offers SharePoint as a stand-alone installation as well as hosted via Office365. On-premise versions may be 2007, 2010 or 2013 with fairly major differences between the versions. Stand-alone implementations are typically deployed as server farms and may have multiple application instances deployed for various needs. Business leaders looking for departmental capabilities may be provided more or less flexibility depending on internal IT policies and support.
Quickbase is a multi-tenant Service as a Service (SaaS) hosted by and cannot be deployed stand-alone. Upgrades to Quickbase are pushed out on a regular basis and apply to all clients and applications. Business leaders with access to a Quickbase account can quickly create, copy and perform administrative functions on an application.
SharePoint manages security primarily through group membership at a site level. This makes it very convenient to provide secure access to a collection of content. Site security can be inherited or discreet allowing for a hierarchy of security cascading across sites or very specific site level security.
Quickbase drives security at a role and record level with a high degree of granularity. Very detailed security for each table and each role can be set via custom data-driven rules that manage view, edit and create rights. Security rules extend to visibility and editing of records as well as fields.
SharePoint ships with the intention of enabling self-service application capabilities by relatively non-technical users. Improvements in SharePoint 2013 have enhanced self-service capabilities. However, many SharePoint farms are highly-restricted by IT, and if not, are still quite difficult to configure by non-technical users. Moderately technical users can create sites, custom lists, workflows and other features of SharePoint.
Quickbase with an extensive focus on self-service, supporting DIY capabilities for business users with little technical experience. Most capabilities of Quickbase including field, table, form and report creation can be completed with relative ease. More advanced users can create complex formulas, form rules and sophisticated relationship models without code.
Extensibility & TCO
As a broadly featured platform, SharePoint provides an extensive framework for client and server-based customization. The degree of actual extension available in SharePoint may be limited by the version and IT rules in the organization. SharePoint development can be highly-complex and tuned for enterprise scalability. This leads to relatively higher costs of development and support, although the actual extension may be via Microsoft technologies such as MSSQL and .Net deployed into a SharePoint environment.
As a SaaS focused on a narrower set of enterprise IT features, Quickbase provides capable but limited options for extension. Client pages for custom UX can be hosted on Quickbase for enhanced interactions, a relatively comprehensive API is available, though no server-based functionality is supported; so a middleware approach or additional technologies are needed for integrations and advanced capabilities. Quickbase also has some relatively narrow limits on data scalability (maximum tables at 500MB) so it’s an ideal option for medium-sized needs due to a generally low TCO and high development speed.
Use Case Examples
- SharePoint is a great tool for creating a place to collaborate on documents and other relatively unstructured content in a secure manner
- Quickbase is a great tool for managing an assortment of related data through a collaborative process
- SharePoint is often used as an intranet with a hierarchy of sites and mini applications
- Quickbase is frequently used to support a variety of small data-focused needs within a department
- SharePoint is great for supporting content searches based on complex rules across a large spectrum of enterprise content
- Quick Base is ideal for quickly getting analysis and reporting out of process that used to be managed on spreadsheets
Interested in Quickbase or SharePoint for your Enterprise or need help with existing deployments? The MCFTech team can help.
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