SharePoint Enterprise or Standard CAL ?

Common question right?  Actually it is for most organizations looking to deploy SharePoint 2010.  I often hear the question “what are the differences between SharePoint standard and Enterprise?”

I have a lot to say on this subject because it is far more than just some features.  It truly is how you plan to use SharePoint and who plans to use SharePoint. 

Top 5 reasons for SharePoint Enterprise:

  1. Excel Services
  2. Performance Point Services
  3. Forms Services
  4. Full BCS use
  5. Visio Services

It really comes down to the BI tools the Microsoft platform offers.

I cannot imagine many companies not deciding Excel Services is the best thing in the World.  Why don’t they? They just don’t understand the power of it for productivity as well as the savings and headaches from emailing and merging Excel files over and over.

It only makes sense that there should be one Excel workbook that is the truth and everyone that needs to can update and contribute to this workbook from one spot and all other users can see the important information to them visually from a webpage and not an email of a locked spreadsheet or a screenshot/copy and paste.  It is all about the visuals we want to show executives and management.  We want to allow this to be easily consumed by the end users.  Excel Services makes this so easy.  If you are going to us BI in your organization and looking at a platform, do not look past Microsoft’s BI platform.  SharePoint, SQL 2008 PerformancePoint and Excel/PowerPivot are just the beginning of some of the greatest tools around

Just want the full comparison of features – SharePoint 2010 versions

I have asked many business decision makers over and over how they get daily numbers or quick sales information or the like.  Almost all of them say they get an email at the end of the day with a spreadsheet or a table that was copied from a spreadsheet from the IT department or a sales admin.  No interaction. No access anywhere. If this information changes 10 minutes after that email are they up to date viewing this?  Of course not! Also they might being viewing this on a phone or other device. Email is great, but it is not the best means of collaboration.  It is a good means of communication, but it should not be considered a collaboration tool anymore the way SharePoint can add this value.

Quickly back to the first thought here – The Enterprise CAL.  Licensing SharePoint 2010 seems very complicated, but in most cases it simple and easy.  One nice thing about it is the Server/CAL model. This means all SharePoint servers need a server licensing and every user needs a CAL.  Simple!  Another nice feature is that the Enterprise CAL is an additive CAL, meaning you would purchase a Standard CAL and then add Enterprise on top of this giving you access to Enterprise features.  There is no Standard and Enterprise version of SharePoint media.  So no reinstall is needed if you decide to add Enterprise features later.  Also this means that a subset of users can have access to the Enterprise features while other users only get Standard.  For an example if you organization has 1000 employees and most of these users are your sales force and do not need access to the BI tools that management needs.  Let’s say that 300 users need Enterprise features.  You would license 1000 standard CAL’s and then 300 Enterprise CAL’s thus saving you tons of money you might waste.

More to come on this topic…

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