Not getting the “Point”?

Many people are confused about all the types of “Points” out there, SharePoint, PerformancePoint, ControlPoint, etc etc.  So here is a quick explanation of the most common “Points” heard these days to help clarify what they each do, (listed alphabetically) :

AvePoint – a company that also specialises in management tools for SharePoint (like ControlPoint below), as well as archiving solutions.  They have various products in the DocAve series to manage SharePoint.  Also a very good product.  Non Microsoft tool.

blackpoint – a very cool workflow (approval process in layman’s terms) tool from a company called K2. They have two products, blackpoint and blackpearl.  blackpoint does workflow on SharePoint only.  blackpearl extends the workflow capability to other business systems apart from SharePoint. blackpoint allows business users to build their own more complex workflows and see a graphical representation of what it looks like and where an item is in the process.  (Small caps intentional on the name). Non Microsoft tool.

ControlPoint – a completely seperate management tool made by Axceler, not Microsoft.  It is installed completely separately from SharePoint onto a server and is used to manage the installation, storage, access, usage, site structures, moving of site collections, backup and restores on SharePoint.  It is installed by your server administrators and allows the business owner to extract all kinds of management reports on the platform.  There are many types of management tools, I really like ControlPoint because it’s easy to use and has fantastic reporting capability of what’s going on on your platform.  This tool reports on the technology itself, not the business data that gets uploaded by users.  It is absolutely critical to have a management tool installed on the platform in a large organisation as it is near impossible to manage SharePoint without it, especially from a permissions perspective.  It supports your governance plan beautifully, because you have one of those right?

OnPoint – a blog posting on SharePoint Reviews on various SharePoint subjects. Non Microsoft blog.

PartnerPoint – a directory of Microsoft partners, software, white papers and case studies.  Sort of Microsoft, but run by a partner.

PerformancePoint – made by Microsoft.  This is part of the Enterprise feature stack of SharePoint and is used for business intelligence – extracting meaningful information on actual business data; it’s scorecards, dashboards and analytics of sales figures, forecasts, trends, KPI’s, operating expenses, etc.  You’ll also hear the words SQL Server Reporting Services and SQL Server admin, development and performance enhancement with this subject.  PerformancePoint takes some skill in implementing, so call in some help to use it effectively.

PinPoint – a free very “light” version of ControlPoint.  Identifies the most popular and largest sites and documents on your platform.  Also a seperate install from Axceler.  Non Microsoft tool.

PivotPoint – a handy little web part developed by Pentalogic to do analysis of numerical data in SharePoint custom lists.  It’s an easy to use data analysis tool that is just added to the list of web parts that you can add to your landing page.  Link it to a list, choose a few fields and you’re done.  Available for any average business user.  Non Microsoft tool.

ReadyPoint – free scanning tool from Axceler to determine if you are ready to upgrade from SharePoint 2007 to 2010. (There are lots of these types of tools though, so shop around for the one that suits you).  Non Microsoft tool.

RestorePoint – nothing to do with SharePoint at all, a random company that does data protection and backups for all types of business systems.

SharePoint – you will have heard this by now.  It’s the mother of all platforms that intranets, internets and extranets can be built on.  Most big enterprises currently have version 2007 either Standard or Enterprise edition.  The latest version 2010 was released on 12 May 2010. This is where you as an end user store and collaborate on your day to day working documents.  SharePoint is presented to you in your browser (Internet Explorer etc). Made by Microsoft.

StoragePoint – a product that make SharePoint content databases smaller thereby saving space (or something, don’t really get this).  Non Microsoft tool.

and finally …

SharePINT! – the most important one of all.  Don’t worry about all the rest, just as long as you know what this one means.  Affectionately coined by SharePoint enthusiasts all over the world – to have a cold one after a long day.  Cheers! 🙂


  1. Some more you can add:
    PowerPoint – You know for presentations 😉
    Floating Point – A kind of number
    MSPoints – Currency used to buy content on the Live network
    Gamer Points – Points for achievements in games on XBox and Games for Windows Live.


  2. Very groovy post, just a two quick notes:

    – blackpoint: although not a Microsoft tool (as in developed by them), it is heavily integrated with the Microsoft stack and uses workflow foundation as a base.
    – StoragePoint: StoragePoint enables remote blog storage for SharePoint. What this means is the files (blobs) will be stored on the file system so technically it doesn’t save space, but rather makes the SharePoint content database smaller and more managable in DR situations.

    Hope this helps. 🙂


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