SharePoint vs Alfresco – Determining the Best Enterprise Content Management System

24 Feb. 2016 Microsoft Solutions

The Enterprise Content Management (ECM) market has greatly evolved in the last two decades and reached a stage where most of the solutions provide similar features. Drawing comparisons between the various options available in the market can be a challenge due to the near consistent capabilities offered by distinct ECM platforms.

SharePoint and Alfresco are the two major content management solutions in the industry today. But both have grown in different directions.

Comparison Between Sharepoint and Alfresco

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SharePoint was originally introduced as a web app platform to resolve a number of issues around Microsoft Office. Over the years both its customer base and enterprise accounts have expanded. In contrast, Alfresco, is a product of the open-source movement. It is an innovative platform that has grown quickly and replaced many legacy ECM systems.

Alfresco vs Sharepoint Comparison

Alfresco vs Sharepoint Features Comparison

SharePoint and Alfresco both have collaboration, content management, record management and other workflow functionalities. Alfresco is a step ahead and provides a wider range of capabilities along with a better repository. It also uses more open-source components than SharePoint which is primarily dependent on Microsoft products including SQL Server for storing content. SharePoint is great for certain document management situations and very useful for Office-based teamwork.

On the other hand, Alfresco does support Windows/Office environments but is more suitable for high level and voluminous Enterprise Content Management applications. It also works well with non-Microsoft products such as Google Docs or Adobe PDF and environments like Android or Apple. Some businesses may choose to use both Alfresco and SharePoint for different reasons. The former maybe used for content solutions that are business critical. While the latter is leveraged for standard document management and internal employee collaboration.


Alfresco is a younger, dynamic company with a more modern and open infrastructure. Over the last few years, it has innovated considerably by including new capabilities and supporting open-source standards. SharePoint’s infrastructure has changed in line with Microsoft’s standard for back-end server infrastructure and UI development. It’s back-end infrastructure is limited in nature and proprietary due to the dependence on Microsoft components like SQL Server, Active Directory etc.

Apart from these changes, when we compare Alfresco and SharePoint, it can be seen that both have a very distinct approach when it comes to providing a complete suite of ECM functionality.

SharePoint has grown with Microsoft Office in managing Office documents. It will continue to enjoy the most seamless integration with all Microsoft Office products and other standards due to the company’s control over the entire product suite. The organization also enjoys a large partner and development community that regularly makes products that are compatible with the ECM suite.

Individuals and Support

Microsoft is one of the largest IT companies in the world. Due to this, they also have a large pool of engineering resources, more than Alfresco. As an organization, they usually have dedicated resources who are focused on SharePoint development and in particular, ECM. This number can be greater than resources assigned to other capabilities of the Microsoft suite. However, this isn’t set in stone and it is likely that Microsoft sets its sights on software goals other than SharePoint in the time to come. Recently, Microsoft has hinted that SharePoint’s last and final on-premise version will be available in 2016. All other future products are expected to be hosted on the cloud.

Alfresco is a smaller setup when compared to Microsoft. Located in England, they have had a consistent set of resources. Most of these people have been with the organization since its inception. So, all aspects of Alfresco products are well understood, efficiently maintained and regularly enhanced.

Choosing the right ECM system can be an intimidating task. An organization’s web application development and content sharing capacities need to be strong enough to handle productivity, collaboration and product development. SharePoint and Alfresco both have proved to be great products and found endorsement from a number of customers. We recommend SharePoint over Alfresco, as it provides better documentation, and is highly adaptable to Microsoft ecosystem.

Are you looking for a SharePoint application development company? Or want to try out SharePoint for your organization?

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