pubfolderOver the past year, I’ve worked with several clients that plan to use SharePoint as a replacement for Public Folders (and File Shares). Given the problems that organizations face with the uncontrollable growth of unstructured data, compliance requirements and impacts on information architecture, storage and operations, it’s a painful topic with no “magic bullet” solution. Worried about the compliance aspect? Read my SharePoint and Master Data Management blog.

Is there a rush to replace Public Folders? Probably not at the moment unless there are organizational factors surfacing that are forcing the issue. For the time being there’s no time pressure for them to do so, because public folders will continue to exist and be supported until the end of the Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 product life cycle in 2016 or 2017. But there are compelling reasons for adopting a SharePoint based solution such as better presentation, search and mobile access to name a few.

SharePoint has a role in replacing Public Folders (and File Shares) but expectations must be managed carefully since it’s a complex labor intensive undertaking that if handled incorrectly can result in significant business interruption. Specifically, to truly realize the benefits of such an undertaking you require a new way of classifying and managing information – more on this later.

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