People often ask us, “How do I decide which tool is right for me: SharePoint or OnBase? Don’t they both do the same thing?”

While it’s true that they have some shared capabilities in common, SharePoint and OnBase are really two quite different tools.

I heard an analogy recently that is really applicable: SharePoint vs. OnBase is a lot like MS Word vs. Excel. You could draft a resume in Excel, but you wouldn’t because the tools available to you in Word give you much greater capability. Conversely, you could create a table in Word, but your functionality will be limited.

Similarly, you could try to do long term archival, workflow, retention, and other things in SharePoint, but you’ll lose a lot of the tools available to you in the OnBase project. You could also try to do front end presentation and collaboration in OnBase – but again, you’re limiting yourself in what you have available to you. In both cases, you would be trying to ‘swim upstream’, which would make things about 10 times more difficult for your end users.

At LBMC Technology Solutions, we resell and provide expertise on both products. It really comes down to having the right tool to meet the right business objective. Like the situation above, each product has strengths in different scenarios. We get to know our client’s business operation and needs before we feel we can suggest one product or the other.

Differences between SharePoint and OnBase

SharePoint is great for collaborating across teams and organizations. It’s a great repository for new documents, presentations, etc. while you and your team work together. Once that business content is complete, OnBase is the better choice for long term archival and customized workflow.

Windows’ Workflow requires a lot of custom development, whereas the OnBase workflow doesn’t and is easily modifiable. Consider the constantly changing nature of workflow processes, and you’ll realize the benefits of a system that you don’t have to modify and re-code with each change.

Where OnBase really shines is transactional content management. While the SharePoint repository is limited to the folder structure, OnBase tracks the document lifecycle, index info, and historical info. It can automate retention policies and drive business workflow. Take the Accounts Payable process, for example; a requisition order is issued, gets approved, and becomes a purchase order. The P.O. prompts an invoice and packing list, which preempt the receiving documentation. With OnBase, all this transactional content relating back to the requisition order is stored automatically, and the AP clerk can view it at every step of the way.

A business client with low transactional content will likely be able to meet its needs with SharePoint. Businesses with high transactional content, on the other hand, benefit more from OnBase.

Better Together

We’ve had a lot of success leveraging both together. For instance, we’ve built SharePoint intranet sites that present e-forms for the end users, at which point OnBase plugs in on the back-end, providing the storing and archiving process around the completed forms.

G2 Crowd has a side-by-side comparison of the two solutions. While we point out that different business cases will render different results in their use, this is a good way to find out how users feel about each product.

What it boils down to is each product has its strengths for use in different business cases. Because LBMC Technology Solutions sells, implements, supports, and customizes both solutions, we can offer you an objective and informative assessment of which solution fits the way you do business.

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