C# Code vs. InfoPath/SharePoint Designer?

If someone who works for a consulting company is reading this, you probably will not like this posting but I hope that at least you can see the perspective of your clients when you develop a SharePoint solution.

I have seen over and over again consulting companies delivering highly customized solutions for their clients and leaving them with a product so difficult to support and maintain that the client either changes platforms or hires another company to support the mess. For most companies out-of-the-box SharePoint features deliver 80% of what they need.

For example, in one of my latest projects, an Microsoft Gold Partner created ONE WSP packages for an entire internet SharePoint solution with so much C# code that I thought they had re-written SharePoint. One of the many issues of this presents is that now when the company tries to upgrade a small part of the solution, they have to re-deploy the entire WSP and regression test everything.

Other times, I have seen consulting companies writing the most complicated piece of code to try to make SharePoint do something that it was not meant to do. When you hear a consultant say things like: “I found a back door way of doing this…” or “It is not supported by Microsoft but if you let me do this, I can make it happen…”.
These type of quotes should raise red flags to any company but unfortunately sometimes that does not happen because the company has entered this partnership in good faith and is expecting the consulting company to do the best for them, which does not always happen.

Large consulting companies are paid for billable hours, not for how efficient and productive a solution. I know InfoPath and SharePoint designer have limitations but I can tell you that between both tools and the SharePoint UI, you can reduce the amount of complexity of most solutions. Also, if you have an experienced Business Analyst that works with the business to reduce the complexity of the clients’ requirements into manageable requests, then this can lead to a very successful implementation.

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