What is a scenario
A scenario is the set of features used in a solution that provide the set of requirements to fulfill needs. The use of the word scenario is used here to define a common set of characteristics in those solutions that can be grouped together. Every solution would map directly to a single scenario or be a combination of scenarios.
The Six SharePoint Scenarios
SharePoint is a framework that offers features to build out scenarios to fulfill the need of businesses in the portal and collaboration landscape. Each scenario has common attributes and characteristics that help you identify what scenario you are working on. I believe there are six (6) major SharePoint Scenarios that can be defined and all solutions built on SharePoint fit into one of the following scenarios shown in Figure1 below.
NOTE: These scenarios apply to SharePoint for this conversation, but also apply generally to any set of portal frameworks that are extensible. Most of the scenarios have a one for one mapping to implementations, except for the Applications and Tools which will have many solutions.
The below set of descriptions describes each scenario and an example of a sample implementation. These scenarios can be combined in certain situations, but usually have their own entry points for user interaction.
- Communications - A communications scenario has content that is used to push content out to users. A small group creates the content that is very structured as well as predefined navigation that is hierarchical. Example: Intranet
- Collaboration - High usage, high bandwidth, lots of content updates are common traits for this scenario. This scenario would be where you work on documents, lists and wikis with many team members contributing. Need to have strict user quotas and limited customization guidelines.
Example: Team Sites
- Social - This scenario provides high user input in a less formal way than collaboration such as tagging, rating with a focus on the individual.
Example: My Sites
- Extranet - Similar to the collaboration scenario the extranet has characteristics that match the collaboration scenario except for the major different of reach. The extranet has a wider range of users that access and update information usually external to the core group of users, such as vendors or clients.
Example: External Customer Portal
- Internet - Provides structured content that is consumable by all users on the internet. Rich in visualization and customization for a brand that the scenario focuses on.
Example: Public Facing Web Site
- Application / Tools - These solutions are grouped based on the similar characteristic that they do not have a well defined set of characteristics. Many of the solutions will define what characteristics are provided based on the requirements gathered.
Examples: Records Center, Search Center, and Dashboards
Question: My Solution does not fit into one of these areas
The first thought from most people have is to wonder why there are only 6 scenarios and to see if they can find a solution that doesn't fit into one of the major 6. Most of the time the custom solution would fit into the Applications and Tools scenario such as Records Center, Search Center, Dashboards, and any other custom solution. If you think there are more than 6 scenarios let me know.
Importance of knowing what scenario you are delivering
It is critical that you know what scenario you are providing the business because that will drive the characteristics of the project you are working on. Also keep in mind with SharePoint that one Farm or even one web application might store more than one scenario.