I do some volunteer work with a non-profit organization on the side occasionally. My main area of expertise is ASP.NET, C#, and SQL. They currently rely heavily on an Access database for their day to day operations.

One of their technology guys has been looking into Sharepoint as a migration point for their Access database, to better support multiple locations.

I am, regrettably, mostly unfamiliar with Sharepoint. Though, what I have heard does not seem to promote Sharepoint's use as a database.

The base of my question is, what are the challenges of migrating or even making the two systems coexist? And is it even a good idea?

2 Answers 2


SharePoint is designed to function as a content management system. It mainly allows quick and effective team interactions via document sharing, workflow automation and automated website creation.

Making SharePoint perform beyond OOB functionality is hard work. I'm speaking from experience. I had to sit with the published SharePoint manual by my side to find all kinds of tidbits that simply are not documented anywhere on the internet. That's my fuss with it.

So, as far as using SP as the database...I don't get it. Maybe there's some plugin I am forgetting. There is a "list", but this is real basic stuff.

There's strong integration with MS Office so you should easily host the existing Access documents on the site and share them via checkouts. Automate via workflows. It really depends on what you want to do. There are many plugins you can add to extend functionality, but in many cases users want to do "just a little"something extra and thats where you suddenly need "SharePoint Designer" and a big ol' learnin curve from the API might just cause a trainwreck.

In my opinion, if they are willing to accept SP as a sharing tool for the existing documents I think you'll be good. If not, consider creating a custom ASP.NET site instead.

  • Thanks for the good answer. I think you're right, that I need to find out the specific functionality they're going for to make an accurate suggestion.
    – agradl
    Commented Apr 21, 2011 at 4:24

Please don't do that to them :)

Use a more functional, easy-to-use and simler content management system such as Nuxeo or Drupal or similar. They'll love you for it.

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