Some more justification for the SharePoint Enterprise CAL

Sigh.  I’m being lazy again. Here is an email I sent tonight to a client who was looking for justification on whether going from SharePoint Standard to Enterprise for about 80 people was worth the investment and why.  Here was my reply in case it helps others.


Hey (name changed to protect the innocent)

As promised, here is some justification for the Enterprise CAL’s. This list is small (not everything) but it does represent the things we always find we need but can’t because Enterprise is missing.

I think point #1 is the biggie for you folks. If you have about $5000 in licensing to get, that would (loosely) translate to about 33 hours in consulting services to customize. To put that in perspective, to customize a SharePoint list input form, you might spend a day or two on a single form that with InfoPath (web services) you could turn around in 2-3 hours. I suspect with InfoPath alone, you could get a return on the investment within a month or two.

  1. Web based, electronic forms (web based InfoPath). This is Huge. SharePoint can hold all kinds of data, but the cleaner it goes in (easy to fill out forms with input validations, etc.), the more successful you will be. Everyone wants forms, which lead to automation, which leads to BI and “using/viewing” that data later
  2. Business Intelligence. In SharePoint 2013 Enterprise, most of the BI stuff is in PowerPivot and it is amazing. But also in 2010, Enterprise is where all the BI stuff is (charts, graphs, visualizing data in SharePoint and outside of it)
  3. Excel Services. This one is huge and ties into the BI piece but also by itself, being able to present portions of a spreadsheet on a dashboard (such as an important graph) can be a huge win
  4. Rich integration/Connectivity to 3rd party data sources (BCS)
  5. And then the others – Visio Services, Access Services, eDiscovery Center, Video Search, advanced WCM, filtering web parts, Content Search web part

This page also helps outline what you get, in a table, depending on the version deployed as well:

Finally, this blog post I wrote some time ago and it spoke more to the cost of the Enterprise CAL in relation to all the other things/expenses around SharePoint and how small it is in comparison, when really it provides all the gooey bits most managers want (and see in demos): /brainlitter/2012/03/21/just-get-the-sharepoint-enterprise-cal-already/