I’m asked this question on a daily basis, and thought that it is best to write a blog post explaining the differences.
DeliverPoint is a permissions management and reporting tool that empowers site owners and site collection owners to effectively report and manage SharePoint permissions.
The benefits of the product are that you can see exactly who has permissions to each object including Sites, Lists, Folders and List Items. You don’t use a separate windows application or navigate to another web application to do this, you get to report on the permissions at the object itself. This means the user doesn’t lose focus on the object that they are checking permissions on. Below is how you would report on permissions at Folder level.
When using Active Directory groups, it is virtually impossible for a non-SharePoint administrator to know what permissions a user has. This is why DeliverPoint reports into Active Directory groups for Site Owners and Site Collection Owners. Below you can see a check permission report showing the real permission due to the Active Directory group.
Producing a Unique Permissions report across the entire Web Application/Site Collection or Site is also possible showing exactly what unique permissions a user may have. Below you can see a unique permissions report for a user called Phill. You can see what SharePoint Groups and AD groups Phill is a member of, and then all the permissions that affect Phill.
Users can also Copy, Transfer, and Delete permissions at any scope as long as they have permission to do so. This functionality is available for the Site Owner and Site Collection Owner.
So, Why is this different to other Administration tools?
Firstly DeliverPoint is not a SharePoint administration tool. It is a Permissions Management reporting tool for Site Collection Admins. Other Administration tools provide Site and Site Collection Migration, User Registration, Backup and Restore, Activity and Storage Analysis etc. Such tools are aimed at Farm Admins and not Site Collection Admins.
The questions you need to ask yourself are:
1. Who should be managing permissions to Sites, Lists/Libraries, Folders and Documents? The SharePoint Farm Administrators or Site Collection Admins/Site Admins?
If your answer is Site Collection Admins and Site Admins, you have another question to answer…
2. Do you want your Site Collection Admins and Site Admins to be able to access a Farm Admin tool so that they can manage permissions? This would mean providing them access to the same tool that allows you to perform Site Collection migrations?
DeliverPoint is also very cost affective compared with Farm admin tools. At $1500 per Web Front End, it isn’t really a comparison to Farm Administration tools that cost tens of thousands of dollars.