The Importance of Investing in a SharePoint Strategy

The Importance of Investing in a SharePoint Strategy

SharePoint has been around for a long time. It was launched in 2001 as an application tool. Over time, it has developed into an effective enterprise platform. And yet, there is still confusion over its primary role - development or enterprise platform. This confusion has fed into the idea that SharePoint can be released with little to no planning. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The notion that SharePoint remains a development platform isn't solely to blame, but the concept encompasses the typical symptoms of a failed implementation.
  • It becomes nothing more than a file share
  • No one uses it
  • Everyone complains about it
  • Executives want nothing to do with it

Information Technology (IT) departments have a tendency to shield the deployment strategy from the rest of the organization because of this flawed concept.

SharePoint is a powerful platform that features document and file management, collaboration, social networks, intranets, extranets, business intelligence, systems integration, and workflows. Think about that. As an end user without prior knowledge, I would find this overwhelming. What about training? Training is typically an afterthought and, generally, it is too late to implement post-release. This is why I typically hear "SharePoint Sucks!"

How do you solve this problem?

Executive Support

Why are IT departments afraid to ask for money? Corporate IT infrastructure is the backbone of most organizations, right? Put together a plan detailing why a strategic implementation of SharePoint will benefit the company. Research the Return on Investment (ROI). Discuss how SharePoint will solve the most pertinent employee concerns and problems. Sell it!!!

Organizational Input

IT departments have a tendency to work within a black box. I get it. But, SharePoint is a collaboration tool. Do not assume that you know what the users want or need. Departments such as HR, Accounting, Legal, and Marketing have processes in place. Find a way to incorporate SharePoint within a department to simplify their existing process(es). Talk to the department(s) about workflows, alerts, integration with external content, reporting capabilities, etc. Again, Sell it!!!

Envision, Plan, Build, and Deploy Process

These 4 phases are critical to the success of a SharePoint project(s).

  • Phase 1: Envision. The envision phase determines the key stakeholders and business objectives for the project. How can SharePoint meet our objectives?
  • Phase 2: Plan. Capture the business requirements and future needs for the project through workshops and interviews.
  • Phase 3: Build. Take the requirements from the Planning phase and build a technical design document (TDD) or specification. The TDD is the blueprint for incorporate the business requirements into SharePoint.
  • Phase 4: Deploy. The project is released to a limited group of users within the organization for Quality Assurance (QA). Following QA, the project is released to the organization with training (Formal, Train-the-Trainer, CBT, Show Me/Guide Me, etc.).

If you do not want your next SharePoint implementation to turn into another glorified file share, or worse, a platform the no uses, create a strategy using the recommendations listed above.

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