Taking advantage of SharePoint’s capabilities

By Bryan Reynolds posted 04-15-2013 14:54

  

Bringing in any new system or solution to address business needs is always a tricky task. This TechTalk blog, written by Jonathan Matcho, director of SharePoint Solutions at Sitrof Technologies, addresses what IT directors need to know if their team is looking to implement a SharePoint strategy. Just because something looks easy, writes Matcho, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily easy to implement. Bryan Reynolds, managing partner, Sitrof Technologies

 

Taking advantage of SharePoint’s capabilities

By Jonathan Matcho, Director of SharePoint Solutions, Sitrof Technologies, Inc.

SharePoint, with its wide array of capabilities, is an ideal platform for solving an equally wide array of challenges.

Perhaps your organization needs an enhanced Intranet? Maybe the current practice for project collaboration is the creation of a new network file share – an obvious opportunity for SharePoint! Or perhaps you have a need to create an executive dashboard that integrates with an external system and rolls up key business metrics for easy access by management? Just build a SharePoint farm (if one doesn’t already exist), deploy a few sites, and you’re soon-to-be realizing the benefits and efficiencies of online collaboration and sharing among the workforce!

Not so fast … the problem with this “that was easy” approach is twofold:

  1. SharePoint does indeed make it easy – the technical effort required to address a business requirement is often estimated in days/hours (as opposed to weeks/months).
  2. Given that all things SharePoint are perceived as “easy,” we therefore do not need to follow any semblance of a formal procedure for enabling its capabilities.

While an ad hoc “grass roots” approach can work in some cases (such as an environment consisting of many technical people singing in perfect technical harmony), it is often a recipe for disaster; resulting in an environment that demands support, overhead, begs for critique, and soon grows to be unmanageable. The problem is that most organizations do not qualify what SharePoint is, effectively leaving it defined as “many things to many people.” Left unchecked and unqualified as to the problems that it is to solve, SharePoint sites will sprawl with each having their own peculiar manner of organization and structure – frustrating to end users and embarrassing to management.

What is SharePoint?

SharePoint is not a turnkey application. Turn SharePoint on and it does absolutely nothing out of the box. SharePoint is also not just a tool or platform. SharePoint might be considered to be the toolbox or the plumbing, but I like to think of SharePoint as a home improvement superstore. I can use what’s inside to build anything from a birdhouse to a mansion (not to mention that I’ve also gotten myself into a fair amount of “trouble”).

Using our home improvement superstore analogy, SharePoint is nothing without people to implement its parts and components – SharePoint welcomes a range of skills, from do-it-yourself types to certified professionals skilled in the use of the tools and frameworks capable of building enterprise-class solutions.

There’s a better question to ask: “Where and how can we benefit from using SharePoint?”

Read the rest of Matcho’s TechTalk blog – and more about SharePoint’s strengths and pain points – here.



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