What Comes First, the Software or the Solution?

By Kathy Broadbent posted 08-14-2012 13:36

  

In the SMB market it's still hard to find a company that's pleased with their SharePoint implementation. While the IT group may say that it's coming right along, the end users frequently do not. Don't get me wrong, SharePoint is a terrific collaboration tool if properly adopted. But the "if properly adopted" part of that statement is a giant “if.” There are many reasons any project can go right or wrong. I’d recommend that before you go down the road of building a platform from scratch, consider the software packages that have already been built, tested and supported.

5 reasons you should consider a traditional document management system before starting your in-house SharePoint implementation.

1.  SharePoint is only as good as the person or team building the system. This means that your team must be up to date on the latest and greatest features, how to build, how to deploy, how to train, how to maintain. EVERYTHING is from scratch. This makes the direction and build even more complicated. So often I find that the task of building your solution falls to your IT team. But then, who's in charge of IT? Deploying a SharePoint system companywide is not just another task on the "to do" list.

2.  It's not just about programming. Sure, you say, our programmers are the best, they've been working with SharePoint for years. The glaring problem that so many businesses overlook is, our programmers are great at programming but understanding business processes...not so much. How is there interaction with the end users to achieve buy in and build the system to meet their needs? Employing best practices from other SharePoint installs? Often the programmers building your system are just that, programmers. The VAR that sells your content management software should also bring business process consulting to the table as part of the solution.

3.  It still costs money. By now, most of us have realized that SharePoint is not free. Most companies cannot get away with the free platform and from there the programming hours add up quickly. A branded content management system investment can seem prohibitive to an organization because the bulk of the money is in the software, which has already been developed. But the cost can be misleading. Your SharePoint system is being built from scratch and therefore billed out hour by hour. Whether your system is being built in house or by a consultant, you are definitely paying for it.

4.  SharePoint is a terrific collaboration tool, but it's not the end all be all. Even a successful implementation of SharePoint usually needs capture or long-term archival products to allow for simple and secure content management.

5.  At the end of day, content management is only as good as documents and data that go into the system. If users don't use the system, it just becomes another information silo at your organization. One of my fellow bloggers stated that this can be said for any ECM, and while it's true that there are always ways to avoid adopting new software, many content management systems have rules that speed up capture and workflow to encourage, if not force adoption.

Again, this isn't to say that SharePoint isn't a worthwhile tool in the SMB market. It's just not the only tool.

 



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