Resetting SharePoint Expectations Event Summary (Part 2)

By Quentin Christensen posted 06-19-2014 10:32


In May I had the wonderful opportunity to attend Resetting SharePoint Expectations, three AIIM seminars in Toronto, New York, and Washington D.C. As a Program Manager working on SharePoint for Microsoft, I helped answer questions and to end the events I also presented a one hour Q&A


If you missed it, also check out Resetting SharePoint Expectations Event Summary (Part 1).

Also don’t miss the upcoming AIIM webinar where you can ask me anything about SharePoint: Take the FUD Out of Implementing SharePoint - Just ask the folks at Microsoft.

What movie, TV show, or book sums up your experience with SharePoint? For me, it would have to be Lego Movie. You know, "Everything is awesome. Everything is cool when you're part of a team." I must admit, I work at Microsoft on SharePoint so that may account for my optimism in selecting the Lego Movie to represent SharePoint.

We posed the same question “What movie, TV show, or book sums up your experience with SharePoint?” to attendees at the AIIM Resetting SharePoint Expectations seminars. We uncovered some interesting SharePoint challenges. Read on to see the responses and what I shared with the audience on how to turn those challenges into information opportunity.

Groundhog Day: Our users can never figure out SharePoint. Every day we get the same questions and users just keep repeating the same mistakes.

Quentin: Getting hundreds or thousands of people using your solution is no small task. 1. Keep it simple and easy, get people using OneDrive for Business, then basic team sites before throwing them at a structured repository with 10 content types and 20 metadata fields. 2. Create one page info documents to explain how to do basic things and why. For example in a short article highlight the value of coauthoring instead of emailing attachments around. Show people the carrots that will make their work life easier, then they will be motivated to learn and use it. 3. Select advocates from the teams that are using your SharePoint deployment and teach them about the benefits so they can spread the good word and help others on their team get using SharePoint. Once a few people on the team start relying on SharePoint, the rest of the team often follows along and sees the benefit. Involve your users with your solution design and implementation. They will be the ones using it right?

Game of Thrones: All of the different people working on the SharePoint deployment are fighting amongst themselves trying to get control of resources for their pet project or take control of it all.

Quentin: If this is Game of Thrones, then brace yourselves SharePoint is coming. I would ally with the Dothraki, get some SharePoint dragon eggs and raise up some dragons, then take over the SharePoint deployment. But if you aren’t as power hungry as me, a less violent approach is putting a central team in charge of deploying SharePoint “as a service” for your organization. Then creating clear lines of ownership for certain teams on specific deployments. One team owns OneDrive solutions. Legal may have a team that runs Team Sites for legal. Sales has a team that runs their sales collateral repository. Let the experts for their area create and run solutions to meet the needs of their team and department and stop the warring. Also take a look at SharePoint Centers of Excellence that some organizations have implemented. Or you could just go for the dragons.

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly: SharePoint is the good, upgrading is the bad because it is expensive, and the ugly is how difficult upgrade is because of all the customization and apps. How do we stop being stuck on SharePoint 2007 and 2010?

Quentin: The cost and difficulty of upgrade is a major driver for why we created Office 365. Microsoft handles the upgrade for you and we designed an app development model where you can connect to and customize SharePoint while we continuously upgrade the service underneath. If you are looking at your next upgrade, now is a good time to take a look at making the move to Office 365. You may have good reasons to remain on premises, in that case consider simplifying your SharePoint deployment and selecting partners that have a reputation of upgrading their solutions to the latest SharePoint version quickly. Another approach is to run multiple versions of SharePoint. Keep OneDrive for Business simple so you can upgrade at least that part easily. For custom solutions such as Intranet portals that work great, consider just running those on that version of SharePoint until you are ready for the next major rebuild, when you do a full rebuild use the latest version. Many organizations run multiple versions of SharePoint, and that’s just fine.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs: Customizations and 3rd party apps are holding us back from moving to the cloud. What can we do?

Quentin: Office 365 is where you can stop worrying about running servers and focus on delivering information opportunity. We also handle upgrade, so you always have the latest and greatest. How many people do you know that have cell phones and devices more than 4 years old? Yet if you are on SharePoint 2010, your information management solution is more than 4 years old (even though you might have just deployed it). Analyze Office 365 and see if there are improvements that mean you no longer need your current customizations. Also you can deploy just OneDrive for Business in Office 365, but keep your other SharePoint solutions on premises. Another approach is to let on premises solutions continue to live, but when you create new solutions such as team sites for a specific department or a new video portal, look at building that on Office 365 and use hybrid search to search across on premises and Office 365. Move to Office 365 and it’s time for the sequel: Cloudy with a Chance of Awesome.

How I Met Your Mother: It is taking forever for us to get SharePoint solutions deployed and out to our users.

Quentin: Keep it simple stupid (KISS). Don’t spend months analyzing everything, identifying a million requirements, and trying to customize to meet every requirement. Deploy OneDrive for Business for your users so they have basic document sharing. Get basic team sites out there. Then work on focused solutions such as training video portals and records management archives one by one. When you need customization, look at partner solutions you can quickly start using vs. building your own thing. Be tough on prioritizing your requirements. A lot of times, out of x, y, and z – you only need x. Cut through the bureaucracy and focus on getting value out there. Get the basics of a solution in place with the help of a few early adopters, then have a small group start using the new solution, as things work well expand out to include more and more people. Office 365 can help because you don’t need to throw in concerns about purchasing and setting up hardware into the mix. Have your users meet their SharePoint in season 1, not season 8. 

Thanks for reading, I really enjoyed attending Resetting SharePoint Expectations and I hope you learned a few things from this article. A lot of questions I get at AIIM are about the features available in SharePoint to do ECM, records management, and eDiscovery. As a result I posted a few articles about this on my blog Quentin on Compliance, eDiscovery, ECM.

Now it’s your turn, in the comments let me know what movie, show, or book represents your SharePoint experience.

Quentin Christensen, Program Manager, Microsoft

The Princess Bride: My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my document. Prepare to use SharePoint.

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