How Do You Like Your SharePoint?
I am constantly amazed at SharePoint conversations with our customers.
On the one hand, they always seem to involve topics that keep coming up time and time again. For example:
- How do we connect our employees across company divisions?
- How do we provide them with a central point of access for all of our applications?
- How do we let everyone know what is happening in our company?
- How do we get people communicating more frequently in a secure environment?
In the last year I have had these conversations with somewhere in the region of a hundred different companies. In fact, as part of our SharePoint roadshows across Ireland in 2011 and 2012, we have held presentation sessions and workshops with somewhere in the region of 500 people from approximately 250 companies in locations including Dublin, Cork and Belfast. (For anyone interested in our upcoming events, visit our Events page for listings of upcoming events)
At the same time, the other interesting feature of SharePoint conversations that I wanted to draw your attention to is the fact that they are also always very different.
Some customers have been using earlier versions of Microsoft SharePoint (in some cases going all the way back to the first 2001 release) and often their concerns focus on migration – not just of data and upgrading the version, but getting custom applications or processes built in these previous versions ported over.
Other customers are completely new to Sharepoint and have some fundamental questions that they want to address:
- What type of infrastructure is required?
- What is the best way to license the product?
- What is the best way to start a SharePoint project?
The honest answer in many of these cases is -- yes, you guessed it -- It depends (e.g. number of users, locations, nature of applications, versions of other Microsoft software etc.).
So in summary, SharePoint projects have lots in common with each other, but they also vary significantly. This fact in and of itself is actually a good demonstration of the power of the product. Indeed, we could go further and say that SharePoint is not just a product, it is really a platform for driving communication, delivering applications, automating business processes and reporting.So, ultimately, how you like your SharePoint will rea have with customers, there is one key point that sticks out for me: how clear are your objectives?
If they are not that well defined, your SharePoint project could take a while, you may struggle to gain support internally, and people may end up asking why you are implementing it in the first place.
If, however, you have a clearly-defined idea of what you want to achieve, combined with the organizational and business case to back it up, then you have a very high chance of succeeding.
And now you are going to tell me that that applies to everything! And you could be right.