It has been 10 long years for SharePoint in the industry and the software is being credited huge success with respect to installations and sales. The fact that the platform of SharePoint 2010 has greatly improved in perspective of the massive technological advancement as against the predecessors, is certainly undeniable.
However, it is unfortunate that most of the organizations across the world are making use of only a fraction of the capabilities of the software. This particular work approach is often leading to frustrations and disappointments within the organizations. The issues that tend to crop up are quite complex; however, the common themes or approaches can be categorized and identified as the five deadly sins in an organization.
Here is a brief explanation of the issues and the ways of avoiding them to maximize the success quotient of SharePoint implementation within an organization:
1. Treating Governance as an One-Time Event: The term ‘governance’ is being much talked about in the present age. Owing to its much-hyped popularity, a number of organizations have attempted implying SharePoint governance. However, most of the time it ends up as nothing more than a weak effort of writing a plan and storing it in the document library. Governance should never be considered just a one-time shot since it is generally an active process. With SharePoint extending deeper into diverse areas of an enterprise, the significance of existing governance is turning out to be greater. The odds of ownership and the position of SharePoint within an organization are quite common. It is to be remembered that governance can greatly affect adoption, in case the controls are too rigid.
2. Leadership Abandoning Responsibility for Roadmapping and Information Architecture: The lack of ability in finding information quickly and easily is one of the increasing disappointments and frustrations faced by most of the business users. While a number of organizations are using SharePoint for quite some time, yet the usability is restricted within just file share. It has also been noticed in a number of cases that the software implementation has made the experience of users worse as they tried finding information spread across expansive websites, pages, discussion threads, document libraries, and wikis.
What made this happen? Unfortunately, the rise of this particular issue within an organization can easily be credited to management’s failure. Taking up a proactive approach to define the terms of processes, architecture, procedure, and training that allows efficient information management would have helped combat the issue. An organization that lacks a solid roadmap and information architecture for ensuring business growth with the passage of time will go on struggling with the most basic management items restricting their evolution into a more productive and collaborative footing.
3. Treating Training and User Adoption as an Afterthought: A particular issue that often tends to crop up within an organization is considered the worst sin that can happen to anyone. This is because it affects the support and confidence of your specific user base largely. It is likely for most people to welcome change and adapt to the same in a bid to try something different in terms of adding value and worth to the organization and their jobs. However, presenting a tool to someone that is hard to use can certainly lead to a loss of support.
This poses as great danger concerning SharePoint as it can virtually reach out to everyone in an organization. Once you tend to lose that support or confidence, gaining that back for another attempt is not only a difficult process and time consuming, but also expensive. It is common to witness IT taking technical approach and rolling out SharePoint with few considerations for effective impact upon users. This approach certainly calls for greater disaster and turns out to be worse.
After all, IT is supposed to prove itself as the most competent and skilled in terms of application of technology to business issues. With SharePoint, end-users and departments enjoy the convenience of creating and finding their own solutions for specific constituents and domains. If IT goes on to establish a bad example on the ways of gaining adoption and training its users properly, the stream of failure will spread and continue towards different levels of an organization.
4. Taking Human Resource Implications Lightly: SharePoint is a complex and extensive technology that holds a broad reach. Most of the organizations often tend to overlook this particular aspect of the software and depend on existing employees, having little expertise with the diverse range of necessary and essential disciplines of the software, to deliver complete business and platform solutions. What turns out to be worse is that a number of organizations tend to misuse a particular employee for the kind of role that is a total misfit.
This particular business problem with SharePoint indeed gives rise to multiple issues in IT and the enterprise as a whole. Some of the examples or instances shared by clients include:
I – Custom development of application as against SharePoint Out of the Box functionality that could have been easily leveraged. This leads to largely increased ownership cost in terms of the application.
II – Not improving the best practices of SharePoint development and design leading to expensive maintenance and enhanced efforts.
5. Lack of Education and Engagement among Executives: Most of the big organizations feature the objective of enhancing more collaboration and productivity within the enterprise. During the same time, a common theme that plays around the IT departments is that SharePoint lacks maximum support and attention from the executives. The executives surely want to reap the benefits, but fails making any investment as and when necessary.
The technology might not be perfect, but the issues that tend to crop with SharePoint are specifically ‘man-made’. The course of SharePoint can certainly be changed; however, the road to deliverance begins with expertise and knowledge.