Posts tagged "sharepoint 2010"

Mobile Entrée Now Supports SharePoint 2010, BCS

H3 Solutions, creator of Mobile Entrée (site), a mobile application framework for SharePoint, has announced some new capabilities which include support for the upcoming SharePoint 2010 and its new Business Connectivity Services.

Building Mobile Apps for SharePoint

We introduced you to Mobile Entree in June of last year. It's a server side plug-in for SharePoint that will let you access your SharePoint data from a number of smartphones.

Mobile Application Framework

Version 1.3 Updates

The latest release of the framework — version 1.3 — brings even better enterprise application integration capabilities when SharePoint 2010 arrives at your door. Actually, it supports the current release candidate for SharePoint 2010, so you can start developing now.

What's new in 1.3 other than support for SharePoint 2010:

  • List paging — The mobile device now uses the list setting defined in the view
  • Enhanced search results — More detailed information is now displayed so you don't just see a list of Titles
  • Full Site Toggle — A cookie-based system allows a user/device to be ignored by the HTTP  Module and you can

Supporting Mobile with SharePoint 2010

The primary reason for version 1.3 was to provide early support for SharePoint 2010. Support for SharePoint 2010's new Business Connectivity Services is a welcome addition to the functionality list that will enable true enterprise applications reaching out via mobile devices.

At the SharePoint Conference in Vegas last year, Microsoft did announce support for mobile devices in SharePoint 2010, and not just for their own smartphone. In addition, SharePoint is supposed to play an important role in the new Windows Phone 7 series' OfficeHub. OfficeHub will let you sync documents between your PC and your phone and includes SharePoint for collaboration.

So it looks like SharePoint and mobile are getting friendlier by the day. Something we are definitely looking into to provide you more details.

Is Cloud-Based SharePoint 2010 a Viable Enterprise Option?

A recent paper released by Forrester Research (site) entitled SharePoint 2010: A More Viable Cloud Option argues that if you are looking at deploying SharePoint off the premises, with the introduction of SharePoint 2010 (site),  now is a good time to do it.

The problem with SharePoint Online until now, report author Rob Koplowitz says, is that cloud-based SharePoint, either standalone or as part of Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), demonstrates a number of limitations compared to an on-premise version. However, SharePoint 2010 closes the gap in functionality between the deployment options and opens up SharePoint Online to a wider range of applications.

And while there may be still some differences between SharePoint 2010 Online and the on-premise version, the report foresees Microsoft continuing to revisit the viability of including those missing features over time.

SharePoint Environment Improvements

In January, when we talked about SharePoint 2010 and the version of SharePoint Online that would run with it , we noted that the principal improvements would be the result of the multi-tenancy features that would see the online version coming a lot closer to the on-premise version  than the online version based on SharePoint 2007 did.

While the new version is unlikely to reach parity with this release, Koplowitz says, there are key improvements to the environment that will make SharePoint Online more viable for more organizations.

These include:

  • SharePoint Online Dedicated: Microsoft is to introduce a review process that will make code customization far more straightforward and accessible. Additionally, customizations that fall within the new “sandbox” definition will not require review at all.
  • SharePoint Online Standard: This edition will better align with the new server offering. The result is that users will be able to benefit from new capabilities including: My Sites, tagging, tag clouds, activity feeds, Office Web Apps, business intelligence, records management, forms amongst others.

Some functionality will continue to require an on-premise implementation. Microsoft (site)  has said it will be looking this over time. Also, easier integration with other internal applications often requires on-premise deployment.

SharePoint Online Deployment?

In light of the improvements, and because of remaining short-comings, the report has four recommendations for companies that might be considering taking advantage of the relatively low cost of online deployment.

These are:

  • Security and Compliance: Work with you legal and HR departments to determine if it is feasible to store data outside the enterprises on-site information store as there may be issues with compliance or security. However, even if the event that there are such issues, SP Online Dedicated may still be possible, while multi-tenant probably won’t.
  • SharePoint 2010 Online functionality: If you have not already deployed an on-premise version but considering SharePoint, then the costs for an online version might be worth looking at, including the costs of hiring or retracing staff as SharePoint particularly as functionality with SP 2010 is greatly enhanced.
  • SharePoint On-Premise and Online: Companies that already have SharePoint may take advantage of cloud-based services to augment an existing on-premise deployment (if only for reasons of cost). Common scenarios would include storing sensitive data on-premise while less sensitive business content could be stored in the cloud.
  • Partial Deployment: Another scenario is deploying a small on-premise SharePoint implementation to take advantage of advanced capabilities, while the majority of more commoditized capabilities like workspaces and portal content could be provisioned in the cloud.

If the principal reasons for not opting for SharePoint Online have been its limitations, then now is the time to rethink your options. While SharePoint Online based on SP 2010 is not the equivalent of its on-premise relative, it is close and Microsoft promise to keep looking at it.

If you are interested in reading more on this the report is available to buy from Forrester for US US$ 499.

Document Management Roll-up: Office in the Cloud, Business Process Management to Follow

The release date for Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 is out and about, but not everyone is happy with some of the details. Meanwhile, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says the company has ambitions with this release for a fully functioning Office in the cloud.

Microsoft Aims For Office In The Cloud

The big news this week is, of course, is the announcement of definitive dates for the release of SharePoint  2010 (site)  and Microsoft Office (site). It’s on May 12 (for businesses) and June for home users, if you haven’t been paying attention.

You may also have come across Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s speech at the University of Washington where he outlined the company’s plan for its products and the cloud.

In his outline of Microsoft’s vision of the cloud, he described Office 2010 and the company’s ambition to run it from the cloud as the “most mainstream” effort Microsoft would be doing in cloud computing.

We're really taking Microsoft Office to the cloud, letting it run in the cloud, letting it run from the cloud, helping it let people connect and communicate and express themselves … That's one of the core kind of technical ambitions behind the next release of our Office product …” he said.

And already, 90% of the companies Microsoft is working with are happy to go with the elements of Office that are already in the cloud with “lot of good work … still going on for the consumer”.

Microsoft also plans to give its corporate customers the option of hosting the Web-based version of Office 2010 on their own servers in order to give them more control of the product.

Office 2010 Tech Guarantee Outlined

Speaking of Microsoft Office, details of the Technology Guarantee that will accompany the release of Office 2010 were finally explained by Jevon Fark, Sr. Marketing Manager for Microsoft Office on the Office 2010 Engineering blog.

And not everyone is happy. The Guarantee goes like this: consumers who have purchased and activated Office 2007 since March 5 and who purchase it up until September 30 will be able to download Office 2010 at no additional cost when it becomes available in June 2010.

To be eligible you need to:

  • Purchase Office 2007, or a new PC with Office 2007, and activate it between March 5, 2010 and September 30, 2010.
  • Have, or create a Windows Live ID.
  • Redeem your Tech Guarantee before October 31

You will not be eligible for it if if you have Office 2007 through a volume license (typically business owners with five computers or more), promotional or not-for-resale copies, or bought Office 2007 through the Home Use Rights or Student Select programs.

However, some users say they feel “snubbed” by the fact that only those who purchased it after March 5 will be covered by the guarantee. Many of the comments on Fark’s post are from users in that situation and they’re just not happy.

Office 2010 will be available online and on retail shelves in June. Until then, you can can always use the Office 2010 beta.

SaaS BPM Is Finding Friends

New market research from Datamonitor (site) is showing that many business process management vendors will have to look at their application in the cloud because of the success of the SaaS model.

The strategic focus entitled SaaS BPM: Silencing the Skeptics says that now is the right time for BPM vendors to make their SaaS strategy mainstream.

While demand in the on-premises BPM market continues unabated, SaaS BPM is slowly finding acceptance in certain pockets of the BPM market. The research indicates that lower entry costs, broader reach and faster time to deployment could endear SaaS BPM offerings to customers that are comfortable with the cloud computing application delivery model.

Another reason it is becoming attractive is that many business processes are carried-out using resources outside an organization, such as BPO, SaaS customer relationship management (CRM), supply chain management (SCM) and cloud infrastructure.

The result is that as the number of external influences in a process grow, it will become imperative for BPM to be able to customize the external services it consumes.

However, the effect of SaaS BPM offerings on the BPM market will be complementary rather than negative. The SaaS model will boost the proliferation of BPM and help BPM reach a larger user base. Interested in more?

Healthcare Mistrusts The Cloud

BridgeHead Software (site), a developer of healthcare data management software, unveiled partial preliminary results of its Data Management Healthcheck 2010 survey, which shows that only 6.5% of respondents would use cloud storage for archived data.

Furthermore, only 33% noted their organization plans to adopt a cloud storage strategy for any data over the next 12-24 months. The online survey, launched on February 9, is designed to assess healthcare's preparedness for the massive volume of data generated by the industry's reliance upon information.

More than 80% say that the most significant factor influencing decisions about utilizing cloud storage is concern about security and availability of data. Respondents also cited cost and a lack of conviction that cloud storage offers significant benefits when compared to local media.

The Data Management Healthcheck 2010 survey, will remain open during the WoHIT conference in Barcelona, Spain, between March 15 - 18, 2010. If you want to take part in the survey you can access it online.

Recession Cuts European Printer Market by 17%

The combined printer, copier and multifunctional product (MFP) market in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) totalled 39.6 million shipments in 2009, a decline of 17.8 per cent from 2008, according to Gartner (site).

Overall end-user spending also declined by 21 per cent from €14.4 billion in 2008 to €11.3 billion in 2009, as a result of tighter credit controls by banks and cuts in IT spending by businesses as well as consumers.

Many organizations are still delaying the purchase of new products as cost containment policies remain intact with a focus on cost reduction. However, colour devices registered a 5 per cent growth.

Each of the top five vendors saw a decline in 2009. HP remained the market leader in the EMEA printer, copier and MFP market, but registered the worst decline at 21 per cent year-on-year. Canon, ranked No. 2, continued to perform well in the A4 segment.

Samsung Electronics posted the lowest market decline at 2 per cent in 2009, which helped it maintain its No. 2 position in the page market, led by HP.

If you’re interested in more you can log on to the Gartner website.

eDiscovery Provider Mimosa Systems Acquired by Iron Mountain

Content Archiving Provider Mimosa Systems Acquired by Iron Mountain

Iron Mountain (site) has announced its acquisition of eDiscovery and content archiving provider Mimosa Systems (site). There's probably no better reason than to say "it's all about the content baby".

The Deal to Get Content Archiving

Iron Mountain is a major player in the information management market, everyone has heard of this company. But maybe they haven't heard as much about Mimosa Systems, which is based out of California. Well they will after today as Iron Mountain has picked up the provider of content archiving and eDiscovery solutions for US$ 112 million in cash.

The deal seems to be all about providing Iron Mountain with an on-premise content archiving solution — in this case Mimosa NearPoint — to complement their cloud based offering.

Mimosa NearPoint is a an email archiving and eDiscovery solution. Version 4 was brought to market last June, offering an integrated content archive that includes not only email, but also content in blogs, wikis, documents and more. It also improved content search, case management and came with a new user interface and data capture methodology.

It's these capabilities along with being able to now capture manage content from additional devices like desktops, laptops and systems like SharePoint, that caused Iron Mountain to choose Mimosa.

And, of course, eDiscovery

Iron Mountain also likes what NearPoint offers for eDiscovery. That solution gets added to Iron Mountain's Stratify eDiscovery services which includes Stratify Legal Discovery Services for large litigation needs and eVantage for early case assessment.

Stratify recently achieved its Statement on Auditing Standard (SAS-70) certification.

What Happens to Mimosa?

The Mimosa team will become part of Iron Mountain Digital. And Mimosa's CEO T.M. Ravi will become Iron Mountain Digital's chief marketing officer, in charge of strategy planning and execution.

In a letter from Iron Mountain's President and Mimosa's CEO, existing Mimosa customers — which are 1,000 strong — can expect continued support and growth of the NearPoint solution. But customers will also get an expanded solution offering which includes cloud-based eDiscovery services.

And they should be comforted in the knowledge that Iron Mountain is a very financially stable company with a global reach (something Mimosa partners should appreciate for sure).

Iron Mountain is acquiring the Mimosa team and their expertise, not just their technology. The Mimosa team will become an integral part of Iron Mountain Digital and will help support the company’s information management services strategy. Mimosa’s executive team strongly supports this acquisition, and I (Ravi) will join Iron Mountain Digital as its Chief Marketing Officer, responsible for driving marketing functions and playing a key role in its strategy planning and execution.

In House eDiscovery and the SharePoint Factor

There are a couple key things at play here. The first is that there is a strong movement to take eDiscovery in-house. For Iron Mountain this was a key market they were not going to be able to access prior to this acquisition.

Gartner recently published their MarketScope for E-Discovery Software Product Vendors report, which helps organizations figure out how to build the business case for in-house eDiscovery. In it, Mimosa Systems rated as positive, but came behind other larger vendors like Autonomy, Clearwell and Zylabs.

Stratify doesn't even show up in this report, which could mean Iron Mountain isn't widely recognized for its eDiscovery services. Mimosa's NearPoint may change that.

The other key to this deal is the SharePoint factor. With the upcoming release of SharePoint 2010, there are likely many organizations starting to think about their content migration strategy. And the smart ones aren't going to move all the content housed within their current SharePoint implementation to the new environment — especially if they are among the many with messy environments.

Since SharePoint doesn't provide content archiving — or eDiscovery for that matter — Iron Mountain has the opportunity to get in the door of these organizations with an integrated content archiving offering via Mimosa. It's also great for Mimosa as it opens the SharePoint universe on a global scale.

While this deal is still subject to closing adjustments, it may be a "well spent" US$ 112 million for Iron Mountain. And, of course, a smart deal for Mimosa.

Have a Blog You Want to Migrate to SharePoint?

Metalogix (site) is at it again, offering another way to migrate your content into another CMS. This time it's for those of you who have a blog but are being lulled by the sweet song of SharePoint 2010.

Have Blog? Will Migrate

So here's the deal, Microsoft is marketing SharePoint 2010 as a business collaboration platform. And that means it supports collaboration and content management (enterprise content management and web content management).

So it's the perfect platform for you bloggers who want more functionality than your current blogging software offers. At least that's what Metalogix believes. Which is why they have developed a migration tool — the Metalogix Migration Manager for Blogs — that will help you migrate your blog into SharePoint 2010.

What Blogging Software is Supported?

Here's the list:

  • Google Blogger
  • Wordpress
  • Movable Type
  • Telligent
  • Any blog system that supports either the Metaweblog standard or RSS

What Content is Migrated?

What components of your blog can you migrate? You can migrate all your posts, comments and categories.

Like other Metalogix Migration Managers, batch migration and remote administration of the migration are also supported.

Metalogix Migration Manager for Blogs

The migration manager also supports the migration of blogs from SharePoint 2007 to SharePoint 2010. In this case all version history and user permissions are supported as well.

Time to Migrate Along?

So if you are tired of your current blogging software or just want more functionality — like that found in SharePoint 2010, take a closer look.

And if you are a Microsoft MVP, you can get a free version of the Migration Manager for Blogs.

Oh, and if you aren't ready to go to SharePoint 2010, the migration manager will migrate your blogs to SharePoint 2007.

How Document Management Has Evolved in SharePoint 2010

It’s always useful to get some kind of insight into the thinking behind the development of features in new software, particularly when it comes to SharePoint 2010 (site).

In a recent entry on the Microsoft Enterprise Content Management Team Blog, Adam Harmetz, Lead Program Manager for SharePoint Document and Records Management, explains how new features in SharePoint 2010 build on SharePoint 2007 and what we might expect in the future.

The first thing he says is that many of the key document management infrastructures were introduced in SharePoint 2007, which was the first time that SharePoint enabled users apply structure and management to their document libraries as opposed to using it principally as a collaborative tool.

Those features and their integration with Microsoft Office client applications enabled users to create high-value knowledge repositories that were easy to interact with and were generally positively received by users.

SharePoint 2010 document management is built off the success of that and around a number of principal ideas including:

  • Managing unstructured silos
  • Use of metadata
  • Browser as document management application

Managing unstructured silos

Looking at the way users were using document management features in 2007, Harmetz says they noticed that SharePoint was being used to pull unstructured silos into realm of enterprise content management.

Users were using traditional document management features on collaborative sites and using them to apply policy and structure as well as gathering insights from unmanaged places.

This lead to the development of many new SharePoint 2010 document management features. In this respect Harmetz cites the idea of a document set, which allows users to group related documents, share metadata, workflows, homepage and archiving processes.

The feature was designed with dual purposes:

  • To manage very rigid processes (regulatory submissions, for example)
  • Informal process management where teams need to combine a number of file types in same process.

Extending the document set feature to enable its use informally extends the SharePoint ECM value for users, Harmetz says.

Use of metadata

In establishing how metadata would be used across SharePoint 2010, they combined the use of both structured taxonomies and keywords, and applied both to SharePoint 2010 repositories.

SharePoint 2010_document management_navigation.jpg
Instead of navigating by traditional folders, a user filtered the library to the virtual folder that contains just sales materials about Contoso’s tent products.

With SharePoint 2010, users get consistent metadata management with the result that any SharePoint site can hook into that metadata with virtually no effort.

There are two key principals in the use of metadata:

  • Use and application of tags: It’s easy for a site to use enterprise wide tags and taxonomies, and easy for users to apply them.
  • How SharePoint 2010 uses tags: The document library can be configured to use metadata as a primary navigation pivot.

Combined, it means that easy metadata entry enables users to tag items which in turn drives navigation. And because users need the metadata to navigate the repository, this encourages them to tag the items.

Browser as a document management application

SharePoint 2010 pulls together two features that SharePoint is best known for:

  • Website and page creation
  • Collaboration on, and management of documents

In the interests of efficient knowledge management, SharePoint 2010 applies the principal that the browser is the key to best managing documents — not just for document downloads but also for interaction with the document.

In this respect, users will now be able to interact with the document as well as having access to document context including metadata, wikis pages related to the document and related documents.

SharePoint 2010 enables this in a number of ways including:

  • Office Web Apps: The default click for the document library can be set for automatic document upload into the browser.
  • Content Query web part: Used to roll up all the documents related to a particular topic.

The result is a combination of wiki and traditional enterprise document management repositories.

There are a lot more document management features to SharePoint 2010, but Harmetz gives some context to it and suggests that future developments will be based along the same lines. He will be addressing other features and other document management issues over the coming months.

However, if there are particular issues in relation to SharePoint 2010 and document management that you would like him to discuss, leave a message on the blog, especially if you’re one of those that have downloaded the Beta version and are having problems on the test drive.

HP TRIM 7 Provides Records Management for SharePoint

When HP (site) bought Tower in 2008 the reason they gave for doing so was to extend their reach in the information management market. The recent upgrade of the TRIM document management software to TRIM 7 fulfills that ambition by offering an integrated, full suite of solutions for eDiscovery, compliance, records management and archiving.

In fact with TRIM 7, HP has specifically focused on upgrading the records and archiving elements. In this respect, they have created software that enables organizations transparently manage all of their Microsoft SharePoint Server records in a single environment, regardless of the source of those records.

What this means is that it can now capture Microsoft SharePoint files and even entire SharePoint workspaces. It also comes with full DoD 5015.2 v3 certification, making it particularly attractive across the eDiscovery and compliance markets.

TRIM And SharePoint

That TRIM 7 focuses specifically on integrating its records and archiving abilities with SharePoint is not a surprise.

For those unfamiliar with it, TRIM software is an enterprise document and records management system with the ability to scale across large, distributed environments. It enables users to capture, manage and secure enterprise information, from electronic to physical records and from creation to eventual disposal.

When HP bought Tower and its Total Records Information Management (TRIM) in 2008 one of the features it was buying was TRIM’s SharePoint integration capabilities. Tower’s software was based on Microsoft Technologies and was a Gold Partner for SharePoint before the takeover.

This integration enabled HP to enter into the SharePoint eDiscovery and compliance world as so many organizations with SharePoint now find themselves having to look at compliance issues and SharePoint carefully.

TRIM 7 Modules

With the two new modules, HP TRIM 7 enables users capture, search and manage of all types of physical and electronic business information across Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and the upcoming SharePoint Server 2010.

The two new modules include

  • TRIM Records Management: Provides transparent access to all SharePoint Server content from the SharePoint Server workspace
  • TRIM Archiving: Archives specific list objects in SharePoint Server, or entire SharePoint Server sites, to HP TRIM.

While TRIM’s ability to capture SharePoint records and archive them is not new, up until now the information it could manage was restricted to documents and limited to manual entry.

However, now capture policies can be defined by administrators and can include information that is contained in wikis, blog entries, blog comments, calendar entries and workflow events.

There are other advantages too. They include:

  • Increased compliance and preparation for eDiscovery
  • Apply compliance policy management across the enterprise
  • TRIM can now manage the complete information lifecycle of corporate records
  • Prove the authenticity of information with version control, access control and audit trails
  • Support long-term information access in appropriate formats
  • Support FOI requests by easily finding, redacting and rendering information for secure release
  • Enforce a security structure that governs how information is used
  • Easy-to apply text‑based search capabilities and metadata
  • Apply lifetime policies seamlessly and manage all SharePoint

Given the number of organizations that are now using SharePoint and are considering SharePoint 2010, the new HP TRIM modules are quite timely and probably not the last module we are likely to see for TRIM.

Considering SharePoint does not have DoD 5015 certification for its built in records management capabilities — in SharePoint 2007 or SharePoint 2010 — many organizations using the platform will be looking for an integrated solution such as this one from HP.

AvePoint Helps Migrate From SharePoint 2007 to SharePoint 2010

You are currently using SharePoint 2007 and you are chomping at the bit to move to SharePoint 2010 (which still isn't here yet, so calm down). Wondering how you can get all your information easily into the new version? AvePoint (site) has an option for you.

Getting your SharePoint content into SharePoint

The DocAve Migrator can help you migrate your content from both SharePoint 2003 and SharePoint 2007 into SharePoint 2010. Note that this also includes WSS2.0 and WSS3.0.

AvePoint, as part of the Microsoft Office TAP (Technology Adoption Program) program, has had inside knowledge of the inner workings of the upcoming version of SharePoint. They have designed their migration solution to go beyond the basic out of the box migration offering that Microsoft offers to move from 2007 to 2010.

The out of the box offering involves a bulk upgrade at the farm or database level. AvePoint extends this in the following way:

  • Migrate and map content, metadata, customizations and configurations from 2007 to SharePoint 2010 and reorganize, remap or move to new folders once migrated.
  • Migrate a single instance or content item.
  • Using the Pre-Migration Scanner, you can get notified of elements that need to be mapped for a successful migration.

Migrate Content from Anywhere

In addition, you can also migrate from 2003 — something Microsoft doesn't offer — and of, course, a number of other content management systems including Oracle/Stellent,Lotus Notes, Documentum eRoom, File Systems, Exchange Public Folders, Open Text LiveLink and Vignette.

Of course, AvePoint isn't your only SharePoint migration option. You can also check out the MetaVis Migrator and Metalogix.

SharePoint, Be My Valentine: From a Glorified Network Share to an Enterprise Platform

How did you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Red roses? Fancy dinner? Perhaps, a romantic movie date? I spent mine with family and SharePoint friends over dim sum (coincidentally it’s also Lunar New Year’s day too!).

As I was reminiscing how the relationship I have with my wife has blossomed through the years, it dawned on me that it mirrors how SharePoint should evolve in enterprises today.

The First Date

I remember asking my wife out for a date to get to know her better. We had lunch at Avra’s in New York City. With SharePoint, IT would typically install it initially as a Proof of Concept (POC) to see the possibilities it can bring with the full knowledge that it might just be a one time, go nowhere endeavor.

Going Steady

After going out for a few more dates, my wife (then girlfriend) and I made the conscious decision to be exclusive to each other. The level of commitment has been elevated.

Your organization feels good enough about SharePoint after the POC and now is ready to use it for a limited audience to validate the benefits it can provide. This is typically known as a pilot deployment.

During this stage, the most common SharePoint application is to improve collaboration and document management practices. Out of the box features like sites, document libraries, meeting workspaces and discussion boards supplement traditional file sharing over email or network shares.

Caught Off Guard

It wasn’t necessarily planned nor expected, but a few months after our first date our relationship moved to the next level. I was always invited to her family’s activities; she got to know and interact with my friends.  in short, we became a part of each other’s lives more ways than one. I remember thinking to myself “…this is a good thing! Our relationship is maturing.” Along with this, unspoken expectations grew in ways I never envisioned — more responsibilities eased into the relationship without clearly defining it.

Isn’t this so true with SharePoint? The initial intent of improving traditional collaborative practices for a small group grows into so much more. Your ‘pilot deployment’ magically becomes a ‘production Intranet’; users’ enthusiasm leads to rapid adoption and, typically, proliferation of information silos.

What do you do? What happens when you leave SharePoint as it is and let it grow ‘organically’? What kind of reaction will you get if SharePoint is removed?

Settling Down

After almost a year of dating, my wife and I took the plunge and got married. This is where the rubber meets the road. We could’ve maintained our relationship in a ‘dating mode’, however, we knew that taking the next step will bring lifelong joy and happiness for the both of us. We also knew that it was not going to be a smooth ride, the adjustment to complete commitment can be challenging.

How about you?

Do you find your organization only scratching the surface of SharePoint and not sure how to get to the next level?

Managing the shift from SharePoint as a local application environment to a strategic enterprise platform requires a balance between ensuring business groups can readily leverage SharePoint and ensuring that the resulting SharePoint environment is manageable and effective for the enterprise.

The first step in making the change from SharePoint involvement to commitment is the realization that SharePoint isn’t just another tool in the IT toolbox. It transcends traditional IT tools and is an enterprise platform. It is helpful to restate Microsoft’s simple, yet far reaching definition of SharePoint 2010:

The Business Collaboration Platform for the enterprise and the web

The implications to this are significant. It means that the organization has to have a deep and committed relationship with SharePoint not only in IT, but at all levels of the business.

Realizing true benefits from the platform will require complete organizational adoption

IT has to be trained to implement and support SharePoint as a platform, not just another tool. This means most of IT needs comprehensive SharePoint training/certification as it relates to their role. Here’s the tough part — there isn’t a direct mapping of roles. Responsibilities are now distributed in different ways and across the entire organization (this clearly resonates in marriage).

For example, a network admin that manages security of the network share will have to redefine her job since, with SharePoint, file management is more distributed. Now the actual owner of that data has some responsibility for who has access to it, how it is attributed, where it is stored, retention objectives, etc. Obviously non-IT users have to have the training and support to be effective with their new responsibilities as well.

Organizational Priorities

What is next will be determined by organizational priorities. You may want a particular ‘point solution’ that is compelling enough to push to the top of your priority list. Alternately, you may follow a more traditional adoption plan — again based on priorities, organizational change capacity, budget, etc — and might include:

  • Intranet
  • Project Management System
  • Business process automation with workflows
  • System integration
  • Custom application development

Successful long-term relationships don’t happen in a day and complete organizational integration of SharePoint will take some time as well. Planning for a good foundation is critical to future success.

However, you can’t know everything you will possibly do with the platform, so don’t try. Like growing a family, a good strategic plan — when to buy a house, saving for children’s education, etc — is required and should allow for growth and change.

To build this solid foundation, here are a few tips for your strategic SharePoint roadmap:

  1. Gain executive commitment to SharePoint as a platform
  2. Engage experienced professionals in implementing SharePoint as an enterprise platform
  3. Reach out to the business and identify pain points that can be addressed by SharePoint
  4. Implement SharePoint in phases — keep phases manageable so each can be a win which promotes better buy-in and adoption
  5. Draw the line if/when SharePoint will be an enterprise platform vs a single point solution
  6. Plan for periodic changes at least annually: stop, re-assess, prioritize business needs, reality check, reinvest into SharePoint

You Had Me At Hello

Looking back, I could’ve decided not to pursue a long-term relationship with my wife — but I didn’t. The commitment (time, money, emotions, etc) I’ve put in through the years has been well worth it in the long run. And I hope your organization treats SharePoint the same way.

Lastly, here’s a great article on why SharePoint is a woman.