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The SharePoint factor – the need to plan & integrate

I’ve recently downloaded AIIM’s report “SharePoint – strategies and experiences” and it makes for a stimulating if number heavy read. AIIM is an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) body and the report reflects this. My background and focus is on social software in the Enterprise. And as I’ve been arguing, the whole area of ECM, internal comms, intranets and content management systems is in a state of flux, not least because of the drivers created by social software.

Reports such as this provide one with a window into this world from one perspective and provide a rich source of information. It was created from inputs from over 600 companies, the majority being US based and followed by Europe and the rest of the world. Of these, almost 2 thirds have SharePoint in one form or another and with this likely to increase, especially with the release of SharePoint 2010.

SharePoint 2010 is of interest of course, in that it provides enhanced social capabilities -the blogs, wiki and discussion capabilities are much better than in previous releases. But what the report shows is that the greatest use is in core data collaboration and document sharing functions and that Microsoft:

…successfully targeted a latent demand for browser-based collaboration with the original SharePoint concept, and this has subsequently resonated with the increase in globalized teamwork and increased mobility.

Of note Company portals and staff-facing intranets are high but not top of the list and are followed by the social aspects:

Enterprise 2.0 functions, such as forums, blogs and wikis. Users are obviously looking to SharePoint to provide their Enterprise 2.0 functionality, as the graph shows that there are very few alternative solutions in already in place [10%].

So, we have near on market dominance and with SharePoint set to become the defacto platform for many social endeavours in the enterprise, but. And it’s a big but. Reading the report more closely shows quite a potentally alarming picture.

For over a third of companies (36%) it is their first implementation of ECM and a quarter it is their CMS and 15% use it as their portal and intranet. And of these, nearly 25% have teams site proliferation. Less than a half had any business plan and of those that did, less than half of these but any hard cost figures on it.

When it came to governance, IT owned the governance in over 60% of companies, around 25% did it on a departmental or records management basis. Some 9% had soft governance at a local level and 5% admitted that there was not only no governance but that SharePoint was totally out of control. Where there was governance, this was in the majority of cases on who could set up a site, roles and access.

In no instance was there a clear governance of what we might call the enterprise 2.0 aspect and of driving, guiding and evangelising social software adoption. In no instance was there an indication of internal communications input and guidance. SharePoint is it would seem, a technology and not a collaborational practice that is embedded into the business and aligned to its strategy.

This to me at least rings alarm bells. Perhaps for others too – take for example these comments from the report’s appendix:

  • SharePoint is rather easy to roll out and is attractive to end-users, so the risk is that everybody becomes an administrator and governance is neglected.
  • Need a governance plan FIRST. It is an absolute must and the step CANNOT be skipped under any circumstances
  • Focus on business requirements – don’t let IT drive the implementation.
  • Sort out governance. Sort out training. Sort out an Information Architecture. Sort out a basic taxonomy.
  • Plan, plan, plan. Really work through governance and content type issues.
  • SharePoint can become a black hole unless managed carefully.
  • Plan for governance first, implement governance from the outset.

SharePoint – strategies and experiences (requires free registration)
SharePoint Surge Continues but Strategies are Lacking
Previous posts on SharePoint

4 replies on “The SharePoint factor – the need to plan & integrate”

From the article I get the following impression: Share Point is to
Intranet what Share drives are to Content Management Am I wrong?

Russell, Interesting summation of our report. I’m not a SharePoint
expert, but I’m not sold that it will become the de facto standard
for social media/e20-ish functions. I think we’re starting to see a
tipping point from the initial exuberance around the technology:
woo hoo, it’s practically FREEE! Hooray, I’ve got ECM now. To a
more realistic view that, damn, like any technology, you might want
to have a strategy for how you’re going to use it first. It
continues to baffle me that folks still think that technology is a
panacea for business problems. Problem first, technology second —
should be a required tattoo for all computer science-type graduates

I agree on all these points Bryant – by defacto I was thinking of
the trend that I’m seeing, not necessarily one I’d concur with. On
my current project we’re using Jive and that won against strong
competition from the SharePoint argument and a lot of woo hoo
points! But, and here’s the rub – if I had the same skills in
SharePoint as I have in Jive I’d have the pick of the jobs market
here in London…whether we see a sea-change here, well who knows
but I’d certainly like to see more Jive adoptions in the UK.

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