Posts Tagged 'sharepoint rollout'

How to deploy SharePoint successfully the first time

Let’s take a look at what history has taught us in the IT world. We build or buy an application, we install that application and then we roll the application out to the users. Our job is now done and we move on to the next application. If we are rolling out SharePoint we follow the same pattern and this is why SharePoint deployments fail!

First of all SharePoint is not a common single purpose application, it is an application for developing web site based applications. So here is the kicker: the web applications are not intended to be developed by the IT departments but rather by information workers and this is why the historical deployment model does not work. IT is not deploying an application; they are deploying a platform to create application and that is why you can’t just roll out SharePoint.

So if we follow IT’s traditional deployment model, they just deployed an application that allows users to create other applications (web sites) as easily as creating a new file folder. What issues will this cause?

  • Users will figure this out and create web sites. There will be no management of how many web sites are created and soon we will have the same mess in SharePoint as we had in the LAN drive. I thought SP was going to solve these issues?
  • Most users will see SharePoint as only the team site (the most commonly deployed template) and wonder, “This is SharePoint? What the big deal? My LAN drive and email work better.”

So how do fix this?

  • First of all DON’T let your IT department deploy SharePoint as if it is a traditional application. Have them build the server infrastructure and create a solid platform where users can build web sites.
  • Create a SharePoint deployment team that will come up with usage scenarios, information architecture and governance (guidance and enforcement) for how to use the SharePoint infrastructure IT has deployed.
  • Roll out SharePoint slowly to various departments, showing them how various sites (templates) can be created and customized to solve their business problems. Users who are used to working with email and LAN drives build procedures around the limitations of email and LAN drives, and don’t at first see the solutions that are available in SharePoint that are superior.
  • Identify power users that you can further train on other SharePoint features, so they sites they build can solve more departmental issues.

If you deploy SharePoint this way instead of following the traditional method you will find greater adoption, reduction of information silos and increased efficiently in the organization.

Gord Maric

SharePoint and Business Intelligence Consultant

Why SharePoint?

About 5 years ago I saw SharePoint for the first time and it blew my mind. As a matter of fact it blew my mind so much that I changed the work that my company was doing and started focusing on SharePoint almost exclusively. Yet, as I go in to in to clients’ offices, I am bombarded with complaints about SharePoint.

What’s wrong with SharePoint?

  1. Stop calling it SharePoint. SharePoint is a platform for developing web sites. If you’re having issues, take a look at the development of your platform. Figure out what went wrong and redeploy the “HR” web site, or “Company Intranet.” Tell them you have a new version of the “Company Intranet”–not SharePoint.
  2. Stop using folders. So often I find clients’ libraries filled with layers and layers of folders. Folders don’t work well on the web. Users expect the same experience with folders as on their desktop and SharePoint does not deliver a good folder experience.

How not to use folders:

  1. Were users trained on the usage of the web site? I attended a training session at a client’s site delivered by the IT department that installed SharePoint (yes, they were calling it that). The audience consisted of business professionals who were planning to use SharePoint deployed for them. The presenter went on about the servers installed SharePoint and capabilities:

The audience was lost, and scared to death to see what they were going to get when they got back to their office.

So, SharePoint is not so bad. Focus on improving implementation or try SharePoint training, and then see what you think!

Gord Maric
CiRAM eSolutions Ltd
Specializing in SharePoint and Business Intelligence

Attention Management: Steps to Successfully Deploy SharePoint

Too often I find deploying SharePoint consists of installing the software on the server, making sure it runs and sending an email to users “SharePoint is installed – good luck!” If this sounds familiar, your SharePoint installation has failed and only a few people are actually getting the benefits from SharePoint. Here are the steps to follow for a successful deployment:

1)  Requirements gathering: Why are you deploying SharePoint?
SharePoint is a platform for developing web based applications. SharePoint comes with various templates that allow web sites to be easily created. Which templates do you require? Which templates don’t you require? Before you make that decision, a requirements analysis needs to be done.

If a requirements analysis is not done, some keen users will experiment and utilize some of the templates. You will get pockets of success, but not wide spread deployment and the promise of communication and collaboration will not be met.

2)  Executive Sponsorship: Where’s the cash and muscle?
Assuming you did some requirements gathering, you are well on your way. You will probably realize which template web sites you require, what customization you need to do and how the web site will positively affect your business. You will need money: for hardware, licensing, deployment, training, and muscle to introduce the necessary changes and new ways of doing things in your company.

3)  Deployment teams: Who’s doing the work?
So, you know what you what, have some coins in the bank to help you roll it out, and you have executive muscle to make it happened. Now you need the roles and responsibilities. Roles don’t necessary need to be individual people; some people can wear multiple hats.

A: The Technicals– to setup and configure the server to meet your requirements

B: The Project Managers or site owners – to make sure all the pieces are rolling out as required

C: The SharePoint developers – could be just SharePoint web site configuration via the web site (easiest and recommended), SharePoint designer, or Visual Studio developers. Depending on your requirements, assemble the correct team

D: The Trainers – SharePoint is about creating a web site to meet business requirements and someone needs to train each user group on the web site and the functionality of SharePoint.

E: The Evangelists – to get the buzz out, develop a following and get those laggards converted

4)  Test deployment: What could possibly go wrong?
Start with a small test deployment, learn from your mistakes, and improve your product. Then, and only then, roll out a production environment.

5)  Rollout: Make it happen
Users don’t care if your web site is created in Java, .Net or SharePoint. They only care about the functionality. Concentrate on your business requirements and why you deployed the web site for the users. Don’t focus on features they don’t care about, focus ONLY on features determined necessary in your requirements. What are their pain points and how can the web site help? Don’t call the web site SharePoint; give it a name that suits its purpose, eg Project Management, Human Resources, Help Desk, etc.

6)  Rinse and repeat: Repeat your successes
Congratulate yourself and your team on a successful business application web site deployment using a rapid application development platform called SharePoint. Learn from your successes and failures and start with step 1 again.

Gord Maric

CiRAM eSolutions Ltd
Specializing in SharePoint and Business Intelligence

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