What is required for a successful SharePoint Deployment?
I’ve been through many SharePoint projects in the last 2 years and learned many lessons and seen good/bad practices. When I’m talking to Customers I always mention the four pillars (or four quadrants) of successful SharePoint deployments – it helps to put a structure around what I want to articulate. These are my quadrants:
In a little bit more details:
- Infrastructure: this component represents a strong infrastructure design/implementation, good network planning, etc – everything that makes sure that your servers can host the expected amount of content and can serve the expected number of users.
- Governance : this one makes sure that you have logical structures (information architecture, taxonomy) in place to host data, retention policies to not end up with a hundred terabyte mass and millions of sites (does it ring a bell? Yes, to not end up like in the age of file shares!), a common look and feel, navigation structure, you fulfill all important roles and responsibilities within your organization and so on. You can read my earlier article on Governance here.
- User Adoption (Value Realization) : you have rolled out SharePoint in a strong infrastructure, you have perfect governance guidelines in place, but you realize that nobody is going to use it. And which is even more important: your company won’t realize the value – the initial investment won’t return. User Adoption is the piece that makes sure that your users are trained and your business leaders important and appreciate the value that this infrastructure brings to them. This is a very important and complex area and varies from Customer to Customer – based on their culture, level of maturity, and so on. For example, there are different training best practices, based on your audience – but first you need to identify the “personas” that you are working with to make sure that you target the right level and right style. I could talk about this area for days …
- People (Champions) : this is the most important one of each of the quadrants. You need to identify those people who are usually ahead of the others (like you, dear Reader – has the latest gadgets, passionate about productivity, etc) within different business departments/teams. Yes, it’s important that these people are sitting outside of IT! You can give extensive and focused trainings to these people and get them to implement anything that makes their lives easier. This investment will pay back itself! Within a month or two, these people will come up with brilliant solutions (probably, they’ll ask you many questions during this period – which is good) that you can demonstrate to their Senior management. The focus of the demo needs to be on the value proposition, as opposed to the technical details: demonstrate the existing process and tell them how much this process have cost them in the past and how much it costs today by using the SharePoint implementation. The goal is for Senior management to understand the value that SharePoint brings to their organization, therefore they’ll urge people to use it. As soon as you get their support, you can celebrate the success of your project. I suggest a glass of nice Rosé (or a beer) for your lunch on that day – you deserve it! A relevant Microsoft offering to deliver this area is BVPS – for Customers with SA benefits, it’s already included in your SA training vouchers – so, it’s free of charge!
As a conclusion: I hope that this article helped to understand the four quadrants. The funny thing (maybe not funny at all) is that I’ve realized that there are many failed SharePoint implementations (some of them are not failed officially, but nobody is using it – which is a failure to me) because companies tend to focus only on the first quadrant (the Infrastructure). Ping me if you have any questions, anything to add or if you need any help (including explaining the importance of these areas to your project manager/boss :) ) We also have very good experience deploying SharePoint and delivering these important areas – ping me if you want to schedule a meeting! Thanks!