Business people

Better SharePoint Business Solution Deployment

Why do we need a phased approach to rolling out SharePoint business solutions?

SharePoint offers businesses an excellent opportunity to leverage out the box features to accomplish a variety of business functions from team member collaboration, document management and information sharing to automated project task tracking and issue management and just about everything in between.

Unfortunately, the most common challenges that businesses experience when it comes to successfully deploying SharePoint business solutions usually relate to understanding how SharePoint’s specific features and capabilities can address their particular business solution needs and how to apply a structured methodology or roadmap to implement those capabilities in a manner that benefits the organization.

Common business challenges addressed with SharePoint solutions:

  • Help desk solutions to track service requests
  • Document collaboration and management solutions
  • Records management and reporting solutions
  • Scheduling systems to manage resources
  • Web sites to support geographically dispersed teams
  • Training course registration systems

Is SharePoint a development platform?

Many organizations make the mistake of thinking that SharePoint can do anything and before they know it, they are embarking on a custom development project and trying to customize SharePoint to perform software functions that it may not have been designed for.  We sometimes refer to this as “not playing to SharePoint’s strengths” and before they know if, these organizations find themselves engaged in costly custom software development efforts the end up producing difficult (and sometimes expensive) to maintain solutions.

Is SharePoint a business solution product?

Other organizations may look at SharePoint as a product designed primarily for storing and sharing documents or they may think SharePoint is only for making web sites and web pages.  While SharePoint does provide these types of features and capabilities, it also possesses a huge number of additional capabilities like document and records management, targeted end user notifications and automated workflows, and powerful tools used to interact with other Microsoft Office products like Word, Excel, PowerPoint as well as other external software products.  Organizations that view SharePoint as a “business solution product” are usually on the right track when it comes to deploying “out of the box” solutions that play to SharePoint’s inherent strengths.   The better they understand SharePoint’s inherent strengths and how those strength’s work together to provide an overall business solution, the more likely they are to deploy successful SharePoint based business solutions.

Maybe it’s a little bit of both?

Actually, I’ve found that the majority of business solution engagements involving SharePoint fall somewhere in between the “development of custom SharePoint solutions” and the “configuration and setup of the SharePoint product”.  Why is this?

The makeup of your SharePoint solution team has a lot to do with how your SharePoint solution deployment experience play out.  There’s a very good chance that the complexity and duration of your solution deployment will be more complex and run longer if your SharePoint technical solution team is made up of traditional “developers”.  On the other hand, if your solution team is made up of SharePoint “power users” and “functional architects” who know SharePoint out of the box features and functions and how to “configure” then, you may benefit from less complex and shorter deployments that quickly deliver more economical “80%” types of solutions.

This article series focuses on:

  1. Effectively leveraging SharePoint “Out of the Box” features, capabilities and approaches to deliver business solutions that play to SharePoint’s strengths to ensure solutions that are not only simple, reliable, deployable, and maintainable while also providing a solid foundation for the future evolution of your solution.
  2. Leveraging a structured approach that helps to guide your customers through the overall SharePoint solution delivery process from the identification of business requirements to the actual deployment and evolution of their business solution.
  3. Understanding how the “outputs” of each solution delivery phase impact the “inputs” of other solution delivery phases

About Chris Peters

Chris Peters is an experienced SharePoint and Office 365 evangelist and business solution delivery and support professional.  He is a Lean Six Sigma Quality Black Belt with over 15 years of success in promoting and delivering technology enabled business solutions for commercial and federal customers.  In his free time he loves spending time with his family, reading science fiction books, and photography.