SharePoint... it's BIG

A couple of attendees at SharePoint Connections voiced similar perspectives about SharePoint... that it's BIG.

Yes, it is BIG, not just the impact it's having on the market and on IT but the sheer size and complexity and impact of the product on our businesses.  Where do you start?  SharePoint can be used for so many things: collaboration, document management, web content management, search, forms... the list goes on and on. 

My advice?  Pick a "low hanging fruit" that you know will create value for your organization.  Many organizations can really benefit, for example, from document libraries: version tracking, enforcing checkout, adding metadata to documents to make them easier to search for, analyze, etc... That might be a great place to start. Another clear "win" for a lot of organizations is taking the frequently used "flat databases" that users have in Excel, Access and other applications and get those into SharePoint so that multiple users can be working on the data simultaneously, analyzing the data from a single source, etc.  A third major "win" that I see is collaboration--especially if you have Outlook 2007. What Outlook can do with SharePoint-based contact, task, and calendar lists, as well as discussion forums, is nothing short of fantastic.

Political problems getting users to adopt SharePoint? Start with your own IT team.  How about wikis and lists and libraries to support IT procedures, inventories, etc.?

So pick one or maybe two areas that can hit a home run. Show the role that SharePoint can play in solving a business problem.

But then be ready--because as most of us have found out the hard way, as soon as users have had a taste of SharePoint, they'll want a lot more!  You'll want to have a governance plan in place to drive the rollout, SLAs, and managment of SharePoint so that it doesn't get out of hand.  I'll certainly discuss governance more in this blog.

So, yes, SharePoint is big. The only way to begin is to bite off a small piece. Dive in, tackle that part of the product, and make a splash in your organization.

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