Starting any Microsoft SharePoint project can be a daunting task, especially when it’s the corporate website -- it is generally a very high profile project. If you are thinking about using SharePoint for Web Content Management (Web CMS) or Customer Experience Management (CXM), here are my three top points to consider to ensure your project is a success:
When I talk to clients about their new SharePoint website I often hear the question “can SharePoint do that?” and quite frankly, it makes me cringe. When I hear this kind of question so early on in a project, it usually means there is a danger of the "tail wagging the dog" unless dealt with swiftly. Website projects should be about generating revenues, raising product and service awareness, connecting with customers and elevating brands. Not about how you can fit a website around SharePoint (or any Web CMS platform for that matter). I’m not suggesting you completely disregard the technology -- after all, the business has made an investment in the platform and therefore needs the ROI -- but there is a healthy balance between technology and delivering a digital experience that meets the business objectives. As a rule of thumb, when going through the initial requirements stage of a SharePoint website project I talk about the business requirements and business value 80% of the time and SharePoint/technology only 20% of the time.
Out of the Box Won’t Do
SharePoint can be deployed out-of-the-box in many scenarios: whether for document management, light project management or a basic intranet. But, it should not be for your public facing website. Face up to the fact from the beginning that you’re going to need to do some customization work. A good example of this is out-of-the-box web parts -- I’ve lost count of the times where people think they are going to be able to use all of the out of the box web parts on their shiny new website and are disappointed when they realize it’s simply not going to work.