Our theme this month is SharePoint, which is kind of like Christmas for us CMSWire kids. Read on for expert perspectives on everything from effective governance to building a good records management foundation to a general quick start guide. 

The Art Of SharePoint Success: A Quick Start Guide

Symon Garfield (@symon_garfield): While SharePoint has been widely successful, not all organizations have seen the full benefit of using this platform. Here is the four key element framework that I have developed for you to ensure that SharePoint becomes both a business and technical success for your organization.

Why You Need a Records Management Foundation for SharePoint

Kimberly Samuelson (@laserfiche): When it comes to enterprise compliance and records management (GRC), collaboration isn’t usually the first word that comes to mind. In fact, "collaborative records management" sounds like a compliance nightmare. This is precisely why you need a good records management foundation, before moving into social business.

SharePoint, on the other hand, is all about collaboration. One of the best descriptions of SharePoint I’ve heard is that it’s like “a network drive on crack.”

SharePoint’s workspaces and other collaboration tools make it easy to work on multi-author documents, but — as on a network drive — once an organization accumulates a certain number of documents, it becomes difficult to control this proliferation of content — even if (and this is a big “if”) the information is easy enough to find.

It’s only natural, then, that SharePoint would make records managers, who are concerned with the rules that the organization must adhere to in order to comply with a variety of industry regulations, a bit nervous.

The 5 Teams You Need for Effective SharePoint Governance

By Richard Harbridge (@rharbridge): ...take a look at your internal SharePoint environment. How clear are your teams? How clear are people’s roles in relation to SharePoint? Do you have clear plays that people can execute with minimal hesitation or without excess deliberation? Do you have clear direction and priorities as well as communication? How effective are your SharePoint team members in meeting business needs and business demand?

By the end of this article, I may not be able to give you all the answers to the questions above, but I hope to at least add clarity and give you some practical structure and tactics you can use to achieve effective SharePoint governance.

Case Study: How Miller Johnson Implemented SharePoint-Based Email Content Management

Erik B. Goltzer (@egoltzer): In my last article, I described the challenges that most law firms face when it comes to managing email, and set up the case study of Miller Johnson. In this article, I go over the details of the SharePoint solution that Miller Johnson eventually implemented.

This solution, if not an industry “first,” is definitely one of the pioneers. We deployed a MS SharePoint-based lifecycle email management solution leveraging Handshake Software’s Email Management Director (EMD) and Miller Johnson’s SharePoint-enabled content pipeline. Users are empowered with a feature-rich system that enables profiling of email into SharePoint via attorney-friendly “drag and drop” folders plus the retrieval of content by Power Centricity, our enhanced client/matter centric portal, embedded within Outlook.

This new approach to dealing with email in-line with other critical matter content and data has been well received. In 20 years of deploying technology solutions, I have never had so much positive and unsolicited feedback as I have for this system. From new associates to senior partners with 30+ years, their imagination has come alive with ways to improve an already powerful capability. Because we have used SharePoint for several years now, we were able to turn around improvements in a matter of days or weeks, which would have been virtually impossible in a traditional legal industry niche DM (document management) solution. Even today, we continue to add new capabilities to the system.

Case Study: SharePoint as an Email Management Solution

Erik B. Goltzer (@egoltzer): When I discuss this solution at conferences or with peers, invariably the initial reaction is something like this: “Are you crazy? Why would you use SharePoint when you could use a commercially available product for archiving?” I must admit there were times over the two years we took to develop this solution, in partnership with Handshake Software, that I did feel a little crazy; however, we never lost sight of our goal. As you are about to see, this effort was about much more than merely archiving email.

We've Got SharePoint...Now What? 4 Next Steps

Eric Riz: It is now a well-known fact in business circles that SharePoint has become the standard for portals, document management, search and BI. While there are many ways to configure and implement a SharePoint instance, the question of how to compile and engage a team still remains. Furthermore, questions of what best practices and standards should be part of an implementation are seemingly never asked, or answered.

In speaking with executives and teams about their SharePoint projects, many of our clients have similar stories to share — that senior executives choose SharePoint for the new corporate portal or to house document management, and then announce to their “team” that SharePoint is coming to the organization, without doing their planning or diligence on the “team” itself. This strategy has obvious issues, which, can be overcome with the right level of mid-implementation planning, training and consulting.

The Executive Perspective: Top 7 Things You Must Consider for SharePoint 2010

By Scott Jamison (@sjam): SharePoint 2010 is a popular tool for creating Intranets, customer portals and almost any web-based solution. It’s a powerful product that can address an impressive number of business solutions. With all of the power SharePoint has to offer, and the money you’ll likely spend on deployment, it’s important to get certain things right. In this article, I’ll cover the top seven things that executives must consider when deploying SharePoint 2010. So if you’re thinking about SharePoint, or are revisiting a stalled deployment to give it a kickstart, read on.

Customizing SharePoint: Start with the Solution or the Business Problem?

Jennifer Mason (@jennifermason): Before you begin adding customization tools to SharePoint to create a solution for your business, you must understand your company’s business problem. In this article, I cover a few important areas you need to address before you look at technology.

One of the most powerful features of SharePoint is the ability to quickly combine out-of-the-box features to build a complete solution. With a little training you can create sites, workspaces, libraries and even charts and reports. Combining these together you can develop total solutions, like corporate intranets, FAQ Sites, Knowledge Bases and even Project Management solutions. All of these solutions have the potential to provide a tremendous amount of value to the organization.

There is much advice and direction in the community on how to build these solutions. In fact, there probably isn’t a solution that you are looking to build in SharePoint that hasn’t been built before. But even though I have listed several very common solutions, there is still one factor that makes your implementation stand apart from others — you! Your organization is unique, and just like snowflakes there aren’t any two organizations that operate the same. This means that while all organizations may need a common set of solutions, they still need the ability to really customize those solutions so that they are a good fit for their environment.

This is where the power of SharePoint really becomes evident. Because of the available customization tools, you can build exactly what your organization needs. This means you can quickly implement very custom solutions to address your biggest business problems. The key to the success of these solutions is the relationship between the solution and the business problem. In order to really satisfy the business requirements, you need to be willing to throw the technology out the window and focus on clearly understanding the problem.