Earlier in the week, in new research published by AIIM, we saw that while there has been widespread deployment of SharePoint, enterprises are far from completely happy with it. In this final look at the research we will see what the main issues are and how enterprises intend to deal with them going forward.

SharePoint Business Issues

According to the SharePoint Puzzle – adding the missing pieces report, organizations that have gone through the process of installing SharePoint are going to stick with it and work through the problems the best way they can.

The biggest single issue facing businesses is the lack of expertize inside organizations needed to get the best out of their SharePoint deployment with -– and this is a real eye-opener -- 46 percent of organizations reporting this as a problem.

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AIIM: SharePoint Business Issues

On top of this, over a third have no strategic plan outlining how they are going to use SharePoint once it has been deployed, with even a quarter of those that have deployed it finding considerable user resistance to committing documents to it, and working in collaboration spaces.

In terms of technical issues, the principal problems are governance and missing functionality, while the management of taxonomies and the management of metadata is a problem for nearly half (41 percent) of enterprises, with 30 percent still trying to manage site proliferation.

To deal with this, AIIM reports that a large number of enterprises solve all their problems by customization and in-house configuration, which has the draw-back of requiring considerable in-house support. This is also something that Microsoft has advised against for in the upcoming 2013 version.

 

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AIIM: SharePoint Technical Issues

SharePoint Gaps

Another approach to those problems has been the decision by about a quarter of enterprises (23 percent) to go the third-party add-on route to fill any perceived gaps. Given the large number of add-ons that are specifically built for SharePoint, this path seems the most sensible.

However, notable here is the fact that 19 percent of organizations do not have the resources to improve their deployment, again underling the fact that in many cases the deployment and its upkeep were not planned.

The thinking behind add-ons is that they should provide a more effective environment and create a more productive workforce, something that over 50 percent of respondents agreed with.

Cloud collaboration and social systems as add-ons are high on the wish-list of many enterprises. The belief is that this functionality will increase productivity by 25 percent and above, as well as provide what are known as "soft improvements" -- increases that are difficult to measure in financial terms, but see better communication and morale across the enterprise.

More than half feel that their processes would be enhanced with capabilities like workflow, BPM, search, analytics, document creation, scanning and capture, and social and cloud collaboration.

3rd Party Add-ons

That so many enterprises should be looking to third-party add-ons is not really surprising when Microsoft’s strategy is considered. When created, Microsoft consciously made the decision to develop SharePoint with a whole range of functions, but to actively encourage third parties to develop applications that would extend that functionality.

The result is the massive number of add-ons that we come across on a daily basis, with some companies specializing in one particular area of SharePoint functionality.

Over a third of organizations say they are using 3rd party add-ons with a further 15 percent planning to do so in the next 12 months. In fact, only 34 percent say they will not be adding on at all.

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AIIM: SharePoint and 3rd Party Add-Ons
 

Overall, it can be seen that the areas of particular growth are social, mobile and collaborative, but extensive growth is also forecasted in records management and automated document creation -- all areas where respondents highlighted issues with the existing functionality.

Predicted growth in the use of 3rd party automated document creation and rendition add-ons is forecast to grow by 200 percent, with business intelligence functionality increasing by 122 percent.

In terms of cloud development, a quarter of businesses don’t have a strategy, even if they are thinking about developing one. Even still, one fifth are deploying some form of hosted SharePoint environment with a surprisingly low 5 percent planning to use Office 365, and this despite Microsoft’s claims of widespread deployment of the suite.

SharePoint’s Future

The move to SharePoint, the study shows, has been driven by the need for internal collaboration, file share replacement and the creation of an intranet, or portal.

Generally speaking, the decision to deploy is made by a centralized IT core, which is also responsible for its upkeep and maintenance once installed.

Most organizations are not using it as their primary Enterprise CMS, even if 70 percent of enterprises have at least half their staff working on it once a week.

While the majority thinks the decision to deploy was the right one, many have reservations about its capabilities, with content migration, information management and governance areas of particular difficulty.

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All this boils down to an ongoing problem in enterprises and their SharePoint strategy. That problem is that fact that in many, there is no strategy at all and that deployment has "happened" rather than been planned.

SharePoint Planning?

Merely installing SharePoint does not solve problems, the research shows. In fact, if it is not planned it merely creates problems, or exacerbates existing problems.

If there are failings in SharePoint, from a business perspective, enterprises really need to ask whether they had fully planned the deployment, and whether they had identified the problems that they hoped SharePoint would solve.

If the answer to that is no, and there are SharePoint problems in the enterprise, organizations need to look not at IT and SharePoint to identify weakness, but to look at their general corporate strategy and see why planning and problem identification has not taken place.

There is a lot more in this report that is worth looking at if you have, or are planning to deploy SharePoint. It’s free after registration here and definitely worth a look