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.

Establish Core Competencies

When deploying SharePoint, an organization must first establish its core competencies. By definition, a core competency is the factor or factors that a business sees as being central to the way it, or its employees, works. The irony is that SharePoint itself can be the core competency for your business as it assumes the position of being a central focus point, or foundation to your organization. Using SharePoint as your foundation will demonstrate the commitment to the product and the importance that collaboration has on your organization to your business users.

Champion the Optimized Enterprise

Now that you know what your foundation looks like, it’s time to discuss the optimized enterprise and why its creation is important to your long-term project success. People, processes and technology are the cornerstones of any project and are of critical importance to a SharePoint implementation. Within the context of people and process, defining the culture, degree of change and procedures that the business will experience and follow is a great first step to creating the project management infrastructure needed.

Create whiteboard sessions and workshops to craft the culture together with your key business users. Once you have your cultural objectives set, tell everyone of your strategy and expectations. Then begin refining change management standards and other corporate procedures as required. Remember -- SharePoint is all about collaboration and enhanced communication; the more information is shared among the team, the better.

Consider Product, Platform, Project

Strategically, there are three components and viewpoints to consider when deploying SharePoint. These tiers -- product, platform and project -- provide an eye-opening look at the deployment. As a product, SharePoint is a strategic business-oriented platform with pre-built functionality that enables faster and less expensive creation of business solutions. From a platform perspective, businesses that once viewed SharePoint as the “go-to” place for content are now extending that role into the place where business gets done. Finally, as a project, focus on your goal of implementing a SharePoint solution not just as a tool, but as a strategic tool that enables the realization of business improvement.

Involve All Levels of the Business

When defining the requirements for SharePoint, make sure that involvement from all levels of the business is obtained, including stakeholders, senior management, end users and the project team. Start with a short overview training session that describes the power of SharePoint and the components that will be deployed within the first phase of your project. Once your project team is on the same plane, you can ensure that requirements, goals and objectives are commonly defined. Once defined, performance metrics can be created for your defined objectives, and functionality can be built based on each requirement set.

SharePoint Success Up Ahead

As in any project, communication is critical to the success and the long-term viability of your product. Sharing information among work teams (at a project level) and throughout the business (at a corporate level) can be done through SharePoint, as well as traditional methods such as email updates. Sharing information about the project, timelines and deliverables will create an expectation for business and end users throughout the organization.

With these tips and tricks now under your belt, you are on the road to SharePoint success.

To learn more on this topic and more, attend the SharePoint Saturday conference in Washington August 11-13. Eric is presenting the topics:

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