With the working year now kicking off it's a perfect time for SharePoint business managers and administrators to make their New Year's resolutions. Whether you're looking after an intranet, collaboration portal, website, DMS, BI portal — or all of these — here's a few ideas to help you with the process of figuring out your priorities for the year, based on some of the more common personal resolutions we all make at the start of the year.
1. I will lose weight / get fit
Just like people, over time your SharePoint platform can tend to gather a little excess baggage. Redundant, outdated and trivial content ("ROT") can be clogging the system arteries and old, no longer used team sites can be adding to clutter.
SharePoint administrators should make a concerted effort to identify and remove the ROT — working with the content owners to assess the currency and relevancy of content, then culling/retaining/archiving as appropriate.
To avoid the ROT in the first place it's all about getting in good habits. Instigate processes to get content regularly reviewed. One simple approach is to add expiry dates and content owners to content, then having automated alerts sent to the content owners on the expiry date. Do this diligently and your intranet will get that six pack!
2. I will learn something new / travel more
You don't need to learn to speak Mandarin or how to do macramé to manage a SharePoint business system. But it's vital that you keep the skills of you and your team up to date and relevant. It's equally important that you find time to take a fresh look at your intranet, etc.
Try attending some seminars and conferences this year — these are a great opportunity to hear from experts and from other SharePoint users, who are trying to solve the same sort of problems as you. At the very least, you get the chance to take a break from business-as-usual and to take a wider view of things.
It's all about what Stephen Covey called "sharpening the saw."
3. I will drink less
Actually, when it comes to running SharePoint — and unlike our personal lives — partying too much is rarely a problem. More likely your intranet or collaboration portal is suffering from the opposite problem: being too dry and a little dull.
Remember that your system is being used by people, so don't let the business suits and action items fool you — we all like a little fun and color in our lives. Work out ways to add a bit of novelty to your intranet. Keep it fresh. Fun. Sure, we have to cut down on the binge drinking, but I am sure I read somewhere that a glass of red wine a day is actually quite good for you.
4. I will be more tolerant
We've all met them. Those loud, overly enthusiastic types that make demands to add more content and team sites, and who keep badgering you with 'How come?' type questions. Look, I know you've worked hard to put in place an excellent governance model, with strict controls over permissions, because you have been determined to ensure that your intranet/portal wasn't going to get out of control.
The thing is, those noisy, demanding types — they're gold for you, because they're the ones who will help you drive the system forward. Don't try to ignore them; instead, give them a little more rope — with appropriate training, of course. Harness their energy. Consider them as your potential community leaders, carrying the mission into the broader organization.
5. I will stop smoking
Keeping new year's resolutions is generally a pretty hit and miss affair and giving up smoking is one of the hardest things to do — only a small percentage of people stay off the smokes for any significant time. (That said, giving up smoking is definitely a good thing and you shouldn't stop trying.) Business resolutions can also tend to fall by the wayside, but that need not be the case for you and here's how you're going to do it!
Start by figuring out what you want to achieve — increase number of users or number of documents? Boost user satisfaction? Add new features? Write them down. Then get buy in from your team and other governance stakeholders — it's so much harder to drop a target when you've told others about it!
Once in place, ensure you establish your base lines and then regularly check on progress. Great places to find useful measures are in common business metrics (sales, financial, customer service, etc), user surveys and in SharePoint's statistical reporting features.