The Keys to Microsoft SharePoint Implementation Success

Errin OConnor

Microsoft SharePoint has the flexibility to be an organization's intranet, content management system, knowledge management system, and business process automation platform. No other system can wear so many hats and give its users so many available features and functionality.

Take for example, SharePoint's position in the enterprise content management (ECM) market. It is extremely successful because its cost, usability and powerful out-of-the-box functionality are at the top of the list compared to the competition.

For example, an organization can implement a more traditional ECM application and it may cost $3 million to $4 million, or it can choose a powerful SharePoint solution for approximately $700,000 to $1 million. This price difference generates a powerful business case in today's economic environment.

Another factor is many companies find other document management systems to be extremely difficult to customize when compared to SharePoint's flexible Web-based interface. Also, SharePoint has a powerful workflow platform that allows organizations to automate their business processes all within a single SharePoint environment.

Given these market advantages, SharePoint implementations are growing quickly in enterprises-and this rapid growth presents challenges to IT organizations. At the top of the challenges they face are governance of the environment, and provisioning of sites and content.

It is extremely important to implement SharePoint right the first time because if you do not, you may spend twice as much to correct your mistakes after the fact.

Organizations should look to utilize proven governance models and automated site provisioning solutions to ensure they implement SharePoint right the first time.

The keys to include in an implementation approach are:

  • Develop a SharePoint Governance Guide for your organization.
  • Develop best practices, top-level navigation.
  • Implement a Site Provisioning Process for all Sites and Subsites.
  • Implement Custom Development Standards.
  • Create a SharePoint training plan for your organization.
  • Implement a SharePoint communication strategy.
  • Create a SharePoint Roadmap for your organization.

Another critical ingredient to SharePoint success is having a strategy for managing paper-based information. Even with SharePoint-driven electronic processes, many times there is still paper involved in the workflow.

Users need to look for document imaging software that is easy to use and administer, otherwise training costs and time expended on IT management will outweigh any potential workflow efficiencies. For example, Nuance's eCopy Connector for SharePoint utilizes the multifunction printers (MFPs) and document scanners that have already populated the enterprise and are connected into Microsoft environments.

From an IT management perspective, a document imaging application needs to have out-of-the-box capabilities to avoid customization issues and leverage an existing SharePoint investment. You should not have to modify Microsoft SharePoint to add document scanning. And the document imaging software should have zero footprint on the SharePoint Server.
Other IT requirements to consider include:

  • Does the document imaging software authenticate against SharePoint to ensure document security and provide an electronic audit trail?
  • Can the software support highly customized SharePoint environments?
  • Are SharePoint Server modifications automatically reflected at each capture device in real time?

By following the steps outlined, organizations will be on the path to Microsoft SharePoint implementation success.

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