Over the last few days I have been having conversations with a few other professionals in the ECM, portal and collaboration industry, as a result of two conference talks I gave last week. Among the returning topics is “Governance and SharePoint should be included in the same sentence – but most companies cant bring themselves to deal with this reality”. (Almost exactly cited from one of these conversations)
A common viewpoint is, that It governance is a common practice across all technologies. And it really is- at least on an academic level – so, that governance is about driving maximum potential – or value – of every it investment!
So does it make sence at all, to talk about “SharePoint Governance” as some thing special.
Yes – it does!
There are many opinions on sharePoint as a product or a technology. “Is it good at doing anything?” I hear a lot, and these discussions are really helping all of us to get a better perspective on what SharePoint is and “is not”?
From my experiences with SharePoint – that goes back to the first versions and the technologies from Microsoft that came before SharePoint (Site Server 1,2 & 3, Digital Dashboard and MCIS) – there are a number – too large a number – of implementations that have gone bad. The reasons for that is – in most cases – a misunderstanding of the SharePoint platform in general, that have roots into the early versions of the software. SharePoint have not had the same “hobbies” up through it’s childhood, and the perception the SharePoint technology today (which is in most areas still young but grown-up – like the rest os us 😉 ) is making a lot of problems for companies implementing it.
Martin White, a UK based intranet consultant (visit www.intranetfocus.com) used an image of LEGO bricks to explain this recently. SharePoint today is a box of good technologies that can be fitted together in almost unlimited ways. But if you dont have a plan of what you want to build, and how to make sure it does’nt get knocked over easily, you will not get a very good result.
This is the reason why we shoul tak “SharePoint Governance” all the time! You can build the most fantastic creations using LEGO bricks – especially if you have a lot of experience and – yes – a lot of bricks. But you can also use the building guides in the box. You may not get a unique creation on day one, but as you build on it, you will learn and one day your creation will look like this:
Governance for SharePoint is tricky, mostly because of the vast number of things you need to make decisions on. Like building LEGO’s your decisions make the great result.
Yesterday I gave another talk to a danish SharePoint usergroup – arranged by IntraTeam – in Copenhagen.
The audience was mainly communication people with a good experience in using SharePoint and most of these people are responsible for running SharePoint in their companies. Even so, my impression – after a lot of good questions – was that Content Types is still a hard thing to get on top of, for most SharePoint system owners. Content Types is a crusial topic, if the goal of implementing SharePoint is about productivity or managing information in an effective manor. But SharePoint is still today – in most cases – implemented in a way that unleashes only a fraction of the potential!
It is the technology, the users or the concepts that are just not good enough?
Well – I actually think that it is more about the sales pitch that is given… When the sales guys came to you to talk about SharePoint, did they mention the planning work and considerations that you need to do, to get the value promised in the glittering slideshow? Probably not… “It’s all in the box, right?” The reality is quite different. At the meeting yesterday, someone said “It’s almost like implementing SAP….”. This is probably a bit exaggerated, but it kind of paints a picture…
Maybe SharePoint is the new SAP for Information Workers? If you set your expectations with that thought in mind – at least as an inspiration to your business case – you just might end up getting a lot more from your SharePoint investments over time…
The slides from the talk does not go into that level of thought – it’s mostly about best practices for implementing Content Types 🙂 …..AND – slides are in danish – drop a not if you need a tranlation…
Find the slides here: http://www.netmedia.as/Download.aspx
Well – I just posted a question on when SharePoint 2010 was going to be made available in the public beta version – and just hours after it was there…
So my next question will be… When will I get a Ferrari al Mugello?…. I expect it to be here at end of business today… Classic red, please… 😉
No seriously… The public beta of SharePoint Server 2010 is finally made available to the THOUSANDS of developers and IT Pro’s that have been waiting. Get it from TechNet Downloads: http://technet.microsoft.com/da-dk/evalcenter/ee388573(en-us).aspx
Hey – It is finally here. At least if you are a MSDN or TechNet subscriber, you should be able to download the Beta for Office 2010 today. I have been so fortunate to run an eralier version for some months now, and I must say that I will be upgrading to the beat to get some of the pre-beta (Technical preview) bugs fixed – especially performance, that lacked quite a bit in the Technical Preview. For non MSDN and TechNet subscribers, the public beta should be made available for download later this week. If someone can please confirm this?
The question that is left behind is… What about the SharePoint Beta? Too many people left Las Vegas disapointed weeks ago, as many of us expected the Beta to be in the conference bag. When will it be ready?
All the way through the lifetime of MOSS, a number of dedicated people have spent days and weeks posting their critical views on SharePoint. Even though many have not really been more than a “religious” battle, these people have helped the SharePoint community to get sharper and solve the issues the platform had.
Over the last 3 years companies have chenged the way SharePoint is used. This has introduced a lot of new possibilities but at the same time new challenges – some of which the Microsoft product group have probably never taken into consideration.
But with the vast number of critics, and their ability to get their messages across – mainly trough social media – Microsoft and the partner companies that make a living from selling, building and implementing SharePoint and related technologies, have constantly been producing new add-ons, packaged solutions, service packs – many of which have been made available thorugh the “social media for Microsoft developers” Codeplex.com.
Having a critical audience can be considered of highest importance, in a world where everyone can post thoughts and experiences for millions of people to digest. But with the comming version 2010 of the SharePoint product from Microsoft, this audience has been silenced – at least for a while.
ComputerWorld wrote what can almost be read as “fanmail” after trying out the beta version of SharePoint 2010. This is not normal business for these guys, but the new product seem to be so compelling that noone has anything critical to say about it.
Actually one of the only – somewhat – critical mentions I have read so far is from Janus Boye that Tweets (actually it is a Re-Tweet) that he thinks that it is funny that Microsoft calls faceted search for “deep refinement”. Yes – this looks like another marketing stunt to make faceted search more sexy – but really it has nothing to do with the technology…
So what is left for the old school SharePoint critics to do? SharePoint 2010 is absolutely a great sucessor to MOSS, but I am waiting to see people start to ask more questions, so we can get the right balance back in place… Ironically – It serves us all…