For many organisations the demand to implement SharePoint across their business is driven by a specific need or requirement which is often poorly planned and rushed into. This knee jerk reaction often leads to poor quality installations where, instead of staff being able to share data, collaborate and be more productive, companies find themselves being less productive.
Having worked with hundreds of SharePoint installations over the past 15 years, igroup specialist teams have found that following a step by step approach to deployments enables a company to tackle their business issues quicker and more effectively.
We’ve put together a brief outline of what companies should consider if they want to reduce their risks quicker and deploy the right SharePoint solution.
In-house IT teams often try to deploy a SharePoint solution quickly to meet an immediate need outlined by senior stakeholders but without the support of expert consultants this can cause multiple issues including:
- Selecting the wrong hosting environment either on premises or in the cloud
- Assuming that out-of-the-box SharePoint will work for their business
- Not understanding the full capabilities of SharePoint and the benefits it can bring to a business
Before beginning a SharePoint project, the right support team will outline the time it can take to get it into a position that it gives real business benefits. Generally speaking, it will take between three and six months to deploy SharePoint correctly and is broken down into:
- Discovery and analysis – 2 – 4 weeks
- Planning, configuration, and deployment – 4 – 6 weeks
- Testing – 4 – 5 weeks
- Training – 1 week
- Post deployment support and adjustment – 4 weeks
Understand the challenges, objectives and expectations
As often happens an in-house team or traditional IT supplier will often fail to consider all the variables and requirements when looking at deploying SharePoint. A specialist on the other hand will run what they refer to as the discovery and analysis phase.
During this phase they will look at the objectives of the business so that the final deployment meets everyone’s requirements. They will take time to study what the organisation does today and what they hope to be able to do tomorrow. This will then allow them to analyse existing processes and select the relevant functionality within SharePoint or make recommendations for any application development or customisation required.
Installing SharePoint does not mean it is ready to use
Businesses often believe that as soon as SharePoint is installed it is ready to use. Users start to add data and try out the functionality but find it does not meet expectations and can often be slower than existing processes. This leads to almost instant dissatisfaction and barriers to final adoption of the solution.
A specialist will take the time to configure and customise SharePoint so that it meets the initial requirements outlined in the discovery phase, they will migrate legacy systems and map data correctly for users. This can take time to get right but it is well worth the investment as the final system will quickly meet objectives and resolve issues.
No plan survives contact
In order to see tangible benefits from SharePoint it will need testing before it is rolled out to end users. Specialist consultants will test the system against existing processes before allowing potential users access to systems. During this phase additional customisation may be required and through experience specialist consultants can quickly fix issues.
This also involves testing the SharePoint solution by a selected group of users. Changes made based on this group’s feedback contribute to a better match for business processes and help improve efficiency when a wider audience are provided access.
Practice makes perfect
The reality is that, like any other new system, end users need training to get the most from SharePoint. They may have used similar systems, but every deployment is different, and training will show where users can collaborate and share data to quickly achieve greater productivity.
Support, communicate and feedback
Once SharePoint goes live across an organisation it is needs supporting. End users may need additional training or additional features and functions need to be added.
Following a logical step by step approach when deploying SharePoint across an organisation will avoid wasting time and resources and means that your business can reduce issues quicker. Failure to do so can result in low adoption rates or in a worst case scenario the need to start again.
As specialists in SharePoint having supported hundreds of deployments, igroup consultants will ensure that business issues are resolved quicker and more effectively. If you would like to know how they can support your next SharePoint project call 0203 697 0302.