SharePoint Teams Should Focus On The Basics

On Twitter, there are a number of very smart SharePoint consultants who spend a lot of time thinking about the latest innovations from Microsoft, how we can leverage the SharePoint platform in weird and wonderful ways and how our customers could be super productive if they just used Yammer, Oslo, Upgraded to SharePoint 2013, Migrated to Office 365, branded their sites using JavaScript frameworks, etc.  

All these are great ideas but they miss a key challenge with many of our clients –we’re promoting features to our clients that have minimal value to them when they cannot even upload a document to the right spot or find anything.

When we talk to our customers and do workshops with them, we routinely find the #1 challenge is the simplest; “I CANNOT FIND ANYTHING”.  It isn’t, “oh I want to be able to combine by YamJams and my co-authoring and my enterprise business intelligence with my twitter analytics and I need it all to look like our corporate brand”.  Instead, it is “WE ARE GOING TO GET SUED SOMEDAY AND I’M SCARED THE CONTRACT HAS GONE MISSING”. 

AIIM did a survey and they published two statistics that I use continually in my discussions on SharePoint with clients:

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We have many clients who cannot succeed because they haven’t established the basics.  While Microsoft is actively selling its latest business intelligence features, yammer integration, etc. we have clients who still after multiple versions of SharePoint cannot figure out how to set up a document library, how to build a workflow or publish a page.  Many of our clients want to do the right thing but haven’t been given the process tools, organizational strategies or information management strategies to answer the basic questions that SharePoint requires like, WHERE SHOULD I UPLOAD MY DOCUMENT? 

Our Advisory Services team has a simple approach – invest more dollars in training, governance planning and information management strategy, less dollars in fancy features, branding and custom applications.  Align your SharePoint deployment to solving really hard but basic information management problems and ensure that you have these really effective before investing in additional features.