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On paper, SharePoint has a lot going for it. To date, it has sold more than 100 million licenses that are used by 17,000 companies worldwide. It has the full power of Microsoft behind it, and users can create a customized environment to meet their individual business needs. It can help build collaboration among different departments, speed up data collection and integrate with various applications to improve business processes. However, these and other benefits can only happen if you have a vision in place, a partner who can design and manage the implementation, and an understanding, companywide, of what SharePoint is and what it can offer your business. Sound good so far? Okay, let’s examine some pitfalls to avoid, so you can enjoy a successful implementation.

What Is Your Motivation for Implementing SharePoint?

All too often, organizations think of a SharePoint implementation as an IT priority rather than a business priority. This is poor thinking and will create division right away. Concepts like “collaboration” and “content management” are nice, but they’re not results. A SharePoint implementation will only be successful if it provides valuable functionality that’s in line with the organization’s business vision. A solid use case must be identified, with real numbers that show an adequate ROI. Too often, SharePoint is implemented as a generic IT platform and not adopted by the business because it doesn’t fulfill an important function in day-to-day operations.

Have You Thought This Out Completely?

Once you’ve identified your organization’s use case for SharePoint you need to do enough planning beforehand to make sure the scope of the project isn’t too ambitious or vague. Have you considered everyone in the decision-making process who will be affected?  Do you have an idea of how much you want to spend and the amount of time the project can take?  How will SharePoint be managed and governed after it’s rolled out?  How will you encourage adoption and support the business as they adapt to a new way of working together?

These are all questions you’ll have to ask among many others in the planning process. If you don’t have the answers to these questions, you haven’t planned it out well enough.  Each department in an organization will have different concerns and visions of what the implementation should accomplish, but attempting to meet all of those needs at once may be an overreach.  A phased approach that addresses both technical and business needs at every phase allows you and your organization to learn from each phase before tackling the next may be more successful in the long run.

Do You Have the Right Partner in Place to Ensure Correct Implementation?

Organizations that don’t put enough stock in the team that designs and implements SharePoint might get a real understanding of the old adage, “you get what you pay for.” You need more than a couple of IT resources to help you through the implementation. You need a team that can not only handle the implementation and any customization on the technical side; you need a team that also has experience with training and business analysis to help your team get used to this new technology.

General Networks is a Microsoft Gold partner, and our team of SharePoint consultants can help you avoid these pitfalls so you can experience just how easy SharePoint makes collaboration, content management, business intelligence and more. Visit us at today to learn more.