So many organisations have now implemented SharePoint but how many actually realise the true potential that it offers?
I have seen several who claim to use SharePoint where in fact it is nothing to them but a glorified file server – often not even taking advantage of the built-in version control functionality.
It is hard to understand why this happens. Possibly just the sheer magnitude of what SharePoint can do. Most business users have no concept of how it can help them and IT professionals are so busy they implement it and move on to the next project.
SharePoint should be seen as just the start of a new beginning.
Users need to be coached and encouraged to experiment. Devolve ownership and let them try things out in their own sites. If they are more IT literate then let them try SharePoint Designer. So much can be done in SharePoint without the need for custom development and often users just need to be shown the way.
A SharePoint Evangelist is a valuable resource in any organisation. They need to be able to talk to business users and quickly understand what they want to achieve then also have sufficient technical skills to get the ball rolling – even if it just to create a proof of concept that can then be taken on by a development team. The Evangelist needs to be available and accessible – consider floor-walking so users can just ask a quick question while you are nearby.
Be creative about how you use SharePoint too. Remember it does not have to look like SharePoint. An example would be to surface Announcements through Active Desktop or Gadgets. I have also done similar with a corporate screensaver presenting dynamic content from a list in SharePoint.
My feeling is that you can never have a successful SharePoint implementation as that implies an end – SharePoint should constantly evolve and grow with the organisation it is there to serve.