IM Experts in E&P

Implementation Framework for SharePoint – Do you need one?

Date: 25/4/2012

According to both the AIIM and Gartner surveys last year, most organisations struggle to implement their ECM solutions. However when it is done correctly they get far better ROI than expected! Having examined what our customers have done and extensively researched the market, we have a clear explanation of the reasons why implementations range from complete failures to outstanding success stories.

In general it can all be put down to the lack of skilled people to implement it, even though SharePoint has been available for over ten years. The common approach for many organisations has been technology-first approach – that is, start with the technology and push off the gathering and documenting of requirements until later, if at all.

The setting up of SharePoint and promoting it to the user community has primarily been the IT function, which sees it as another “bit bucket” to store information. Eventually business users become aware of its existence, and early adopters are given a site or two to play around with. This slow initial growth builds as the word spreads that users can store and share almost what they want and IT don’t have to be involved. This leads to haphazard implementations lacking any consistency.

The design philosophy of SharePoint is to give the owners of the information the responsibility of managing it, but without the correct level of governance and standards your system can get into a mess pretty quickly.

We at Venture have built up many years of experience implementing SharePoint for our E&P clients and have developed an implementation framework which provides details of the seven steps to achieve a successful implementation. It can also be used to “health check” an existing implementation to ascertain where improvements can be made.

The seven steps are:

Purpose: Strategic objectives must be identified and clearly defined in conjunction with key executives and stakeholders

  • Governance: Governance comprises the policies, processes, standards, models, roles and responsibilities that ensure successful management of the platform across the enterprise
  • People & Objectives. It is essential to identify the audiences that have a stake in the environment. It’s important to fully understand who they are and what tasks they are required to accomplish
  • Requirements & Analysis. The formal gathering of requirements, includes an assessment of the current environment in the form of stakeholder interviews
  • Information Architecture. Information architecture defines the approach to two areas: information organisation and access
  • Technology. Technological considerations include coverage for the installation, configuration and maintenance of both hardware and software along with application integration
  • Maintenance, Enhancement, Operations & User Support. How will you address improvements to the environment as business needs evolve? In my next few blogs I’ll be expanding on these ideas, looking at the benefits of implementing the seven steps and the pitfalls if you don’t.

David Allcock 

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