SharePoint can be a significant investment for many companies. As well as software licenses, there is outside consultancy, user training, and on-going maintenance to consider. This all adds up, especially if you decide to host SharePoint internally.
For these reasons alone you need to consider planning out a good SharePoint strategy. This should answer questions like:
- What is SharePoint being brought in to do?
- Who are the primary users?
- Over what period of time will it be phased in?
- Will it be hosted internally, or in the cloud, and what are costs associated with this?
Depending on the size of your company this strategy might be overseen by a steering group, comprising elements of senior management and maybe even the CEO. It might involve drawing up a roadmap of activities, which in itself will often require company-wide consultation.
But when it comes to implementing SharePoint itself, consider carefully what your strategy dictates. Often organisations will have grand plans for a system, be it a SharePoint Intranet or website. Functionality will be planned in advance, rolled up into phases, and user expectations set. But SharePoint projects aren't always best implemented this way.
Here is why...
SharePoint is such a large product, with a wide variety of strengths, that it can be difficult to plan in exact detail how best to implement every detail of a project upfront. Obviously a new system needs a plan. But sometimes a lighter plan, or one focusing on just a first phase is enough.
Take an Intranet system as an example. Often once the system is up and running users start feeding back and plans will change. It might become apparent that 'MySites' aren't going to work, or that document management is going to be a killer feature. These things can't always be predicted in advance. It helps to be flexible and to not try and plan too much.
So by all means put together a SharePoint strategy. Good planning in IT projects is always important. Just prepare to take a more agile approach when it comes to the functionality of the system. Your users will almost certainly thank you in the end.