Is Your SharePoint Rollout Doomed to Fail?

By Martin Schaeferle | May 12, 2014

Why do so many SharePoint rollouts wind up dying on the vine? It certainly doesn't come from a lack of good intentions. Everyone wants to be more efficient, and why not? Any software that promises you can accomplish more in less time will always get our business. Don't get me wrong, SharePoint is a great and powerful framework, and many companies have experienced tremendous success with it. But with all its successes, why do more than 60% of SharePoint implementations wind up stalled, struggling, or failing according to a 2013 AIIM report? The report goes on to say that the biggest ongoing issue with SharePoint is user adoption. sharepointrolloutchart   User adoption means that everyone who will be utilizing SharePoint "buys in" to the project. They understand their role and the benefits of the software, and they are committed to making the project a success.

Getting user buy-in

So how do you get user buy-in for your SharePoint project? There are several things you can do to encourage buy-in and usage, but one sure-fire way is to begin SharePoint education early-on for everyone...and I mean everyone. Many companies go into a SharePoint rollout with buy-in only from the IT department. Everyone else, from the CEO, to the sales team, to marketing, is simply along for the ride. When the software is rolled out, not only will the team not know how to use it, but it may not even meet their needs if they were never interviewed and included in the planning. Education is your best deterrent of this situation. Start at the top and get the leadership team on board. Make sure they understand how SharePoint can be used to streamline processes and workflows, ultimately saving time and money for the company. Once they see the value SharePoint can bring to their company, your leaders will require buy-in from the heads of all departments. Going on to educate and include the entire team in your SharePoint project, you will earn their buy-in as well. It will also lead to better communication between the IT department and department leaders, ensuring that your SharePoint solution is designed and built with each department's goals in mind.

 IT...the biggest point of failure?

One of the major liabilities in the success of a SharePoint rollout is in the developer team. They will likely buy-in to the project, but if they don't thoroughly understand SharePoint, the framework, and all its components, it can lead to poor code development, system instability, poor maintainability, and sites that cannot be updated when Microsoft launches their next release. Case in point, when Microsoft released SharePoint 2013, they introduced the SharePoint App Model which is required for any components that integrate with their SharePoint Cloud solution (SharePoint Online). Companies are now realizing that moving to the Cloud is a not a matter of "if," but "when." If their developers are building SharePoint components that cannot integrate, they are going to find themselves in a very expensive situation. Ensuring your development team has a deep knowledge of SharePoint, including latest tools and advancements, is absolutely critical to the success of your project long term.

Next steps

Without a doubt, education across your entire organization is critical for a successful SharePoint rollout. But how do you begin to identify the key players? Where do you start in educating your team? In the future, I'll take a look at the primary roles involved in a typical rollout and go through the key rollout stages along the way. Stay tuned...

Martin Schaeferle

Martin Schaeferle has taught IT professionals nationwide to develop applications using Visual Basic, Microsoft SQL Server, ASP, and XML. He has been a featured speaker at Microsoft Tech-Ed and the Microsoft NCD Channel Summit, and he specializes in developing Visual Basic database applications, COM-based components, and ASP-based Web sites. In addition to writing and presenting technical training content, Martin is also LearnNowOnline's vice president of technology.

This blog entry was originally posted May 12, 2014 by Martin Schaeferle