Monday, April 26, 2010

SharePoint on a Shoestring - Done

It's been a Herculean effort to get all of the loose ends wrapped up and to go live with our SharePoint infrastructure, but we have done, and the end results are fantastic.

Adoption early on was at least as aggressive as we'd hoped for, confirming that there was a huge well of latent demand for better collaboration tools. Some pockets of users are finding some very innovative and exciting uses for the system with no real training at all - a great sign, and further indication of just how badly this system was needed here.

We have been successful because we had a great team of people contributing, not just in the IT department, but throughout the company, in truly meaningful ways. It has been a very gratifying endeavor. We've not even really scratched the surface in terms of capabilities - nothing but default content approval workflows, no Excel services to speak of, no KPI's, etc. Just a basically bone stock deployment, but with some very snazzy dynamic look and feel treatments that customize the appearance for every company we support (allowing us to present a tailored experience on a single farm / set of site collections).

I sometimes surprise myself after answering SharePoint questions, because I know the answer is right, and it actually sounds like I know what I'm talking about. I'm so used to hearing consultants give me such answers, that it's a little disorienting to hear them come from my own mouth. I can adjust audience settings, troubleshoot article publishing issues, manipulate crawls & profile imports, secure document libraries...I'd better stop, I'm scaring myself again.

We know enough about SharePoint to know we'd do a few things differently next collections, for us, are overkill and make some things very difficult. We also know enough to know we want things fixed in the 2010 release - but aren't holding our breath.

The next year will see us attempting to leverage all of these tools and really take things to the next level. Done right, this can be game-changing, business-changing stuff that gets us very tightly aligned with the companies we support. In short, cool stuff.

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