Sunday, June 15, 2008

Tech.Ed Orlando 2008

I just spent the week in Orlando attending the sessions and helping to staff the echoTechnology booth. It was an excellent networking opportunity (as these things always are) and a great way to talk to people about their SharePoint implementations and pain points.

Tech.Ed Orlando 2008 echo Booth Garry Smith and RK BomminiTech.Ed Orlando 2008 Keynote Speach

By now many organizations have had a chance to evaluate SharePoint 2007 and have either implemented a farm or are about to. One complaint that came up again and again from early adopters is that the portals "ran away" from them and had become a real mess to manage. Another is that it was becoming so hard to maintain the portal that administrators were starting to push back at the business requirements, with the result that the SharePoint implementation was not evolving as well as predicted.

In some ways SharePoint is a victim of its own success - it looks like a wizard-driven software suite and it appears that after a couple of clicks a portal is up and running and ready for the business to use. This is not true!

SharePoint is most interesting and worthwhile when it is helping an organization solve its enterprise problems - tackling big challenges like document management, information-worker collaboration, and enterprise search. These challenges are far more that just technical; addressing them requires a great deal of communication, focus, and effort on the part of the business. SharePoint isn't a silver bullet, or a shortcut to avoid those hard yards.

The word that kept coming up during the SharePoint sessions and on the show floor was "governance". It's a catch-all phrase that really means making the appropriate and ongoing investments of time, thought, skills, and money in addition to the upfront investment of SharePoint licenses and servers. Without that additional commitment, there is little point attempting a SharePoint implementation - it will be doomed to failure.

So what are some of the practical tasks that need to be undertaken as part of governance? Much more on this in the next few days...

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