I thought I’d heard it all but one of my clients said it all with the comment last week that best describes the situation they are in specific to SharePoint 2007.

This comment reminded me of a conversation I had with my team back in 95 when Exchange Server was in beta and not a very well understood technology. Signed up as a beta site, IT was in panic mode after hearing that MS Mail would be replaced by Exchange Server – a client server email platform.

So why did the client view SharePoint as a hairball? They hadn’t grasped the full ramifications of SharePoint and the impacts to the lines of business and IT operations. As some have said, SharePoint is a multi-tiered product (liquid plastic) and organizations have to come to terms with its features and plan for the organization/IT impacts (create a mold).

To fully grasp the nature of the product, multiple disciplines are required to be successful – fully leverage the value of SharePoint as an asset. The alternative is to work in a bubble, realize marginal business value impact and end up with a mess (Hairball) in a year or two.

I presented to one of my customers six months ago on this topic and they shrugged it off. A few weeks ago they called me back and said “Everything you warned us about has occurred – Help!” Every SharePoint project team requires an architect with experience in multiple areas in order to be successful. This person would have experience with information management, service management, architecture and operations to name a few. This experience is key to helping customers either start on the right foot or to help develop a get well plan.

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