My first post since being in Sydney back in May, I’ve been too busy to blog between the new job and the band.
While developing my roadmap, I came across a report about managing SharePoint – The Gotchas. Osterman released an interesting research paper about SharePoint, Collaboration, Inhibitors and Gotchas. The paper is a good read for those looking for areas to focus on in taking collaboration to the next step in their organization.
- Rapid growth of SharePoint use
The overall end-user adoption of SharePoint in many organizations is growing quite rapidly, often at the departmental or workgroup level. Consequently, SharePoint quickly becomes difficult for some organizations to manage in terms of correct system architecture, building out the infrastructure, how to virtualize, etc.
- SharePoint Foundation vs. SharePoint Applications
Much of the current SharePoint momentum and sex appeal is generated from many of the cool applications that can run on the SharePoint platform. As a result, the SharePoint IT skill set in many organizations is dominated by developers and application engineers and not storage or network engineers. Unfortunately, while CIOs and IT management are often wooed by all the new bells and whistles available to them in SharePoint, they often are not investing enough in the
foundational infrastructure to support actual SharePoint use. The result is that many SharePoint installations are being substantially under-specified because planners are not taking into account the level of operations required against SharePoint sites, databases, servers and farms.
Is a large component in managing SharePoint environments Organizations spend significant amounts of IT labour on managing SharePoint and so are looking for ways to reduce the overall cost of managing these capabilities. For example, in a 2009 Osterman Research survey, organizations estimated that they spent a median of $45 per user per month managing SharePoint, significantly higher than the median cost of providing email services. To be fair, this figure reflected the early nature of many of the SharePoint deployments. Even so, managing SharePoint will not be a trivial expense from an IT labour perspective, even when the platform is widely deployed and economies of scale have been realized.
- Sufficient formal training is lacking
In many ways SharePoint is even trickier to manage than Exchange. In spite of that, the 2009 survey also found that most IT staff devoted to SharePoint management do not have significant levels of formal training – fewer than 10% of the individuals charged with SharePoint systems management started with full SharePoint training and/or certificates. This complicates management of the SharePoint environment, since many administrators are learning on the job and may take longer to come down the learning curve as a result. During a down economy, sending employees to training for several days to a week or more every year can be an expense many organizations simply cannot afford to bear.
- Most do not use system management tools
Another problem we discovered was that most organizations do not use any form of systems management capability to help them monitor and manage their SharePoint environment – nearly 75% of SharePoint-enabled organizations are not using a systems management tool of any kind.
- Confusion about the cloud
Microsoft’s cloud services strategy is putting increasing emphasis on deploying SharePoint in the cloud vs. on-premise. This public cloud-centric push for SharePoint, even though it is not being driven as aggressively as for Exchange, nevertheless leads to confusion. Some SharePoint customers don’t take the time to understand the functionality (such as the ability to run many custom applications) that they must sacrifice in order to deploy in the cloud.
- Other problems in managing SharePoint
Another survey conducted by Osterman Research in May 2010 among organizations that have a production SharePoint environment found a number of other problems: nearly two in five organizations view both migration to SharePoint and managing content growth in SharePoint as painful or very painful. Further, one-quarter of organizations view maintaining SharePoint on an ongoing basis as painful.