A recent post on LinkedIn (Clever Workarounds) got me thinking about the SharePoint and the dilemma IT has in supporting it. Looking at the course agenda it appears comprehensive.

When I speak to IT persons that are not familiar with SharePoint I’m reminded of a discussion I had with an old IBM AS/400 tech (Sam) 15 years ago. He was convinced that Microsoft was evil, that Microsoft is hated by IT types for various reasons. Essentially IT no longer had locked down mainframes and monolithic delivery cycles for applications and features (they lost control) – business users could utilize Office to be more productive.  Sam just didn’t get it…

SharePoint takes it to the next step whereby staff can provision team sites with rich functionality, find things faster, build composite applications on top of SharePoint and create a rich tool-set that helps them with their job tasks. From ITs perspective SharePoint puts too much power in the hands of staff which leads to support headaches. They are looking for the magic “Lock down” check-box to make their life easier – it doesnt exist. IT needs to up their game and the business needs to properly fund IT to support the platform.

Properly support means:

  • Strong governance – executive support
  • One owner that has ultimate control and sam over platform
  • Strong Product Management and product management disciplines
  • Strict guidelines for usage, monitoring and report to enforce
  • Control plans for managing availability and compliance with data and security policy
  • Strong Quality Assurance disciplines and experienced team
  • Strong development team with strict development and coding guidlines.
  • Process and policy for onboard new site and off boarding sites that do not comply with usage guidelines
  • Staff for support – 2-3 for day time operation and off shore support for night shift – depend on size of environment

Not a back office appliance (such as a switch or archive appliance) SharePoint reaches deep and wide into organizations and quickly becomes critical from the perspective of the business users. Their desire to customize and improve SharePoint pushes ITs  Software Development Life Cycle capabilities (such as Quality Assurance) to the limits. If not executed properly staff will cripple SharePoint with customizations, unproven architecture and laced operational diciplines.

Perhaps the course by Clever Workarounds will offer some guidance…