legoSharePoint is a great product, it’s a rich platform for collaboration, search, social, applications and mobility. Since its beginnings there have been many improvements to its administrative and operational capabilities but there are still gaps even with the cloud. To address these gaps organizations either script or adopt toolsets and thats where it gets interesting.

Generally, organizations are pressured to improve service levels in the areas of backup and restore which is typically the first toolset they adopt and is reasonably simple to integrate into operational routines. As environments grow and SharePoint with it (e.g., number of farms and sites) organizations realize that automation and insights are required to effectively operate SharePoint. As the number of tools increase the task of learning their capabilities and how to best integrate them into day to day becomes more complex. You can attend training classes and read but with peoples work schedules its difficult to focus on learning and much less changing daily routines.

So how do you approach realizing the benefits of your investment? The following are some key areas to address:

  • Management support – management must support the adoption of the toolsets, shepherd their adoption and support the employee. Include the toolset adoption in performance reviews and schedule employee enough time to learn (e.g., provide toolset training and time during week to learn).
  • Toolset installation – have the vender install and test the toolsets to ensure correct operation. Too often I’ve witnessed organizations purchasing software and not having the time or acumen to install it and realizing its benefits. This is generally a small cost in comparison to the software and value it provides.
  • Training – once the tools are installed and configured by the vender, schedule employees for training and make sure the training is hands on with curriculum that fits your organizations needs. Also, make sure the vender provides lesson materials the employee can review at a later date to refresh their knowledge.
  • Use cases – to help enforce learning, provide the vender with use cases of your most common administration / operation scenarios and have them demonstrate how the tools enable you to carry them out (step by step). While this demonstration is occurring, record the session using screen capture software of take notes for further reference.
  • Knowledge capture – create a site that captures the document administrative procedures, recordings, training materials and guides. Also include a discussion are for questions and where possible subscribe to the vender knowledge community for ongoing support and learning.
  • Vender support site – leverage the venders support site for questions, reference materials and general support.

If followed, the aforementioned steps will help you realize the benefits of the toolsets sooner and with less headaches.

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