Skandia Team GBR

Monday, February 15, 2010

Is SharePoint a Huge Pulsating Beast?


Ok, so at the last Trinity SharePoint 2010 event it is true that I stated, when talking about the huge value around context and knowledge that can be captured within SharePoint, that, and I quote):

“…SharePoint is a huge pulsating beast…”

OK, in hindsight that may not have been the best way to articulate SharePoint’s value but in my mind at that second it was accurate, without:

  • Governance
  • Clear requirements
  • Information architecture
  • Stakeholder buy-in
  • User adoption

Then SharePoint truly can be a beast when it’s left to it’s own device with your clients…

The following post is hopefully a better articulated version of “the beast”, that should make more sense!

So, when we deploy SharePoint our hopes, requirements and vision are that it will become a business tool that the whole organisation embraces, and with this large-scale adoption will come a deep pool of knowledge, data, information, debate and context.

The problem is, unless sufficient thought has been made around governance, information architecture, search, meta data etc, finding information in platforms like SharePoint can be like throwing a pebble into a fast moving stream, finding the exact same pebble again can be extremely challenging!

black ripple
SharePoint 2007 is therefore very analogous to a complex maze of tributaries meandering towards the sea but going nowhere particularly fast… A fair bit of water (knowledge) flows through the tributaries, but there are also many twists, turns and dead-ends.

With SharePoint 2010, there are countless more ways in which knowledge, information and data can manifest itself, its more like fast flowing rivers on their way to the ocean. All that information flowing through the system can be difficult to take advantage of, but with SharePoint 2010, there are also an increasing number of ways in which you can harness the knowledge-flow, speed it up, slow it down, aggregate it, re-use it and give purpose to it (context). 

So SharePoint in the future is going to allow us a greater level of control (governance) to properly harness the flow (derive business value), but we won’t ever fully stop that knowledge branching out, being used in ways we hadn’t anticipated and we should plan for and accept this uncertainty…

So I’m going to stop referring to SharePoint as a “huge pulsating beast”, and start referring to SharePoint, and specifically SharePoint 2010 as:

“…a river of knowledge that we can’t control, but we must harness…”


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