SharePoint is an enterprise application. But many organizations buy SharePoint without a full understanding of what they’re getting. They fail to grasp what it is and why it is important to them as an organization, not merely as a team or department.

Eric Riz, vice president at Toronto-based SharePoint consulting firm Concatenate, explains that an enterprise application is something the entire organization will get together on and use the same system to work. “There’s a huge gap [in business] on the education side regarding having the strategic conversation with the right people at the right level,” Riz said. “This won’t happen at the end-user level.”

Riz finds that his company is usually called in after an organization has started to implement SharePoint but somehow fouled it up. “The real dangerous ones,” he added, “are the ones who don’t realize they screwed it up.” These are the companies that say something is wrong, but they don’t know what they did.

“You need to align your taxonomy and your business processes for the SharePoint journey,” he said. “Otherwise, you won’t be using an enterprise application.”

Using SharePoint as an enterprise application today means considering document security, availability and the mobile aspect—what Riz called the “out-of-the-office requirements.” Using the real estate industry as an example, he noted that “people in real estate need information at their fingers. Brokers need up-to-date information when they’re on-site. The best way to deliver that is to a mobile device.”

Prospective tenants, he said, have the expectation that the broker will provide the best, most recent information by reading it live off a tablet, not fumbling through papers printed out hours or days earlier to find the information, which then might not even be current. “Data sitting in file cabinets,” Riz stated, “is of no use to anybody” in that scenario.

This article is the latest in an ongoing series of discussions with SharePoint experts and speakers at SPTechCon, April 22-25, in San Francisco. You can learn more about Eric and the sessions he will be delivering at SPTechCon here.