Microsoft has done an outstanding job of marketing SharePoint, crowing about how it’s become a billion-dollar unit, how it would be in the Fortune 100 if it were a standalone company. It is touted as a critical business platform, enabling workers to truly collaborate on projects, and businesses to manage the ever-growing data and content they generate in an efficient way. The promise of SharePoint, Microsoft gushes, is great.
SharePoint has proven itself to be a platform on which businesses can run, from Internet sites and extranet portals, to document management and workflow, to regulatory compliance and more.
For all that it offers, SharePoint is a complex beast. And that leaves many organizations, with or without dedicated SharePoint teams, struggling mightily to get their money’s worth out of the investment. In fact, 30% of people representing companies of all sizes said an AIIM survey last summer said that implementing SharePoint was a good decision (22%) or one of the best decisions they’ve ever made (8%). Others responded that it was the right decision but it’s been tough (22%). Some 21% admitted to having high ambitions but have only achieved basic deployment, while about 13% called their decision to implement SharePoint a poor one.
They don’t blame Microsoft, though. Of those who felt adopting SharePoint was a poor decision, about one third said they didn’t plan or execute the deployment properly. Yet almost 40% of those who called it a poor decision are planning to stick with SharePoint and make the best of it. Going forward, many respondents (46%) claimed their biggest problem is a lack of expertise to get the most out of SharePoint; 39% blamed themselves for lacking strategic plans on what to use SharePoint for; and another 28% claimed resistance from users as an impediment to getting the most out of SharePoint.
Yet the major changes introduced in SharePoint 2013 might serve to cloud things (sorry) rather than clarify them. A new application-development model, SharePoint in the cloud, changes in site creation, and the discontinuation of Web Analytics, are just a handful of significant changes that add complexity to users looking to migrate from earlier versions of SharePoint.
Granted, these results are now six months old. But based on what we hear from our SPTechCon attendees, the consultants who instruct at the conference and the third-party software providers who exhibit with us, this problem is not going away.
All this has happened even as companies maintain a “do more with less” approach to budgeting, which adversely affects hiring and training. Without the proper training, though, organizations will struggle to see a return on the rather large investments they are making in SharePoint, and respondents to surveys such as AIIM’s will continue to admit that going down the SharePoint road might not have been a great decision.