Fewer than half of all SharePoint implementations were put in place without a formal business case, and only half of those required a financial justification. These are some of the finding of a survey released yesterday by the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM).

Because most SharePoint implementations are done in an ad hoc fashion, most of them did not have a management plan for such things as which features could be used where, and who had access to what.

In small businesses, half were looking at information management for the first time, but 25% had no previous experience with ECM or document management systems, according to the report. Thus, guidance for content types and classification was sorely lacking. Further, only 15% of organizations with these SharePoint deployments had retention policies and discovery procedures in place, thus creating an environment where “content chaos” could occur.

What conclusions can be drawn from this study?

First, organizations must address SharePoint and make a commitment to it in terms of policies and procedures. If it’s going to find its way into your IT organization anyway, create rules for its use, access, data retention, and the like.

Like any new technology, a test team—whether a department, or a smaller unit within a department—should be created to put SharePoint through its paces and see how it can best support the organization’s goals. SharePoint comprises many technologies; not all will be relevant to everyone. Find the business value and put the emphasis there.

It’s important to get your users trained as to what SharePoint can and cannot do. Create a few in-house SharePoint experts who can troubleshoot as well as bring teams along with the technology. Only then will your organization be able to pull its myriad, ad hoc deployments under control.

What’s your organization’s story? How did SharePoint make its way into your team? We’d like to share it! Write to me at drubinstein@bzmedia.com.

— David