In his session titled An
Unstructured Approach to Collaboration, Paul Turner presented a case study about
an organization that was overcomplicating their SharePoint migration. They were
moving to SharePoint from a different collaboration platform and seemed to act
before they thought. This client incorporated an enormous network of people to
make their migration happen. This meant having a different person for each
segment of their farm who all communicated through a liaison rather than with
each other. What’s more, they had different companies for each of their
outsourced tasks: virtual machines were one company, hosting another, physical
servers another, and so on.
By the time Paul was called in, the flow chart of people
involved was dizzying. It was such a tangled mess that the turnaround for a
simple emailed question was 3-7 days. Since the organization did not supply
Microsoft with any hard numbers, Microsoft was only able to compile a vague
high level design for the farm. As a
result, they underestimated the organization’s data center usage needs. When they ended up needing much more, no one
knew what anyone else was doing. Eventually, the consultants broke the
communication cycle: everyone started talking to each other, and in time, the
process was sorted out and the farm deployed.
One of Paul’s key takeaways from this experience was to
focus on your planning. Doing an honest analysis of your user base, setting
realistic timeframes, making sure everyone knows what they are doing, and
having a functional communication plan are all vital to any major project,
including a SharePoint migration. Additionally, make sure you build in time for
problems. Technology in general isn’t perfect and it doesn’t always just work, so
be prepared for gaffs. Launching/migrating/updating SharePoint is a major IT
project, but it can’t solely involve IT. There needs to be training, defined
goals, milestones, measures and reports, and most of importantly, communication.
SharePoint is a tool that can help your entire company, so your entire company
needs to help SharePoint. Think about ways you can make your environment
simpler. In-house developing isn’t always necessary; there are plenty of really
good third party programs that will do what you need. Take advantage of what’s out there and
consider using them instead of spending the time and money to do it yourself.
I’m not saying that it’s going to be easy, but with a little effort up front,
it can be easier.