ShareFEST – Dux Raymond Sy’s ‘Don’t Curb Their Enthusiasm: Navigating the Shift from Local Applications to SharePoint as an Enterprise Platform’

Dux Raymond Sy presenting at ShareFESTExcept for Ken Lownie’s brief closing remarks (which included the announcement that ShareFEST will reconvene next year, “probably right here” in the Philadelphia Loew’s Hotel), Dux Raymond Sy’s much-anticipated session closed the Conference. Dux is well known for his dynamic presentations, and given that he closed this particular session with a solo performance of “SharePoint Starts the Fire” (first performed as a duet with Michael Gannotti on Thursday evening), Ken observed that it was probably just as well that there wasn’t time for anything more than the briefest of closing remarks. As anyone who’s seen Dux work a room before will understand, much like being on a bill with Bruce Springsteen at a star-studded concert, nobody wants to have to follow Dux Raymond Sy at a SharePoint conference.

The goal of Dux’s session was to offer guidance on “the essential components of successfully delivering SharePoint as an enterprise platform.” Beginning with the statement that, “there are guidelines to rolling out SharePoint, and each industry has its own unique needs,” Dux admitted up front that, “it’s not easy, but the benefits of [deploying SharePoint], if done correctly, are brilliant.” Dux then began to outline his plan for a successful SharePoint rollout.

Dux said, “The first step to leveraging SharePoint as an enterprise platform is to raise executive awareness,” suggesting that, all too often at the CIO level, “they’re not stupid, but they’re ignorant about SharePoint.”  As well, from an executive standpoint, Dux’s experience is that their primary interest is in how SharePoint can affect their organization’s bottom line. (For further reading, Dux has authored an article for CMS Wire titled, “5 Reasons Why Executive SharePoint Ignorance is Not Bliss.”)

When seeking executive buy-in, Dux suggests that you look for existing inefficiencies, measure them, then prove “how SharePoint can be a lifesaver.” Once executives are aware of what SharePoint truly is, you will need to work with them to “collaboratively engineer a solution.” It is of crucial importance that you not only talk to the business but that you actively work together with them. At this stage, Dux recommends that you not even talk about SharePoint per se, but talk about their specific pain points, and only once those pain points have been identified should you move on to mapping them to SharePoint solutions.

Once you’ve successfully educated and engaged the business, look at enterprise-wide solutions you can roll out (corporate intranet, or content management systems); specific solutions (an on-boarding system for HR, or conference room scheduling for facilities); systems integration; and/or custom application development.

At this point, it’s time for a reality check, and you need to begin honestly assessing, “how much of this can we do and not do?” In order to arrive at your answers, you’ll need to prioritize and, naturally, you’ll arrive at those prioritizations through continuing to work with the business.

Once you’ve got your priorities in order, the next question that needs answering is, “can IT handle the implementation?” Do you have the necessary skill sets in place? Are key processes in place (e.g., plans for release management and disaster recovery)? Staff for support and maintenance? Plans for future releases of SharePoint?

Your change management strategy needs to be resolved next. In addition to a collaboration culture, in order to succeed, you’ll need a governance plan (including the involvement of business and IT), an adoption plan (in addition to training, “you’ve got to provide self-help and feedback mechanisms”). Speaking of plans, do you have an iterative roadmap for your SharePoint deployment?  You’d better, as it’s essential that you plan for the future from the beginning.

By way of providing a concrete example of the path to a successful SharePoint implementation, Dux showed the following video demonstrating how the successful European airline EasyJet deployed SharePoint within their organization:


Following the EasyJet video, which served to underscore much of Dux’s own advice, Dux stated in conclusion that in following these steps, you’ll be “on your way to unleashing the power of SharePoint in your organization.”

As noted earlier, the big finish to Dux’s session was the solo debut of the hit song, “SharePoint Starts the Fire.” Dux suggested that the reason he was performing the song in his session was because he’d “lost a bet” with Michael Gannotti, but I don’t know that I believe him. The man just loves to rock the mic, friends. Alas, it seems that the live performance wasn’t captured on video, but I can at least share the studio version that Dux has recorded:


Dux did record the audio of his entire presentation, however, and the audio, paired with his PowerPoint presentation is available on Dux’s blog.

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