SPLF 2012: Sadie Van Buren’s ‘SharePoint Maturity Model’

The SharePoint Maturity Model which "helps you get a holistic view of your implementation" was created two years ago by Sadie Van Buren as a free tool for the community.  As Sadie went on to explain in her presentation at last week's SharePoint Leadership Conference, by going through the Model, organizations are able to track their improvement over time.  As well, Sadie said that familiarity with and participation in the Model "can help organizations build their strategic roadmap." 

The Model also provides a global perspective, as participants contribute to "a data model that will help answer larger questions about where organizations are in their maturity by industry, years of use," and more.  Over her ten years of experience working with SharePoint deployments, Sadie has observed many companies thinking that their SharePoint journey and the mistakes made and lessons learned along the way were specific to them when, in fact, many aspects of the journey are shared across a wide range of different organizations and industries.

Sadie explained that the SharePoint Maturity Model "incorporates both solution and readiness competencies."  Among a handful of caveats, she said that it's "really intended to be a framework and not a formula," and that it "doesn't currently address cloud versions or public-facing websites."  The Model has, however, already been vetted by hundreds of organizations worldwide.

Sadie explained that the Model includes five levels, ranging from a score of 100 (the lowest maturity level, assigned to organizations just starting with SharePoint; nobody scores a zero) to 500 (the highest attainable level, representing SharePoint nirvana; the SharePoint deployment in these organizations is optimally functioning, continuous improvement takes place, and ROI is demonstrable).  Sadie pointed out that the maturity level often varies between functional groups across an organization, and that this is "completely typical, and there are a lot of reasons for that."

Of the 11 core concepts that participants are scored on in the Model (Publication, Collaboration, Business Process, Search, People & Communities, Composites & Applications, Integration, Insight, Infrastructure & Administration, Staffing & Training, and Customizations), Sadie explained that "in keeping with theme of the [SPLF] event," she'd be focusing on collaboration in her session.

Within the context of the Model, collaboration represents "multiple individuals working jointly within SharePoint."   Sadie explained that there are five levels of competency within the Collaboration competency (scored from 100-500, just as in the overall Model).  At the 100 level, organizations are limited to collaborating within out-of-the-box team-centric sites, with facility increasing as organizations move up the maturity scale. At the 400 level, the whole company can access relevant content and sites, and all groups are using the tools that are in place to collaborate. At this level, organizations are also typically starting to think about mobile access.  At the 500 level, collaboration is happening not only within the organization, but also outside the firewall with external partners and vendors, and mobile access is in place.

Via screenshots, Sadie shared real-world examples of what's available (or not available) in a collaborative SharePoint site at each of the levels (save for the 400 level; "I really don't have a good ex of a 400-level"), and pointed out specific features present in each case.

Of the 300 participants whose responses are represented in the Model to date, Sadie said that the key message regarding the average maturity by years of use is that she sees "pretty low maturity overall."  Which is good news in that there's lots of room to improve, and recognizing the need for improvement is an important first step.

Addressing the question of why organizations aren't further along in their path to maturity, Sadie listed some common roadblocks, including: habit (to get around this, Sadie recommends showing "what's in it for them" if they adopt SharePoint, doing so by providing both incentives and disincentives); users going around the system (with the recommendation here being that you "have a plan for externally authenticating people" so they don't need to circumvent the system); and economic reality (recommendation: "train on batch file operations" so people know it's as easy to get info out of the system as it is to put in).

One general recommendation Sadie shared was that "if you're struggling, start small … do prototypes, get something out there and working with the system."

Wrapping up her session, Sadie reiterated that the Model is "completely free, and no strings attached," and that there is no contact information or login required to participate, and to learn where your organization fits on the maturity scale.  Why not find out for yourself by downloading the SharePoint Maturity Model today?

Complete coverage of SharePoint Leadership Forum 2012:

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