The Root of All Evil: SharePoint Information Architecture and Happy End Users: This article on information architecture and Sharepoint absolutely nails the most common problems with the platform:
Struggle to create, enforce, maintain basic governance — once the SharePoint genie is out of the bottle, it takes on a life of its own; and folks like IT, legal, records management, corporate communications and HR have their work cut out for them trying to manage end-user behavior.
Difficulty realizing the full benefits of using SharePoint […] At most of my clients, SharePoint’s main use case is basic share drive replacement…and in most cases it provides little added benefits over those share drives.
Conflicts with other enterprise applications […] it tries to deliver “good enough” functionality across lots of enterprise content management (ECM) areas, e.g., workflow and collaboration, document management, portal/web content management and records management. But most organizations already have other systems doing some (or all) of these, so figuring out which system should do what is a real challenge.
I have yet to find anyone who loves their Sharepoint install. I talk to a lot of companies about their intranets, and I’m especially interested in hearing about their Sharepoint experiences. When I ask about them, I get things like.
- “We kind of got it work.”
- “It’s working pretty good now, but it took forever to get to this point.”
- “I don’t really know how to use it. I have this one document library I put things in – other than that, I have no idea what people are doing with it.”
I have yet to find an organization that unashamedly loves their Sharepoint.install. For most organizations I talk to, Sharepoint was the default choice, it was pushed on users by IT, and is massive overkill for what it’s being used for, due to limited needs, or due to the fact that no one really knows how to use it, so no one even scratches the surface of it.
(Actually, I’m being kind. I usually hear some variation of: “Everyone hates it.”)
Don’t get me wrong – I think Sharepoint is technically sound. But I don’t think users get adequately trained and I don’t think a lot of Sharepoint projects have enough backing at the C-level.
- The Psychology of Repository Permanence
- Groupware and the Motivation to Use It
- The Secret of Intranet Adoption
A Sharepoint implementation is fundamentally a human-engineering project. The technology will take care of itself. More important: how are you going to manage your users, and them on-board with it?
(This book from Michael Sampson is probably a good start.)