Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (affectionately known in our circles as “MOSS”) is now at what should be at the peak of adoption. The product has been on the market since 2007 and there is a new version coming in a year.
Yet with many of our customers, we find that MOSS has been implemented but barely gets off the ground. There a few reasons why this seems to be happening:
- MOSS is championed by IT and then too tightly controlled. For example, we have customers who have installed MOSS but will only use it for out of the box collaboration – no custom code, no document management, no BI, etc. If you want an out of the box team site, then that’s part of the “service” but otherwise you will have to wait.
- MOSS starts in a single department and then never makes it out. A department picks MOSS for their needs but then there is not enough support or sponsorship in the organization to roll it out further.
- MOSS is implemented skunk works style on a single box. The implementation is more successful than originally envisioned and what was a “proof of concept” starts getting treated like production. This sets up the assumption that MOSS is “Rapid Development” and eventually the box falls over under strain.
- MOSS is implemented by IT but there has been no planning for adoption and training. MOSS sits there with a bunch of services – users simply don’t know how to use them and go on using other more reliable forms of collaboration such as email, file shares, etc.
- The implementation gets mired in legal, HR, or branding issues as corporate citizens start to have the ability to create their own content. Similar to the IT clamp down, the organization clamps down on the services that MOSS can provide such as blogs, wikis, My Sites, etc. because they do not have a good model for managing the risk of employees contributing their own content.
Why does this happen? What is missing from most MOSS implementations? In my experience, there are a few common causes:
- Too much involvement by IT, not enough involvement from business stakeholders.
- Too much focus on MOSS as a generic toolbox (document management, collaboration, search, etc.), not enough focus on MOSS as a way to automate or enable true business services.
- Poor infrastructure planning to enable scaling to the enterprise.
- Lack of training, adoption and change management.
- Lack of a killer app for the particular needs of the business
- Not enough support from executive champions
- No governance model to set expectations on how MOSS will be operated, changed and maintained.
If you are an IT Director or department champion for SharePoint, I strongly encourage you to think about these issues BEFORE you start an implementation. We see many cases where organizations start thinking about these issues after the first implementation has already failed and the organization has soured on the platform because there was not enough investment in managing the project and an eager IT department ready to roll out a service.