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SharePoint The Reality Series
Laying the foundation for your next SharePoint deployment

The application forces a dialog and eventually more delineation and formal channels of responsibilities between the IT group and business. It also redefines the scope and role of enterprise IT. When people are no longer calling to change a Web page, what’s the role of IT in the business itself?

The centrality of leadership

Now that we’ve established some of the prime ingredients in a governance plan, let’s add another non-technical requirement to the mix: Who is going to provide leadership ... not just the executive who gets religion at the collaboration retreat, but the ringmaster who involves all the stakeholders and still slogs through the daily project grind? That is not a job for code jockeys or most corner executives, no matter how impressive their IT credentials. It’s central to success, and must operate where units and functions overlap to form a solid, reliable and persuasive center, where  previously loose ends, ill-defined roles and uncertain expectations existed.

“What you need is a central administrator who’s a five-tool player,” says Rivinus. A big deployment with lots of bodies and budget-making authority are all givens. “But the key to pulling it off,” he adds, “is to spend whatever you’ve got to get the best central admin who speaks SQL and AD (Microsoft Active Directory), and straddles the line between the IT and business communities.”

“Until you have that, you have a mess,” says Rivinus. “We were making progress but things got a whole lot better when we got top quality in the central role.” Core to that centrality is a business analyst who understands workflow, technology adoption and the principle driver of all change management—understanding your own psychological wiring.

The wrong approach is giving in to the fears that cause a project leader to be either too forceful or deferential. Also avoid the temptation to treat SharePoint like a standalone system, as well as the misguided notion that one rollout strategy fits all.

“Everyone’s concerned about doing it right,” says Rivinus. “Everyone’s terrified that the wrong information is transmitted via this medium.” Once unstructured content becomes searchable, the gains and risks become clearer—as does the case for writing a strong governance plan.

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