SharePoint – Getting a Fresh Start to Save from Future Pain

As great as SharePoint 2010 is, it is not a magic bullet.  You can’t just push a button and have an intranet up and running.  Well, it is nearly that easy, but having it up and running successfully is another story.   In the past 3 years of working on dozens upon dozens of  SharePoint 2007 and 2010 projects I have run into many instances of the same problem:  Clients hear SharePoint is easy install, they rush to get it up and running (understandably they are excited to do so!), and then give all employees full reign to do what they want with it.  End results:  An IA nightmare.  A perfect example is a client we worked with that wanted to migrate from 2003 to 2007.  We came in and found that they had over 1800 subsites built, subsites on top of subsites, and the permissions structure was such a disaster (not utilizing SharePoint groups at all) that they didn’t know how even to obtain access to a majority of the sites.

When it gets to this point I strongly recommend starting from scratch – migration is not always the best answer.  Inevitably so much time, money and effort is spent trying to undo the mess post-migration that it is difficult if not impossible to rectify.

Many clients do not want to spend a lot of money on an intranet site because they don’t see the financial benefit in doing so.  However, it is a lot less expensive to plan and do it right then ending up with this type of mess.  Often times a phased approach works great.  Finding a group in your organization that really is anxious to get the intranet going, one that understands the value of losing the shared drives and the benefits of managing data, collaborating and sharing on the web is a great way to start.  It is less overwhelming for you, as well as the organization as a whole and ensures that the efforts keep moving forward.

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