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How Not to Use Your New SharePoint Infrastructure

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Anybody who’s used SharePoint knows that it is incredibly adaptive and can be used to accomplish a wide variety of tasks. This is both its best strength and worst weakness. One of the biggest problems that companies run into with SharePoint is deciding what features to use and which can end up being distracting or a waste of time.

CMS Wire recently proposed some suggestions about the features and capabilities that are probably best left alone. Here are the takeaways.

Don’t Put Workflows on Your Intranet

Trying to implement a workflow on an intranet typically ends up doing more harm than good. The issue here is that the workforce typically ends up spending more time learning how to use the workflow and keeping it updated than the amount of time and resources it could potentially save.

It’s very hard to implement top-down scheduling of this magnitude, as there are typically far too many day-to-day tasks that management isn’t even aware of. The end result of trying to force a workflow through SharePoint is typically frustration with the software instead of putting it to good use.

Focus instead on getting your workforce using the intranet with some simple core features. Track how they use it and then start building your infrastructure around those behaviors. The end result is typically much more streamlined.

Don’t Use Infopath

Infopath transforms paper forms into business forms that workers can fill out on the intranet instead of with pen and paper. This sounds good in theory, but producing usable forms with Infopath is actually a difficult process, and the documents are often harder to fill out than paper forms.

Whenever possible, just save the forms as a Word document. SharePoint is perfect for sharing Word documents, and it’s easy for people to get the form and either alter it with the necessary information or print it out and send it up the chain.

Don’t Beautify It

SharePoint’s incredible versatility can become a nuisance when a company uses it for trivial and vain ends. Yes, you can implement custom graphic design and make your intranet more consistent with your brand image, but it’s almost always a waste of time and money.

The costs can amplify when you start adjusting your functionality and discover that it breaks your graphic design. Even Microsoft’s public position on this is to avoid doing it, so don’t.

Don’t Throw Your Employees in Cold Water

The temptation to force everybody into SharePoint by shutting off all the legacy fileshare systems is a strong one, but it’s usually best not to do this. Employees are used to the legacy systems and will be very confused if everything is changed overnight.

Instead, you can transform the old fileshare system into a “read-only” system. This way they can still access the old documents in the old infrastructure, but they will need to use SharePoint for anything new they create. They will quickly discover just how useful the filesharing system is and adapt accordingly.

Don’t Say You’re Finished

SharePoint intranets are a process, not a project. You should always be monitoring how the system is being used and how it can be adapted to meet those needs more effectively. The launch of your intranet is just the beginning. Take the mindset that you’re always in “beta” and your workforce will continue to grow more streamlined.

Source: 5 Things Not to Do with Your New SharePoint Intranet

By SharePoint Blog Editors – Microsoft SharePoint Partner Directory



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