Identifying the Areas for Your SharePoint Strategy
The areas of importance will vary from company to company, but as a general matter of principle there are eight core and four secondary areas for developing a strategy. The core areas are project management, testing, policies/permissions, deployment/initial training, code management, site architecture, maintenance, and security. The secondary areas are branding, social, operational concerns, and post-deployment training.
There may be additional sectors where you company needs increased focus. Likewise, some secondary categories may be core for your company while some core features may be resolved by other means (for example, hiring out maintenance and testing can simplify the strategy for select companies).
Build a Strategy Committee
The reason it's important to build a SharePoint committee isn't that the creation of a strategy is a large project requiring a great number of labor hours. Rather, it is a complex project that will have different implications for individuals in different roles. Having representatives from different parts of your company will help you foresee problems and discuss potential resolutions.
Having a committee will also help each group or department feel invested in and committed to the strategy. Numerous studies have found that strategies developed and implemented by multiple groups within the company are far more effective than edicts that come from the upper echelons of the corporate ladder.
Define Roles, Scope, and Outcomes
Once you have brought together your committee, the next step is to define the important terms. In this case, the important items to define are 1) the roles of each member of the committee, 2) the scope of the strategy (and the projects the strategy may imply), and 3) the goals that the company hopes to achieve by implementing these strategies.
While the exact roles will vary from company to company, it's suggested that you assign a "champion" who will pitch the value of this strategy to the various departments and, if needed, to the executive level of the company.
It is also important that, within the roles being established, there is a clearly defined pathway for communication. Who will be communicating with whom? When will news and updates be given to each group or department? And so on.
For those developing a strategy during the initial deployment of SharePoint, the need for a time-line should already be evident. However, setting a specific, workable time-line is no less important for companies that have been using SharePoint for years. Without setting specific dates, the project—including the development and implementation of the official strategy—can linger in the ether for months or even years.
The specific time-line will vary dependent on the size of your company and the scope of your SharePoint projects. As a general guideline, however, it's advisable to select a time somewhere between two weeks to three months as your target completion date.
Creating a strategy for your company may seem like an arduous and, at times, even an unimportant task. However, its central element is an exercise in communication, group-thinking, and inter-departmental cooperation that will set a precedent for many projects yet to come.
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