BANG! At the sound of the shot, three companies are in a race to see who will be the victor in winning the client. Each is prepared to present and demonstrate their capabilities – who will win?

The selection is determined by which vendor best meets the needs of the client, has the right price and is a fit to the company’s culture. Regardless of which is the victor, the client company must have specific things in place for the implementation of SharePoint to be a success.

In fact, the client company can make or break a successful implementation. I have learned that big or small doesn’t indicate the level of complexity to be handled and each solution needs to be designed with user involvement to achieve the highest level of satisfaction. There are five things required to insure the solution provided by the selected vendor delivers.

1. Sponsorship – Have a champion or sponsor will own the solution and insure that the employees / management are on board. A key component is the acceptance of the upcoming changes brought about with automation of workflow or in how documents are stored. The sponsor will also insure timely decisions are made and define how the platform will be used.

2. Plan – Companies use SharePoint to do many different things and each has a unique implementation designed to fit their specific needs. Creating a plan for how the company/department can best use it is key to solve the problem(s) to be addressed. The plan will determine how strict the rules will be for using templates to maintain the look, feel and function of the solution or if it will be freeform and open.

3. Taxonomy – Establish a set of classes and naming conventions for the data stored in SharePoint. This will provide a common language / understanding for the users and facilitate reporting needs, compliance and tracking.

4. Security – Define which pieces of SharePoint will be used and by whom. Determine who is responsible to maintain the templates and/or grant access areas.

5. Support – Determine who will provide the support for each group of users. This could be a power user within each department or a single focal point of support who works with the server system, network and other technical teams.

In the end, SharePoint is a tool and tools alone do not solve problems. The client and their team plays a key role and their needs must be considered by the vendor. A tool should be used as part of a plan to solve a problem. The Sponsor must ensure that a sensible plan is in place for setting up SharePoint and storing information with it.

The vendor needs to work closely with the Project Sponsor / Champion and users to deliver best solution. Customer satisfaction, when achieved, brings the solution across the finish line and is a win for everyone. Planning + people = Winning Solution.

About Your Columnist

Linda Amaro is a featured columnist for Women Taking Charge, the official blog of Connected Women of Influence, where she covers topics, tips and tricks surrounding The Virtual Office and using Microsoft SharePoint to improve collaboration. Linda Amaro, has been in the Information Technology (IT) industry for over 30 years and has risen to the position of CIO in the corporate arena managing multiple departments with over 150 staff members and projects for tier one customers ranging from $2.5 million to $20 million. In 2010, she started Klarinet Solutions, a SharePoint consulting firm that provides SharePoint Design, Site Branding, Workflow Automation, On-Line Forms Development, Document Management, Custom Development and Business Intelligence.

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