Many organizations face the challenge of good SharePoint adoption due to the battle of fighting the SharePoint-Sucks-Syndrome (not to be confused with Paul Culmsee’s SharePoint Fatigue Syndrome). SharePoint-Sucks-Syndrome is a debilitating illness that includes the lingering misconception that current-day SharePoint is no good, simply because of bad experiences with previous versions (read SharePoint 2003). Most of us know that SharePoint has improved with leaps & bounds over the past few years. But if you have to work among, or consult for, those who are still suffering from the destructive symptoms of this disease, : ) here are some great affirmations and other useful phrases to help people feel better about their SharePoint experience:
“Put some MOSS on it…”
This phrase was thrown around a lot in one of the offices I used to work in – whenever there was some business process that needed to be improved, or some application that wasn’t quite doing what it needed to do, or if in general something just wasn’t going well, we’d say “Put some MOSS on it!” We were of course talking about Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, and that was our way of saying that using SharePoint could make any situation better. That’s right – to us, SharePoint was a hammer, and everything else was a nail. : )
“…the intranet site…”
I long for the day when SharePoint is such a pervasive platform that we actually stop using the word “SharePoint” to describe our use of it. This phrase helps bring that day closer. When you’ve placed the latest information about the upcoming office event on the homepage of the intranet portal, don’t say “the latest info has now been posted to SharePoint…” Unless you have to make the distinction between the SharePoint intranet and some other intranet available in the office, try to just focus on the great content you’ve just provided, and the convenient and universal access that an intranet provides, without mentioning the irrelevant details of the platform hosting the content. This is even more important if your colleagues have had bad experiences with older versions of the SharePoint portal – now suddenly the value of your content is not quite as enticing because a user is suffering from the thought that they’ll have to battle the platform to get to your content.
This phrase also helps get us closer to the day when SharePoint is just an assumed platform. It also helps get us closer to the Age of the Devs when there’s more focus on the effective applications built on SharePoint than there is on the infrastructure concerns surrounding SharePoint. If I build, for example, a .NET desktop application for managing customer accounts, I usually give it a cool name, deploy it to the users, and from that point on everyone uses my cool name when they refer to it. No one ever says “be sure to add that new customer to our .NET 3.5 Smart Client app”. So if I build the same application using a custom web part, or an InfoPath form, or some custom SharePoint Lists, what’s the value of mentioning that the application is hosted by or delivered using SharePoint? Particularly in an age where more of our everyday applications are simply Software-as-a-Service, the details of what’s powering that Service should become less and less important.
“It’s not DESIGNED to do that …”
Sometimes folks suffer from acute Attitude issues when SharePoint doesn’t do something that they think it should. Let’s take the out-of-box Blog feature, for instance. Some users can’t understand why SharePoint blogs don’t do every cute little feature that they’ve seen done on their favorite blogging platform (a platform which, by the way, probably ONLY does blogging). Sometimes you’ve got to explain to them that SharePoint isn’t designed to do all the things you’re expecting in this case – SharePoint’s goal was to give you a basic blog to get you up and running, not to compete with every other blogging platform in the world. And there are certainly plenty of other examples of this across SharePoint’s functionality. With that being said, can you buy a 3rd-party add-on to get the functionality you need? - Probably. Can you custom-code the functionality you need using SharePoint as a development platform? - Absolutely. Can you realize that apparently having a blogging platform with all the bells and whistles is important for you and your organization, and probably means you should go invest in a best-of-breed blogging platform, while at the same time admitting that SharePoint is still useful for all the 900 other things you do in your organization? – I hope so.
“I gotta have More SharePoint!…”
In other words, tell them the Cowbell sent you… : )
So, what phrases do YOU use to fight SharePoint-Sucks-Syndrome?