The 3 Most Common Mistakes in Office 365 and SharePoint Deployments

 Proper Office 365 cloud implementation requires vision, planning, and training.

Today it’s all about the cloud, and why not? The benefits to supplying your organization with a high-quality implementation of Office 365 closely integrated with a SharePoint Intranet and Microsoft Exchange are irrefutable. Having these three powerful application environments skillfully implemented and professionally maintained by Microsoft eliminates an enormous amount of technical headaches while saving most organizations considerable cash.

For those of us that have been responsible for implementing such seamless integration with “on premise” versions of these products, this offering truly seems like a dream come true. Why then, is it that these new cloud environments often suffer from exactly the same problems (namely, Poor Adoption, Mediocre Implementation and Terrible ROI) as their expensive, uncoordinated, on premise versions?

Vision, Planning, Training.

The answer is simple. Most cloud implementations, like their “on premise” counterparts, occur without a clear vision, appropriate planning and adequate training for the users. The result is a cloud version of the “Wild Wild West” where confusion runs rampant, intellectual property is at risk and most of the citizens stay indoors. SharePoint Online and Office 365 may offer a phenomenally better cost of entry but without vision, planning and training, you’re still wasting your money, it’s just a smaller amount.

Vision

The vision for your deployment can be very simple:

  • Department sites for document libraries to incubate and protect your intellectual property.

  • Corporate communications intranet to keep all employees aware and involved.

  • A key corporate application is now available to all employees worldwide.

Regardless of your vision, simply having one (and making sure that everyone on your team is aware of it) will go a long way towards making sure that your environment is a success.

Planning

Planning and architecting a blueprint for the arrangement of sites that will make up your site collection is another key element that most organizations lack. A true project specification down to, and including templates for each type of site that will be allowed in your site collection will dramatically improve navigation and completely eliminate the chance of your environment turning into the “Wild Wild West”.

Training

Ever since SharePoint has supported embedded media libraries, there is no excuse whatsoever for not making training available to every employee in the organization. Complete training curriculum for end-users, composed of a series of short bite-sized videos, can be added to your environment for less than the cost of sending half a dozen employees across the street to a two-day “boot camp”. What’s more, these videos can be “surfaced” through search when a “refresher” is needed and so the value of the investment is retained forever.


With some Vision, Planning and Training, you could be up in the cloud in your own gleaming “Metropolis”, looking down on all the folks trapped in the “Wild Wild West” below you.