Getting Started with SharePoint

Having a set of objectives in mind is important when you start implementing SharePoint. Developing a list of objectives helps you define the scope for your SharePoint project.

Don’t think of your project in terms of “implementing SharePoint.” Instead, state your project in terms of whatever it is that you’re doing with SharePoint.

Here are some good examples of SharePoint project objectives:

  • Create secure, version-controlled document repositories for departments, teams, and task forces.
  • Move contacts, calendars, and announcements into an easily accessible site.
  • Automate the process for submitting business expense forms.
  • Track documents, events, and tasks related to projects.

Any of these goals are easily achievable with WSS. I suggest that you attack each of these as a separate phase of your project. Also, narrow the scope to a particular team or department. Instead of trying to implement all these goals for your entire organization, pick a single group to act as the pilot.

For example, start using document repositories with the Marketing department. I suggest you start with projects similar to the ones in the preceding list. Even though document management and team sites are basic features of SharePoint, many companies are overwhelmed quickly by them.

Plan on spending anywhere from 3–12 months training and supporting users on SharePoint’s basic features. MOSS 2007’s My Site feature is a great way to get users introduced to using SharePoint. If you know you want to implement MOSS 2007, I suggest training users on My Site first.

Each member of the SharePoint portal is the administrator of his or her own My Site personal site. This is a great way to get folks up to speed on administering SharePoint sites. After you’re confident that most people know how to save files to a library and work with lists, I suggest you move on to the basic features of MOSS 2007.

Example projects include the following:

  • Creating a collaboration portal that aggregates content from SharePoint team and departmental sites.
  • Implementing a document review or approval procedure for documents saved in team or departmental repositories.
  • Archiving documents, e-mail, and other content to a protected records management repository.
  • Adding file shares and other content to be searched from within SharePoint.

Advanced uses of MOSS 2007 include the following:

  • Integrating data from back-end business databases in lists and libraries being used by teams and departments.
  • Creating executive dashboards that display the company’s progress on key performance metrics.
  • Converting all manual forms to browser-based electronic forms.

If you want to read about specific companies that have successfully implemented SharePoint, you can visit the Office Solutions Showcase.