SharePoint Jumpstart #1 Creating a SharePoint Strategy
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SharePoint Jumpstart #1 Creating a SharePoint Strategy

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This session will discuss building an effective search and information architecture strategy for SharePoint. ...

This session will discuss building an effective search and information architecture strategy for SharePoint.

One of the reasons many SharePoint implementations fail to meet user expectations is the lack of investment in its underlying information architecture. Some organizations see SharePoint as an out-of-the-box solution that they can simply plug in and throw content into, but it requires as much thought and effort around data structure, organizational principles, and search configuration as any portal or intranet.

This call will discuss building an effective search and information architecture strategy for SharePoint, including such topics as:

• Building a search & IA vision
• Requirements gathering & use cases
• Implementation strategy & approaches
• The future of SharePoint search

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SharePoint Jumpstart #1 Creating a SharePoint Strategy SharePoint Jumpstart #1 Creating a SharePoint Strategy Presentation Transcript

  • SharePoint Search & IA Jumpstart Series June 4, 2009 Call 1: Creating a SharePoint Strategy Hosted by Earley & Associates in partnership with Consejo, Inc.
  • About the JumpStart call series
    • Began educational call series in 2005
    • Past topics have included Taxonomy and Metadata, Content Management, Search, Semantic Technologies
    • Have had several thousand attendees over the years. Today’s call has over 600 registrants
    • Calls will be recorded and available for download
    • Be sure to fill in evaluation to let us know what additional topics you would like to learn about
  • Community of Practice Calls
    • Taxonomy Group url: http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/TaxoCoP
    • Search Group url: http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/SearchCoP
    • Upcoming calls:
        • July 1, 2009 – Conducting a Search Audit
        • August 5, 2009 – DITA
        • September 2, 2009 – Taxonomy Usability Testing
        • October 7, 2009 – Developing an Ontology
        • November 4, 2009 – Applications for Topic Maps
        • December 2, 2009 – Taxonomy Management
  • Housekeeping
    • Calls last from 60 – 90 minutes
    • Email questions during the call to [email_address] . Questions will be taken at the end of the session
    • You can also skype Rebecca.M.Allen or SethEarley
    • Questions will be queued through the operator. Press *1 to ask a question.
    • If you are on twitter, you can follow the discussion and make comments using the hash tag #spjs
  • Call 1: Creating a SharePoint Strategy
    • Seth Earley, Earley & Associates
      • Information Strategy and SharePoint
    • Alan Pelz-Sharpe, CMS Watch
      • Evaluating SharePoint in the Enterprise
  • SharePoint Search & IA Series: Calls 2 – 4
    • Call 2: Making Basic SharePoint Search Work
    • Thursday, June 11 th
      • Shawn Shell, Consejo, Inc.
      • Sadie Van Buren, Knowledge Management Associates
    • Call 3: Navigation, Metadata, & Faceted Search: Approaches & Tools
    • Thursday, June 18 th
      • Lars Farstrup, Farstrup Software
      • Paul Wlodarczyk, Earley & Associates
    • Call 4: SharePoint IA vs. The Real World
    • Thursday, June 25 th
      • Toby Conrad & Jeremy Bentley, Smartlogic
      • Jeff Carr & Michael Shulha, Earley & Associates
  • Agenda
    • Context for SharePoint IA and Search issues
    • Goals and expectations
    • Types of content strategy
    • Why do we need a SharePoint strategy?
    • Classes of SharePoint applications
    • Information management strategy approach
    • Steps to developing a SharePoint strategy
    • SharePoint in the Enterprise
  • Context - SharePoint Search and IA issues
    • Our work in information architecture has exposed us to many different technical environments and a range of user needs
    • We have found that customers have in some cases had difficulty implementing recommendations due to challenges with process and technology
    • SharePoint has a particular set of challenges that we have seen in multiple environments related to search and findability
  • Expectations
    • Series will have a focus on information architecture and search
    • This session will explore the role of strategy related to improving short and long term findability
    • We will cover classes of functionality at a high level
    • Governance is an extensive topic that we cover separately in Call 4
  • Expectations
    • After this call series you should be able to:
      • Understand how to better leverage SharePoint to meet business needs in your organization
      • How to better align strategy with implementation
      • Specifically understand the role of information architecture and taxonomy in findability
      • Be familiar with constraints and workarounds for improving search and overall findability of information in SharePoint
  • Seth Earley, Founder & CEO
    • Co-author of Practical Knowledge Management from IBM Press
    • 14 years experience building content and knowledge management systems, 20+ years experience in technology
    • Chair, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Science and Technology Council Metadata Project Committee
    • Founder of the Boston Knowledge Management Forum
    • Former adjunct professor at Northeastern University
    • Currently working with enterprises to develop knowledge and content management systems, taxonomy and metadata governance strategies
    • Founder of Taxonomy Community of Practice – host monthly conference calls of case studies on taxonomy derivation and application. http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/TaxoCoP
    • Co-founder Search Community of Practice:
    • http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/SearchCoP
  • What kind of “strategy”?
    • Business
      • Alignment with business objectives
    • Editorial
      • What kinds of content will we have and how will this achieve our goals
    • Technical
      • Technology selection and development
    • Deployment
      • Populating content repositories and enabling collaboration
    • Management
      • Long term maintenance and governance
    Today we will be focusing on business alignment and some technical/architectural issues. The rest of the series will address technical issues as they relate to search and findability. Of course, the context is SharePoint, however many of these principles apply to any content management technology.
  • Why create a strategy?
    • “ We’re just going to put it out there and see what happens…” (company IT organization with SharePoint)
    • OK, Try that…
    • Let each part of the organization:
    • Make infrastructure choices
    • Develop information architecture
    • Create own taxonomies
    • Build own workflows
    • Create individual governance and maintenance policies
  • The result…
  • Been down that road before
    • Early collaboration tools encouraged user adoption with little if any intervention from IT organization
    • This resulted in “information shanty towns” - disconnected repositories, abandoned workspaces, unstable infrastructure, brittle integration, out of date and duplicated content
    SharePoint’s broad capabilities combined with widespread deployment magnifies this problem
  • SharePoint In Your Organization
    • “ Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 is a rich server application for the enterprise that facilitates collaboration, provides full content management features , implements business processes , and provides access to [structured] information essential to organizational goals and processes. It provides an integrated platform to plan, deploy, and manage intranet, extranet, and Internet applications across and beyond the enterprise.”
      • Microsoft
    Let’s spend a few minutes parsing this out and examining the ramifications for SharePoint deployment
  • Key SharePoint terms
    • Collaboration – typically refers to an unstructured process for communicating and solving problems. Ad hoc in nature.
    • A collaboration platform or environment is an easy to set up, self managed method for sharing information, contributing ideas and synthesizing an output
    • Content management – A mechanism capturing, organizing, accessing and reusing content. More structured in nature.
    • Content can be defined broadly as data, documents, digital assets, records, web content and learning objects
    It’s important to make the distinction between collaboration – a knowledge creation process and content management – a knowledge access and reuse process. The difference is not trivial and many deployments fail when organizations do not make this distinction.
  • Key SharePoint terms
    • Business processes – refers to structured processes for moving information through the organization.
    • Simple examples of business processes in this context might include workflow approval processes for a purchase order or expense report
    • Structured information – data contained in transactional and business intelligence systems
    • Integrated platform – one environment that handles many types of content
    • (documents, content for a web site or intranet, data, business processes, etc)
    We are going to define each of the pillars of SharePoint functionality and outline high level considerations
  • Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) has many capabilities Configuration of each application class requires decisions about site organization, governance, process, content types, metadata, and taxonomy.
  • Application class: Collaboration
    • Who is collaborating?
    • How much control will workgroups have?
    • Will there be standard structures to follow?
    • What is the process for commissioning and decommissioning sites?
    • Who will have administrative rights?
    • How will valuable content be harvested?
    • What is the lifecycle of collaborative content?
    When organizations decide to provide collaboration capabilities to users, they tend to consider this as a self managed process. As collaborative workspaces proliferate, users realize they can no longer find high value content.
  • Application class: Portals
    • Portals – Portal is an ambiguous term. SharePoint provides access to many types of structured and unstructured information and allows for aggregation and “integration at the glass”
    • What applications will be surfaced for users?
    • How will sites be personalized?
    • What type of architecture will be applied?
    • How will security be managed?
  • Application class: Enterprise search
    • Enterprise search – we’ll deal with search challenges in the next session. Some basic questions include determining how search will leverage metadata, facets, hierarchy, various unstructured sources, overcoming gaps in functionality, use of third party tools, etc
    Effective search needs to be considered from a holistic perspective – it is at the intersection of content strategy, metadata, taxonomy and information architecture
  • Application class: CM/DM/RM
    • Content Management – What processes are being supported? Who are the content owners? How will you define content structure? How will you manage content lifecycles? Does SharePoint truly meet the requirements of the organization from a web content management or intranet perspective?
    • Records Management – SharePoint is not considered a records management platform however there are companies that build RM modules on top of SharePoint. This entails custom development and configuration.
    • Document Management – What is the process for ensuring the site does not become a dumping ground? How will document lifecycles be managed? What organizing principles will be applied to documents?
  • Application class: Business Processes and Business Intelligence
    • Business process – InfoPath is an application to create xml based data entry forms to handle various workflow tasks. Is forms based workflow part of your initial project mandate?
    • Forms based workflow is distinct from content or document workflow (which is part of the content/document/records management application class)
    • Business intelligence – Is this going to add value to the organization? Make BI tools more accessible? Improve utilization of structured information sources? Building dashboards and integrating data sources is a significant undertaking
  • Different content, different tools, different mechanisms for access
    • The message is that “content” varies in structure, format, value
    • Application classes generally handle different types of content (though search and portal are really access layers to other application classes)
    • SharePoint spans the range of functionality from very unstructured/chaotic applications to highly structured/controlled applications
    • Though not yet mature for things like Records Management, add on modules can provide that capability
    • Microsoft Groove will be SharePoint Workspace 2010 – this is at the far end of collaboration and user control (see blog post: http://sethearley.wordpress.com )
    Key point: User controlled does not mean unmanaged/ungoverned
  • Different technology classes are appropriate depending upon degree of collaboration and creation vs. structured access More Structured Email Instant Messages Wikis Blogging/ Micro blogging Discussions Collaborative Workspaces Content/ Document Management Workflow/ Business processes Business Intelligence Records Management Knowledge Creation Knowledge Access/Reuse Chaotic Processes Controlled Processes Less Structured User initiated/ controlled IT initiated/ controlled
  • Relative value of content Lower Cost Higher Cost Message text External News Reports Discussion postings Interim deliverables Engineering document repositories Success Stories Benchmarks Approved Methods Best Practices Tagging/Organizing Processes Social tagging (“folksonomy”) Structured tagging (taxonomy) Unfiltered Reviewed/Vetted/Approved Lower Value (More difficult to access) Higher Value (Easier to access)
  • Developing an Information Strategy
    • SharePoint has capabilities that can touch most of the organization’s information streams
    • An information strategy outlines current information flows, business objectives, priorities, scope and resource allocation
    • Broader than SharePoint strategy – includes bigger picture information flows – including upstream and downstream systems
    • Determines the role of SharePoint in the department or across the enterprise
    • Be sure to spell out linkages between project and enterprise goals.
    An overall information strategy, though not critical to SharePoint deployment, will help to bound project scope
  • Increase customer satisfaction Expand offerings Develop new markets Customer Support Customer acquisition Engineering Library Knowledge base Marketing Collateral Alignment, linkage, measurement Product Development Grow top line revenue Content supports processes Working here (tools, technology, IA, search, etc) Measuring here (micro level - effects) Measuring here (macro level - outcomes) CEO- “Show me how this project will increase our revenue?” Copyright © 2009 Earley & Associates Inc. All Rights Reserved. Organizational Strategy Business Unit Objectives Business Processes Processes enable objectives L I N K A G E Content Sources Objectives align with strategy
  • Problem focus
    • What business problem are you solving?
    • How will SharePoint improve the ability to accomplish work?
    • What are the work tasks that need to be supported/enabled?
    • How can information be structured to be readily accessed and consumed by target audiences?
    Key concept: Start with a single perspective (audience, process or problem) and then expand.
  • Defining a SharePoint Strategy
    • With this range of functionality, “just putting it out there” will not allow the organization to realize full benefits and will be counterproductive
    • Strategy is a moving target: what is appropriate for a less mature organization is not appropriate for a more mature organization
    • Strategy needs to be continually redefined in order to keep up with the needs of the business
    • Initially, strategy is defined at a very high level – further iterations allow details of implementation to be adapted to each business area
  • Requirements Gathering
    • Bring together stakeholder group representatives, from executive level ( strategic business objectives ) to administration ( tactical execution ).
    • Capture ideas and blue sky wish list then start moving from the abstract to the tactical, or from:
    Improve market share through cross business unit synergies Present solutions to agricultural industry prospects that repurpose technologies from power substation mobile monitoring solutions Strategic Goal Tactical Requirement big picture what detailed how You are guided by the what in order to build the how
  • Steps to developing a SharePoint strategy
    • Create high level charter and identify owners
    • Define processes and functions to be supported
    • Identify audiences, perspectives, goals and tasks
    • Survey specific applications used in the context of work tasks
    • Audit content sources and determine organizing principles
    • Create use cases based on user tasks
    • Determine feature requirements: what technical functions and features are needed to address problem areas
    • Evaluate options including cost of custom development, add on modules, third party tools
    You may not need all of this detail – level of detail will be determined by expected outcome. Some of these steps border on functional and technical requirements (for instance detailed use cases).
  • 1. Typical Project Charter
    • Project owner
    • Project manager
    • Background and context
    • Business need and benefits
    • Project objectives
    • Definitions
      • In scope
      • Out of scope
    • Deliverables
    • Schedule and cost considerations
    • Success criteria
    There are plenty of examples of SharePoint project charters available on the web. Don’t copy too much boilerplate – this diminishes impact. Look for main points moist relevant to your circumstances.
  • 2. Processes and Functions
    • Content by itself is not very useful
    • Content applied to solving a problem is useful
    • How do we measure the ability to solve a problem?
    • What is the nature of the problem?
    • What allows the problem to be solved?
    • What impedes the ability of a user to solve a problem?
    • How does the supported process align with bigger picture goals of the organization?
    Achieving alignment with processes and strategic goals is essential to getting and retaining organizational attention and resources
  • 3. Audiences, perspectives, goals and tasks
    • Who are the target users for the specific process?
    • How can you characterize your audiences?
    • What do they need to accomplish?
    • How much experience do they have with your content, applications, offerings?
    • Segment audiences according to need, demographic, role, intent
  • 3. Audiences, perspectives, goals and tasks
  • 4. Application survey
  • 4. Application survey
  • 5. Audit content sources
    • Content audit
    • What are the in scope repositories?
    • How relevant is existing content? What content is missing? Will new content be developed?
    • What kinds of applications? (Databases, document libraries, web pages, business intelligence applications, etc.)
    • What content is needed to support the user?
    • What other sources do individuals use to accomplish their tasks?
    • Who are the owners? Can you influence content lifecycles (such as application of metadata)
    • What is the state of content metadata?
    • Are there inherent organizing principles that can be leveraged? (Process, context, content structure, source, folder hierarchy, etc)
  • 5. Audit content sources
  • 6. Create use cases
    • Use cases can be formal (with trigger, pre condition, post condition, normal flow, alternative flow, exceptions, comments, etc)
    • Or can be less formal and simply describe functionality at a high level
  • 7. Requirements & technology
    • Don’t take too narrow a focus
      • Project team may only have small purview, but think more globally to avoid reworking it later
      • Consider upstream and downstream processes
    • Think adaptable, extensible and scalable
    • Turn it into a roadmap: implement over time
    • Even a high level roadmap is better than “just putting it out there”
  • 7. Requirements & technology
    • Align technology with known issues and challenges
    • Can also develop matrix to prioritize functionality and rank level of effort for implementation
  • 8. Evaluate options
    • Determine what’s possible versus what’s practical
    • Its is critical that requirements gathering is done in conjunction with MOSS expertise
    • An expert can provide sanity checks and ensure that requirements development are aligned with budgets and organizational maturity
    • Customizations are always possible, but may be cost prohibitive or may not be practical in light of other supporting processes
  • Summary
    • SharePoint is an application platform with a broad range of capabilities for managing structured and unstructured information, enabling collaboration and managing documents and web content
    • Installing it and “seeing what happens” will lead to fragmented information silos and the inability to find critical information.
    • Once you let it out, it is very difficult to get things back under control
    • Empowering users does not mean letting chaos reign
    • Building an effective strategy means understanding the appropriate use of each class of technology and aligning with specific user roles, tasks and needs
  • Evaluating SharePoint in the Enterprise
    • Independent
      • We never work for vendors. Period.
    • Detailed
      • Industry veterans with technical backgrounds.
      • Detailed customer research.
      • Head-to-head vendor comparisons .
    • Practical
      • Specific advice. Best-practice approaches. The Real Story.
  • What does it mean to “evaluate” SharePoint? Which SharePoint services work better than others? How does SharePoint stack up against its competition? As a departmental solution, how will it scale across our enterprise? How should we put “fences” around SharePoint in our enterprise? Which add-on modules are right for our organization?
  • Agenda
    • An Architectural Overview
    • SharePoint Services / Collaboration
    • Customizing & Extending SharePoint
    • The SharePoint Ecosystem
  • SharePoint Today: a Stack of Technologies
  • Key Take-Aways
    • Persistent Tension between “free” and “fee” versions
            • Understand what’s in what, and your real costs
    • SharePoint is a key part of Microsoft’s Office strategy
    • SharePoint represents a stack of technologies
      • You need to understand more than just WSS and MOSS
    • Multiple products make up the SharePoint family
      • Evaluate carefully what you need and what you don’t
    • MOSS and related licensing can get very expensive for larger enterprises and/or those exposing services externally
      • But several key variables will affect pricing, including your relationship with Microsoft
  • SharePoint Architecture: Base Systems
  • SharePoint & .NET
    • Under-reported and under-appreciated dimension of SharePoint: built solidly on (almost) latest .NET platform
      • Aligns Redmond’s middleware with the huge army of global MS developers
      • This is huge : for developers and SharePoint
    • This accounts for much of the excitement around SharePoint 2007
      • Just be cautious of developer/integrator enthusiasm…
    • Double-edged sword:
      • SharePoint now much more extensible
      • Even simple extensions and customizations require solid .NET expertise
  • SharePoint Architecture: Windows SharePoint Services 3.0
  • Sample Document Library
  • Site Constructs: Sites
    • Sites
    • Single collaborative space: container for set of lists/libraries
    • Important Security and Taxonomic boundary
    • Navigable destination in a “Site Collection”
    OOTB Sites
  • Site Constructs: Site Collections
    • Site Collections: Just that!
      • Collaboration Portal
      • Publishing Portal
      • WSS Site
  • SharePoint Architecture: Windows SharePoint Services 3.0
  • Key MOSS Concepts: Building and Extending
    • Functional capabilities -- we’ll deal with in Module 3:
      • Enhanced Search, Business Data Catalog, Excel Services, Forms Services
      • New: licenses to Microsoft Performance Point (business intelligence)
    • Shared Services: Farm-level services
      • User import/management
      • Search engine configuration
      • Basic Usage reporting ( Basic is operative term)
      • Profile-based site surfacing to individual users
    • “ My Site”
      • Both profile and personal(izable) home page
      • Deal with a bit later
  • Agenda
    • An Architectural Overview
    • SharePoint Services / Collaboration
    • Customizing & Extending SharePoint
    • The SharePoint Ecosystem
  • SharePoint’s “Six Pillars” (Assume MOSS)… … Are really nine
    • For each service we’ll look at:
      • Scenario Fit
      • Pro’s and Con’s
      • Customer Tier Fit
  • “ What Kind of Collaboration?”
  • Tight Integration with Office
  • Not-so-tight Integration with Outlook / Exchange
  • SharePoint’s Wiki
    • Pros:
    • Easy to create
    • Contains basic wiki functionality
    • Based on standard SharePoint “lists”
    • Can be embedded into any other SharePoint site
    • Cons:
    • Missing some standard features, including hierarchical organization, cross-wiki linking, master templates, discussion services, print-friendly output.
    • Typically replaced by 3 rd -party tools
  • Collaboration Pros & Cons
    • Selected Pros
      • Flagship service
      • Unusually deep Office integration
      • Presentation Library is differentiator
      • People can create own team sites
    • Selected Cons
      • Different, overlapping products
      • Uneven Exchange / Outlook integration
      • Very poor native social computing services
      • Less oriented towards project management
      • Lacking compliance focus
  • Collaboration Fit
  • Agenda
    • An Architectural Overview
    • SharePoint Services / Collaboration
    • Customizing & Extending SharePoint
    • The SharePoint Ecosystem
  • Defining Some Terms EASIER HARDER “ You break it, you own it.”
  • Skill Sets Typically Required for SharePoint Customization
  • Templatized Components, Multiple Sites
  • Agenda
    • An Architectural Overview
    • SharePoint Services / Collaboration
    • Customizing & Extending SharePoint
    • The SharePoint Ecosystem
  • SharePoint Ecosystem
  • Third-Party Modules
    • Many customers end up licensing at least one
    • Microsoft lists them at solutionfinder.microsoft.com
      • However, many are not listed there, and Redmond does not vouch for them
    • Important caveats
      • Test performance, reliability, and security features carefully
      • Contrast software with “consulting-ware”
      • Remember: It’s not just another module, but another vendor
      • Many partners fervently hope that MS will buy them, but Redmond typically recreates rather than acquires
      • This can be very inconvenient for you down the road when Microsoft upgrades SharePoint
  • Thank you…and Follow-up www.cmswatch.com [email_address] Twitter: @cmswatch SharePoint Courses: cmswatch.com/Education Contact info@cmswatch to subscribe
  • Earley & Associates SharePoint Services (in Partnership with Consejo)
    • SharePoint Assessment
    • SharePoint Strategy
    • SharePoint Design (Information Architecture, Workflow, UI)
    • SharePoint Implementation
    • SharePoint Integration with Enterprise Search
    We help organizations succeed from an enterprise-wide perspective, ensuring findability of content through effective document tagging, metadata management, and search http://www.earley.com/SharePointServices.asp
  • SharePoint Search & IA Series: Calls 2 – 4
    • Call 2: Making Basic SharePoint Search Work
    • Thursday, June 11 th
      • Shawn Shell, Consejo, Inc.
      • Sadie Van Buren, Knowledge Management Associates
    • Call 3: Navigation, Metadata, & Faceted Search: Approaches & Tools
    • Thursday, June 18 th
      • Lars Farstrup, Farstrup Software
      • Paul Wlodarczyk, Earley & Associates
    • Call 4: SharePoint IA vs. The Real World
    • Thursday, June 25 th
      • Toby Conrad & Jeremy Bentley, Smartlogic
      • Jeff Carr & Michael Shulha, Earley & Associates
    • Please fill out the survey that should be in your inbox.
    • Let us know what topics you are interested in and how we can improve the series.
    Seth Earley [email_address] www.earley.com 781-820-8080