Ensure the long-term health of SharePoint content management systems

Prescribing a SharePoint implementation without a proper diagnosis is akin to IT malpractice.

That's the assertion of Richard Harbridge, a SharePoint architect and consultant for Portal Solutions of Rockville, Md. Harbridge presented a SharePoint content management tutorial called "Is Your SharePoint Really Healthy? What's the Right Prescription?" at KMWorld 2012 in Washington, D.C. There, he suggested that the collaboration platform required a governed model of care to ensure ongoing health.

"Sometimes preventative measures are just either not robust enough or they're very challenging to work with," Harbridge said. But, he added, if specific goals are set and the organization has the right motivation behind a diagnosis, typically the result is a healthy SharePoint implementation.

Harbridge, the author of a new book entitled Microsoft SharePoint for Business Executives, said that significant changes in SharePoint 2013 and others on the horizon should prompt information professionals to develop a governance program. The prescription he lays out for SharePoint content management ensures administrators or other experts provide the right care. Harbridge also said responsibility for the proper monitoring and efficacy of the system should rest with the information technology or other content management professional who determined that implementing SharePoint or making changes to an implementation is needed.

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Making that "diagnosis" -- in Harbridge's words -- is key, but following up on it is even more important. Yet even after such a diagnosis is made, organizations often neglect their SharePoint implementations for a number of reasons.

"One of the biggest issues [is] not enough resources," Harbridge said. "It's difficult for people in organizations to spend the time and energy they intended to on certain activities." That's why it is so important for company leaders to recognize the need for proper implementation of technology. That way, he said, resources will be allocated where they are needed most.

Harbridge sat down for a brief video interview after his presentation, and we asked him a handful of detailed questions about preventative measures and other means of ensuring SharePoint success. The result is an impromptu SharePoint tutorial about the health of implementations and their business and technical aspects.

Viewers of the 14-minute video will learn:

  • How reviewing SharePoint sites at regular intervals is an important part of implementation success (4:30);
  • Why people often fail to follow through with review cycles or keep track of site review checklists (5:21);
  • The importance of keeping site collections limited in size and establishing quotas to enable organizations to accurately determine where resources are needed (6:25);
  • Why multiple environments are necessary to test and develop business critical technology (8:15);
  • Why simply running with a SharePoint deployment and hoping it works is a bad idea (11:05);
  • Why it's important to develop specific objectives about what the organization wants to achieve using SharePoint content management (13:50).


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