"SharePoint is typically one of the most high profile deployments," says Errin O'Connor, founder and head of EPC Group. "People have their jobs on the line. EPC has a unique approach to helping organizations deploy SharePoint that allows companies to be like partners."
Based on experience that goes back to the original STS 2001, and bolstered by projects such as helping Chevron, Continental Airlines, the US Naval Air Command, and the National Institutes of Health with their SharePoint deployments, O'Connor's SharePoint knowledge runs deep. In fact, you could get lost for days in it. Here are a few tips for success gleaned from a short conversation with O'Connor and Miranda Price, EPC Group's Vice President:
1. Approach a project with the mindset of SharePoint as a service and as a platform. "It's a hybrid solution. It's not only an intranet--if you want to transform it into a records management solution, you'll be ready."
2. Engage power users. "Companies put their budget into administrator training but you need to develop the folks that implement SharePoint for a specific reason--they tend to implement it for other things, too."
3. Keep SharePoint simple. It's important to follow site provisioning and permissions best practices. "You can end up defeating the purpose of SharePoint if you have five sites that do the same thing or store the same documents. We try to ensure there's an approval process to create sites."
4. Governance, governance, governance. "We like to set up governance committees. Governance is thrown around a lot-it ranges from provisions, security, roadmap, content types, to end-user training. It consists of two parts-infrastructure information management (server side-load balancing and DR) and information management (site collections, site creation)."
5. Don't re-invent the (training) wheel. Re-use training--a centralized training model can do wonders. Consider doing an organization-agnostic training for all departments--implement once, take a roadmap approach.
6. Get a store. "We have a private cloud with a private app store where folks in the organization can go in and see what other departments have done and go in, download a web part, code, business requirements in the documentation--it's like a solutions gallery where you can get help or support."
7. Get organized. "We saw the NIH buying AvePoint, Idera, Colligo, three or four times over--we worked with all their vendors so they could buy a solution one time and reuse it."
To learn more about EPC Group, see the company's website.