A recent Microsoft study placed ROI on an average $200,000 SharePoint deployment at 12 months.  So why do more than 35% of SharePoint projects lose momentum after launch?

With the basic SharePoint value proposition of “The whole is worth more than the sum of its parts” and companies looking to level their individual silos of data storage and collaboration, more CIOs are looking to deploy a SharePoint platform as “the tide to lift all boats” in their organizations. I’ll stop with the aphorisms now; you get the picture. However, we’ve found many companies don’t get the picture of streamlining SharePoint for better user adoption, leading to quicker return on investment after the deployment heavy lifting is complete. 

The returns are reflected by the increased end user productivity, cross-team collaboration, and improved business processes to name a few. Companies also found the faster paced deployment, reduction in custom coding, and simplified ongoing administration and governance as decision drivers to pull the trigger on building a SharePoint platform.

With more user base adoption comes more user requests to manipulate and customize forms, workflows, and site collaboration. Which is a good thing!  That decision saves employees time and increases production!  It’s a win-win. But now the challenge comes when company’s existing engineers have to maintain timely ticket resolution to please the masses.  This, in addition to focusing on long-term projects that increase the business is where this win-win often whips around to become a win-ROI loss. Engineer attention shifts to Enterprise Application and system upgrade projects away from the daily, weekly and quarterly SharePoint maintenance thus causing all those project dollars to fall by the wayside and lose user buy-in.  Here lie the more than 35% of SharePoint projects that lose momentum after launch.  Rest in peace.

Here are a few methods to drive (or resurrect) ROI on your SharePoint environment.

1. Replace the “Super User” admin.  Unless that role was intentionally brought on as a full-time SharePoint admin, we’ve found that there is a productivity loss in whomever is performing that dual role.  Depending on company size and breadth of SharePoint customization, however, some companies can successfully get away with the ‘super user’ wearing a few different hats... for a while. Our research has shown over 40% of respondents claim ‘lack of administrative skill and training’ of office staff support as an inhibitor to consistent SharePoint user adoption.

2. A solid governance plan during development is key.  Maintaining that plan is paramount. If a solid governance plan was established during the initial build, users may be a bit restricted to certain sites at first.  As the environment evolves things typically loosen up a bit over time to aid collaboration, so providing approved access by efficiently fulfilling a user permission requests are also a way to regain confidence. In fact, we’ve found this cross-team interaction brings teams together in certain instances. 

3. Keep your heavy hitters at the plate with a bat in their hand. This is another shared responsibility hurdle, except this hampers effectiveness of skilled developer roles rather than non-technical administrative roles.  While the core application intends to save time from previous methods and processes, having developers consistently fulfill SharePoint user requests and how-to’s can start to steal time away from important technical players that were originally brought on for other often higher-paid responsibilities.

SharePoint form, workflow, and search features are what generally attract decision maker interest to SharePoint platform. Unfortunately, this platform isn’t a “set it and forget it” (last cliche', I promise) technology and acquiring reliable SharePoint talent tends to be more challenging than other roles.

Our case studies find that IT Modernization leads to tangible results like cost reduction and efficiency. SharePoint users were found to see savings by leveraging intranet sites, document sharing, workflows, and form management. How’d they do it?  Simple. They engaged the right certified SharePoint Partner.

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