During my career I have helped to create and implement 3 SharePoint-based intranets:
- Custom-built > SharePoint 2003 (on prem)
- SharePoint 2007 (on prem) > SharePoint Online
- Other platform > SharePoint Online
I have made mistakes and created things I am proud of, and I thought I’d share it for your amusement and possibly learning.
Let’s start with the first one, this was in 2005.
Our custom-built intranet was just beginning to take off, and when we moved to SharePoint 2003 we did not want to lose momentum. So our goal was that everything worked as much as possible as the current system. This may not have been the best idea, but we had even worse ideas. 😁
Mistake #1: Too much customization
I have described most of this in my post “The Curse of Customization” because we customized everything, and that included adjusting texts in the back end and removing the Folder capabilities from Document Libraries and replacing that with a mandatory column called Category, which was totally cool but most annoying when you quickly wanted to add a new category.
Mistake #2: Too complex usage statistics
Another idea that seemed great at the time was custom-built usage statistics. The standard SharePoint info was (and is) meagre, and we wanted to be able to break down usage at various organizational and business levels, just like we had with our old intranet.
How that turned out, you can read in “KISS: Keep Intranet Statistics Simple“
Mistake #3: Outsourcing support
This was not our decision of course, but a company decision. For our intranet this was rather devastating, as you can read in my post “Ouch-sourcing“.
Of course there were also things that went well!
Success #1: Do More with SharePoint: our Business Solutions
Although in the beginning people were a bit hesitant to use the new intranet, we quickly created a process to help them make the most of it. We turned into a “Business Solutions team” that improved problematic business processes, based on a business case. Our calculation method to determine priority for us, and benefits for the business, has been described in this post. And yes, this method was approved by our finance team.
One of the most successful cases was a pre-SAP automation of the CRM-process of part of the organization, where different teams analysed every complaint and determined whether they needed to re-imburse the customer or that someone else was responsible for the complaint and any damage. See “CRM in a Team site“
You can find more examples here: https://mydigitalworkplace.wordpress.com/tag/business-example/ (you may need to scroll down a little)
This was REALLY fun to do, we all learned so much about SharePoint and the business was happy with better and cheaper processes. Sadly, my later employers were not really interested in this setup. 😥
Succes #2: Good score in Digital Workplace Group’s Benchmarking tables
We became members of the Digital Workplace Groep (then: Intranet Benchmarking Forum) and we quickly rose to the top of the league for most categories except Usability and Design. More information on the Benchmarking process: https://digitalworkplacegroup.com/benchmarking/
Succes #3: The oldest intranet promotion video in my collection!
Although I can not imagine that we were really the first organization that created an intranet launch video, our video is the oldest in my collection that I am aware of. Enjoy!