I met with a previous colleague a few days ago who had move to an IT Research and advisory company. He was working on writing a best-practices recommendation for using SharePoint and the utilization of SharePoint Content Management capabilities in the enterprise data governance. Since, I had worked in many organizations before and utilized SharePoint in many solutions he wanted to get some insight from me. While it is flattering to be the man of insight I had concern about “Best Practices” concept. We are not talking about SharePoint in general which you can get that from Microsoft after all they are the vendor and know it best. In general, I would say there would be best practices would have to be divided into industry sectors (Retail, Banking, Finance, Manufacturing, Technology etc.) and for each organization there will be best practices in the organization context. Maybe that someone is seeking my insight had made me too philosophical so below are the questions he had for me and the answers I gave. Please share how you would have responded to them.
What were the key challenges that SharePoint helped you solve?
I have worked on so many SharePoint projects with many different challenges, A few of the major projects are:
- City of Vaughn Online Portal implementation which was base on 2007 version. It was used for internal and external collaboration, cooperation and communications with the community of the city of Vaughan residents.
- Adecco USA which was 2010 SP implementation. This was exposing different portals for different Adecco Brands of Head Hunting web sites, users would search for jobs, post resumes, create profiles and communicate with the Head Hunters through it.
- For the Government of Ontario, I worked on multiple SharePoint projects building portals for cooperation and processing.
- For TPS, I have built several SharePoint based applications for automating workflows. The most famous one is the Paid Duty Management system (basically overtime for uniform officers) where officers can apply for Paid Duty. And the system based on the business rules would apply
So mostly SharePoint was used as a platform to build applications on. Allowing me to concentrate on the core for the required Solution.
What architecture did you decide to adopt for SharePoint in your organization (cloud, premise, hybrid)?
Mostly had been on premise, lately with SharePoint 365 is the adoption of the cloud. Any new project is basically being built on the cloud or migrating the on-premise solutions to the cloud
If a migration took place, why did you choose to do this? If greenfield why this architecture?
The migration decision was mostly to utilize Azure.
Did you install and configure any third party add-ins?
On-premises there was many third party add-ins installed freely. On Azure you have to choose from Marketplace. But in general yes, utilizing some of the COTS helps to reduce the complexity of your solution.
Do you use SharePoint for Web Content Management? If so what capabilities are usefull for you?
Yes, basically it was used for providing governance and control over the data and document being added to SharePoint.
What would you say the gaps are in SharePoints Offering for ECM?
There is always gaps in any offering, I can not name one right now.
How did the Web content management functionality work out for you in SharePoint?
It worked ok from the most part.
If you migrated what version did you migrate to and from?
Yes I did several migrations form 2003-2007 which was the hardest as the structure was completely different, basically used third-party tools to facilitate the movement and reformatting the data.
What benefits did you gain from the upgrade?
The newer versions always provides better performance new features etc. so utilizing the advantages of the new version over the older version.
What Backup strategies did you put in place for SharePoint?
This question reminds of an application I have built that would back up SharePoint document to AWS S3. I believe I have built for SharePoint 2007. Below is the flyer I had for this