Apr 15, 2011

How to Maximize Return on your SharePoint Investment

Jesus Salazar

Jesus Salazar

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Last year, our country faced the worst recession since the great depression. Now that things are starting to rebound, we have noticed some interesting dynamics when discussing SharePoint 2010 with our clients. As businesses were forced to tighten their belts, projects that weren’t directly tied to revenue were more rigorously vetted and building compelling business cases were reached with some skepticism. We are getting more and more questions about how SharePoint can be justified and if it really is worth the money. The answer we typically give is….”It depends!”

And it does depend. It depends on how you are implementing SharePoint and what you are focusing on as you implement! According to Forrester, standardizing on SharePoint 2010 can deliver a risk adjusted ROI of 108% if implemented correctly.

The issue is that SharePoint is very difficult to measure ROI on because it is not a product that is typically directly tied to revenue. In fact many companies that have implemented SharePoint simply as a replacement for the “N Drive”. If you think about this scenario, has SharePoint really done that much for you? Count how many steps and roughly how long it takes to open, edit, and save a document in each scenario? SharePoint could actually take MORE time and require more steps. Sure, some value will be gained by being able to search for content but are you really getting your money’s worth? Probably not. Below are the major culprits I have been that rob business’s of ROI on SharePoint.


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1.  Focusing on Features, not Business Processes — Most business processes require multiple SharePoint features. By phasing the Features or working on them one at a time, you are not actually trying to improve your employees daily jobs. This is a big problem. Document requirements and structure your work based on process rather than features and you will find your approach to SharePoint will change immensely.

2.  Poor training and limited Self-help — Keep in mind that SharePoint does exponentially more than email and Network shares. Just because you don’t train a user on these items doesn’t mean they can’t accidentally stumble on items. Keep your UI Simple and don’t enable features unless you are formally ready to roll them out!

3.  Lack of Productivity Centric Prioritization — Assuming that you are doing the first item I have mentioned, the best way to gain ROI is to look at the existing process and what it is expected to look like after you implement a feature or SharePoint Use Case. Try to estimate the minutes or hours saved and use that as part of your prioritization exercise.

4.  Poor Governance and Ongoing Support Plan — Governance is a topic all in itself. Keep in mind that there isn’t a blueprint or magic whitepaper on Governance that you can read and instantly gain. Effective Governance is something that must happen organically and takes time to develop. I would recommend using a SharePoint Expert or coach to help do this!

5.  “If you build it, they will come” Approach — The truth is, if you just build it…there is a good chance it will not be used! Have purpose to ALL sites, lists, Web parts, etc that you build. Less is more. Make sure there is demand. There is nothing more confusing than a portal with 500 pages and lists on it and only 15-20 of them have content.

In Conclusion, SharePoint can be one of the most productivity enhancing tools you put in place for your organization if a thoughtful and measured approach is taken. For more information please visit us at and reach out to us.

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