Strategy black hole as SharePoint take-up rolls on

Survey shows implementations of SharePoint go ahead without formal business plan, and with confusion about where and how it is to be used

by Paul Quigley

A July 2010 survey by the Association for Information and Image Management has revealed that less than 50 percent of SharePoint implementations were subject to a formal business case, and that only half of those required a financial justification.

According to AIIM, as a result, most did not have a management plan as to which of SharePoint’s many features were to be used, or where.

AIIM said its survey of 624 individual members found that SharePoint deployment is proceeding rapidly, with 22% of respondents reporting it to be in use by 100% of office staff. This adoption rate is set to double by this time next year, AIIM noted.

Half of the smaller businesses implementing SharePoint are addressing the issues of information management for the first time. Even a quarter of the largest organisations have no previous experience with Enterprise Content Management (ECM) or Document Management (DM) systems.

Only 22% provide any guidance to staff on the use of content types and classification. In addition, just 15% have retention policies and legal discovery procedures – risking content chaos within SharePoint as well as outside of it, according to the AIIM report.

For organisations that do have existing ECM and DM systems, nearly a third have yet to define how SharePoint fits with these systems. The most popular option is to use SharePoint for collaboration and intranet publishing while relying on existing systems for document and records management. In many cases, SharePoint will be used as a portal or front-end to those existing systems. Only 8% of survey respondents are planning to phase out their existing ECM suite in favour of SharePoint, while 7% plan to invest in a new ECM or records management suite to go with their SharePoint system.

The AIIM report also shows that among those who are using SharePoint for traditional ECM applications, there is strong growth in the use of add-on packages to strengthen and supplement standard functionality, particularly in BPM, security, records management, search, Enterprise 2.0 and archive, AIIM said.