Sharepoint was originally designed for Large Corporations. After purchasing a subscription to Office 365 or SharePoint Online, it is mandatory that you hire a SharePoint Consultant to help you navigate the in’s and out’s of Sharepoint.
Without a SharePoint Consultant you will be scratching your head trying to figure out why it is not working for you.
Here are a few reasons you should hire a Sharepoint Consultant:
- SharePoint is not like Network Shares or DropBox.
One big misconception I hear all the time is when people compare SharePoint to DropBox, Box.com, or even network drives/file shares. DropBox and SharePoint had completely different evolution paths. Network Drives and File Shares are yesterdays technology. Using Metadata, Link Sharing, and Integrating with a host of other applications in your workplace is the future. You can’t create folders like you use to with File Shares. OneDrive is the future compared to DropBox or File Shares.
SharePoint, on another hand, was designed to be a completely independent ecosystem of components (web parts) to solve various business needs in large corporations and enhance collaboration at the enterprise level. It was not designed to be a storage solution. It has been around for more than a decade now and represents a very complicated system that can live and breathe on its own, as well as interface with many other business applications.
- SharePoint was not originally designed for small businesses and nonprofits
Kind of related to a previous point, SharePoint was not designed and developed for small business and nonprofits. From its launch in 2001 up until 2011 it was sold and licensed as an on-premise solution to medium and large-size organizations. That meant you had to have a pretty serious infrastructure in place to be able to afford it. Only in 2011, when Microsoft has decided to bundle it with Office 365 cloud offering, it had become available and affordable to small organizations and nonprofits.
Medium and large-size organizations have staff and groups of employees dedicated exclusively to SharePoint. From infrastructure to administration to developers for building customizations and interfaces.
Needless to say, SharePoint was not designed to be a “plug and play” or “out of the box” solution. It was always assumed that some sort of configurations and standardization would be done before it is rolled out to employees. Therefore, out of the box, SharePoint is not the same user-friendly solution as say DropBox.
- SharePoint is a full-time job
If you think you can just dump the files from your old network drive or DropBox into SharePoint, share URL with employees and then you are done, then I strongly encourage you to cancel your Office 365 subscription and go back to whatever solution you had before. Trust me, you will save yourself from unnecessary stress.
If I were to compare Dropbox to SharePoint it would be like comparing a bicycle to an airplane. The majority know how to drive a bicycle. Not many know how to fly an airplane with its complicated technology and electronics. This of SharePoint as an airplane – it is a complicated piece of machinery with sites, pages, web parts, apps, security, navigation, document management options, etc. Did I mention that you can write a separate book on any single thing listed in the previous sentence?
- You can’t afford to get it wrong with SharePoint
Unlike Dropbox where you create your account, download the app and go, SharePoint requires a long-term strategy on planning sessions that includes your stakeholders before you move your first document or create your first Site Collection. You need to brainstorm and think through information architecture, site navigation, sub-site structure, security groups and permissions setup, external sharing, metadata configuration, governance and lots of other things. Ignore all of this and your SharePoint will quickly turn into a dumpster like your current DropBox or file shares. Without proper planning your environment will turninto the wild wild west. It is always far better and easier to start things on the right foot from scratch than fix an already existing mess.
- You can’t keep up with SharePoint evolution
SharePoint as a tool/technology that is always evolving. It is constantly evolving with new web parts, applications (apps) and customization options. In the past, every new revision (i.e. SharePoint 2007, 2010, 2013) had its twists, user interface changes as well as new ways to do things. With SharePoint 2013 Online/Office 365 bundle, its pace of changes has been accelerated as Microsoft is competing with Google Apps and other services. Moreover, when changes happen, you will have little control over it (remember, SharePoint is in the cloud, not on your server). No single person can be an expert in SharePoint – it is such a complicated technology that there are numerous LinkedIn groups, conferences, and meetups dedicated to it. So unless you spend considerable time in addition to your day job, you really won’t have time to learn it.