SharePoint is a platform. When you deploy SharePoint, it is going to help you build and automate many business solutions, not just the project for which you are deploying.
Yes, I hear you – Every project starts with building an Intranet! But is your organisation ready for the Intranet? And what about your business units/teams sites? What about collaboration? What about sharing/caring? – The immediate answer you would get is “everything is Intranet!”.
Is INTRANET Everything?
No. Intranet isn’t everything. If you ask me – It is a portal where employees come often to find info and updates applicable organisation wide. Intranet is not going to cater for teams to have their own collaboration sites to share, upload documents. Of course, intranet being the portal can lead users to their respective team sites. If you think otherwise, feel free to comment your thoughts!.
Below is a breakdown of different types of sites, which will make things clear:
The diagram below is an example showing the different components in a SharePoint deployment (clockwise):
As you can see:
SharePoint provides a lot of features out of the box. There are heaps of solutions that you can build out of the box without writing a single line of code. For example, I would see how developers can make use of Content Query Web Parts (CQWP) effectively to query content. However, there may be some code required to automate the sites across different environments (testing, staging and production) like building site templates.
At any time, your aim should be to use the out of the box features than building a custom (development) web part or custom user control to do the same.
Another thing to consider is branding. Sometimes we invest a lot in trying to make the site look good but not useful to users. It is very essential to evaluate the necessity to brand. For instance, branding Intranet (to an extent) makes sense, but branding Team Sites may be an overkill!
Below is a table summarising the efforts required for different branding types:
Feel free to leave your comments/thoughts if you have followed similar roadmap in your organisation. Would love to hear your SharePoint experience!
Below is a great presentation from Joel on “Social Intranets” which covers most of the things I discussed