Article originally published 10/6/2010, SPTechReport newsletter, Copyright © 2010, BZ Media LLC. All rights reserved.
An important question to answer when moving to SharePoint 2010 is how to design the new environment: centralized, with a traditional, top-down managed portal; or a decentralized environment, featuring user-driven collaboration? Many companies struggle with this decision, and for good reason: These decisions determine how the environment will be managed, how customizations will be supported, and the level of difficulty of future upgrades.
Most organizations are familiar with the centralized environments of intranet portals. Some of the benefits within a centralized SharePoint environment include consistent use of content types and workflows, reduced metadata duplication, and documented customizations that make system updates and platform upgrades much easier. This model is easier for supporting and training end users, managing business processes, controlling information policies, and providing metrics and key performance indicators.
But there are downsides to the centralized model. It takes a lot of design and planning; requires more upfront work and maintenance; requires an increased reliance on governance and formal change control boards; and has difficulty managing across site collections and portals.
Most end users prefer a more decentralized environment where they can control when and how they collaborate. From an administrative standpoint, there are definite advantages, such as little or no planning, very little upfront effort to deploy, and low time/cost to train end users.
With decreased emphasis on taxonomy and business process management, most decentralized systems work across site collections and portals. These systems more closely mirror the consumer-based collaboration platforms users are accustomed to using, such as social networks and microblogging sites.
The downsides to this approach are that they decrease consistency, increase metadata duplication, and make taxonomy management complex. Decentralized environments are also hard to update, support and train on, manage information policies with, and upgrade.
One of the primary benefits of SharePoint 2010 as a platform is the use of services. By deploying shared services at the enterprise level, companies can utilize the flexibility and collaborative benefits of the decentralized model, allowing end users to collaborate organically while still maintaining some degree of control over taxonomy and metadata, source data, InfoPath forms and critical business processes. Sites and site collections can consume these services as needed, but retain local control over every other aspect of their environments.
There still remain administrative impacts, such as the need to define roles and service owners, as well as the need to define your governance model for these services, but overall, SharePoint 2010 offers the enterprise much more power and flexibility that more closely mirrors the ways modern teams connect and collaborate.
WOBURN, MA – September 20, 2010 – Axceler, the leader in administration and migration software for Microsoft SharePoint, today announced the immediate availability of Davinci Migrator for SharePoint 2010, the first new product to be introduced as a result of its acquisition of echoTechnology. Davinci Migrator for SharePoint 2010 offers comprehensive, risk-based control when moving to the latest SharePoint platform. Davinci Migrator for SharePoint 2010 is available now from Axceler on Axceler.com.
Davinci Migrator reduces the risks, lowers the overall cost and shortens the time it takes to complete a SharePoint 2010 migration. By helping administrators with the discovery and planning of their migrations, Davinci Migrator delivers a unique feature set to the SharePoint market by reducing the number of failed migration attempts and dramatically shortening project schedules.
"Davinci is powerful and revolutionary for three main reasons. First, Davinci lets managers know whether the migration will succeed before the migration is done, saving precious time. Second, Davinci provides the granular control that an enterprise needs to prioritize, plan, and execute a SharePoint migration. And third, Davinci provides the deep SharePoint environmental analysis a migration requires to understand what’s involved ahead of time," said Garry Smith, General Manager echoProducts.
Davinci Migrator’s dynamic discovery and detailed planning system allows users to quickly and easily define the scope of their migration, identify problems before they occur, and even determine how long it will take to migrate. This enables them to plan and schedule on their own terms. By supplying migration estimates, reporting templates, and a powerful scheduling engine, Davinci helps users build more realistic migration plans.
Among the innovative features of Davinci Migrator are:
"Over the next 12 to 18 months, SharePoint administrators will need a reliable, comprehensive solution for managing their SharePoint 2010 rollouts effectively," said Michael Alden, President and CEO, Axceler. "Davinci Migrator and ControlPoint offer a powerful combination that reduces the risks of moving to SharePoint 2010 and streamlines the management of it once they get there."
Specializing in software for Microsoft SharePoint, Axceler has delivered award winning administration products worldwide since 1994. For Microsoft SharePoint, Axceler offers ControlPoint - the best way to get control over a SharePoint environment. ControlPoint gives SharePoint professionals the ability to manage permissions, copy sites, analyze activity and much more. Axceler's ControlPoint was named the Best SharePoint Product of 2009 by the editors of Windows IT Pro. The company’s recently acquired echoTechnology product line delivers comprehensive, best of breed migration solutions for organizations upgrading to newer versions of SharePoint, including SharePoint 2010. For more information visit http://www.axceler.com
Parker Communications for Axceler
Following the success of the SharePoint Saturday East Bay event, the San Francisco SharePoint User Group put together a special Ask the Experts session with several of the SPSBAY presenters. The panel included myself, SFSPUG leader Brad Maust, CEO of High Monkey Consulting and popular speaker -- Virgil Carroll, architect at StorSimple and former PM on Microsoft’s SQL/SharePoint Customer Advisory Team -- Burzin Patel, and co-founder of the DC SPUG and architect – Gary Blatt, and of course our moderator and CEO of Kiefer Consulting (who also plays a mean flute) – Greg Kiefer. Missing from the panel was DR/BC expert and one of the architects of the BPOS-D platform, Mike Watson of SeriousLabz, who had to meet with some local customers and could not make the event.
Greg broke up the night by diving the topics into 6 areas of focus, and kept the dialog flowing with the audience. He only lost control a couple dozen times, so overall it went well. At one point, Virgil and I got into a passionate discussion around social computing and metadata, but eventually decided – against our better judgment – that we were in agreement: failure to plan for metadata and taxonomy, more than any other feature or area within SharePoint, will lead to an unsuccessful SharePoint deployment. This is especially true within SharePoint. I love the fact that Virgil regularly tells people in his SharePoint Saturday sessions that unless they start with a metadata strategy in SharePoint 2010, they should turn off the Managed Metadata Service. Leaving it on without a plan and valid governance model is a huge mistake.
Great audience, lots of participation, and a fun panel overall. I hope to do more of these in the near future, because I always learn a lot from them. Ask the Expert sessions are a reminder that no single person knows everything about SharePoint – especially not SharePoint 2010, where even the “experts” are learning in real-time.
Nothing like releasing a major product in-between hosting two major out-of-state events. This past weekend, I helped coordinate the very successful inaugural SharePoint Saturday East Bay event in San Ramon at the Marriott. We had 30 speakers from around the globe, a beautiful venue, 21 sponsors, all 4 regional user groups, and 2 in-kind technology sponsors on hand from 7:30am until 6pm, and then followed up with a great SharePint dinner and drinks at Izzy’s off of Bollinger, sponsored by Rackspace.
Friday night before the event, the speakers got together for dinner at the incredible Blackhawk Auto Museum. We ate, we networked, we drooled over rare and unique cars.
On Saturday, Michael Noel and I kicked things off in the morning with keynote addresses from Bill Baer, Technical PM for the IT Pro space on the SharePoint team at Microsoft, dialing in remotely. Bill gave a little bit of perspective into the history of SharePoint and scope of the latest platform release. Bill was followed by Owen Allen, who recently left Microsoft as the ISV PM, and who now works with independent software vendors (ISVs) and strategic integrators (SIs) through his own company, SharePoint Directions LLC. Owen talked about the increasing business opportunities around SharePoint (and will be presenting at the upcoming SharePoint Saturday in Los Angeles on 9/18).
With that send-off, the breakout sessions began. My first session was Enabling Social Media through Metadata. The intent of this session was to help users understand
My second session was 11 Strategic Considerations for SharePoint Migrations, in which I showed attendees that 85% or more of any migration has nothing to do with the actual technical moving of content and bits. Migration is more about planning and transformation. I walked through 11 areas that must be considered before you execute your migration. (I am giving a live webcast of this session on Thursday, Sept 16th. You can register here)
In the afternoon, Ken Allen and I conducted a vendor session, providing demos of the ControlPoint and Davinci Migrator products. As I mentioned in that session, we have live demos happening daily, so please ping me if you would like to see our products up close.
Late in the afternoon, Mike Watson and I co-presented on our newest topic, SharePoint’s Social Media Scorecard, in which we walked through a short history of social computing, and then gave an in-depth review of the leading social media vendors, including SharePoint, scoring each on 9 different dimensions. The purpose of the presentation was to give attendees a broad overview of what is out there, and how SharePoint compares. In most cases, features are apples-and-oranges when up against SharePoint, but our goal is to prepare people for the inevitable questions that pop up when looking at collaboration options. Hopefully people found it informative.
At the end of the event, Michael Noel and I returned to the front stage to thank our attendees, speakers and sponsors, and to raffle off a number of prizes. There was a bit of controversy in that one woman won a new iPod from a sponsor (they drew from business cards) and then also won the iPad. Hey folks, it happens. It was painful, but legitimate. I was so careful to mention that speakers cannot win prizes (a point of contention at some prior SharePoint events) but neglected to include a rule – if you win once, that’s it. Sorry folks!
All-in-all, it was a fantastic event in the east bay, and we hope to repeat it this time next year. There’s also talk about a SharePoint Saturday in San Francisco (down by the airport) and Sacramento, so please keep checking the SharePointSaturday.org website for updates.
Ah yes, nothing better than traveling across the country with a serious chest cold. Makes for some interesting adventures, let me tell you. While I was able to conduct both of my sessions at the conference, what I was not able to do was spend a lot of time talking with members of the SharePoint community – which is one of my favorite parts of attending these events. Thankfully, I am just about healthy and getting ready for a 3-event swing through California and Massachusetts. I’ve included links to my latest slide shares below:
If you follow me on Twitter (@buckleyplanet) you’re probably aware that I have two sessions at the upcoming Best Practices Conference being held in Washington, D.C. from August 24th through 27th I thought I’d provide a bit more detail about my sessions:
Abstract: Migration is a roadblock to moving forward you’re your SharePoint strategy. Migration is phased, iterative, and error prone. But migration itself is not the goal – an optimized and user-friendly environment is your goal. Beyond the Microsoft-provided overview of how to plan for an upgrade and migration, there is a lot of room for error. This presentation outlines 11 critical strategies for migration planning that no project should move forward without.
Abstract: Many companies, whether considering further investment in their SharePoint 2007 deployments or planning upgrades to SharePoint 2010, are reviewing their social media strategies. Many users are chomping at the bit to deploy and use the new, natively supported social media features in SharePoint 2010. But most administrators do not fully understand the taxonomy and data governance issues within SharePoint that are associated with these kinds of solutions. The intent of this presentation is to walk participants through the taxonomy and governance implications of the social media capabilities within SharePoint 2007 and 2010, to provide them with the information they need to prepare their organization for these tools, and to provide guidance, best practices, and working examples on how to approach setting up and managing metadata, aligning these tools with their broader corporate content management strategies, and to maintain manageability of their SharePoint environment through governance.
For those who have never attended (this is my first, as well), this is one of the biggest SharePoint related conferences of the year. You can find some of the industry’s best speakers and many invaluable sessions on all sorts of SharePoint topics -- all centering around best practices. As the site says:
Best Practices is about doing things the right way: the most efficient, effective ways to achieve goals, distilled into adaptable, repeatable procedures you can use.
If you’re planning on attending, please look for me. When not presenting, I can be found in the exhibit hall at the Axceler booth, giving demos of our latest product: the Davinci Migrator for SharePoint 2010. See you there!
Originally published on EndUserSharePoint.com
In a previous article, I identified one of the most common questions surrounding the process of implementing a governance mode in the enterprise: How do you begin?
Because SharePoint tends to be a user-driven technology, many companies find themselves in a position of having to retroactively apply metadata rules, refine (or, if they haven’t done so already, define) their taxonomy, and roll out some kind of governance model in an effort to take back control of a quickly expanding (like a wildfire!) SharePoint environment. In the article, I recommended some basic but critical first steps to implementing a governance model:
Sounds easy, right? It’s all common sense, right? And yet many companies struggle with these concepts. Following on the theme of common sense, I’d like to provide some additional guidance and best practices around jumpstarting your SharePoint governance.
My intent here is not to prescribe a process or outline specific steps, but to give you some ideas, get you thinking, and hopefully add good things to what may already be in motion. Consider the following:
Hopefully this guidance is useful, and helps you to take action. My advice on how to move forward remains the same: keep your governance model simple, let your processes grow and develop organically, and keep your end users in the loop. If they understand the governance model, they’ll use it. If you are transparent about the process, and can quickly respond to user requests and changing business needs because you’ve kept it simple, they’ll trust it. And if they’re using the application and trusting the change process, your management team is more likely to view your overall SharePoint efforts as a success.
Just wanted to post something quickly to push people toward these two events that I am helping to bring to fruition: SharePoint Saturday East Bay and SharePoint Saturday Los Angeles, both taking place in September. These are free events for SharePoint newbies and seasoned developers alike, and I welcome everyone to register and attend.
What is SharePoint Saturday? SharePoint Saturday is an educational, informative and lively day filled with sessions from respected SharePoint professionals & MVPs, covering a wide variety of SharePoint-oriented topics. SharePoint Saturday is always FREE, open to the public, and is your local chance to immerse yourself in SharePoint.
Sponsorships are just about filled up in Northern California, but wide open (as of this posting) in Southern California. Registration is now open for both, and we’re still looking for speakers in LA. Details below:
Hilton LAX, 5711 West Century Blvd, Los Angeles (info)
Sponsorship form, Speakers form
Published through EndUserSharePoint.com
When setting up your new SharePoint environment, one of the questions you’ll need to answer is centralized or de-centralized? Do you want to tightly control your environment, as you do with your external-facing portal, or do you want to enable the full capability of SharePoint and allow people to collaborate, ad hoc, as they see fit? Or maybe you want to do something in-between?
Unfortunately, the same question pops up again around managing your metadata, regardless of your environment management decisions. You can have a locked-down, controlled site creation model within your organization, and people can still “run amuck” with how they assign (or don’t assign) metadata.
To help with your planning, let’s review some of the pros and cons to both centralized and decentralized models:
In a centralized model, the site architecture is centrally controlled, and metadata is always applied to content – usually as required fields when uploading or modifying content. Site Columns and Content Types are created at the site collection root, and lists get “bundles” of columns.
There are a number of advantages to this model:
The downsides to metadata management in a centralized model include:
In a decentralized model, the site architecture is ad-hoc, with teams and individuals able to create sites and pages as needed. Metadata may not be well-defined, or applied to content at all. Columns are created on lists, and are combined in an ad-hoc basis on each list.
The advantages to this model are:
The downsides to this model include:
There is no “right answer” to how you manage your metadata policies. However, few companies will find themselves at the far ends of this range, but somewhere in-between. The important step is to define your policies up front – decide how you want to manage your environment and metadata, publish those policies so that people understand them, and then be consistent. Your end user will appreciate it, measurable through increased adoption of your SharePoint environment and overall usability.