O365 Architecting SharePoint – Connecting The Dots: Part II

If you haven’t, please review Part I prior to reading the rest of this article.

So, the question posed of me recently was this, “How Do We Get There“? Now that our consulting team has worked with Executive Leadership, major stakeholders and others to document the Intranet Strategy, Objectives and developed a list of prioritized Requirements and possibly even put together a Rough Product/Platform Roadmap, where do we go from here?

Let’s take a pause as the tendency at this point is …

  • to engage the Marketing Group, put them all in a cozy room with white boards and marker friendly walls and start sketching to their hearts desire
  • to engage IS and line up the Development Team to size the DEV, TEST, CAT, PROD environments and order all of the hardware and get ready to beef up the server room

Let’s stop and think about where we are right now. It’s almost January 2017. We are not quite there yet so no need for the markers and sketch boards.

Technology Choice

My next step is to ask, “what technology is to be used?” In our scenario, let’s assume we will be using the Office 365 platform, that we will be using SharePoint Online and we are licensed with a E3-E5 enterprise subscription.

This means we will have access to 98-100% of the apps available in the platform for maximum integration, efficiency and effectiveness. If your enterprise has E3 or E5, the 80/20 rule shifts more to a 90/20 rule where we can utilize a bunch of cool apps, the integration is seamless and we have the following features and tools available within the platform:

  • Single Sign-On
  • Enterprise Search
  • Power BI
  • Power Apps
  • Flow
  • Mail, Calendar, People, Tasks
  • Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Sway
  • Delve, My Site, Profile
  • Yammer, Newfeeds, Groups
  • Video Portal
  • Enterprise Portal
  • Community Portal
  • Planner Portal
  • Project Portal
  • One Note, One Drive

Reality Check

Just like when we are in a place where we are not familiar, we need to stop and get our bearings.

As we have decided to use Office 365 with all of the bells and whistles, we need to get some real life demos to understand the “OUT OF THE BOX” user experience such as:

  • what are all of these tools and their related features and functionalities
  • how do the tools integrate with one another
  • what types of scenarios do we need to handle
  • how can the tools be used to build cross-functional solutions
  • what is the user experience with these solutions

This is the POC reality check. We have chosen the platform but we NEED to take it for a TEST DRIVE to ensure it provides comfort, features, functionalities, handling, gas mileage, maintenance expectations, payment plan, intuitive ease of use, etc.

This is our time to ensure the platform meets and/or exceeds our original Strategy, Objectives and our more detailed list of requirements in a more tangible sense. We are investing for the long-term and the final sign-off is around the corner. We need everyone on the same page at this point.

SharePoint Solution Architect

This has been my sweet spot over the last 10 years … architecting multi-tool cross-functional solutions across the Microsoft SharePoint platform. I have hands-on experience working with the platform through the versions of 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013 and now O365/SharePoint Online/2016.

From an intranet perspective as we prepare for the long-term, you want to achieve all of the following for maximum efficiency and effectiveness:

  • KISS principle NOT Rube Goldberg machine
  • configuration NOT customization
  • features NOT development
  • themes NOT branding files
  • minutes/hours to market NOT months/years to market
  • value center NOT cost center
  • pizza NOT pazzaz
  • function NOT lipstick
  • empower NOT restrict
  • services NOT complaints

At this point, we are at the “What’s Possible Stage“. If your organization is at this stage of the game and there is NO SharePoint Solution Architect involved, you need to tie shut the money bag and find one.

You are simply throwing good money after bad at this point, if you do NOT have the proper expertise.

NOTE: The Marketing sketch markers and pads are still not needed as this is the Intranet and the employees are already a captive audience. Use the “OUT OF THE BOX” governance model to add value and quick time to market.

Next Steps

The next steps are simply to follow your roadmap, work on the long hanging fruit requirements list, start small, be successful, add value, rinse and repeat.

Continue with Part III

Enjoy.

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