Is My SharePoint Done?

imageWe have all talked about, read about and many have written and presented about the fact that every SharePoint question can be answered with “it depends.” Well, I’m adding another question to the heap, the one in the title. As I look around the pile of SharePoint notes on my desk, I find references to several systems that are done. They are done, or they were done, or they are never going to be done, I’m not really sure, but I’m also not adding a sad-smiley here. There are several reasons that SharePoint is kinda-sorta never done, and they’re all some of them are good ones.

SharePoint Changed – We have features in SharePoint 2010 that we didn’t have before, and this made us want to change some sites. A good example is Document Sets. We waited until we had SP2010 to build one site, because we knew Document Sets were coming. After building that, we found a few other places where Document Sets would work well, some have been changed; some are on that list on my desk. Managed Metadata is something else that is spreading like Kudzu. As we look ahead to SP2013, we’re happy to hear that loops are allowed in workflows, but we’re also thinking about bigger changes, like moving some sites to the cloud.

The fact that SharePoint has changed, is changing and hopefully will continue to change is a good thing. As long as Microsoft doesn’t forget that people are using the features they baked into the earlier versions, there should be all kinds of happiness in the future of SharePoint.

Content Changed – Considering that we are a business that does one thing and that we’ve been doing it for almost 60 years, you wouldn’t think that much changes in the world of our content. Well, change is relative. Our content might be changing at a glacial pace, but some things are different. I mean we are no longer filing onion-skin copies of endorsements (you young kids go Google that). More important are the changes in the way we look at content. Some of these changes are driven by new people who are more comfortable with information. Some are driven by new priorities that make us want to ask harder questions. Some are driven by the connect-the-dot effect of SharePoint. As we put more content into SharePoint and add metadata that lets us find it easily, we start to see connections between what we first imagined to be disparate silos, and we start to see value in making more connections.

We Bought Something – We haven’t upgraded to SP2013 yet, but we did purchase Nintex Workflows, and that product gives us the ability to loop through a list. Initially, I didn’t think we would go back and tear down any of those three-part bank shot multiple lists and workflow combination solutions that force SharePoint to iterate over a list, but maybe we will. Earlier, we bought HarePoint, which made it easier to connect to our workflows to data in SQL Server (among other things). This means we can expose more data on a SharePoint site, including some sites that are were done.

Something Broke – Yeah, this is the one I added that caused the strike-out in the first paragraph. I know Microsoft hates it when people talk about problems, but things do go wrong in SharePoint. One of the biggest things that went wrong for us is a site that thinks 90% of its metadata is defined twice. We aren’t sure what caused this, but all indications (as well as all Googling) tell us that the only solution is going to require us to rebuild this site from scratch. Microsoft isn’t the only source of  things going wrong, we have a couple of utility add-on products that no longer seem to want to play well with others. For now, we have had to deactivate these solutions while the vendor scratches their head – hopefully this won’t lead to changes in our solutions.

SharePoint solutions evolve, improve, get extended and sometimes SharePoint solutions break. It’s not all good, but it certainly seems to be something we have to get used to. Is my SharePoint thing done? “It depends on what the meaning of done is”– apologies to Bill Clinton.

One thought on “Is My SharePoint Done?

  1. Picture – That’s my daughter finishing (the woodworking step, not the status) the coffee table she has been making for a long time. The design changed a bit, the materials evolved but the purpose has remained clear and the project is almost done.

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