SharePoint Knowledge Base

Apr 11
How to Best Align SharePoint Features to your Business Needs

We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive. - C.S. Lewis

This is probably my favorite topic regarding SharePoint. As SharePoint consultants we are often asked to come in and help companies get more value from SharePoint. It's not uncommon to find a previous installation of SharePoint was just languishing and did nothing for the business. We are asked in as problem solvers to uncover why the adoption stalled out. There are number of reasons typically and include lack of understanding of the complexity of the technology, training and support for the people who will be using it, but even more so an overarching strategy. Technology does not provide strategy. This post provides guidance that we hope it's helpful.

We provide assistance with strategy planning using the tools in our SIMPLE method toolkit, to establish your business needs, and map them to SharePoint. Workshops use demos of our existing systems to demonstrate how portals, collaboration, search, business forms, content management, business intelligence and workflow can be used. We conduct the process of building a BA (your business reference architecture) and contrasting it to a RA (reference architecture) to establish your business needs, and map them to SharePoint. This would be augmented with building a roadmap using our six month plus method for strategic planning of your tactical goals.

The strategy of the organization lays out the combination of policies, processes, and procedures that are employed to help an organization achieve its' mission and vision statements. The success of SharePoint is directly related to how well the organizations mission, vision, and goals are developed and communicated to form a proper context into which SharePoint can be implemented.

Our approach is to build your BA (business reference architecture) and compare it to a RA (reference architecture). The RA is a way to understand what functions and processes in which a business could engage. The reference architecture can be treated like a checklist: compare what your business does with that which is presented in the RA and then build the BA for your organization. The RA is used to ensure that you don't miss any parts in building out your BA. The entire purpose in using the RA is to build out your own BA as a foundation to understanding which parts of SharePoint should and should not be used in your environment. The goal of using the RA is to build out your own Business Architecture so that you can better understand which features of SharePoint to utilize that will support the goals and objectives of your organization.

  1. Consider each part of the RA and map your business to it.
  2. Build your own business architecture (BA)
  3. Map the features of SharePoint to your BA
  4. Map other enterprise applications in your environment to your BA

For example, one organization might emphasize the ECM features in SharePoint while another might emphasize workflows. More to the point, some might list workflows as a supporting feature in their BA while others might list workflows as a supported feature, the latter meaning that workflows is a key reason that SharePoint is being implemented and the other features of content types or lists are implemented only to support the workflows needed for the solution.

Our six month plus method for designing a SharePoint roadmap


  1. Uncover and brainstorm potential intranet activities
  2. Identify criteria for determining which activities to pick
  3. Identify constraints that limit the intranet and intranet team
  4. Review each activity in turn against the criteria and constraints
  5. Determine a draft list of activities for the coming six months
  6. Assess the list as a whole against the criteria and constraints
  7. Obtain management signoff and develop a concrete project plan
  8. Implement and launch the improvements!

Our 6 month Plus method creates a roadmap for your SharePoint potential future.


It's a focus on the coming six planned and executed in detail, with sketched-out ideas for the second six months. This adds up to 12 months of planning, and becomes the basis for a solid and ongoing intranet strategy. At the end of each 6 months new functionality or content is delivered that helps position the intranet for the next round of improvements. Releasing intranet 'upgrades' every six months works well.


Instead of steadily working on longer-term activities, this approach asks: what can be delivered in the next six months? In answering this question, it also identifies those activities that are not just doable, but also worth doing (the best bang for the buck). This is a cyclic process, with each six month period of activity leading into the next. Underlying this is the steady building of momentum for the intranet, giving an 'upwards spiral' that allows more to be done in each six months period. In this way, the intranet team can steadily work on ever-larger needs and issues, even when the starting point is extremely constrained. This means you are not waiting for the 'right conditions' to arise, and you can act constructively and proactively to build an increasingly effective intranet.


We love helping people with SharePoint and Microsoft SharePoint consulting is all we do!

We provide SharePoint managed services and can provide a demo of our past work so contact us today! And don't worry you're not alone it's a complex product!


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