SharePoint Administrator: Five Misconceptions That Can Lead to a Failed Implementation

Getting your team involved: What’s the SPoint?

One of the biggest issues with SharePoint, is getting users to understand what to use it for. Sure you can use it store documents that you want to share across your company, but there’s a lot more where that came from! I have seen several client implementations where it has failed due to lack of use or user acceptance. 

Here are the biggest SharePoint misconceptions that can cause a failed implementation within your company:

1. The main purpose is to store files/documents.

Well, yes SharePoint does have a robust Document Library management feature that easily lets you search and find important files quickly. However this is only one small piece of what SharePoint can do for you.

There are a wide array of features that range from creating lists, intricate workflows, email alerts for announcements and has unique templates that can assist with Project Management. The key point here is to understand SharePoint’s true benefits and how a particular tool can assist your needs.

2. It’s easy – just go ahead and start using it.

Even though SharePoint’s ‘out-of-the-box’ templates are intuitive, it’s going to need a lot of massaging and some TLC from you. Each team, department or Line of Business has specific needs. Capturing those needs will allow you to identify the exact SharePoint tools needed. Which brings me to my next point…

3. As a SharePoint Server admin, I can decide what each team needs.

Wrong. Since each user, team, department, LOB or flock of sheep has different needs and job functions, you cannot single-handedly manage your SharePoint farm’s content. Identify the needs of each team, show them the tools that can replace or fill the gaps they have and then educate them on how to manage their site.

Your role going forward needs to be monitoring the SharePoint environment. Let the users manage their site since they are the ones who know how they need to use it. By creating a Governance plan and a training plan, you will be able to get the most use out of your environment. User acceptance is what can make or break your SharePoint implementation.

4. I wish I could customize how the pages look. It looks so plain and too much like SharePoint…

Actually, you’ll be surprised how many public sites out there are developed in SharePoint. Microsoft SharePoint Designer is a free tool that allows you to perform some customization.

With the release of SharePoint 2013, Microsoft has made it even easier for Web Designers to be able to develop a custom layout using HTML and CSS and then use SharePoint Design Manager to easily import the custom pages.

5. Once my users are on SharePoint, I don’t have to worry about it anymore unless there are issues.

This is one of the biggest misconceptions. As a SharePoint Admin, you will need to ensure that you set up some routines to re-examine the needs of the users. It is possible that your users can be ‘out-growing’ the environment. That could either mean that it is starting to have performance issues or it could mean that they are beginning to have expanded needs.

Do they need Office Web Apps? Does your project team have a need for Project Server Web App? Are they beginning to ask about new functionalities of SharePoint? These are all questions that we hear clients ask every day. Having some sort of Governance plan/review team in place can help identify these needs.

Give your SharePoint Environment every opportunity to succeed!

Nothing is more unfortunate than hearing someone say that they do not use their SharePoint environment. We know that SharePoint can offer so many tools for end users and as an Admin, I know that the ultimate goal is to get a solid ROI for your environment. I hope by addressing these misconceptions, you will end up with happier users, which in turn will lead to the full use of your SharePoint environment.

Now go out there and spread the word!

2013-10-04T08:30:01+00:00 October 4th, 2013|


  1. Oliver Bartholdson October 4, 2013 at 12:00 pm - Reply

    Nice article Eddie! Agree with all but especially #5. SharePoint Governance cannot be understated.

  2. Don Chase October 5, 2013 at 10:18 am - Reply

    Thanks, great little reminder. Oh my! Have I seen and lived these time and time again. It’s the IT solution to SharePoint. “Governance, planning, and design with the business? Nah, takes too much time.” Unfortunately that’s why SharePoint implementations fail.

  3. Ben Parker October 9, 2013 at 10:00 pm - Reply

    Great article!

    #6 for me would be SharePoint search! I don’t know how many implementations I have seen where SharePoint Search is either not configured, no content sources defined, or my favourite, content sources created, but no search schedules defined!

    Microsoft has made significant investment in Search for SharePoint 2013, and when bundled with Infotext, we hear great things from users and watch adoption grow as users look to Infotext and SharePoint Search to help them navigate their corporate data.

  4. How to Ensure User Adoption of SharePoint - Wood Harbinger December 31, 2014 at 4:40 pm - Reply

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