Sunday, December 22, 2013

My SharePoint New Year’s Resolutions

Last year around this time of the year I found myself saying, "New Year, new SharePoint." Has it really been a year since SharePoint 2013 went RTM? Holy smokes, time flies. Now that the honeymoon phase with SharePoint 2013 is over and the calendar is about to flip to 2014, I thought I'd take some time and talk about my SharePoint New Year's resolutions.

Quit Folders

I'm going cold turkey on folders. Done. Sayonara. Donezo. See ya, wouldn't want to be ya.

Let me be more specific with this resolution. On all projects going forward, I'm not going to use folders. I'd rather take the time to create a dozen columns and five content types than have to dig through some Byzantine folder structure.

Build Better Information Architecture

Search is king in SharePoint 2013. The days of having a site deployed without a conscious effort to utilize a well thought out information architecture are over.

One of the biggest complaints you hear about corporate intranets is that users cannot find what they're looking for. Microsoft has spent a lot of time making search better for everyone - end users to system administrators. If you're upgrading from a previous SharePoint, the upgrade can serve as a means to reevaluate the application's information architecture (and maybe eliminate some of those layers upon layers of folders).

Defining and implementing information architecture doesn't have to be like pulling teeth. Simple changes as adding meaningful fields on documents and items across the application can go a long way to help users find information quickly and effectively. Once these changes are implemented, an effective behavior change campaign directed at end users can really help drive the ROI of the application up.

Evangelize Social More

Social may be the most overused word used by the media since "grunge" in the early 90s. But the hype and results are real and it's here to stay.

I'll admit that I'm pretty gung-ho about social media. After all, you're reading this on a blog and I'm going to cross-post this to LinkedIn, Twitter, and Yammer to spread the word, but my resolution in 2014 is to try to get those on the fence about social, specifically enterprise social, to be involved and active participants in their environments. Early adopters will always be there and "get it." My resolution is to work encourage adoption of enterprise social by reticent employees and help them make the most of their internal enterprise social networks.

Use a Web Part I've Never Used Before

There are more web parts in SharePoint than I know what to do with. I certainly have my go tos and I'm sure you do to. But in 2014, I'm going to step outside my comfort zone and try to incorporate an unused or underused web part into my current project. I know the HTML Form Web Part doesn't get enough love, but I'm very sure there are other web parts that are flying under my radar.

Lose 15lbs (from my MySite)

A few years ago a then coworker turned me onto the idea of having a stateless laptop. He kept everything on his MySite so if his computer was lost or damaged in some capacity, he'd still have all his files. I've done my best to follow his lead and I now keep all my business critical or personal files in the cloud.

That being said, both my MySite and my SkyDrive (one for work, one for personal use) are getting a little MB heavy these days. In this day and age we take cloud-based storage for granted, but I'm also a neat freak. My resolution is to apply my real-world habit of throwing out junk around the house that isn't being used to my online storage. How will I do this effectively and efficiently? I’m going to look at the date modified column and if it’s been 10 or more months, I’ll check out the doc and see if its worth keeping. If it isn’t, the doc is going to the great document repository in the sky.

Finish my Series of Posts about Content Search

Earlier this year I wrote two posts about making a pimped out Content Search Web Part news rotator (part one, part two). I can make excuses about why I never got to posting the third part in this series (If you’re interested, it was mainly VM issues and time). One of my biggest pet peeves are blogs and bloggers who introduce a series and never finish them. I'm a man of my word and I want to let you know that the post is about mostly written. Expect to see it in the near future.

So those are my resolutions for SharePoint in 2014. What are yours?

On behalf of the SharePoint practice and all of us at Rightpoint, I want to wish you all peace, love, and lots of SharePoint in 2014.