We all have that one thing in our home or office we literally hate using. Just think of the movie Office Space, Mr. Niena…..Nineana …Niniajhad?..however you say it, literally was swinging for the fence like Prince Fielder due to his problems with copy machine paper jams. For me it’s my snow blower, I can never get the darn thing to start, and when it does, it never works properly. Despite how much I hate it, you won’t see is me going all 1950’s and shoveling the drive way. Why? Because I have a small frame and can’t stand when I hit a crack in the cement and impale myself with the shovel handle (don’t lie, you’ve been there) Does it stop me from wishing there was something better out there? Sadly, no.
Can anyone else think about another product like this? One that does a lot of things better than average but not good enough to stop you from looking for something better? According to the Newsroom by Gartner Technologies, that other product would be Microsoft SharePoint. It’s widely known that Microsoft SharePoint is present in many an office building across the country, maybe even the world. What is less evident is that many professionals view working in SharePoint like eating crappy pizza after a long night out. In some aspect you’re disappointed, but then again part of you is still saying, “Meh. Any pizza is better than no pizza.” When Jeffrey Mann, Research Vice President at Gartner was asked about SharePoint, he replied:
“A large part of its success comes from providing reasonable support for most of the things, most people, need most of the time. Together with support from the third-party developer ecosystem, this brand promise has made SharePoint widely deployed. However, few end users really love using it. It remains a tool that people are required to use, not one they want to use.”
So what we can gather here is we have something that professionals are using on a day to day basis that does things well enough, but no one really knows how or bothers to optimize it, or find a way to make it streamlined and practical. Typical approach right?
Remember the tale of the snow blower? Well had I taken the time to read the manual or asked for an expert opinion, I would have known hitting the primer button 20 times wouldn’t make it start any faster, and running it with the choke wide open wouldn’t help get me a clear driveway.
Same thing applies here, if companies would take the time or invest the funds to actually not just pay for the product but harness the powerful application they have available and properly allocate it’s abilities to better accomplish tasks, it would clear up ill feelings about the program rather quickly. In fact one of SharePoint’s strengths is it’s versatility and ability to be customized, yet few people know or can take advantage of it. Tell me, how backwards is that? Your company hands you a square peg and everyday asks you to fit it into a round hole, repeatedly! I’d be frustrated to the point where my face changes color, might even switch jobs. Only thing is, you would likely run into the same issue at the next stop. Why? Because this problem is widespread and many companies won’t ask for help due to cost or lack of awareness. Mr. Mann continued to say:
“We regularly hear end users and administrators complain about features or user-experience improvements that they would like to see in SharePoint. Although they want new functionality, they are less keen to have more upgrades, which are seen as expensive, disruptive and time-consuming.”
So again this begs the question: instead of spending money aimlessly for people to use something they are not sure they like, why would you not outsource? It’s been noted above a large part of the success of SharePoint in everyday business happens when you pair it with a third party as mentioned earlier. Why fight it? There is no shame in admitting an outside company can help you utilize something better than your current resources can. If this leads to you better utilizing and allocating your efforts, then it should be a no brainer.
What it comes down to is we have to get out of our way. There is no shame contracting out a third party expert, much like there is no shame in reading the instructions. Often times the cost of confiding in a SharePoint expert is less than that of the cumulative man-hours wasted with people fumbling around more than the Detroit Lions do on the field and in the front office. In the end, what you will end up with will be a better working program that gets the job done. You will have scored major points for streamlining your process and making your company’s SharePoint experience a walk in the park rather than dinner at your in-laws.