The path to SharePoint success often requires third-party intervention. SharePoint success is an ongoing process. It continues to evolve as the business changes and new opportunities and threats emerge. This adaptability is its great strength, but it presents a key challenge to both users and IT.
Administrators need to create a plan for SharePoint success. Like boat captains they must know where the potential dangers lie and take a direction that avoids them. SharePoint isn’t going to address all of your concerns out of the box (OOTB). The good news is that you can commercial components to get the user and administrative experience you need. Infotech research indicates that the key challenges with SharePoint include: findability, content management, administration, workflow, mobile, and social. Each must be managed to avoid SharePoint sprawl and to ensure user adoption. There are plenty of third party applications that offer solutions to the problem. So, how can you make a decision on which one to choose?
These eight steps guide the decision process for choosing the right third party application to meet your need.
1. Identify your Needs?
Discuss what you want SharePoint to do? Many companies think that implementing SharePoint is a holy grail to fixing processes and collaboration. It is not. SharePoint has been designed as a crossroads for all sorts of processes that run the business. Think about what you want SharePoint to do. Do you need to Migrate data or sites? Do you need an easy way to build a workflow? Do you need a way to manage permissions? Do you need to capture documents from a scanner? After this is complete, go to the next step.
2. Are there practical options OOTB?
Once you have the needs identified, then look to SharePoint to see how that need can be met. If you need a list to manage a problem, a list can be created. Do you need a team portal that has a document library? SharePoint can do this. Do you need an easy way to migrate a site from one location to another? Well SharePoint can do this, but it is hard. SharePoint can do many things, with varying degrees of difficulty. If there are no OOTB solutions, think about a third party app to install with SharePoint to accomplish the need.
3. What type of product would meet our need?
There are generally two different types of products and they are tied to the type of users of the tool. 1. A Power User, 2. IT professional. Power user applications are generally licensed by the user and are a lower cost, this type of tool general does not support scheduling or scripting and is manually managed by the user. The IT pro tool will often be licensed by the time period or size of content being migrated. Generally supports scheduling and scripting and could include reporting.
4. What Vendor should we use
So what user do we use? This is the million dollar question. Here are some questions that can help you out. What version is the product? How mature is the Product? How extensible and customizable is the product? How user friendly and usable is the product? How difficult is it to manage and administer the product? Who else is using the tool? Is there a free trial? Asking these questions will help narrow down the list of potential vendors.
5. How do we Compare products?
A good way to compare products is to take a scenario that you have and map it out. What are the inputs? What needs to be done with those inputs? What are the outputs? Then look at each product you have picked to compare and look to see how easy and completely the outputs can be achieved.
6. What questions should we ask the vendor?
When you finally get to talk to a vendor, ask questions to make sure you fully understand what you are getting and how to implement it. Ask for a free trial? Ask for help getting the application installed? Ask about you specific scenario to make sure that you are buying the right product. Ask about support and updates? These are all questions that should be answered and understood before buying.
7. How do you get discounts?
The easiest way to get a discount is to ask. You risk nothing and gain an additional discount. The second way is to order more. A volume discount. It never hurts to Ask.
8. Purchase Products?
Once you have made your decision, the fun begins. Purchase the product, Install the product, Train your users, and begin enjoying the new found benefits of the application within SharePoint.
Here are some scenarios that make sense to purchase a Third Party Application for SharePoint.
- Content Management
- SharePoint is a tremendous tool that can serve many functions. However, the multi-faceted nature of SharePoint makes it difficult to manage. Ensuring SharePoint success requires careful governance. It is necessary to look forward and anticipate some of the key challenges that will emerge as SharePoint adoption increases across the enterprise. According to infotech, “In almost all cases, it is preferable to use third-party tools to extend native SharePoint functionality.” Uses these Steps to make the right Choice.
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