One doesn't need rocket scientists and brain surgeons to create the world's most successful products, services and even sports teams. For example, take the iPhone, the 2001 New England Patriots winning Super Bowl XXXVI or one of my personal favorites, the Khan Academy. These success stories are a result of highly synchronized business—the strategic, thoughtful combination of ideas—that we call collaboration. So it wasn't surprising to me to find in a recent AIIM study of 551 organizations that most respondents identified internal collaboration as the primary driver behind their SharePoint implementation.

What was surprising is the same group identified a lack of expertise, lack of strategic plans and resistance from users as the top three most prevalent business issues associated with SharePoint. And, frankly, it doesn't sound very collaborative.

The promise of collaboration is so compelling that CEOs who view SharePoint as a technology tool rather than a business platform should reconsider. The AIIM Industry Watch Report, "The SharePoint Puzzle — Adding the missing pieces," revealed organizations that define corporate strategy and business drivers for SharePoint deployment also invest wisely in IT expertise, end-user ownership and third-party enhancements to reap the most business benefit from their SharePoint implementation.

For most organizations, SharePoint is considered a technology responsibility, with 68% of SharePoint implementation decisions made by the CIO or IT manager. But with a single system most often deployed across the enterprise, SharePoint is one of the most highly integrated business systems in the entire enterprise. A deployment of SharePoint can take many forms, ranging from a single site to multiple systems, although the majority of companies deploy a single system across the full enterprise, establishing SharePoint as a highly integrated category when compared to most enterprise systems.

The research points to the need for a company strategy and executive vision to drive a SharePoint implementation in order to successfully support effective collaboration across business units and map to the organization's culture. What this scenario calls for is a leader who can engage with IT to devise a strategic play for effective collaboration versus sitting on the sidelines and waiting for collaboration to take hold simply because the technology is in place.

In all likelihood, your organization selected SharePoint for internal collaboration and file-share replacement. For the most part, SharePoint works as a basic platform, although users are struggling to make SharePoint fit to their business processes. The findings point to the need for IT, end users and management to be involved in the planning of a deployment, since without users' contributions early on, success can be quickly derailed once the system is up and running.

Unfortunately, SharePoint is still considered to be difficult to use. Organizations pointed to ease of content migration and information governance as two desired capabilities still lacking in SharePoint. Specific issues with metadata and taxonomies were cited by 41%. In these cases, investment in user training could likely help resolve issues.

But despite the struggle, most organizations surveyed say they are planning to increase or maintain the level of SharePoint spend on internal development, integration to other repositories, training, add-ons, hardware, services and licenses over the next 12 months.

In today's economy, executives can't afford mistakes. Typically, technology implementation does not require CEO involvement; however, regarding SharePoint, there is a strong case to be made for the CEO and company executives, including IT, to work together to get the most business benefit from the use of SharePoint.

The research indicates SharePoint will continue to dominate the market due to a growing appreciation for the software as a platform, and additional third-party add-ons will enhance capabilities to meet specific business needs. For the business success of SharePoint, however, there needs to be a careful orchestration of corporate strategy, end user ownership, IT implementation and third-party enhancement.

The full report, "The SharePoint Puzzle — Adding the missing pieces," can be downloaded from the AIIM website at

JOHN MANCINI is president of AIIM, the global community of information professionals. He is a social business evangelist, "#OccupyIT" and "8 things" eBook author, event speaker and blogger who sees information professionals as key to organizational effectiveness and is passionate about certifying knowledge and information management leadership. He encourages every information and technology practitioner to perform a free skills assessment at

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