Microsoft SharePoint provides a collaborative workspace to build productivity apps, manage projects and workflows and keep your team connected in the workplace. According to Microsoft market research, 78% of Fortune 500 companies leverage SharePoint with 20,000 unique users joining the ranks every day since the year 2006. With this ever-increasing adoption, ensuring high availability and fostering adoption for SharePoint deployments has become a key part of business IT planning for organizations, both large and small. This can be a daunting task, however. By keeping a few key items in mind during architecture and deployment, you can make your SharePoint project a success and increase potential for adoption.
It’s actually recommended that when planning a SharePoint deployment, high availability and disaster recovery are of the highest priority, since other important aspects such as performance and capacity are negated if farm servers are not available or if a farm cannot be recovered after an unexpected failure event. In line with this reasoning, successful SharePoint adoption in the enterprise is often highly impacted by the following key enablers:
- Long uptimes
- Low number of helpdesk tickets (contributed to by a low number of unexpected outages)
For these reasons, it’s important to set organizational expectations appropriately regarding acceptable uptime for a SharePoint environment based upon established SLAs and RTOs for clients, suppliers and organizational departments, as minor diversions in this regard can make a big difference as demonstrated in the adjacent table.
Deliver Multi-Site Availability
As with most applications, to facilitate high availability, disaster recovery and an overall sound architecture that can withstand unexpected anomalies, redundancy must be factored in. A key part of this is an intelligent mechanism to establish authoritative traffic steering policies that control how data is directed to the various available endpoints along with replication across geographically dispersed locations. This is often achieved through the use of a combination of technologies including global site load balancing.
Microsoft has also improved the vehicles that customers have for introducing a cloud strategy into their SharePoint deployment by delivering SharePoint Online in Office365 and extending support to Microsoft Azure. These options provide businesses with choices around how they consume SharePoint services while benefiting from the scale, flexibility and cost savings of public and hybrid architecture.
Follow a Product Management Approach
Another key factor is to ensure that business requirements, client experience and metric tracking on client adoption maintains high priority throughout the entire lifecycle of the project even after implementation is completed. A clear understanding of the objectives of the stakeholder business units, the types of workflows needed to operate their organizations and a crisp knowledge on how they consume application services are all critical data points. Failure to consider these items and take a structured product management approach to the implementation and ongoing improvement of the platform can lead to soft adoption rates and unrealized returns on the technology investment. Running betas and creating channels for continuous feedback loops all help to counteract this behavior.
Document and Train for Success
The worse thing that can happen with a SharePoint deployment is end customers not understanding how to use it and therefore abandoning it out of frustration or misusing it by turning it into a dumping ground for every document under the sun. Clear and easily consumable documentation, training webinars with practical examples on utilization as well as governance, archiving and IT policies that meet business needs all contribute to successful implementations.
A great deal of planning and architecture goes into getting the most out of a SharePoint project. Reliability, high availability and principles that foster adoption are all critical to achieve return on investment. For organizations that understand this and cover these items in their planning, the collaborative and productivity benefits are well-worth the effort.