SharePoint is appreciated for its simplicity of use out-of-the-box, though derided for problems (and the expenses) customizing the user experience (design, navigation and information architecture).
SharePoint is replete with functionality and applications, and is the most comprehensive intranet development platform on the market. It is, unfortunately, expensive, and most of the feature set that we use, and that our clients use, fall short of expectations, and often below best-of-breed. SharePoint 2013 isn’t a niche product that is supposed to be superb at web content management, or social networking; it’s a broad solution, one that has something for everybody; a solution that can please some, but not all. However, SharePoint 2013 was much improved over its predecessor, but left little to be desired for mobile users.
SharePoint 2016 is greatly improved for mobile users -- responsive design, and a mobile app. It's enterprise search is superb, and there's great improvement in the social experience using Delve and Yammer. However, SharePoint 2016, and the SharePoint Online with Office 365, was three years in the making, has few improvements to the web content management experience, and very few have yet to implement it.
SharePoint’s greatest strength is that it’s an all-in-one solution – it’s a portal, a content management system, a search engine, a social collaboration platform, a web development platform, and so much more. Its greatest weakness is that it’s an all-in-one solution – everything and the kitchen sink; a jack-of-all-trades, a master of none. Some argue that SharePoint is a “mile wide, but a foot deep.” It offers so much, but many features are seen as sub-par.
SharePoint is part enterprise content management (ECM) solution, part portal solution, part web development platform, part social media platform. It offers many, many solutions and functions – often too much for most organizations – but it is Microsoft’s hope that it will become everything to everybody including the de facto platform for the company intranet, website(s) and extranet(s). In sum total, it is an amazingly powerful solution, but often fails to live up to expectations.
SharePoint 2010 is a good solution, if you have an abundance of time, patience… and money. SharePoint 2013, is even better, but still requires a lot of care, and investment.
From a governance perspective, SharePoint is superb, when compared to other platforms, contrary to public opinion of my work (in fact, our intranet is SharePoint; use the keyword search above to seek out the case study webinar replay). It is not perfect, but no solution is.
Like the content of your website or intranet, planning and governance is technology agnostic; whether it’s SharePoint or another portal or content management platform, the necessity for and the approach to governance is the same. In short, governance lives and dies with its owners, and the rules they put in place, regardless of the technology. Governance is largely applicable to any technology platform and as such is generic to start.
When building a governance model for SharePoint, the major components should include:
While governance is generic in nature, regardless of the software and hardware, there are some components of SharePoint that require specific consideration. Site Collections and Team Sites are so easy to deploy, and it is so easy for even the most neophyte web users to create a site (e.g. Team Sites, My Sites, Publishing Sites, etc.), SharePoint sites can easily grow at exponential rates and amount to tens-of-thousands in a short period of time. ‘Baking’ in rules and inheritance to site collections is critical to ensuring a consistent, uniform user experience.
These issues and others are discussed in-depth including, SharePoint governance, and some of the specific, requisite steps and policies for implementing intranet and in the SharePoint Governance white paper.
To learn about the specifics of intranet design with SharePoint, see the Intranet Design white paper.