SharePoint Review

There should be more data available to admin but I like the news feed and discussion features.


What is most valuable?

For SharePoint 2013:

  • My Sites
  • News-feed
  • Discussions
  • Communities

The Office 365 version shows real promise, although the mobile use of Discussions does not work as expected. Newsfeed does though. Not sure about Communities.

How has it helped my organization?

It's providing a social collaboration experience to a culture of heavy email users. They are not used to interacting on our intranet or other internal environments, having a profile to provide others more info about themselves, or searching for experts, information, etc. This is a helpful step to evolve the culture to be more digitally collaborative.

What needs improvement?

  • The linkage between items, such as the blog. It does not integrate into communities or team sites, it's totally separate in its own environment. Tags and @mentions are not connected to them either. They feel very disconnected. Our leaders would like to use blogs but since they aren't connected to anything else they aren't a great solution.
  • We are on premise so the mobile experience is also very lacking since users need to use a VPN on their device in order to utilize things.
  • There aren't any metrics provided out of the box. I have to ask for just the number of new users each month and it takes days. There should be more data that we can use available to us as admins.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used for six to nine months.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

We migrated from another company and moved from SP2010 to 2013 during the same time. There were a lot of hurdles, and people have profile problems (most of those issues have not fully migrated).

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability, even after deployment three months ago, still seems to be an issue. Tagging does not always show up in trending hashtags immediately. When tagging and @mentions work is not consistent from place to place.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We are on two farms so it is not a truly global solution which is frustrating when trying to communicate about global programs and events. Those in the Europe farm cannot follow the majority of our content in the North American farm.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Our SharePoint 2013 platform is hosted at HP and they manage services for us. HP support is getting better just as of the past few weeks. They do not seem to have a great handle on SP2013 social however.

Technical Support:

HP has not been great but we've really brought the issues to light over the past few weeks so they are stepping up their game.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

This is the first time using it at this company.

How was the initial setup?

IT was not very transparent about providing what the tools can and cannot do. As a user, I had to figure it all out, ask a lot of questions then get them to explain why or why not we could or could not do certain things.

What about the implementation team?

HP does not seem very knowledgeable about SP2013 social.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I believe IT looked at Yammer but felt our culture could just use SP2013 for free first to get our feet wet before investing in another tool. There are no business requirements for an Enterprise Social Network yet so with the pitfalls of using SP2013 out of the box, we are seeing what we actually need vs. what we have.

What other advice do I have?

Perform a controlled pilot first with social advocates in the company first. Nail down the business requirements with management before rolling anything out. Get their buy-in and support. Once that is decided, pilot several other tools to see what else is out there. Yammer isn't the only other solution for SharePoint. Compare costs, etc, select a solution, create a social governance team, train them well, provide guidance templates if needed and create regular training or webinars for people to get on board. Have leaders use the tool to communicate and move away from email.

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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3 Comments

author avatarit_user144594 (Engineer at a tech services company with 5,001-10,000 employees)
Consultant

This sounds very wrong. VPN to access SharePoint? It sounds like SharePoint Online would have been a better choice. If you're using VPN then have have lost all the advantage of web based collaboration and document management.

author avatarit_user204777 (Manager, IT Communications at AbbVie)
Vendor

I agree! It feels very wrong. In our IT department's defense, they were tasked with separating from a 100+ year old company with many complex systems. Lift and shift! They are looking ahead to newer tech with mobile in mind but it's going to be a process! This is what we have to work with for now.

author avatarit_user446067 (Managing Director Business Change and Quality Assurance at Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island)
Vendor

You get what you pay for. Sounds like you are using the freemium version of SharePoint. It has limitations as any free product does. Determining what you are licensed to own from SharePoint is a good starting point. Microsoft has many articles comparing features across SharePoint based on licensing.