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sharepoint-based corporate portal.

part 3 - implementation



In this part of the article, we will look at the basics of a successful implementation of an efficient portal.

prerequisites for creating AN efficient portal



In my opinion, the expression ‘we must implement a portal’ is totally incorrect. The thing is that nobody says that ‘we implemented computer network in our organisation’ or something of the kind. I think that it is not possible, from the very beginning, to describe in details what should be on the corporate portal and how all this will work. What do I mean? Microsoft positions SharePoint as a single entrance point into the system, in the corporate information network. That is why, ideally all applications, documents, business logics of form’s work should be transferred to the portal’s sphere of action. It is clear that this cannot be done in one day, month or year. Due to automation, possible optimisation of work and consequently simplification of some activities, certain business management mechanisms, firm’s structure and interaction between departments and individual employees can change.



Due to the development of technologies, tasks of infrastructure can change, from one part, and possibilities of program products, from the other part. And that is why the portal implementation process, or rather a task of work automation with the help of portal solutions cannot be quick – it should be constant and all the time enhance work efficiency.



implementation of a sharepoint-based portal



I believe that most efficient way is to initially attract users to work with SharePoint as a common data storage, a node for doing joint work over projects based on WSS. Then, when there is a real need to automate cooperation between teams and departments as well as to achieve greater integration of the company’s information network, a corporate portal should be implemented. In any case, for the moment of beginning the portal implementation, the following should be available:


  • Trained users (able to use and using all the time client applications such as Office, Internet Explorer, especially Outlook and Communicator for joint work);

  • Need of further automation coming from users;

  • Specialists, at least one, able to see based on which products it is possible to build solutions to satisfy users’ needs.


After meeting these conditions, I see the implementation of a corporate portal as follows:


  • Creating an initial general idea of the solution that can be built based on SharePoint. It implies a description of general assumptions to guide developers and administrators as well as users. These assumptions can comprise requirements of security, the number of portals (internal and external), possibilities of interaction between them (e.g., a requirement to automate news posting on an external portal based on the internal one, and news posting on the internal one based on news in departments), reliability, ways of archiving data etc.;

  • Analysis of infrastructure, need and possible efficiency of creating SharePoint-based solutions;

  • Based on this, a list of required tasks is created that a portal can help to accomplish. As an example, creation of solutions for the following:

    • providing common information about departments, to enhance the efficiency of their cooperation;

    • promptly provide analytical information to business users;

    • efficient search for information;

    • better organisation of keeping records and document exchange inside departments;

    • facilitating the familiarisation of young specialists with rules and procedures of work, procedures of solving problems and tasks, services provided to employees, regulatory documents, list of employees, facilitation of newcomers’ integration to the team etc.;

    • provision of information to the Internet and running Internet businesses;

    • automation of registering the decisions taken, by means of holding meetings;

    • automation of other tasks.

 

  • Creation of a solution concept to define the following:

    • priorities and sequence of tasks accomplishment;

    • plans of tasks accomplishment;

    • possibilities and plans of changing set principles and the concept as well as the company’s structure and  rules of work;

    • result expected in a certain period of time (for example, in 2 years);

    • procedure of interaction between developers, administrators and users of the solution.

  • Technical specifications are written for every task to solve, taking into the account the principles recorded in the general idea and concept.

  • The solution itself is created. It can be simply a template of a node to be used by all departments, teams or projects, a set of documents about the procedure of users’ work in different situations; or it can be a complex solution for automating document flow, or integration of several systems.

  • Training users, and explanation to users how to provide feedback to developers.

  • Support of a solution created (or configured).