SharePoint is probably the most demanding IT solution to implement in an organization, since it involves the whole organization in a way no other server product does. You need to involve the management, the IT department, the developers (SharePoint is a platform for custom solutions), but also the “users”, who need education. It changes the way people work, and that is the greatest challenge. If you do not have all these wheels under the project, it simply will not pay off, and you get the “basement library” mentioned above. Most SharePoint implementations I have had first and second hand experience of, is more or less unsuccessful, at least until a year back or so.
On the other hand, if decision makers are in on the project, if there are distinctive goals and visions from the management, if the presumed competent project manager gets the time and means he/she needs – including budget for user education – SharePoint can really pay off. You get a collaboration platform with information, communication, shared libraries and workspaces, wikis for the developers and IT support technicians, with cusom, business intelligence dash boards, reports for SQL and diagrams from Excel and what not; there’s no end to it. It’s integrated with Active Directory, SQL, Exchange, Microsoft’s instant messaging solutions and what not, and there’s a whole world out there for custom solutions developers can write to meet business demands, or just great features users enjoy.
SharePoint can be a great solution, but it’s not like implementing a new file server or new Office update or an messaging system IT throws in, or a new policy or repository for data. It ties everything together, but it is not easily done. If done rightly, it’s geat. If not, it sucks.