SharePoint Spotlight On – Tony Rockwell (San Diego, USA)

Aka SharePoinTony, been following Tony’s blog for a while. We’re also LinkedIn connections.

Where do you work?
TriTech Software Solutions.

What is your job title?
SharePoint Administrator.

How many SharePoint users in the company and how many are you responsible for?
@150 and growing fast, acquisitions are underway. I am responsible for everything SharePoint related and all users.

What version of SharePoint are you using and how long has your company been using SharePoint?
MOSS 2007. How long isn’t a simple answer. The company attempted to use SharePoint about 3 years ago, the effort failed primarily because they didn’t use any SharePoint knowledgeable resources. I was hired last August and started fresh with a new server and install of MOSS. I launched a basic SharePoint-based intranet in January 2010. From my perspective we just have a few months using SharePoint in a functional setting.

How did you learn SharePoint and how long have you been using it?
I attended a couple of formal SharePoint classes, one on SharePoint Designer and one focused on basic SharePoint Administration. Those classes provided a good basis for learning SharePoint. That was followed by a lot of reading, hands-on work, and attending a few conferences; which extended my understanding and skills with SharePoint. I began using SharePoint early in 2007.

What is the biggest challenge you face with user adoption?
User adoption is a big challenge, period. I think it is human nature to “like” variety, but avoid change. Any kind of change is difficult, and SharePoint often poses a significant change in business procesess and personal habits so it often faces significant user adoption challenges. For my users I think it is primarily old habits and the failed SharePoint rollout. Many just don’t think it is worth it to use SharePoint now because they think it will fail and they will have to “re-do” work elsewhere. Others just keep doing things the way they always have done them and forget to go to SharePoint and use it.

How are you handling governance?
Management doesn’t feel that we have time for governance and that other priorities must prevail. So I quietly impose a few very, very basic and simplistic rules to our SharePoint environment in an effort to avoid total chaos over time. I restrict site creation, enforce strict branding and have composed a “starter” governance document focused on this environment.

Do you have a dedicated SharePoint team and Executive buy-in and is it helping?
I am the dedicated team, which indicates an entry-level buy-in by Executives. Creating this position is a sign of buy-in, and hopefully a sign that our Executives will eventually learn the value of SharePoint and understand how much their buy-in means to the success of this initiative.

If you had unlimited resources in your company and could design the ideal SharePoint dream team, what would it consist of?
I think that the ideal team for this company would consist of a couple of Site Collection Administrators with some scripting skills (jQuery, CSS, HTML, XML), an experienced SharePoint developer who could act as a backup for me, and a SharePoint specialist who could also help with training and support. I would add a budget that would allow us to bring in consulting resources from time to time, but don’t see the need for a much larger team unless the company grows exponentially.

Have you built anything cool (out of box) in SharePoint that your users loved, and if so what was it?
I don’t feel that we have anything that cool yet, because I have had to do a bare bones roll-out. But I know there are some who are very happy with one thing that I built using a fab-40 template and SharePoint Designer. That is our IT help desk. I made a bunch of modifications to the template, added workflows and custom forms, and spiffed up the help desk site with branding, graphics and other tidbits I gathered from the community.

What functionality do you use the most on a day to day basis?
That is tough for me to say since I am all over the place when it comes to SharePoint and my ‘typical’ day. I probably use lists the most because they help me manage my daily workload. Web part management and search are right up there too.

How has SharePoint changed your life?
It has allowed me to begin merging my ‘continuous improvement’ past with my technology experience. I am excited about the potential efficiency gains, and employee satisfaction that can come from making use of technology. When you improve and streamline processes, especially through automation, you most often can make a persons job easier, less stressful or more enjoyable. The business benefits from the efficiency so you end up with a reall win-win situation if you apply the technology correctly. That has raised my energy level for my work and made it more enjoyable for me as well.

What’s the hardest thing about your job?
Wearing multiple hats. Changing focus multiple times a day, and having to re-group my thoughts and focus to the task at hand is draining. I know we could accomplish so much more if I could focus on one area longer before switching to something else.

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