Maphuti hunted me down for some training last year. We’ve had a couple of subsequent meetings and stay in touch to chat regularly.
Where do you work?
Group Five Construction.
What is your job title?
Group Knowledge & Intelligence Manager.
How many SharePoint users in the company and how many are you responsible for?
+- 5000 and potentially will be 14000 – I am responsible for all.
What version of SharePoint are you using and how long has your company been using SharePoint?
MOSS 2007- about a year.
How did you learn SharePoint and how long have you been using it, did you go on any training?
Mostly through own initiative, a lot of reading, playing with the functionality and finally going on power-users training with Lets Collaborate – since then, the rest is history. I am loving it – all thanks to Lets Collaborate.
What is the biggest challenge you face with user adoption?
Definitely change management. I find that a lot of people are not open to change especially those who have been in the company for a long time. Its simple things like getting users move away from using network drives to document libraries and from creating daily e-mail communication briefs to once-off publishing of news and announcement on the intranet.
How are you handling governance?
We have a 5 member steering committee composed of the IT and Corporate Communications departments where IT owns the enabling infrastructure and Group Communications have the ultimate responsibility for the structure and approach of the entire intranet. The steering committee is the overall controlling body at a group level, this is where all request for new sites and any other changes gets decided upon and then developed if approved. Also in addition to the intranet policy which has been approved our senior management I have compiled an easy-to-read governance manual setting out basic rules and procedures for using the intranet. This has already proved useful where there are disputes or disagreements about certain sections of the intranet since I can always refer them to the governance manual.
Do you have a dedicated SharePoint team and Executive buy-in and is it helping?
At the moment we only have me responsible for all Group content including creating sites, web parts and so on and one other person responsible for our Academy’s site. We have identified people as content champions for their respective departments and business units even though they have not yet been able to work on the intranet for various reasons starting from training to time and even workload. Ideally we would like to see each of our business units being responsible for their own content but currently everything is run and managed from the Head Office. I think executive buy-in is critical in all new initiatives especially where there is a level of behavioral change required for the successful implementation.
If you had unlimited resources in your company and could design the ideal SharePoint dream team, what would it consist of?
Since we are quite a big company I think an experienced and dedicated SharePoint developer to assist me, site collection administrators and content coordinators or champions in each business unit.
Have you built anything cool (out of box) in SharePoint that your users loved, and if so what was it?
I have recently created online forms in the lists environment and so far the testing group is happy about it so this is something we will probably be using in the near future. I have also replaced our sub-folders with metadata and created views for better management of our documents.
What functionality do you use the most on a day to day basis?
Everything really, from site creation, web part management, lists, libraries, surveys and polls.
How has SharePoint changed your life?
Whoever said that only IT professionals can work on IT tools? SharePoint taught me otherwise.
What’s the hardest thing about your job?
Time is really a problem but more so lack of human resources because I find that I have to be at many places at the same time like creating a departmental site for one group, a list for another, a survey for the other while resolving the daily intranet cases logged through our helpdesk system, phone calls and e-mails.
What’s the best thing about your job?
From a relationship side – It has allowed me to build meaningful working relationships because to help them to their job better, I have to spend time with my users, understand what their roles are about, identify their needs and so on.
On a professional level – I get satisfaction when users start realizing that SharePoint is critical in their daily jobs as well as the overall take-up of the platform by different teams within the Group.
What do you know about SharePoint 2010 and are you planning to upgrade?
I don’t know much about it but our IT department has been to a Microsoft demo recently and is quite chuffed about it. Their recommendation is that we upgrade to 2010 as it apparently promise to address most of the challenges we have. So yes we will be upgrading- soon I hope!