SharePoint Libraries = User Freedom From IT Dependence

According to Enterprise Architect Scott Robinson in a recent TechTarget article the SharePoint libraries included in the 2013 platform “…frees users from dependence on IT while urging them toward true collaboration.”

He believes this is an essential change and one that will, if properly implemented, make the SharePoint experience not only better but more likely to encourage adoption and use. Yet he warns you not to migrate your existing folder hierarchy. In fact he advises you to keep the libraries as flat and open as possible.

Robinson calls it “SharePoint sprawl”.

He explains how the legacy folder hierarchies now mess with SP’s structural integrity. “Few things are more destructive to SharePoint’s structure. Why? First, a folder hierarchy encodes metadata (how the different folders relate to one another) in a logical arrangement that is static and often opaque. Second, nested folders wreak havoc on SharePoint’s efficiency vis-à-vis SQL Server. Furthermore, folders add length to the URLs specifying the ultimate residence of your data — those URLs conk out at around 260 characters.”

SharePoint 2013 has built-in a number of features and enhancements but for all of them to work, everything needs to be tagged correctly and consistently. This is something that requires a great deal of institutional discipline and often internal training is required.

The initial migration, if you are upgrading from a previous version of SP, needs a great deal of expertise and care during migration and database implementation. Often internal personnel are not “up-to-speed” enough to both migrate the data and ensure that it is set up and tagged properly.

Outsourcing a portion or all of a SharePoint upgrade and initial setup is an option that may save you time, money and many sleepless nights. A number of resources exist in the form of SharePoint experts and database/data warehouse developers that will get the job done at a cost often smaller than many companies can do “in-house”.

Regardless of how you deploy SP 2013 be sure to heed Mr. Robinson’s advice. Keeping to the new SharePoint protocols and leaving your old folder setup out of it will be your best bet for a smoother and more productive SP migration and upgrade experience.

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