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The company I work for is discussing granting a few people from each department the ability to edit their sites content in an effort to keep us from doing hours of minor content changes every week.

Has anyone tried doing this? What were your experiences? I've seen enough Access implementations to know that if you give non-technical people the ability to do things that only a technically trained and experienced person should do that they can get into trouble quickly...

Our thought is that if we give them some training at the beginning and then support them with any questions they have they should be able to handle the task.

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6 Answers 6

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Absolutely let them do it! SharePoint's biggest strength is to wrench control of content away from IT and give it to the people who actually own it in the first place. Any other approach sets you back a good 10 years.

That said, it's not hard for IT to set things up so that the content owners are hobbled in their ability to get things done. Be sure to take a distributed management and collaborative development approach to avoid those pitfalls.

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I can only agree with this: The real gift of tools like Sharepoint is that it lets end users worry about the content, as it ought to be as its theirs, while we can get on with worrying about how the system works. –  RobM Apr 25 '11 at 13:44
    
At my company we're having struggles with IT, as they've never really bought into SharePoint. So we fight with them to get disk quota for sites and issues like that. They push us to move documents into shared drives, but don't offer any solutions when we bring up issues of managing metadata, workflows, versioning, or any kind document management at all. Support for SharePoint as an application platform is non-existent as well. All this makes greatly limits how useful SharePoint is for the company, which is a shame. –  Carlos Jan 25 '13 at 2:57
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In addition to some of the other great responses, I'd like to add my typical response to the Access implementation concern that you mention. First of all, SharePoint was designed more with power users/end users in mind. Access requires more of a fundamental understanding of relational data. Governance is still important, but to me governance is more easily accomplished when an administrator has a view of what is going on. Also, if folks develop a new application you can rest easier knowing it is backed up with the other SharePoint content.

I would suggest that in addition to your initial training of your departmental contributors, that you have ongoing review sessions to establish best practices and monitor compliance. Governance is an ongoing process.

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I would absolutely give your users the ability to use lists, out of the box workflows normal Team sites type stuff. I have seen this implemented in many organizations and it works fantastic, this is what SharePoint is made to do. I would also implement MySites and let each user learn to customize their own site to learn the tool. For those Users that are a bit brighter technically than average I would provide a SharePoint Designer / InfoPath class. These individuals in your company will be able to create fairly complex workflows and forms for the business taking the load off of the programming staff. They will also try and create things they should not in these tools and will come to you when they have it doing 80% of what they want and ask you to finish it for them, just like access. This situation should not be frowned upon, it should be embraced. What your business user has done for you is collect the business requirements and prototype the project. Now it's your turn to move it to an enterprise solution.

SharePoint collaboration is designed to be used by the masses not locked down for only IT to change. Having said that I would recommend a good governance plan, good use of taxonomy and managed meta data and a good Information Architecture. If you are or your company is unfamiliar with how to accomplish this I would suggest leveraging a Microsoft Partner with experience in this area. The money you spend upfront designing this will save you ten fold in six months.

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SharePoint is definitely not intended to be used by the "common person". However, the good news is that with a bit of training, any professional knowledge worker can graduate from "common" to "skilled at utilizing basic information management in SharePoint". So it sounds like you're right on track. Study after study shows rolling out SharePoint to businesses is most successful when it comes with good investment in planning and training.

At my company we give over 40,000 people the ability to create and manage their own (mostly OOTB) SharePoint sites for document management and collaboration. It's up to them to leverage SharePoint successfully between themselves and the people they work with on a daily basis, and guess what - it works! It works because we give them access to basic introductory training, robust user support, and help documentation.

We also give over 6,000 people the ability to manage the content for their area on the intranet, internet and extranet web pages. All via SharePoint. This is a little bit more advanced, so here they get about a week's worth of training.

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Our thought is that if we give them some training at the beginning and then support them with any questions they have they should be able to handle the task.

I agree. SharePoint is intended to be used by "the common man".

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We have just turned on this ourselves and we will be rolling out the capabilities to new sites as they are created. This is a major paradigm shift from what was the norm in the past, but we are finding that it can be a good thing. We did employ some training before releasing this "into the wild" so to speak!

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So positive overall? Do you mind if I ask how long you've had it "in the wild"? –  Abe Miessler Apr 24 '11 at 19:08
    
Actually , about a few months for some folks. So far it is proving to be a good decision. –  spevilgenius Apr 25 '11 at 20:39
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