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I’m here to deliver a message that you might find surprising, maybe even perplexing. Actually, it’s not my message, it’s a message from Sam Marshall, author of DWG’s new report on SharePoint 2013.

And to be totally accurate, the message isn’t just from Sam: his report not only resulted from his hands-on research into SharePoint 2013, but also quotes OpenText and even Microsoft itself.

So, what’s this important message?

Success with SharePoint 2013 isn’t about the technology.

Yikes. And here we all are talking about a) how SharePoint 2013’s social features compare with other options, or b) how to tune the upgraded search engine, or c) how to benefit from improved multi-lingual functionality (all topics covered in DWG’s new report on SharePoint 2013).

But those technical features aren’t the issues that will differentiate successful implementations from failures. In Microsoft’s own words:

We learned that it’s not about a feature checklist; it’s about implementing a vision for social that integrates into the way people work. I believe a common pitfall for us in IT is that we’re asked to deploy social tools because ‘it’s cool’ or ‘all the kids are doing it’. – Microsoft

What if I told you that adoption/training was the greatest barrier to successful SharePoint implementation? And that 1) strategy and 2) governance were the next two big challenges?

Chart from OpenText about SharePoint challenges

The bottom line is this: like any other major organizational change effort, success lies in coordination with stakeholders, involvement of users, communication and collaboration. (See DWG’s research report on intranet strategy and governance for a wealth of insights on this topic.)

The real challenge of implementing SharePoint 2013 is the same as that of any other intranet software. You need to convince thousands of colleagues in different job roles, with different levels of technical skills and different job pressures (and maybe different primary languages) to learn about and use the new/updated intranet.

In order to implement SharePoint 2013 properly you do need to understand the technology and how to implement it properly. With SharePoint, perhaps more than any other intranet software, that is a daunting challenge. Some of SharePoint’s new features raise very specific governance and adoption issues, which Sam covers in the paper.

But contrary to popular belief, the technology questions aren’t the ones that can scuttle your latest intranet project. DWG’s new report on SharePoint 2013 explores these non-technical issues along with many others.

Table of contents from DWG’s new SharePoint 2013 report:

  • An overview of SharePoint 2013
  • Collaboration and social networking
  • Publishing and internal communications
  • Search, metadata and analytics
  • Mobile SharePoint and apps
  • SharePoint’s digital workplace fit
  • Governance, adoption and organizational readiness
  • Planning a move to SharePoint 2013
  • Case studies
  • Critical success factors

SharePoint 2013 report cover

Get your free executive summary of DWG’s latest research on SharePoint.

Vendor neutral, in-depth, hype-free.

Download now

If you’re interested in reading the full report, learn more about DWG membership. DWG members get access to this full report, along with dozens of other high quality research papers and much more.

About the author

Ephraim Freed, Communications Manager for the Digital Workplace Group (DWG)Ephraim Freed is a communicator and self-proclaimed “intranet nerd”.

Ephraim works at Riot Games now, but previously worked at DWG overseeing marketing, facilitating in-person & online member events and hosting our monthly webinar, Digital Workplace Live.

Prior to that, as a writer and professional services consultant for social intranet software company, ThoughtFarmer and managed internal communications and launched a social intranet at Oxfam America.

In his spare time Ephraim raises his two baby girls, goes trail running and plays many sports with great mediocrity.


  1. Couldn’t agree more! Here’s are some interesting quotes from an article that explains why Wikipedia succeeded while other initiatives failed (you could use these same quotes to describe SharePoint success):

    “Wikipedia focused on substantive content development instead of technology.” –

    “Wikipedia was the only project in the entire sample,…that didn’t build its own technology. (It was, in fact, generally seen as technologically unsophisticated by other encyclopedias’ founders, who saw themselves more as technologists than as content providers.) GNUpedia, for example, had several people dedicated to building its infrastructure, but none devoted to building its articles.”

    Using the simple technology of the wiki allowed Wikipedia’s founders to focus on the encyclopedia’s content — on getting article contributions rather than building technology. Instead of acting as technologists, Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger could instead act as evangelists, Hill pointed out, seeding Wikipedia with content they solicited from contributors — which, in turn, led to more content, and more contributors.

    Here’s the complete article:
    Why did Wikipedia succeed while other encyclopedias failed?

  2. @Andrew – the trouble with that analogy is that SharePoint isn’t an “unsophisticated” platform – quite the opposite.

    Its also interesting to note that Mediawiki, the platform behind Wikipedia, have also started to rollout a new rich text editor to remove a technology barrier to the long term sustainability of Wikipedia:

    “We identified the difficulty in learning wikitext as a key inhibitor to growing our editor community in the Wikimedia movement’s strategic plan. We want the process of learning how to edit to be trivial, so our volunteers, both new and experienced, can devote themselves to what they edit. That’s why we’re building the visual editor, so that contributing to a wiki is as easy and natural as other modern editing systems, and new editors are not dissuaded from making their changes.”

    Sometimes technology does matter?

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