Saturday, 29 June 2013

Salem Noted in Latest Microsoft SharePoint 2013 Book

This week sees the latest Microsoft publication hot off the press published as ever by O'Reilly. We are proud to say that Salem is referenced in the book and we must thank the author and MVP for drawing on his understanding of the Salem principles. Take control of user adoption and governance processes in your next SharePoint 2013 deployment, whether it’s a specific site or complete farm solution. Led by a SharePoint expert, you’ll learn proven techniques and methods that will help you better manage the entire project lifecycle.

In particular, we enjoyed the author's writing style, extensive knowledge of the subject and informed views.

Discover how to:
  • Align organizational goals and requirements
  • Define the full scope of the project
  • Set up a team to deliver a SharePoint solution
  • Effectively communicate with and include your stakeholders
  • Prepare for user feedback and adoption
  • Establish and maintain governance through the entire project
  • Use analytics to provide substance to governance
  • Confirm readiness for delivery to the organization
You can order this excellent book directly by clicking this link.


Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Risual – Salem Practitioners – Awarded UK Partner of the Year Finalist 2013

Morgan & Wolfe would like to congratulate Risual, accredited Salem Practitioners and Certified Master Practitioners who were this week awarded UK Partner of the Year Finalist in advance of the Microsoft World Partner Conference 2013 in Houston, Texas. This demonstrates Risual’s leading profile as one of the new generation of strategic partners in the global industry. Congratulations to the entire team!

For any organisation large or small seeking to grow their SharePoint business and build a successful consulting practice like Risual in the UK get in touch with us to discuss the Salem Engagement Matrix at

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Salem™ in 90 Seconds

Social Lessons Learned Yesterday for the Businesses of Tomorrow

Whilst the ‘yammerization’ of the business enterprise continues unabated in the corporate sphere, promoted hard by new social enterprise software and services, one perhaps should take a little time to step back and contemplate some outcomes and lessons learned from the last decade and a half spent using social networks (I was using CompuServe back in 1995) online and how these could and may very well manifest themselves in the corporate environment of tomorrow. This isn't a technology issue, it is  more a human issue.

In no particular order:

1. The Rise and Fall of Social Volume: Many start out rapidly collecting personal connections to demonstrate esteem, appeal, importance and popularity (an audience) both to themselves and to others.  This provides early involvement of course. Inevitably, just like at college, people eventually also spent an awful lot of time filtering and ‘defriending’ people they really had no desire to be connected to until they end with a smaller (higher-connection-value) number of connections they (hopefully) actually share a positive connection with.

2. The Rise of Social Status: Didn’t we compare our own connection numbers (she has 2000 friends, 1500 twitter followers and 1200 connections) with those who had thousands and accept that some people have used their personal audience number as a basis for a value judgement about both us and them? Likewise haven't people actively seeked to share specific connections with others because some names became synonymous with inclusion, acceptance, quality, one-upmanship and status. Getting a high-value connection tells everyone something about you no? (said with much irony of course).

3. The Collapse of Consequence: The process of the ‘disconnect’ has taught people how to mistreat social connections with a general lack of consequence. This can apply to anything from upsetting and annoying someone at a distance due to accidental or deliberately provocative comments and contents through to an active removal from a group or personal connection list. With almost no direct consequence at all  there is typically no face-to-face contact and no reason at all to explain. People have learned not only to disconnect but then to block to ensure the risk of consequence is removed. 

4. The Rise of Selective Use: Over time most people have discovered a specific value-proposition for a social network that they find most comfortable engaging with. For some it is to contact relatives, for others it is to build an active social circle and for others it is to build an audience for their products, agenda, opinions and views. However where two people who are connected do share different value propositions for the same shared social service, so the risk of aggravation and potential disconnection can ensue due to lack of shared goals.

5. The Growth of the Social Bully: The school yard all too often descends on a social network, promoting those with the loudest voices and most aggressive opinions who therefore rise to the fore ('social bullies' perhaps) whilst the novice, the shy, the less-opinionated, the weak, the bullied and the ‘quiet ones’ either watch from the side lines or quietly melt away into the background. Social network groups can rapidly become the voice for the few and aggression can come into play, particularly due to the perceived lack of consequence. This leads to two outcomes, 1. gossiping & voyeurism, and 2. disenfranchisement and drop-out (to be added and then to be ignored or wise, picked on) neither of which are typically constructive

6. The Rise of the Social Celebrity: Self-glorification, self-promotion and the rise of the social celebrity becomes aligned with the social bully where someone is either included in the ‘club’ by way of connection (inclusion) or they are not. Note how often a thumb-up feature is included to allow someone to ask to be included, through demonstrable agreement but without a similar thumb-down feature to demonstrate disapproval. The day Facebook allowed the concept of sub grouping is also the very moment its universal democratic foundations died because everyone being an equal within a group was conceptually removed. Social networks can and do create the self-defined super hero and by their very nature, as a result they can and do also create outcasts and accentuate the feeling of being a misfit due to not belonging.

7. The Promotion of the Myth: People have witnessed how to sell the lie, also known as the myth. Social networks have been fast educators in the process of self-aggrandizement at the behest of the fact and truth, where everyone could self-market, adjust and modify facts and be famous for 15 minutes or longer if they can sustain brand-x. Why tell the truth when a person could visibly manipulate it to define a new self-image if not re-invent themselves completely. Self-branding has become an almost de facto social state for many to the extent that the basis of fact appears to be almost irrelevant when self-profiling. Inevitably therefore some will actively choose to reject social networks where the volume of artificial branding of individuals appears high.

8. The Rise of Statement & Filtration: Twitter is mostly a series of short statements and announcements rather than a conversation. Social has showed people how to push information rather than collaborate like a constant PR machine. People have learned to post (share) photos, comments, statements, advertisements, infomercials, humor and anything else they wanted to. However people have also learned to filter responses in case others were watching who they seek to influence. People have learned to  govern who can reply, what can be said, when it can be said and which inconvenient replies will be removed. If are person's responses are filtered they are highly unlikely to contribute again.

9. The Use of Collaboration as Self-Promotion: It’s not what you say, it’s the fact that you said it at all. Social has demonstrated collaboration not in terms of two-way communication but often in terms of one-way self-promotion. People have learned to comment on other people’s posts not because it has raised the level of the conversation but because it promoted the contributor by association. "I liked a post because people can see it is me and I am now aligned with the topic and its point." This  one-way PR tactic can also be said of those opening a conversational topic. This is why it can be noted that conversational replies receive little actual direct feedback because the reply itself is irrelevant and often means “hi, I’m here promoting my self-brand and positioning myself. Remember me?”

10. The Rise of Communication Without Rules: Social has appeared to define new rules of engagement in communication without anything actually being written down.  Social/cultural rules are often set through evolving social group leadership defining what is and isn't acceptable (do you always post on their wall or do they come to you?) where the few who communicate the most, or are the most popular or deemed of the highest social value and status have set the agenda and rules and everyone else has chosen to follow whilst copying that style of engagement. Without knowing the rules people have learned it is easy to break the rules in a social network and then be castigated or ignored for accidental breach of etiquette which may lead them to retire from it altogether.

11. The Rise of Variable Exclusion without Reason: In the context of a social network people have learned to ignore and can be ignored and be disenfranchised instantly. This affects behaviour and the style of communication and approach to dialogue. One day a person may be popular, the next they are not, without reason. A person thought they were being funny, rebellious, controversial, happy and collaborative only to discover their most recent involvement or collaborative effort was not welcome as there was a hidden agenda and the subject was meant for certain individuals, observers or a sub-audience in particular that did not actually include the person doing the responding.

12. The Growth of Instant Judgement & Sentence: As above people have learned it is possible to judge and be judged and criticised in  a public arena and often be judged by a silent majority with very few facts made available. By contributing to a thread the person may be unwittingly setting themselves up for silent comment and judgement from an unseen audience with an associated sentence which itself may have longer-term, unforeseen consequences.

13. The Decrease in the Desire to Share: A great irony is that social networks have demonstrated a long term reduction in the desire to share. By over-sharing early, people have frequently later rejected sharing altogether due to the abuse by others in the power-play or balance of sharing. However much some people want to know everything, people have also eventually learned to dislike revealing too much about who they are and what they know to a general audience who have themselves failed to reciprocate in kind.

14. The Growth of Voyeurism: For many, social networks have decreased bi-directional communication rather than increased it. This may have occurred because after an initial peak of interactivity people could read enough about an individual and their associated current situation so as not to need to 'catch up' in person which in turn has increased the time between actual positive, social human contact and often by a long period. For anyone who has managed a collaborative group they will know that the challenge is to keep a group going with only one or two long-term contributors whilst everyone else receives rather than gives.

One of the primary reasons why older groups of social network users have increasingly cut down their use of some social networks is simply that people have started to feel that their connections were beginning to know too much about their daily life without sharing anything in return or communicating (yes I knew you had been to Singapore, I read it on Facebook 6 months ago). Social networks are often therefore seen as becoming too voyeuristic to be comfortable over time which in turn decreases the desire to share.

15. The Harsh Impact on Time: For some people social networks have started taking up far too much of their valuable time, partly die to its speed and dynamism as well as instant gratification. People have found themselves being far too distracted from real life activities and tasks to read and observe what is largely mundane posts about what others are doing, often with little actual positive outcome or relevancy. For some people social networks have become more of an addiction than is positive.

16. The Rise of Misinterpretation: Human communication is a complex strata of facial, body and vocal inflection. Let us not forget that over 80% of communication is non verbal! However in the world of technological communication if one needs to keep to a small number of words then explanations will inevitably suffer and inflection and body language will simply be non-existent. Whatever did happen to video conferencing anyway? Social networks have demonstrated people’s ability to misinterpret thoughts, actions and deeds to new levels that could in some instances be the difference between life and death. Short text statements without deeper explanations have too frequently been taken as fact and interpreted in ways that were not meant to be (the time, the inference, the words used, the punctuation or lack of etc.). Text-based misinterpretation can and does lead to conflict, annoyance, anger and further disconnection, often needlessly. Evidence for this is widespread through almost two decades of SMS misinterpretation.

17. The Sharing of Information without Permission: Many people have discovered, particularly with regards to the sharing of information (e.g. via photo-tagging), that information that was not meant to be shared, has been shared, often too easily, too quickly and without the informant understanding the repercussions of their rather instant actions or without the permission of the person the post has affected most. Worse still, information that has now been shared cannot easily be redacted, if at all. 

18. The Rise of Opinion as Fact: Social networks have showed people new ways of taking personal viewpoints, thoughts and ideas and presenting them as definitive facts, which they frequently are not. By gaining some degree of collusion from collaborative connections through alliances (e.g. thumbed-up likes), others may be driven to believe or accept that posted viewpoints presented as definitive facts are indeed facts which could easily mislead others.

19. The Rise of Crowd Opinion: The old saying goes that the worst vice is advice. Social networks have for some created dependencies on group opinions which offer little actual value and could even prove divisive or harmful. Remember the phrase - the courage of one's convictions. Rather than getting on with life, some people have started to seek the voice of the group to make their decisions for them. In turn group or crowd opinion could be used to affect and alter individual thought, actions and moods. This process could start to undermine the sense of the individual by creating a dependency of the collective viewpoint which itself may include hidden agendas and detract from the franchisement of the individual, particularly where the group expects to make the final decision. Many will argue that social networks drive creativity but with crowd approval required, the opposite can and does occur and creativity can be stifled just as much.

20. The Rise of the Anti-Social Hero: Social networks may have unwittingly started to demonstrate two parallel worlds; those who have joined in and those who have now actively chosen to step off. Increasingly those who have actively opted-out of a social network are seen to be the ones who have taken control and ownership of their own real personas by demonstrating they don’t need social and have better things to do. This inevitably starts a trend in others and can polarise opinion that may end up at its worst as a kind of gang mentality.

21. The Inadequacy of Social in All Things: As social is seen to be unstructured so it follows that it knows no boundaries. People have started to learn that social networks at times do not have all the answers to all aspects of the human condition. Sometimes, quite awkwardly, we have not yet evolved with social tools to know what even remains unresolved. For example, when someone dies, do people in the same social group ‘defriend’ that person, ‘disconnect’ them or would their profile be memorialized and then what?

22. The Rise of the Taker and Self-Educator: Many social networks have become increasingly unbalanced over time, with the most active contributors consistently providing the most content whilst the silent majority taking away the most information for the purposes of their own information-gathering and self-education agendas. Whilst this is frequently dressed as a 'community-approach' people have seen time and time again that the greatest contributors frequently drop away eventually due to gradual resentment that they have gained little overall from their contributions. Whilst it is certainly the case that communities can be powerful ways of gathering knowledge through unhindered contribution, indicators show there is a parallel risk that posted-opinion is viewed by bystanders as a quick route or short-cut to self-education without formal investment in time, effort and structured learning which can itself prove inadequate in the long term and gradually undermines the purpose of the social network itself.


These are just some of the more obvious lessons many have taken from the last decade or more. in using social networks. As new versions of what we think of as ‘social networks’ are released, so we are faced with numerous new dilemmas which we have to find corresponding answers to depending on the services they provide people with. Importantly, outside of work the way we choose to interact with social networks is a personal choice because, after all, these are services we personally choose to be involved with and there is probably something personally in it for us.

Once someone takes a decision to place a social network (or social tools) within a business context the subjects may change but the issues listed above do not go away at all. The issues may indeed become exacerbated due to the fact that the social enterprise is no longer a wholly personal choice with a personal value-proposition. Whilst there are an increasing number of interesting drivers for social technologies and techniques in business environments to assist in collaborative activities, human behavior and the lessons learned to date really must be taken on board and incorporated into a larger strategy at the earliest convenience. Simply instructing people to share their thoughts and ideas by using social tools in a business context is highly unlikely to succeed in isolation in the long term and inevitably people may simply choose to drop out.

Perhaps it is the human condition to be interested in something new, be excited then get involved and then inevitably drop out, all in a cyclical way. If this is the case, the longevity of social technology in business is far from guaranteed. However by heeding the lessons learned above and by anticipating them, embracing them and by acknowledging the way people actually do behave when using social technologies outside of work  so an organisation may have a far greater chance of social success inside of work.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

SharePoint Explained Using Salem™

You might plausibly expect this to be an easy question to answer but in fact it is one of the hardest questions to resolve in the last twelve years of business technology development. Perhaps almost as hard as defining the term 'cloud'! During the Microsoft SharePoint™ Conference keynote in October 2009 in Las Vegas, Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft Corporation endeavoured to answer this tricky question and you can watch his worthy attempt here:

Interestingly this was Steve’s first SharePoint keynote. Now what Steve rightly stresses is that SharePoint™ is unique and this is extremely important for being able to describe what it might actually be. It comes as no surprise that almost everyone has tried to describe SharePoint by its technical attributes, components and features which is exactly why for as long as one can remember, Microsoft has described SharePoint via the famous segmented ‘pie’ which groups together categories of features. Various graphically-enterprising Microsoft Partners over the years have endeavoured to re-create the ‘pie’ to try and make it easier to understand by business audiences, but the real issue is that this problem exists exactly because SharePoint is being described by its technological features.

It is worth noting that further problems ensue when one tries to describe SharePoint by comparing it with other ‘competitive’ products in the market. The issue is that there is currently no truly ‘like-for-like’ comparison out there, and consequently comparing apples with pears becomes a futile task. For example why compare SharePoint Online or Office 365 with Google cloud offerings?

The comparison only really becomes valid when SharePoint is removed from Office 365 and the comparison with Google made again – then there is a closer feature set to compare – apples with apples if you like. Similarly how can one truly describe SharePoint by comparisons with Oracle Beehive or IBM Lotus Notes. They simply do not square up.

With the incorporation of Yammer™ into the Microsoft stack, confusion reigns supreme. Should a client define its strategy by choosing the social features of Yammer or the social features of SharePoint 2013 or seek to identify its plan via the integration roadmap of features into Office 365? What happened to business defining business requirements and then requesting a blend of technologies to facilitate?

Okay so back to describing SharePoint (or for that matter Yammer) for what it is, without comparative equal and required to be explained in isolation. Take a different view for one second. Let’s not describe SharePoint through its technological features at all, but instead through its business potential. The Salem (Sequenced & Logical Enterprise Methodology) Process business framework for SharePoint describes it as a sequential and logical group of modular, inter-related business services that describe any organisational ambitions with information, publication and collaboration. Image therefore that a business modular framework is used to describe SharePoint without ever referring to its technical capabilities and feature sets – what would be the benefits?

* Business understanding and interpretation of value
* Strategy beyond an ever changing technical feature set
* Strategy translates to a blend of both cloud and on-premise services
* Business program rather than IT project approach
* Business sponsorship that drives business adoption
* Sell Office 365 benefits through SharePoint business services

It was Mark Zuckerberg who noted that every new enterprise platform appears to be defined almost solely by its latest technical feature set and SharePoint is certainly no exception. In the 2007 release of MOSS much was made of new features such as blogs and presence via OCS integration. By 2010 it was the ribbon and easier user interface changes as well as FAST search. By 2013 it was unified search and community sites as well as social features. The SharePoint Business Strategist understands these features and comprehends the value they may bring, but only within the context of a wider business framework. In technological terms, SharePoint is increasingly an eclectic kit-bag of publication and collaborative tools, services and features that can be used somewhat like a Lego set to build technology solutions driven by business need.

Receiving SharePoint for the uninitiated is rather like being given a toolkit as a gift. The first question would be: what do I do with this? Build something is the answer. Build what? Whatever you want or need to build. I’m not sure what I want, is there a blueprint or plan? No. Can we build what someone else has built? Sure. Can you help us build something the same as someone else has? Sure yes. How much will it cost? It depends what you want, we will need to discover what your specific needs are. Yes but how much will it cost as a ball-park figure? It depends on what you want. I want what everyone else has! Ah but everyone else is different so we cannot tell you how much it will cost and how long it will take until we have defined your exact requirements. And so it continues… In other words, the SharePoint toolkit is powerful but without a logical, progressive business plan, blueprint or roadmap alongside SharePoint is extremely difficult for a business audience to imagine in terms of a future, valuable whole.

Business stakeholders have a requirement to describe SharePoint to their own internal audiences and this is frequently where initial problems occur. They call in a Partner to demonstrate the value of SharePoint in an hour. What is all too often described is a technical demonstration of a team site, or a workflow, or a form, or version control etc. SharePoint is being described both by some isolated features, and in isolation of a fuller business context. This issue regarding describing SharePoint is often anticipated by Partner Sales Managers prior to a client presentation by requesting some specific problems the business may be prioritizing and basing a pitch and demonstration regarding how SharePoint can solve these specific problems.

Therefore SharePoint, as an enterprise platform, is all too often described in these situations primarily as a project-specific technological solution. What happens when that problem is solved – where does the client go then, what does the business do next, what else can they build? And so we come back to the same dialogue as before. What other problems do you have? What other priorities can we assist you with? How much budget do you have? It is because of this scenario, played out hundreds of thousands of times globally that a number of things have occurred that have assisted in defining SharePoint in a specific way.

The first is the flexibility of solution design and delivery. This has led to SharePoint rather frequently being described as a ‘development platform’. ‘Tell us what you want and we will build it’. Ah, says the client, but we don’t know what we want. ‘It’s okay’ says the platform developer, SharePoint can be used to develop and provide you with anything and everything you want. Within a short space of time of the introduction of SharePoint solutions are being built without any form of business plan.

Another way of defining SharePoint has been through the project-centric approach of IT divisions as the primary purchasers of SharePoint. The software has become available as part of an Enterprise Agreement or other licensing service, been adopted by the IT department as it is software that has been bought, paid for and is otherwise sitting going to waste. IT uses it to create a demo, proof of concept or test platform for a business issue that lacks budget, that quickly moves from demo to business critical solution, often unwittingly and often in an unplanned or unintended way. Too late, SharePoint is therefore described in such circumstances as a project-centric solution platform driven and justified through organic growth. This description has in fact occurred because SharePoint was not understood as anything more, has no business roadmap or progressive blueprint and was not budgeted for as anything more than available software that could be deployed to provide rapid, disconnected solutions.

For many, SharePoint will be understood and described as software for building intranets. This description is frequent because of SharePoint’s presentation of services through a web browser and through its excellent ability for custom and fairly easily-provided custom user interface design. Similarly this has occurred due to ageing incumbent technologies such as HTML intranets that have long since been abandoned by the business or have fallen into disuse or decay for a wide variety of reasons and which can be migrated to SharePoint as a starting point. Indeed migrations from legacy systems which have run their course is often the basis for a business understanding of what SharePoint is. SharePoint can all too often be described as the ‘replacement’ for something else. You can spot evidence of this for yourself through the (often unnecessary) branding of things. For example, an intranet is called CorpWeb and the contents have been moved to SharePoint so now SharePoint is described to business audiences as CorpWeb 2. What happens when a different service is introduced onto the SharePoint platform? Does the business user describe SharePoint by multiple brand names or are they simply confused? Perhaps if a business user states that they have placed something on SharePoint that we are getting closer to being able to describe SharePoint as a business-ubiquitous set of eclectic services.

For many, SharePoint is understood and described as a document management system. We would need to break down the last decade or more to see what this is the case in some many instances but in part it was because the earlier free versions such as WSS and later SharePoint Foundation offered document management through team sites at no cost, fairly easily deployed and once again adopted by business users through various types of organic growth. Let’s take the issue of the cloud and Office 365. Is Office 365 SharePoint? No it is a collection of services including Lync and Exchange, Office and SharePoint (depending on the chosen licensing plan). Would we choose to describe SharePoint as Office 365? Perhaps not! Is Office 365 described by SharePoint? Generally no: So irrespective of cloud hosted services, SharePoint whether online or on-premise still needs a rational business-orientation description of what it is. If SharePoint should not be defined by its technological feature-set composition then what is SharePoint? On the one hand we may argue that it is whatever we want it to be, that is the raw beauty and power of such a flexible and richly extensive technology platform. However choice costs money and we currently live in a global economy where choice, though desirable is seen as increasingly expensive, if not out of reach.

 The ‘app’ approach to commoditized technology is prime evidence to business seeking quick solutions that meet 80% rather than 100% of needs and that speed of access is more valuable than being truly fit for purpose. Let’s try to clear our minds and think of SharePoint not as one or more as its technical features past or present. In fact, let us not describe SharePoint through technology at all. Instead let us think of all the common things that organisations are trying to achieve, all the common things that businesses want to do with their information and all the common ways in which information is produced, stored and typically shared.

Let’s embrace how human beings work, what they like to do and what they avoid. Let’s remove technology words and replace them with business language. Let’s then take all these things and place them into a blueprint that has a logic and a sequence but which can be adapted to almost any eventuality. Is this possible – can SharePoint really be described this way? The answer is yes it can and not only that it is extremely sensible to do so. If you are to be successful in describing SharePoint then you must engage the minds of your audience and provide empathy and you can achieve that through common perceptions and understanding. You must describe SharePoint using business terms and business services and your description must show not only a flexible blueprint but also a roadmap. In doing so, the features and technical services of SharePoint will naturally slot into place.

Think of SharePoint as a comprehensible, modular set of business services that are themselves composed of business sub services. Think of these business services has having a logical sequence of release, of having a relationship with each other that determines the most effective business adoption sequence. Think of SharePoint as a set of business services that encapsulate anything the business may be aiming to achieve and which can adapt to cope with new and future business challenges. Place all these business services within a framework which visually describes the entire business enterprise within minutes. Use such a business framework to provide a cohesive vision of the entire business enterprise to the extent that other technologies are aligned with SharePoint in context so that SharePoint, as the business framework, provides both a business and an IT roadmap. Does this mean that SharePoint, through its definition as the enterprise business framework sits at the centre of the business vision? The answer has to be ‘yes’.

Applied to Office 365 in future SharePoint Online as a progressive enterprise business framework will be critical in defining cloud strategy, rather than simply via Exchange and Lync as things have stood to date, just as the same framework is critical to onsite strategy. Those who wish to rally against describing SharePoint from a business context may simply be those who are working in a haphazard, unplanned way for a wide variety of reasons, or are fearful that they do not have the business backing and budget to progress successfully but hope to gain it through stealth.

Alternatively it may simply be a question of strategic training and learning, which is one of the purposes of the WASBS. You may have encountered those who are vehement that unstructured or organic growth are the best mechanisms for business adoption or that business frameworks are too ‘inflexible’. If so, consider for yourself why some make these cases and whether in fact there is something else really underpinning this viewpoint. It is true that most have not yet been trained in a SharePoint business framework but in most cases it is a complete revelation when the business framework approach is described fully.

So is SharePoint best described as an ECM and EDRMS platform with social and community and search functionality or is it better to describe SharePoint as a progressive business program of inter-related and inter-linked business services (and composite business sub services) which may be sequenced to fit specific organizational priorities and yet ultimately achieve the same enterprise goals as a different organisation following the same blueprint that has been sequenced for them? The role of the formally-trained SharePoint Business Strategist is to describe and sequence the business blueprint and roadmap for SharePoint for any organisation by using a framework, methodology approach. In turn this will describe what SharePoint really is, through its business value and its progressive logic.

The primary reason the business strategist role is able to achieve this task whether it be cloud or in-premise is because part of the strategist training is to understand why this approach is achievable, how it is achieved and what are the outcomes and next steps that naturally follow. As we saw at the beginning with Steve’s keynote in 2009, SharePoint is difficult to describe through technology features alone and anyone who has really tried will accept this as fact. SharePoint can be many things to many people but it is certainly not all things to all people. Its diversity can also be its undoing at times and all too often its description through technical features leaves many business audiences cold and many others detached or dis-engaged. Yet business needs often remain the same decade after decade. Consider for yourself the entire concept of describing SharePoint or comparative and companion platforms not as technology at all but instead as a structured business framework with Salem™ and you will be far better placed to succeed in describing what SharePoint is to anyone you encounter along the way.

The Salem Framework & Social

Social may well underpin (if not entirely define) the next generation of enterprise collaboration solutions for many organisations. Indeed social includes a plethora of new and exciting features, services and possibilities which may be harnessed and adopted quickly and organically by any business audience. It is great to learn that the Salem™ framework applies perfectly to the latest business-social technology stack. Microsoft purchased Yammer™ in the summer of 2012 and is the perfect platform for building a private business-social network. Microsoft is currently applying a dynamic cycle of integration with the latest version of SharePoint and Office 365. Organisations which have already embraced the social enterprise or are now thinking of doing so may well be expecting some big business ‘wins’. However it is important to remember that the critical, strategic business issues remain the same – how to align chosen technologies with the organisation to deliver a defined roadmap of logical, inter-related, sequential, well-adopted business services whilst applying effective, over-arching business governance?

There are many current debates regarding whether to take a SharePoint-social route which includes its own social tools or the Yammer-social route due to the overlap in features and functionality but be careful of defining the business strategy through technology function alone. The Salem™ framework is the perfect strategic companion and overlay to any business strategy program that seeks to integrate social and therefore assists in defining and aligning a cohesive strategic approach with both the social enterprise and the more formal, traditional ECM and EDRMS environments. For those seeking a truly cohesive strategic business approach that can encompass, transcend and yet combine the benefits of the social enterprise with the power of the SharePoint enterprise platform, Salem™ is the business framework for the professional strategist.