Starting out with SharePoint

This week I’ve started implementing the SharePoint pilot at the office. Right now, the goal is to use it an “upgrade” to our current Intranet and provide some calendar and meeting workspaces for better collaboration.

Our existing Intranet is organized by department, with a subset of users in each department being responsible for updating content in their areas. Right now, we use the combination of a basic IIS website and Macromedia’s Contribute as the client application for updating the pages. We’d had some difficulty with the Contribute application and training, which has resulted in the Intranet being mostly static content.

For this implementation, I’ve set up one site collection with the main site being the company Intranet home page. Then I created additional sites for each department and a couple extra sites for some specialty areas, like our company-wide disaster preparation. Each of these sites will likely have different contributors, so I wanted to allow for different permission sets for each site.

I’ve spent some time populating each site with some of the content that exists on our current Intranet site, playing around with web parts and getting a feel for what I’d be able to implement in this first phase. I’ve spent several days just copying and pasting – it’s almost a little addictive. Our current Intranet has a lot of documents and forms for reference, so I still need to set up the necessary libraries and port that information over to mirror the current web experience in SharePoint.

I’d like to be able to hand over the majority of the content management to the contributors in each department once everything is officially “live” and we’ve organized some formal training. With the addition of web parts for announcements, discussion boards and wikis, I’m hoping SharePoint will allow our Intranet to become a more fluid destination with fresh information posted by a variety of staff members. I know I’m looking forward to using Wikis to provide more tips from the Helpdesk related to using ImageRight, Shoretel, email and our remote access solutions.

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