Best Practices to Deploy SharePoint 2013: Enterprise Lessons Learned

12 Tips for SharePoint 2013Let me open by saying that if you’ve held off on upgrading to SharePoint 2013, you’re not alone and are in good company.  Given previous versions’ stability issues prior to the first major patches, many organizations have also elected to wait, despite the hype and plethora of cool new features.

Indeed though with SP1 recently released, your wait may now be over, and an unprecedented variety of compelling upgrade scenarios are immediately available to enterprise customers of all sizes.

I’d like to share a dozen of the major themes and considerations one should reflect upon in planning a SharePoint 2013 deployment.

  1. You will need more servers.  The new architecture allows for further carving up of platform roles, and at the cost of more servers you can expect performance improvements and real resiliency gains, and know that virtualization is a viable plan.
  2. Experience Design is more important than ever.  Plan for responsive design in your UI (not device channels) and stay ahead of the curve.
  3. Don’t neglect change enablement, and the importance of a full upgrade roadmap as well.
  4. Consider how the in-place individual site collection preview and upgrade option may work for your organization, but anticipate a training curve for your site administrators.
  5. Governance, Lifecycle and Information Architecture:  If you’ve neglected it before, it’s time to face up to it.  Products such as those from AvePoint augment native 2013 in a surprisingly robust way, eliminating what we historically have built custom
  6. The platform is extremely dependent on metadata.  Plan for full IA and search strategy – cornerstones of the new way to find and navigate content.
  7. Embrace the app model, and move to eliminate heavily customized farm solutions once and for all.  Next time you upgrade (which may likely be to the cloud) you don’t want this technical debt.
  8. While you’re at it, have a heartfelt moment and truly consider whether you are swimming against the grain with those customizations.  Feature remapping to align your old capability to a best-fit in native 2013 results in a lot of customers accepting what they can do now right out of the box.
  9. Show your business users the new BI (data and analytics) features, they’re far too compelling to ignore and supports upgrade ROI value planning.
  10. SharePoint is still not natively the #1 choice as a web content management or digital marketing platform.  Choose Sitecore or something engineered with this primarily in mind.  Extranet scenarios do work well with SharePoint, though.
  11. SharePoint can now be a compliant, validated platform for customers in a regulated industry (life sciences, manufacturing, government or defense, etc.)
  12. Social capabilities are, in a word, awesome, but take the time to plan your social strategy.  Expect to unlock new doors in the way enterprises get things done, and plan for the change.  Expect big social SQL databases.

There you have it, 12 reasons to deploy SharePoint 2013 right now.  I’d love to hear your experiences with the product, drop your comments below.

2 Responses to Best Practices to Deploy SharePoint 2013: Enterprise Lessons Learned

    • Sorry for any confusion, indeed in-place is not supported. After a SharePoint farm is upgraded to 2013, a new option exists to involve administrators in a preview of the upgrade of their individual site collection, which technet describes here. This self-service approach is what was referenced in the point #4 above, and I updated the language to ensure that this is clear. More information is available from Technet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *