5 mistakes you’re probably making with SharePoint—and how to fix them

Common Mistakes When Using Sharepoint Featured

From SharePoint on-prem to SharePoint Online, Microsoft MVP Benjamin Niaulin takes a look at some of the most common issues he sees IT admins making when navigating SharePoint.

The road to SharePoint mastery is a long one. Along the way, I’ve seen many IT admins fall victim to the same mistakes, over and over again. So, what sets you apart from the IT admins before you? You’ve found this article, which is going to save you time and countless hours of troubleshooting. 

After many years of seeing people struggle to understand SharePoint while making the same mistakes over and over again, I decided to put together this list to hopefully set you on the right course, once and for all. Let’s take a look at the most common mistakes people make when it comes to SharePoint, and how to avoid them. 


Mistake 1: Neglecting to implement a governance strategy 

What is governance? According to the official Microsoft documentation, governance is the set of policies, roles, responsibilities, and processes that dictate how an organization’s business divisions and IT teams work together to achieve common goals.

Governance is the set of policies, roles, responsibilities, and processes that dictate how your business divisions and IT teams work together to achieve common goals.

By defining a governance strategy, your company takes a huge step into a successful roll-out and long-term usage of SharePoint. Unfortunately, we still see companies without a clear governance strategy.

Here are just some of the advantages of developing a solid governance strategy: 

  • Connecting IT & business 
  • Contributing to a successful adoption and change management strategy 
  • Integration of business processes and regulations 
  • Managing Microsoft 365 Groups 

Want more helpful tips to build a rock solid governance strategy for your Intranet? Check out the official Microsoft documentation on the topic.

Mistake 2: Failing to account for change management

Although SharePoint has become less complex over the years, a SharePoint roll-out still has an impact on all business users.

They need to learn how to work with SharePoint, why SharePoint is being implemented and what this requires from their point of view. To manage this impact, a change management strategy is required.

Change management guides how we prepare, equip, and support individuals to successfully adopt change.

Change management is the discipline that guides how we prepare, equip, and support individuals to successfully adopt change to drive organizational success and outcomes.

When business users affected by the change do not support it and are not involved in it, you fail in achieving your goal: A successful rollout and deployment of SharePoint.

Check out this helpful guide to make sure you’re on track to guide users through a seamless transition to SharePoint.

Mistake 3: Using SharePoint as a direct replacement for a network file share 

Over the last few years, we have seen companies moving away from file shares for the storage of their content. This is for financial reasons (SharePoint storage with Microsoft is cheap) and to increase productivity. SharePoint provides valuable features such as co-authoring, versioning, workflows, and metadata. These features are not available on a file share.

SharePoint provides valuable features such as co-authoring, versioning, workflows, and metadata.

Unfortunately, we see companies making the mistake of not utilizing the full functionality of SharePoint by only migrating their files to SharePoint and viewing it as a newer, cheaper version of their file shares.  

Mistake 4: Viewing SharePoint as a single operating service within Microsoft 365 

SharePoint used to be a platform and single operating service. Since the release of Microsoft 365 Groups and Microsoft Teams this all changed. SharePoint now plays a crucial role within the communication and collaboration strategy of Microsoft 365.

SharePoint plays a crucial role within the communication and collaboration strategy of Microsoft 365.

Companies don’t understand the new function and relationship of SharePoint within Microsoft 365, which results in configuration mistakes and a decrease in the adoption rate.  

Mistake 5: Focusing on custom solutions

SharePoint, especially the on-premises version, used to contain a lot of custom solutions. This was the result of viewing SharePoint as a platform that had to do everything. From advanced search to Business Intelligence to advanced workflows.

Many of these components moved to other Microsoft 365 services (for example: Power BI and the Power Platform). SharePoint provides out-of-the-box apps to deliver solutions for companies.

SharePoint provides out-of-the-box apps to deliver solutions for companies.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of companies who are still very focused on building custom solutions within SharePoint. This isn’t necessary anymore and shouldn’t be the default.   

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