Wednesday, December 19, 2007

“SharePoint for squirrels” demystified

I suspected that name of the blog might raise some questions as well as some eyebrows. One blog reader commented that the name of the blog may come from all the ”nuts working in the industry”. :-)

… he almost got it… just kidding.

The name actually does have a story behind it. After working for years in a comfortable office in the City, I decided that I got too comfortable and went to work for a consulting company. The very first project involved a large manufacturing company that was in the middle merging with another manufacturing company they had just acquired. Here we were the consultants in the middle of it all. I even asked my coworker, "If every project was like this one?"
Here is the best part: as part of our discovery process, we were interviewing business units and departments, but the first thing we would hear is “We don’t need SharePoint, we don’t share”… Great. To make matters even worse, at that time they would have farewell parties at least 3 times a day.

That quote (and the essence of it) has stuck with us. One of the company’s employees came up with a great analogy: before ‘SharePoint times’, everyone in a company would gather information from different sources and sit on that information like a squirrel on a pile of nuts, protecting it from other squirrels. Each squirrel would look at the other’s pile thinking, ‘Yeah, I need those particular nuts that the other squirrel has.’ But, no one would share.
My squirrel would have to gather its own nuts or try collect information from another source in its effort to reproduce the pile that its counterpart in the merge had. The point is - and I don’t think I have to explain it to you - each squirrel would end up with it’s own pile, and sometimes those piles were replications of others. Thus, all information would be extremely decentralized would have no authoritative sources. You get the point.
Sharing information benefits the entire company. Business units need to come out of their holes, stop huddling around their collected information and distribute it.
That's my view from the field (sometimes the battle field… kidding again, I still like it) and that is why “SharePoint for Squirrels” sums up this blog.

1 comment:

Bob the SharePoint NUT said...

Well said. Thanks for clearing that up :)