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This last couple of months has been interesting.

The craziness of the SharePoint cosmos is beginning to reach a new plateau if some of the project conversations I have been having recently are anything to go by.

Something has to give, surely.

All technology projects have issues, it’s a fact of life, painful as it may be. IT projects in particular seem to have a magnetic quality, attracting all manner of issues into their Gantt charts.

I would like to think I was a knowledgeable, capable consultant with a reasonable experience of implementing enterprise class solutions into organisations of many shapes and sizes. I’m not cheap to hire and so would take the reasonable leap of assumption that clients bring me in to add value that my credentials and experience suggest I will bring to the table.

So why do I find myself having the same conversations with clients where they want to challenge everything? I’m involved in several projects at any given time and currently (with the exception of one at an insurance firm) every step of the way is being challenged with “do we really need to? do we really need this? can’t we do it this way?” discussions.

Now I’m all for being challenged. We should all, when requested, be prepared to justify decisions regardless of their nature, but clients seem to be increasingly looking for answers that are contrary to those on the table. I’m not talking about wanting to save money or reduce project timelines, that’s the norm. I’m talking about clients increasingly being convinced they know better.

I’m increasingly convinced that the issue with SharePoint projects is the “home brew” factor.

In the main, enterprise class technologies are just too darn complex for organisations to self-deploy. It’s pretty rare to see a self-built SAP implementation, right? Organisations will have skills in-house sure, but even large organisations rarely have the specialist capabilities to design, deploy and manage the complex solutions that are in use. That has always been the domain of the contractor/consultant vendor and partner communities.

There is so much content out there on the intertubes (plus the self-empowerment hype from Microsoft), organisations truly believe that they can home brew SharePoint and get the most out of it. Rarely will this be the case. Heck, a large number of the home brew solutions I see barely tick-over, let alone enabling the organisation to get real benefit from the platform.

So for today, if I ruled the world of SharePoint, I would introduce licenses.

Not software licenses. Licenses. You would need a license to deploy SharePoint.

You need a license to get married, have a dog, own a gun, drive a car or to watch TV; I reckon you should need a license to design, deploy and maintain SharePoint.

A “License to Skill” if you will.

Just Saying.

more to follow…