By Anthony Baratta
The first, and the most obvious, sign you are a SharePoint Expert is that you know exactly what SharePoint is and how to make it work for your business or clients. Makes sense, right?
So, let’s start from the beginning and SharePoint’s beginning was in 2001. Luckily no one expects a SharePoint Expert to have worked with SharePoint since its inception; however, what businesses do expect is that a SharePoint Expert have a well-rounded understanding of SharePoint and how it applies to their unique business needs. SharePoint, at its core, provides Corporations, Divisions, Departments, and Teams the ability collaborate and share data that is important to their own business functions. From a view via the trenches the information sharing features can be as simple as announcements, and tracking tasks/issues to multi-tiered workflow that routes and approves/rejects changes to documents or other files. While from the executive viewpoint SharePoint supports standardization of document tagging (and therefore streamlines searching), project collaboration, and records management. SharePoint can be installed on premise or licensed via a cloud service, and now supports a hybrid mode where you have features shared between an in-house and cloud presence. With SharePoint meaning different things to different teams of people, the SharePoint Expert needs to provide the right features for the right needs to increase productivity versus slowing the business down.
Now that you know a little more, you can use these 25 signs to spot a SharePoint Expert.
Know the tool set
- The number one trait is, a SharePoint Expert knows SharePoint is more than one tool; he knows, or at least is learning about, Yammer, BCS (Business Connectivity Services), OneDrive, Sway, and/or Delve; and sees it as a growing toolset for diverse businesses. An expert also knows that SharePoint does not exist alone and is also familiar with Microsoft Office, Office365, OneNote, and/or Visio. If you helped a client or colleague setup a SharePoint hosted MS Word or Excel document for sharing or collaboration you are one step closer to becoming a SharePoint Expert.
Business is the word
- An expert of SharePoint knows that her job is to solve business problems or provide better solutions to business issues. However, they do not disrupt the business’ critical reports, finances, or anything of that nature because they are outside the scope of expertise and need-to-know.
Provide a full package
- An expert knows from experience what type of SharePoint services the customer needs based on the type of business the customer has. An expert knows that different fields of business need different types of services and has the knowledge to tailor his services to almost any need.
Expert means listening to what a business needs
- Obviously, some consultation is necessary to define the needs of that business, but an expert will analyze and propose a custom-tailored solution for a business.
SharePoint is a business platform and not for everyone
- Closely linked to the previous two signs is the fact that an expert understands that SharePoint was conceptually developed as a business platform. This means that SharePoint functions at its best when it is used for a business structure, not as a household file system.
Different platforms for different solutions
- On-premises, hybrid platform, or cloud solution—an expert will know what they are and when they are useful.
SharePoint Designer for faster solutions
- An expert understands the different uses of SharePoint Designer & Visual Studio and knows that each one is designed to serve a certain purpose.
Freedom of use created with more than one tool
- An expert knows how to quantify the need for freedom based on the type of business and also knows which of the previously mentioned tools works the best for the level of freedom needed. (For example, SharePoint Designer provides a faster but more limited solution, while Visual Studio takes more time but gives the most freedom of choice.)
Three tiers to define the type of SharePoint expert
- Something that only a SharePoint expert will understand is that out of the three types of development (e.g., development speed, plurality of solutions, and freedom), only one will be her specialty (even though they will be able to work in any of the three).
Good or bad? No, just optimized for each case
You are starting to get a picture of what an expert does, so let’s proceed for more insight into what this position entails.
Coding is fun!
Not just Visual Studio, maybe Notepad and a lot of code
- Coding is not a problem, and an expert has a strong understanding of what programming is and how to use it. Implementing XML and HTML is child’s play, and an expert definitely knows when .NET coding is appropriate.
Solution development does not get harder depending on the platform
- An expert knows that SharePoint Development is just as hard (or just as easy) as developing on any other platform.
Well-built platforms provide many possibilities
- Experts know that a well-built SharePoint business solution is easily maintainable and does not require full regression testing every time you want to update (contrary to popular opinion).
Knowledge in all three tiers but only one specialty
- Years of experience in SharePoint makes an expert better at some types (or tiers, if you will) of development, like SharePoint Design or any of the three.
Specialization in one tier makes an expert better than knowing a little of everything
- An expert knows that being a master of all three tiers of business solution development is impossible, and he specializes in one while having knowledge of the other two.
You did that!
- An expert takes pride in her work because she knows the work benefits businesses and helps them thrive.
No imaginary bugs and no solutions for imaginary problems
- An expert will never try to find a problem with a business where there is none; his job is to implement solutions.
More than a job
- An expert does not believe that being an expert of this platform is only a job—she sees the activity as a business improvement tool that helps people communicate.
- Although an expert knows terminology such as CSOM functionality, REST, and SPServices, he can simplify it so everyone understands.
We are down to the last 5 signs, so open your eyes wide and keep on reading!
When to say no
- One of the most important of the 25 signs of an expert is that she knows when to say no if the business does not actually need SharePoint.
Utility is key
- An expert is a critical thinker and knows what solution to propose to the business because he has researched and knows how to reuse appropriate existing development libraries.
- SharePoint experts usually have overlapping skills in different domains (social media, marketing, etc.), and this helps them to better understand the needs of the business and implement tailored solutions.
- A SharePoint expert juggles metadata, versioning, workflows, approvals, contracts, and companies with ease and never tries to implement solutions the client doesn’t need.
Out of the box before going in
- The most important sign of a SharePoint Expert is the fact that she looks for out-of-the-box solutions before jumping into development. An expert understands that implementing unneeded solutions can hurt rather than enhance functionality.
You can never be an expert of SharePoint if you only call yourself an expert.
Have another sign to add to the list? Do not hesitate to share with us your favorite signs in the Comments below. And, if you need to talk to a SharePoint Expert, please use this online form to set up a meeting with us or call us right now at (510) 652-7700.