Often, businesses will start small with their Microsoft SharePoint 2010 deployment, refining the platform’s capabilities before extending into the broader organisation, be it different departments or diverse office locations. While an expansion can help a company boost collaboration among remote offices, an unruly deployment can lead to a SharePoint environment that is unorganised, unusable and uncontrollable for the IT department.

As globalisation continues to be a major industry trend, organisations are looking to collaborative platforms such as SharePoint to vastly improve the transparency and availability of critical business information for geographically distributed workers.

SharePoint projects often begin with a successful deployment in a single location. This may be a trial run at the businesses’ headquarters, or at a satellite office to run one capability such as a local intranet site. Once the deployment has been implemented and successfully governed in line with established business objectives, there is often demand to expand the environment – whether to more business units or office locations – to improve cohesion and consistency throughout the enterprise.

While data synchronisation is crucial to standardisation, the way in which data is classified and structured in SharePoint should not detract from the local autonomy that helps satellite offices operate effectively. To minimise difficulties when using SharePoint across numerous locations there are key considerations which businesses should consider:

Saving money

When it is time to expand SharePoint deployments to include geographically dispersed office locations, it is essential that content migration, synchronisation and restructuring can happen as simply as possible. SharePoint’s out-of-the-box features can make these processes extremely labor intensive and manual in nature. By automating parts of the expansion, IT departments can dramatically reduce the time spent overseeing the move, reducing budgetary requirements and downtime for end users.

Protecting data when migrating to SharePoint

As data is moved across to SharePoint, it is crucial that the entire environment, including all farm components, content and customisations, are backed up in case an error occurs during migration. Without this backup, any document that becomes corrupted or accidently deleted during the move can be restored to its original state, potentially saving significant business downtime because of a damaged file.

Tracking movement

As SharePoint usage increases, particularly among global office locations, companies should take the opportunity to evaluate how the platform is being used. By gaining full visibility of user access privileges and tracking movement through the entire deployment, businesses can strategically plan future usage of the platform as well as comply with regulations and best practice protocols.

Reporting difficulties

Proactively examining crucial site metrics – including number of users, sites, site hits and search efficiency – allows for a detailed audit that can address weaknesses such as a poorly managed storage system before it seriously affects business continuity. Spotting these problems early will also help in the planning process for further expansions, showing businesses where they will need to invest extra time in order to ensure a seamless transition for end users.

Using a third-party solution, businesses can take full advantage of their SharePoint investment, overcoming many of the challenges found when expanding the deployment. By automating common procedures, creating valuable backup systems and visualising the SharePoint environment, businesses will be able to deploy the solution quickly and safely, helping to improve cohesion and consistency across office locations and enabling an integrated enterprise community despite the location of the workforce.