“I’m an Expert”

Many people claim to be SharePoint experts. I myself have used the phrase, “Yeah, I’m a SharePoint expert”, and not only in videos where I’m making fun of myself. But, I also realize how dangerous it can be to call yourself an expert at anything. It paints a grandiose picture of you being a person with the highest qualifications and the ability to assist the non-experts. As it turns out, calling myself a SharePoint expert is a bit of a fallacy.

I am actually an expert in SharePoint ECM and Information Architecture. But, if you come to me expecting help in building a public facing website out of SharePoint, I’m sorry to say that website is going to suck. I can tell you about the tools, because there is some overlap, but I’m CSS challenged and I simply can’t claim to know how to make SharePoint great for Internet sites. If you want a Taxonomy in MMS, records management, and content types, or you want to know the best way to lay out Sites and Libraries– I’m your man.

This eco-system makes me a bit nervous, because you might think with my deep knowledge of a particular portion of SharePoint, I can solve all of your problems. I’ve seen this happen A LOT. Which is why I’ve decided to set the record straight: Non-experts beware, not all SharePoint experts are created equal!

SharePoint is a multilevel platform, there is the platform itself ( IT People ), the applications built on-top of the platform ( SharePoint Experts ), and finally how those applications are consumed ( End-Users ). Because of this, it’s very hard for one person to be an “expert” in every aspect of SharePoint. Unless you’re an MVP or an MCM, you probably do not have a complete understanding of every facet of SharePoint.

Let me break down the high-level SharePoint areas of expertise:

  • SharePoint the Platform / Infrastructure
  • SharePoint as ECM: SharePoint as enterprise content management.
  • SharePoint as BPM: SharePoint as Business Process Management.
  • SharePoint as Portals/Team Sites.
  • SharePoint as Internet.
  • SharePoint as Self Service BI.
  • SharePoint as BI- KPIs.
  • SharePoint as BI-Data Mining.
  • SharePoint as Extranet/Intranet.
  • SharePoint web part and solution development
  • Knowledge Worker Training

All SharePoint experts do have a solid understanding of the tools used to work within SharePoint and the structure of web applications, but this does not mean they are a “SharePoint expert.” So, the next time you need a SharePoint expert, just make sure their expertise aligns with your project. When you need a Portal/Team Site expert, just make sure that’s what you’re getting and not the “SharePoint Expert” who really only knows BI.