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Build a Return on Investment Strategy for SharePoint on a Foundation of Realistic Expectations

In a free webinar titled Webinar – No-code tools and solutions for SharePoint 2013 on-premise and online, Asif Rehmani presents a potentially promising new feature of SharePoint 2013 — Geolocation Site ZColumns. As Asif explains, these columns can be added to any site collection located in a SharePoint 2013 farm. Simply put, the open an opportunity to provide a location map for specific entries in a Shared Document Library, or rows in a SharePoint 2013 list.

But before stakeholders rush off and pay for the effort to add this functionality to SharePoint, it makes sense to get more of a sense of how else this same capability might be exploited. In fact, since SQL Server 2008, Geolocation has been an available option for databases built with SQL Server. As recently as January, 2014, in an article titled Geolocation sample end to end using Windows Azure Mobile Services, Nick Harris of Microsoft demonstrates how App developers can add places to maps via Bing Maps and “a Windows Azure Mobiel Services Backend” (quoted from Nick Harris’ article on the MSDN Code blog).

I’m not saying SharePoint 2013 stakeholders should not simply implement Geolocation Site Columns, where it makes sense, in their no-code solutions. Rather, I’m emphasizing the importance of implementing a truly useful notion of “where it makes sense” for a unique organization, given its specific culture, and requirements for automated solutions.

All of this type of decisioning, of course, can, and should be included in a Governance plan for SharePoint. After all, one of the most useful results of a successful effort to build a Governance plan for a SharePoint implementation, prior to actually commencing efforts on one, is to promote, or demote wish list features based on a reality check across the organization. If IT’s database team has already implemented Geolocation services for SQL Server, then it will likely make more sense to simply pull this external content into SharePoint 2013. Why replicate work already completed, when it can be simply pulled into SharePoint.

On the other hand, a successful effort to determine, conclusively, how adding this functionality to SharePoint 2013 can actually benefit an organization should not be passed over. As Asif Rehmani demonstrates in our free webinar, adding this capability is well within the reach of power users from LoBs.

Ira Michael Blonder

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