Experience counts, especially in a fast changing world
When Clinton was running for President, he had one simple phrase. “It’s the economy, stupid”. As a great communicator, he boiled down the current issues, at that time, to a simple phrase that could be understood by everyone.
With all the techno-babble about social media, big data,cloud sourcing, outsourcing, mobility, ubiquitous connections and other new age tools, we often forget why we get so excited about the current or newest wave of technology.
It is about the business value, stupid. That is, no matter how cool the technology, coolness does not put money on the bottom line. What matters is how the technology can be effectively deployed to enable the business to improve sales or improve operational efficiency.
Let’s look at SharePoint, one of the more popular technologies from Microsoft. SharePoint is a platform that enables the quick generation of a collaboration environment for sharing and distributing information across the organization. However, unless you are a large dispersed consulting organization, collaboration is not always the killer app.
There have been many instances where the IT department was enamored with the coolness of SharePoint and then used it to implement or replace their intranet. Then they are disappointed by the adoption rate and lack of identifiable benefits Adoption rate is dramatically improved when people have a reason to use the tool.
Yes, collaboration and information sharing can have an impact. Take for instance a large global media and licensing company. Sharing of best practices, collateral and a consistent process can have significant impact. However, SharePoint is much deeper and broader than a mere collaboration or portal system. SharePoint is a total platform that enables the quick development of business solutions with out-of-the-box functionality. This company significantly improved their contract management process, by scanning and indexing close to over five hundred thousand documents. The speed of retrieval of the relevant documents dramatically improved their customer service to their clients
Some of this out-of-he-box functionality may take a bit more work; however, such tools as Performance Point can drive improved business performance by exposing actionable business trends and areas of opportunities.
One of the more powerful sets of functionality is the built -in workflow foundation which enables simple to very complex workflows. Simple approvals and notifications can be implemented on library and list items. How many times have simple paper based processes bogged down due to the inherent inefficiencies of managing the flow of the paper? Look at some of the simple processes within your organization that can benefit from a dramatic improvement through the implementation of an automated workflow. One caution; do not just automate the existing workflow. Analyze the existing workflow to see where it can be enhanced or optimized, and then automate the optimized flow.
SharePoint’s functionality is broad and deep. Many organizations struggle with how to begin. Remember, “It’s the business solutions, stupid”. Take an inventory of “stuck” business processes, inefficient retrieval of information, and cumbersome exchange of key information processes. Pick the processes that can best be improved quickly and easily with out-of-the-box SharePoint functionality and then ranked them in order of business impact.