The Value of Experience

Experience counts, especially in a fast changing world

Who Knew SharePoint Could Do That?

This blog is a copy of a Tip of The Month that I wrote for Abel Solutions, Inc.

Since the beginning of SharePoint, Abel Solutions has been involved with many implementations of intranets, extranets and company portals.  Now, we are seeing more and more companies take advantage of the complete platform and extending it with third party add-ons to develop real and impactful business solutions.

Just because you have an intranet site built on SharePoint and you are using team sites to manage projects, does not mean that you are reaping the full benefits of the platform.  In this month’s Tip of the Month, we will provide a list of creative business solutions that take advantage of the power of the platform.

So what’s next?

Now that you have your basic SharePoint implementation up and running, what is next for your organization?  How can you best take advantage of the SharePoint platform and third party tools?

If you’ve been reading these SharePoint Tips for a while, you know about SharePoint’s Four Promises:

  1. Enable Collaboration
  2. Find and Use Knowledge
  3. Streamline Processes
  4. Manage Business Performance

Let’s look at #3: Streamline Processes.  Sometimes it is hard to understand the full potential of SharePoint, so here is the matrix of solutions we developed in the past year or so that highlight the Process improvement capabilities of SharePoint.  The implementation of third party tools such as Nintex and KnowledgeLake super-charges the process improvement impact.

Now, take a look at the solutions below.  Those solutions with detailed case studies are underlined. By what others have done, you will better understand the potential value of the platform.

Project

Impact

Third   Party Tool

Customer Feedback System System used to capture and manage  customer feedback.  Improved timeliness  of customer response. Out of the box
Preferred Vendor Program Automated process of capturing  compliance documentation, along with vendor on-boarding. Out of the box
Consultant On-boarding Process Reduced time to on-board consultants  for growing global consulting firm. Nintex Workflow
Contract Management Workflow Improved the contract approval process  for large health care company. Nintex Workflow
Management of Change Automated the management of change  process for a large company. Nintex Workflow
Re-engineered Process for Capture and Retrieval of  Contracts Elimination of paper documents while  improving staff productivity by enhancing capture and search of over 500,000  new documents per year. KnowledgeLake
90% Reduction in Time to Produce Complex Report Report production time reduced by 90%  while increasing granular control over data. Nintex and custom development
Improved Production Release Process Utilizing calendars, linked lists and  document sets, developed consolidated process to manage system changes at a  large financial institutions system Out of the box
Improving Regulatory Compliance Improved capture and dissemination of  regulatory requirements, thus streamlining the process Out of the box
Capital Appropriations Request Process Consolidated global capital  appropriations approval and reporting process, providing for a single view of  the global capital projects for the first time InfoPath and Workflow

Three Things You Should Do Next

  1. First, realize that SharePoint is more than a collaboration platform.  SharePoint is an even more compelling process improvement enabler with the addition of the Nintex toolset.  How do you know what can be done?  Review the examples of what other companies have done.  Also, whenever a challenge within your organization arises, consider SharePoint as a possible solution. As head of an IT for an international company, I had such an occasion when the VP of manufacturing said the he needed to develop a customer feedback system. We looked at our ERP and CRM systems, but quickly realized that we could develop and implement the system within our SharePoint environment more quickly and with less effort.
  2. Next, realize that the true payback in a tool such as SharePoint is when it is used to enable business improvement. It is all about the business value that is created. Identify potential areas of improvement and garner the business’s support.

    Often times the IT department is aware of the potential, but needs the support of the business to move a project forward. For one of our clients, we knew the potential of dramatically improving contract document processing, using the KnowledgeLake imaging solution. It took a partnership of the IT department and the business to ensure the project was not only approved but successfully implemented.

  3. Prioritize and pick the opportunities that:
  • Have the needed business support including the budget AND the commitment of personnel resources.
  • Meet a true business need and provide the most visible and impactful business solution.
  • Can be implemented quickly and with the least effort.

It is more and more important to realize the business value as soon as possible. No longer is it viable to have year-long projects. Try breaking down your project into successive increments of functionality. Remember that the success of a project diminishes with increasing complexity and scope.

NOW, go forth and take advantage of the true potential of the powerful platform in which you have already invested, and in the end you will be saying: “I knew SharePoint could do that!”

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This entry was posted on June 30, 2013 by in SharePoint.
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