Software cost reductions in a Team Site

SoftwareCostReductionsIn the series of “Do More With SharePoint-Examples” this time I will explain a process where a Survey saved our IT-department lots of time and effort. Technically/functionally it is one of the most simple, but from a change management perspective, and because the idea is easy to transfer to other organizations, I thought I’d share.

What was the problem?

Many employees had rather expensive Software X on their PC, and local IT wanted to reduce the licensing costs in their country by providing alternatives. There was a simple alternative of the software on every PC, or people could request a free open-source version with functionalities comparable to Software X.
Usually these projects were done by emailing back and forth with all users of the software, but with about 100 local users of this software, that was promising to be quite messy :-).

From a priority point of view, this project did not generate a lot of financial benefits, but since this was a regular action at IT (and worldwide) the project received a high score for “re-usability” and extra “intangibles” points because we wanted IT to become more familiar with the functionalities of SharePoint. It also scored well in “Required time investment” because it was easy to set up.

What is the solution?

We created a Survey in a dedicated subsite of the IT-Team Site, with 2 questions:

Upon clicking “Finish”, respondents arrived at a Thank You page, with information about the next steps.

IT sent an email with explanation to all users of Software X with the link to the survey. They set an Alert to keep track of responses.

What are the benefits?

First of all, no emails had to be received, opened, scored and filed. Every answer was in the survey, as well as the total number of responses.

Next to that, there was immediate visibility of the outcome. From the moment the replies started to come in it was clear that 30% of the population did not use the software at all, and that about 40% of the users was willing to try an alternative. That was such a good result that there was no need to challenge those people who really wanted to work with Software X. (Which was just as well, because some employees were upset or even angry when they received the email ;-))

The Graphical Summary gives a quick overview of results

Software X was removed from about 70% of PC’s and some open-source packages installed.

The local IT-manager was so enthusiastic about the ease and speed of this solution, that he decided they would repeat this yearly with Software X,  would repeat this with other expensive licenses,  and he shared his success with his international colleagues.

We showed them how to set up a survey themselves, how to lead people to a “Thank You page” and how to export the results after each project for archiving.

Well, you and I know how SharePoint can facilitate data collection in this way, of course, but for my IT-colleagues it was a welcome new learning!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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3 thoughts on “Software cost reductions in a Team Site

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