DoMoreWithSharePoint: What do you need?

If you decide to save your company a lot of money by setting Sharepoint to work, you may want to set up a team and a process that makes it happen. Not convinced you need this? Come back to this Blog and read more examples ūüėČ

So, what are the ingredients for a succesful process?

1. People
Select one or more persons who combine a good business sense, process orientation and technological savvy. You do not need a programmer or developer; this is purely configuration which can be done by any Site Owner. The only thing is that a regular Site Owner does not have the time or the inclination to do this, because they have something else to do. They are also not intererested in investing in building knowledge about Sharepoint, because for them setting up their Site is a one-time thing only. It is you who will benefit from building knowledge about Sharepoint, your company and processes. It is you who will be collecting best practies for configuring Team Sites. It is you who will be able to copy sites for similar processes.  Read more on this topic.

2. Priority setting
You may become a very popular person in due course, so you may want to think about how to prioritize your projects ūüėČ Do you want to give priority to projects with large financial benefits, to projects which touch a global audience, or rather on projects which originate from your Board of Management?
I have used the following items to decide priority: Financial Benefits, Scope, Time Investment and Re-usability. Each incoming project was scored on these 4 items using a scale from 0 (least favorable) to 4 (most favorable). We also used a weighing factor to¬†make the Financial Benefits¬†leading. Adding up all 4 scores results in a number…the higher the number the higher the priority! Read more.

3. Process
Especially if you have a large team (and in my case, it was in two locations with the Atlantic Ocean between them) it makes sense to agree on a standard process to manage every project. We have used a fairly standard setup for IT-projects, except that the Site Owner will be responsible for managing and maintaining the Site. After all, this is just configuration and the Site Owner should be able to do that.
Depending on the type and complexity of the project some steps will be expanded or can be skipped, but having one setup greatly helps in managing expectations and ensuring a smooth flow.
Of course we use a Team Site to manage our process, and I will elaborate more on this later.

4. Project Management.
If all goes well, you will have a number of projects at any given time, as will your colleagues. How do you keep all those projects running without disappointing your business owners? How do you keep track of the project stage and any issues? How do you share knowledge with your team? I will tell you all!

5. Promotion
So you are ready to start? Great! And…who in your company is aware that you are doing this? Right, you may want to communicate your¬†services to your audience.
The business generally does not know how much you can do with Sharepoint. It is therefore¬†not ¬†likely that they will come to you and ask you to streamline an inefficient process. Your local IT managers may also find this a little strange and perhaps even threatening…you want to¬†discourage the business from asking IT to implement¬†new software.
So you may want to create your own promotion plan, to make sure you broadcast your services to the right people. I will share later what methods we have used.

If you like the idea, but do not want to wait until I have shared all, or if you want to implement this NOW, please contact me. I can help you to implement this in your business in 5 days max. And if you have questions or suggestions, please speak up!


Do more with SharePoint!

Every company has processes that are not yet in scope for its main ERP system, and some processes that will never be. These processes may be very inefficient or awkward, so people will struggle with them forever, or more likely, look for ‚Äúsome software‚ÄĚ that can help them.

That is not always necessary if you have Sharepoint, because you can do more with Sharepoint Team Sites than you think. Not only can you share and manage documents, agenda’s and announcements, but you can also do a surprising amount of process automation in a simple Team Site, and even better: all you need is some Sharepoint knowledge, common (business) sense and just configuration!

So, if you have people struggling with:

  • editing online Excel files that keep being overwritten or checked out;
  • spending two days a month sending, chasing, cutting and pasting 20 received Excel sheets to create the monthly report
  • a request approval workflow via email where everyone loses track of the whereabouts and status of the request

Read on!

In 2005, when we relaunched our Intranet, going from custom-built to SP2003 we noticed that we had tons of functionality and capabilities available, but that many of our users did not know about it, or did not understand how they could use the new Intranet for anything else than document sharing. So, as one of our marketing/promotion/implementation efforts, we decided to go out to the business and build their more complex sites for them.

In order to do this properly, we have set up a process to collect, manage, finish and support our so-called Business Solutions. It is basically a standard consultation and solution process, consisting of Intake, Proof of Concept, Development and Implementation.

Over the past 5 years, we have saved the company millions of dollars in productivity savings. This allows the business to spend more time on real value-added activities.

In the next few posts I will share more about the process and some real-life examples. I have not found many companies who do this centrally and in a structured way, so please let me know if you do!