As we network with our colleagues, partners and friends, we realize that we all have the same needs within our organizations when it comes to communication, information sharing and process improvement. Some of these needs are:
- Central document repository
- Single source for information
- Email reduction
- Paper reduction
- Workflow automation
These needs and many more have prevented companies from realizing their full potential. They find themselves unable to address their needs, either because they are not sure which solution will work best for them, or they do not have the resources necessary to focus on developing a solution.
As a project manager with TecFac, I have had the opportunity to work with multiple applications that, in one way or another, address some of a company’s needs, but not all. However, the one application that has the potential to meet each need is SharePoint.
In the past, SharePoint has been known to be clunky and not very easy to use. Microsoft has greatly improved it over the years. Today, it is easy to use, extremely customizable and does not require a huge investment. Once you have the program, you can even build your own intranet for the business.
Some intranet solutions built to sit over the top of SharePoint, like Sproket, can leverage existing SharePoint functionality and provide enhanced flexibility and simplicity.
Here’s an example of how we helped one client use SharePoint to address their needs:
Before we engaged in the project with our client, they conducted a multi-day session with a focus group to determine what issues they were experiencing and how they would like to see it improved in the future. After we engaged with our client, we used this information along with conducting our own analysis to prepare the business requirements document (BRD) that would later be used to develop their solution. This type of analysis is extremely important in any project. Without having a clear vision and knowing exactly what the needs of the company are, any solution that is developed will not be beneficial.
During the analysis phase, we determined that the best solution for our client would be to use SharePoint Online. SharePoint Online is customizable, includes many of the features we needed such as document management, social networking and workflow automation, and also eliminates the need to purchase and maintain the infrastructure required to support it.
We reviewed the BRD with the stakeholders to verify that we interpreted their needs accurately and were on track with what they needed. Thereafter, we partnered with RETransform, a business solutions provider and skilled SharePoint developers, to build an intranet site according to our specifications. We used the agile method to develop the site, which gave us an opportunity to see the product and make changes early rather than waiting for it to be complete.
The first part of the SharePoint intranet has now been released. It primarily focuses on the Human Resources department and the Benefits Enrollment period. SharePoint has made the enrollment process seamless for the associates and eliminates some of the manual work that has been required in the past. This, however, is just the tip of the iceberg. Once complete, they will have a fully contained intranet where they will have access to everything they need on a daily basis, including other 3rd party applications.
With SharePoint’s flexibility, any organization can use it to meet all their needs, from document storage to business process automation. Additionally, with the ability to use SharePoint Online, it makes it affordable for both large and small organizations as it eradicates the infrastructure overhead costs. SharePoint Online is also available as part of Office 365, where for a low monthly cost, companies can host their e-mail, files, SharePoint sites and have the ability to integrate with Lync, Microsoft’s Voice over IP (VOIP) telephony platform.
Take a moment to think about your organization’s needs and compare those with SharePoint’s features. I believe you will find that it will meet your needs and much more.
Our project managers and solution experts are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and tools necessary to help you meet your goals. We have worked on several SharePoint projects, from company intranet sites to an asset management platform, and would like to partner with you. Contact us at 301-960-0495 or [email protected] for more information.