Your SharePoint Investment: Don’t Leave It to Chance

Scott Gracyalny, Managing Director Software Services

If your organization is like most, you probably have at least one installation of SharePoint. Chances are, it’s running your intranet, or maybe a document sharing system. Maybe users love it. Maybe they don’t. Perhaps you could be getting a better return on your investment. If your organization is like most, you have no way of knowing.

We know this, because you told us. According to the results of a just-released Protiviti survey, 95 percent of companies that use SharePoint say it is an important collaboration and communication tool for them. They even give it a high level of importance (7.4 on a 10-point scale). And yet, 90 percent said they don’t have a formal way of tracking how employees use SharePoint (user adoption). Half rated user adoption as only fair or inadequate.

These numbers point to a lack of a cohesive, constructive SharePoint adoption and governance strategy. The reasons are varied, but may stem from the fact that, more often than not, SharePoint enters the organization as a point solution – either direct from IT, or by the request of a department with a specific use in mind.

From there, the road to enterprisewide adoption is typically a winding path, with additional applications being added from the bottom up as users learn of, and request, expanded functionality. Most commonly, SharePoint evolves from a content storage tool, to a tool for business intelligence using all that newly accessible data, before moving on to more complex and mature collaborative workflows.

This evolution doesn’t have to be left to chance – and it appears, you agree. More than two-thirds (69 percent) said additional training would improve user adoption.

A clear strategy can make a big difference. By tying SharePoint use to specific business goals and working with users to develop and adopt processes utilizing SharePoint’s untapped potential, companies can get much more from their SharePoint investment.

We’ve seen clients put SharePoint to work in a variety of critical processes, including automating contracting and sales, and to facilitate risk and compliance workflows. Workflow capabilities are native to SharePoint, but often require third-party assistance to configure properly.

Of course, as with any proposed change, change management is key. Users need to be engaged early in the planning process to ensure that any new processes will truly enhance their experience and not just create more work.

For every organization that has made the investment in SharePoint, I recommend taking a hard look at how to maximize it. In fact, I think this should be a number one SharePoint priority. Complementary third-party products can also be leveraged to enhance or extend SharePoint functionality. Most organizations would be surprised by how much value SharePoint can deliver with sustained attention to the issues above.

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