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Clunky spreadsheets. Cluttered network drives. Unmanageable mailboxes. Issues that many businesses have in common.
It’s also important to point out that email, once seen as the saviour, is not a business process contrary to the way many might try to use it.
In the era of cloud-computing solutions like Asana and Podio have been quick to jump on the collaboration bandwagon – aiming to help businesses get organised and work better together.
It’s also something that SharePoint has been doing within bigger businesses for more than a decade.
Now that it’s available as part of Office 365, it’s certainly worth exploring this versatile system and how it can be adapted for a variety of tasks, from accessing information, managing projects and documentation and ensuring processes run smoothly – but needs to be properly configured depending on what tasks you need completed.
Very often the fact that SharePoint is so flexible, versatile and comprehensive is exactly what stands in the way of successful implementation. The key is to focus on where it can add most value.
Thankfully, we’ve prepared a list of the top three tips for a successful SharePoint project.
1. Identify relevant problems
SharePoint isn’t a system you can just install and use as a universal tool to solve all of your problems. Instead, locate an issue you’ve got within the business and use SharePoint to address it.
Some examples of applicable uses:
- Managing, maintaining and distributing documents. SharePoint helps retain consistency across projects and across a business.
- Submitting or approving expenses – using a system like SharePoint here helps to alleviate disputes and avoid issues.
- Developing a team workspace that can improve efficiency and customer service.
- Ensuring that people adhere to procedures and best practices by using workflow and document version control.
Use SharePoint on areas that will return a good ROI. Cheaper tools can be used on less profitable tasks.
2. Take inspiration from elsewhere
Because SharePoint is such a versatile tool that can be used in so many ways, it’s not uncommon to see it poorly implemented, or to see users confused and befuddled by it.
Instead, look at what it is you want to streamline or automate. Use this information to sketch out a logical workflow – charting the steps, gateways, data and documents that would be involved.
From here, you can look at examples online to help visualise your process and how you can implement SharePoint properly. For instance, a system that handles customer complaints most likely has common elements shared with a system that manages non-conformity in manufacturing.
3. Use a SharePoint Partner for better results
If it fits within your budget, it’s worth investing in collaboration with an experienced SharePoint partner. A skilled user of the system will be able to craft the perfect set-up for your requirements with input from you. You can supply the insider information on your business and your needs and the partner can expertly deliver the right package.
Manually installing SharePoint is simple enough, but trying to DIY and tailor it to your company can cause a lot of headaches. It’s more time-efficient to outsource the task, but first you must ensure you have a solid brief to avoid confusion.
An experienced developer can then tailor the system as required without worry, as they’ll already be familiar with any issues SharePoint can encounter. And the likelihood is that they’ve built something similar before.
If you run a business that feels chaotic or disorganised, a proper SharePoint solution can manage a huge variety of tasks in cost-effective way, with a far more diverse range of function than competing cloud programs and apps.
SharePoint should exist to help, facilitate and simplify. It should never be restrictive – so ensure you follow the steps above to keep the system relevant.