The vast majority of businesses are using some sort of SharePoint solution in their organization. It may vary from SharePoint foundation to SharePoint enterprise, or 2007 to 2013, or on-premises to online, but its probably there. Depending on the IT organization, the decision makers may not even know the business owns the platform.
But, what if your organization does not have SharePoint? What if the current deployment leaves much to be desired? At some point, as a content owner or department leader, you will need to plead your case with management to invest the time (and quite possibly money) to get your project going.
Below are some approaches that I find work well when communicating the value of SharePoint to an organization.
- Find and define a use case that solves an existing problem (preferably for management) – Focus on a process or procedure, preferably around a document, that exists today. This type of solution can quickly show the benefits of document metadata, version management, transparency into process, and automation – all things SharePoint does well. A common one is a policy and procedure review. If the solution addresses the decision makers problem, the likelihood of committing will be much higher.
- Make sure that “problem,” doesn’t attempt to solve the worlds problems – Organizations have all sorts of process problems and inefficiencies. Do not take off the SharePoint training wheels attempting to build custom applications and LOB integration into SharePoint. I have seen countless SharePoint initiatives fall flat because people pick the hardest things to do as the first engagement.
- Communicate the value for other areas of the organization – If you are able to show value with solving a problem or know of another area that has been able to do the same, communicate the value the same types of solutions can have within several departments. Any business unit has document workflow, collaborates, and needs to find things – SharePoint is a single tool that can make that happen easier. When management hears ‘reuse’, they hear ROI.
- Use the Out of the Box functionality as much as possible – While communicating the value of SharePoint, it is important to focus on the out of the box capabilites that it does well. There are 2 reasons for this:
- For your first solution, simpler means there is less chance it will break and be perceived as reliable.
- It is important to not oversell the solution so expectations are correctly set.
- Request a Customer Immersion Experience (CIE) session – CIE sessions are a fantastic way to introduce management to not only SharePoint, but the entire Microsoft stack. They are interactive and specifically designed for adult learning, promoting conversation and discovery. A certified Microsoft partner has the capabilities to facilitate a session on-site or virtually for you.
- Hire an expert to get you started – We have all probably seen or heard the following quote – “If you think its expensive to have a professional do the job, try hiring an amateur.” With SharePoint, this is especially true. Engage with a SharePoint consultant to understand the recommended practices, governance, and implementation methodologies. Insist that knowledge transfer is part of that process. Early success on a ‘phase 1,’ will promote the platform and encourage investment into the toolset.
To find out more about this or other ways that RSM can assist you with your SharePoint needs, contact RSM’s technology consulting professionals at 800.274.3978 or email us.