Exploring the Business Benefits of SharePoint

Has anyone at your business ever considered whether they were getting the most value from SharePoint? On its surface, this appears to be a ridiculous question. Why would a company implement SharePoint if they haven’t already determined its true benefits and overall value?

But in my day-to-day conversations with other technical and business people I am amazed at how often they are unable to identify and quantify the real ROI they see in SharePoint. Even more amazing is how many companies have not fully utilized their SharePoint environment to reduce overall business cost and increase productivity.

The technical specifics of SharePoint are important, but in this article, I want to share with you more about what’s typically missing from the business strategy of companies that use SharePoint.

Why Use SharePoint: A Vision…

On a Sunday back in the winter of 2009, I sat in my window seat, eagerly staring out of a 747. I was heading to San Francisco to attend my first-ever conference, VSLive.

At the time, I was working at a major cosmetic company. I was excited to attend the SharePoint classes that I had registered for: It was a relatively new technology stack within the company and I wanted to see for myself what SharePoint could really do for the company.

I was not disappointed. I left San Francisco with such excitement, a feeling that I had thought was long gone from my professional career. I was so eager to get back to the office to discuss this amazing tool with my team…only to be jerked back to the reality of my existence as a director in the Global Information Systems team:

[Executive Director – GIS]: “Sure, I have heard of SharePoint. I don’t see what all the fuss is about… We could do the same web pages within our own web farm. I think you are wasting your time.”

[Business Relationship Manager – GIS]: “It’s just too plain and ugly. I will never be able to sell this to any of my business clients.”

[Senior Developer – GIS]: “What’s the big deal? I don’t see it adding any value. It looks way too complicated to work in. I think Active Server Pages is a much better direction.”

The only person to show even a little bit of interest was the director to whom I reported directly. He didn’t know much about the technologies within SharePoint, but he did know that I was way too excited about this to simply ignore it.

He asked me to set up a short meeting for me to discuss this technology a little further. That meeting led to us engineering a SharePoint proof of concept (POC) for our senior management that would eventually become a core component within the GIS department. It would automate and streamline our new software development lifecycle (SDLC) processes and lead the way to the company embracing many SharePoint advantages, catapulting me to the prominent level of “The SharePoint Guy”. For the next eight years, I would spend much of my time at the company utilizing SharePoint as an amazing low-cost productivity tool. For those who would listen, I would improve many business processes and reduce their costs, but there were still too many sites within the company that were simple team sites with document libraries. I was just one person, swimming upstream to sell SharePoint to not only my business, but to the senior-most levels within the organization.

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