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The complexity of technology in an enterprise creates difficulty among the employees and users. It comes with several challenges including limited availability of mobile tools, bad usability, multiple logins, functional overlap of tools, and lack of integration. With a digital workplace strategy in place, these challenges can be mitigated by providing a holistic and people-centric approach to support digital working.

Internally at nicheBees and our client’s site, we have been using SharePoint as a platform to provide internal facing tools and resources. We have worked to establish the proper governance of SharePoint, created value by developing many tailored applications on top of SharePoint, leveraged out of the box features, and customized page templates and master pages to create an engaging user experience.

  1. Governance
    SharePoint is a very powerful platform that can support numerous internal needs. At the same time, it can quickly become out of control without proper governance. Determining which team should own SharePoint can be challenging because there are many departments in the organization that have a vested interest in the operations and strategy of the SharePoint implementation. Effective governance can help answer this question and ensure your intranet implementation is setup for success. Also, it would ensure an implementation that is driven by strategy and the needs of the business
  2. Enterprise Products
    One of the pillars to successful SharePoint implementation is using it as a platform to customize enterprise products. Ones such product include: Intranet — Corporate intranet is the starting place for many users. When they open a browser, the landing screen is the intranet homepage. This strategy has facilitated effective employee communication and collaboration.

    • Document Management – There can be a customized portal specific for managing documents. This portal uses out of the box SharePoint functionality including tagging documents with metadata, versioning, workflows, and advanced permissions
    • Team Collaboration – With a geographically diverse workforce, collaboration has become more important to productivity. To facilitate effective collaboration, SharePoint can be integrated with other Microsoft collaboration tools. Teams can share calendars and documents in team sites or have group conversations in embedded Yammer groups
    • Enterprise Search – Search is one of the most used tools on the intranet. By indexing both SharePoint and third-party content repositories, we can bring information to users in a single interface. Search can be optimized by making use of the content type hub and managed metadata in the term store
    • Mobile – To help meet the growing needs of a mobile workforce, internal mobile apps can be built. The app doesn’t need to be specifically built on SharePoint but can use the SharePoint environment 
  3. Customizing Out of the Box Features
    Too many times, companies look at SharePoint and take it at face value. They look at SharePoint as a place to manage documents, calendars, and task lists. What they’re missing out on is the value that can be realized by utilizing the many features that are available through SharePoint out of the box or with minimal customization. Some of the out of the box features include:

    • Web Based Forms – Taking advantage of web-based forms is a low hanging fruit for any company. Many at times, employees are expected to complete a fillable PDF, print a document and return via email or fax, or any other number of inefficient processes. Using a web-based form sourced by a SharePoint list is an efficient way to collect information and improve internal processes with minimal development effort
    • Reusable Content – One of the ways to empower site owners to create aesthetically pleasing sites that meet style guide and branding specifications is by making them use reusable content. Reusable content is a simple SharePoint feature that allows designers to create reusable pieces of HTML and CSS that site content contributors can easily embed in their pages
    • Search Results Web Parts One can use out-of-the-box search results web part to pair content with custom display templates. Utilizing this functionality will decrease the dependence on custom development while providing seamless access to information for users
  4. Branding and Templates
    Using master pages and page templates, enterprises can make SharePoint fit their corporate branding guidelines and create an engaging user experience. People are often surprised to see that intranets are built on top of SharePoint because it “doesn’t look like SharePoint.” By having custom page template, we can enable site contributors to structure their sites to meet their content needs. The page templates are easy for any level of user to understand, so there can be many contributors with minimal training or support needs.
  5. User Experience
    Good usability and an engaging user experience are fundamental to the great adoption of SharePoint. With a team of creative thinkers that doesn’t feel “bound” by the typical SharePoint box, enterprises can ideate cost effective solutions to a wide variety of needs in the company. Enterprises can strategize and implement SharePoint to focus on meeting user needs. They can successfully create an implementation that helps offset needs for additional third-party products. The adoption of SharePoint can be wide only when organizations focus on staying aligned with their company’s strategies while addressing the needs of their end users.

Posted on – 18th April, 2018

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