SharePoint is a powerful tool for improving communication and collaboration within a business, but many SharePoint implementations fail to take hold. A common culprit is the way the portal is deployed.
Unlike other IT systems, SharePoint cannot be designed, deployed, and mandated by the IT department alone. Each department or group must embrace the technology and apply it to their unique business problems.
After implementing SharePoint, the IT department is no longer the sole source of technology solutions for the organization. End users and site administrators can help themselves to solve their own problems with SharePoint solutions.
Editing SharePoint pages does not require a technical background, and simple tasks like uploading documents and creating new calendared events require no training at all.
While companywide SharePoint solutions, like adopting the portal as a document management system, can impact the entire organization, much of SharePoint’s value comes from the contributions of the individuals, addressing problems that only they can see.
For example, the Accounts Receivable department may be able to decrease overdue payment delays by better organizing their collections calls. The Human Resources department may be able to simplify management of vacation requests by creating a form. The warehouse may be able to better share documents and information between shifts with a calendar and document library.
The role of IT in SharePoint Solutions
That is not to say that the IT department shouldn’t be involved with the application. They will of course need to maintain the site and pursue organization-wide changes.
A carefully designed SharePoint governance policy (negotiated with the IT department) will prevent site sprawl and duplication of content. IT also, usually plays a role in generating site taxonomy and determining site branding.
Not to mention that SharePoint is an excellent tool for simplifying IT Help Desk Ticketing, sharing information with internal customers, and addressing other IT communication issues.
Solution in search of a problem
SharePoint has been accused of being a solution in search of a problem. This criticism may not be fair.
No one buys a hammer with a specific nail in mind, but once you have a hammer in your pocket there are all kinds of nails to bang. SharePoint is used in a similar way.
SharePoint is a tool that has a wide range of applications, some of which are only visible to non-technical end users. Organizations that embrace SharePoint see their return in a variety of ways that are difficult to anticipate.