sharepoint introduction - step by step to success
The complete replacement of old systems may work technically, but often fails because of the human factor
// Digital Transformation, IT Technology Consulting, SharePoint
Microsoft SharePoint has been a synonym for contemporary collaboration for several years. SharePoint is used to manage projects and coordinate tasks. Social networks are served via team websites and personal websites, discussion groups and blogs enliven in-house discussions. SharePoint content management is used to manage documents, user-adapted search functions make company data transparent and last but not least, complete processes or business applications are controlled with SharePoint. A super-functional application that promises to restructure the entire corporate communication. Many companies are trying to implement these diverse offerings in a "big bang" and replace their existing applications. However, success often fails to materialize and the introduction of SharePoint fails due to resistance within the organization. A gradual introduction of SharePoint and replacement of old systems is the more cautious alternative, which often brings more success and gradually changes corporate communications.
SharePoint is often introduced in companies with a so-called "Big Bang". This means that an entire system, such as the existing intranet, is completely replaced by a new system at a clearly defined time. Depending on how such a big bang is approached, it can happen that the new SharePoint solution is not accepted as expected by those responsible for the introduction.
Imagine the following scenario: A core team is working on the new SharePoint solution. This often includes IT employees and possibly key users from the business departments. After some time and a lot of work, the solution works technically, has been approved by those responsible and is ready to go live. Whether the solution also works as originally planned from the user's point of view is often only revealed to those involved when it goes live. The risk of non-acceptance is thus reduced to one point. This can lead to frustration on both sides.
Of course a Big Bang introduction can work. However, it should be well planned and, above all, well marketed internally. Constant communication, regular exchange between the project team and the users and the generation of added value for all those involved, as well as training, are crucial.
A STEP-BY-STEP INTRODUCTION OF SHAREPOINT MUST ALSO BE WELL PREPARED
In contrast to the Big Bang, the introduction of SharePoint is iterative, i.e. the introduction in several smaller steps, e.g. department by department. The advantages of this approach are, above all, manageable budgets and higher acceptance through gradual familiarization of the users. In addition, tangible results are achieved at an early stage. In this case, too, the focus must be on internal communication and added value for the end users.
PROCESS OPTIMIZATION: YES OR NO? SHAREPOINT IMPLEMENTATIONS MUST CONVINCE THROUGH CONCRETE BENEFITS.
The introduction of a SharePoint can only work well if its introduction solves a real problem for the users. Only then do they use the SharePoint willingly and of their own accord. Whether or not a process should be optimized within the framework of a SharePoint introduction depends on the overall picture. Process optimizations are especially useful at so-called bottlenecks. Bottlenecks are those points where processes come to a standstill and subsequent work steps are delayed as a result. Even if the process has been improved at another point, the overall speed of a work package is still delayed by this bottleneck. Such optimizations then lead to more work packages than before accumulating in front of the bottle neck. For this reason, it is particularly important to first understand and map the current process and then examine it step by step for bottlenecks. Iterative adjustments can be used to determine which optimizations provide the company with the greatest benefit, and from then on processes can be streamlined and fine-tuned.
A SHAREPOINT IMPLEMENTATION IS NOT A PURE IT-PROJECT
Many SharePoint implementations are initiated by IT and are driven by the idea of implementing what is technically feasible. In such a scenario, the users are the beneficiaries who are offered improved working conditions. Some users, however, see it quite differently. If the project is only driven by IT and the desire for change does not also come from the business departments, acceptance of the new environment can be very low and the project can be severely impaired as a result.
Each department has its own individual way of working and sees the benefits of a system from its own perspective. In order for an IT-initiated SharePoint project to be successfully implemented, a maximum of communication, empathy and time is required to incorporate the wishes and interests of the business departments. This is best done right from the start.
THE NOVENTUM PROCEDURE MODEL FOR THE ITERATIVE INTRODUCTION OF SHAREPOINT PROJECTS
noventum has developed a process model that is useful as a first blueprint for an iterative SharePoint introduction. This model is based on various project experiences and is adapted and refined individually for each new project.
First the project team is formed. The initiator of the SharePoint introduction looks for natural allies for the project and forms the core team with them. This ideally consists of: IT, business departments, users, sponsors and internal corporate communications. In the first place, requirements workshops with the business departments are held to discuss and understand the current status. Afterwards, solution proposals are developed together. Here, the above-mentioned "bottlenecks" are in the foreground, the elimination of which can considerably promote the acceptance of the entire project.
It is often the case that the departments do not know the SharePoint in detail or not yet, so that it is unclearwhat possibilities it offers. For this reason, noventum consultants like to work with prototypes. This means that a solution that is not 100% complete, but which can already be used in a previously agreed functional scope, is set up in a test environment. Depending on the customer's needs, this can be a project workspace for team collaboration, the representation of workflows, processes or others.
The creation of a first prototype is usually completed within a few days. The prototype makes it easier for employees to understand how SharePoint behaves and whether the implemented solution makes sense. Through the operation it becomes quickly recognizable what works and what should be further adjusted.
It is important to understand that this prototype initially only addresses the underlying core problem. In subsequent iterations it will be further developed and accompanied by solution workshops and test phases. The idea here is to ensure that, in addition to constant use by the core team, key users and, step by step, end users are also included in the process so that their ideas can also be incorporated.
Training and detailed information for all employees (not only those initially affected) help to ensure that the current benefits (bottlenecks!) and future possibilities for use become known throughout the company. If the first step of the SharePoint implementation is a success and is willingly and voluntarily described as such by those involved, the next step can come. Sponsor and business department can book the SharePoint introduction as their success, as can the IT managers, of course.