SharePoint planning tips – Part 1

One of the most powerful features of Microsoft Office 365 is SharePoint Online. But before you jump in and configure your new SharePoint site, it’s worth taking a step back to do some planning exercises.

SharePoint has the ability to provide a technical solution to business problems. Constraints within the business, when broken down into their components, are usually comprised of issues relating to people, data and process. With this in mind, configuring a SharePoint site can be seen as an opportunity to address constraints and improve process.

SharePoint can provide much greater insight into the through-put of the business. By moving the management of processes and projects into SharePoint, you begin to create a wealth of data that can easily be sorted, filtered and analysed.

SharePoint planning exercise #1:
Problems you have, results you want.

The exercise…

Get your key stakeholders together and:

  • Write down any high level business goals and any particular factors that you believe are preventing the business achieving these goals.
  • Write down the areas or processes in the business that generate the most waste; things take too long, take too many people, or result in a lot of errors or duplication.
  • Make a list of all the paper forms that you use to capture and transmit information. Focus on those forms that are always falling through the cracks. What impact does this have on the efficiency of the processes they relate to?
  • List out the activities that your key people do on a daily basis. What activities do you want your team to be doing more of and less of?

The outcome…

This exercise is aimed at identifying constraints within the business. Understanding the factors that contribute to time and productivity wastage is a vital first step in process improvement. It’s also essential that your SharePoint platform acknowledges the bigger picture goals of the business so that any value it delivers is well aligned to these.

SharePoint planning exercise #2:
What should it “blank”?

The exercise…

Ask the following four questions of your stakeholders:

  • What should it do?
  • What should it solve?
  • What should it improve?
  • What should it enable?

It’s at this point that you may get a lot of value out of engaging a SharePoint expert with business and technical analysis capabilities. Fully understanding the capabilities of SharePoint is key to unlocking its potential as a tool for improvement and productivity gain.

The outcome…

This planning session will give you focus and clarity on the solutions you wish to build into your SharePoint platform. From here you can begin to explore which solutions can be provided “out of the box”, which solutions can be delivered through existing SharePoint apps, and what you may need to have custom built to solve your specific pain points.

Our next article or two will cover off on additional planning sessions we recommend for anyone considering how to unleash the full potential of Microsoft Office 365 and SharePoint Online. In the meantime, for more information or a free consultation, you can visit our Microsoft Office 365 page or call 1300 766 554.

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