SharePoint was originally created as a collaboration tool. It wasn’t intended to be a content management system, or a social media tool. These elements came later. SharePoint – along with it’s related Microsoft tools – is in a constant state of evolution; especially lately.
How organizations use SharePoint for collaboration also has evolved as new and different pieces of functionality have become available. Now our users can have near real-time conversation inside a document using Yammer. Teams of users can jointly edit a document. They can find internal experts more quickly thanks to robust profiles. Users from disparate locations can share photos, video and other multimedia supporting better decisions.
If we look at SharePoint as a business tool to drive relationship building, networking, collaboration, ideation, and task completion, it changes the way we approach our planning. It’s not just for communication. Furthermore, if we bundle SharePoint with the other tools our users need to get their work done, we are better able to deliver an integrated and hopefully seamless experience. That’s a digital workplace.
The role governance plays
Today I met with an organization that, while smaller right now, is growing quickly. Interestingly, they’ve established some governance for their team sites (private and secured to the team members), but not for the rest of the intranet. Moreover, they’ve not yet connected and integrated their varied tools to create one user experience.
As a result, they have issues such as these:
- Anyone who asks to have something put on the intranet home page, gets their wish granted without questions
- While they’ve started a taxonomy, they aren’t evolving it or responding to concerns from content developers
- They aren’t using profiles due to executive concerns about use of social media, which is hampering their collaboration abilities
- They aren’t using the real estate on the home page effectively
Having sound governance demands thoughtful strategy that connects to business goals. It gives the SharePoint team ammunition to support and guide their decisions. Governance also helps organizations prioritize and budget investments.
What’s got me thinking about collaboration and governance this week? I recently finished reading Geoff Colvin’s Humans are Underrated. I think it has tremendous implications for the work we do around our digital workplaces. More strategic governance and a focus on collaboration will help us take the intranet to the next level, which would support Colvin’s future workforce. Read more about my take on his book in another recent post on the topic.
Looking for a powerful development opportunity to light your SharePoint collaboration efforts on fire?
Join me in Chicago in April where I’ll be chairing ALI’s SharePoint for Internal Communications conference. It’s a chance to see what other organizations are doing to drive relationship building and collaboration, as well as, start some planning around what your organization will do. Register before March 1 to save $400!