SharePoint & Microsoft Resources

Using SharePoint to Improve IT Service

Using SharePoint to Improve IT Service

SharePoint has been with us for a long time. But it’s now entering a new age in which it will become increasingly pivotal to almost everything we do. Many businesses are currently using third-party solutions to meet business needs that SharePoint is already very well equipped to meet. We look at how making greater use of SharePoint can enable a more highly integrated, secure, and manageable infrastructure that improves IT service.

SharePoint has been around since 2001, and since then it’s steadily evolved to become an increasingly important part of the IT infrastructure. But, in most organisations it still falls short of being the critical component it could, should, and will be.

We’re now moving into what Microsoft is calling ‘the age of SharePoint’, in which it will be the component that feeds everything else. Teams has already increased the importance of SharePoint, and Copilot will make fully functional SharePoint essential. Regardless of what IT thinks of Copilot, the clamour for it will soon make good data hygiene and information architecture critical. For more on this, see Why SharePoint data hygiene needs to be a high priority for IT in 2024.

SharePoint now boasts extensive and exceptional functionality. This offers IT leaders the opportunity to improve IT service, while increasing IT control, enhancing security, and reducing its management burden.

A Common Situation

Human Capital Management (HCM) solutions, such as Workday and SAP SuccessFactors, are now in widespread use. Perhaps this is the result of IT feeling that it couldn’t meet HR’s needs. Maybe it’s the result of a strong and well financed HR director wanting what others have. Or, a mixture of both. Regardless, IT finds itself with responsibility for a platform it doesn’t have skills in. One that also creates a variety of integration challenges and compromises IT’s approach to security.

Yet, SharePoint is a powerful platform for creating and managing workflow practises – and HR’s needs are essentially workflow management. SharePoint is already licenced, is a known technology, integrates seamlessly with Microsoft 365, and is very much part of IT’s security model.

But it’s not just HR where this is happening.

We regularly see something similar happening with Internal Communications (IC). Maybe IT’s version of SharePoint isn’t providing the enticing user experience employees want, so IC looks outside for a standalone solution. As with the HR solution, this sits outside the Microsoft environment, and this undermines security. It must also integrate with the content management system, typically SharePoint, that houses much of the content it references.

Whereas SharePoint already has all the features and capabilities to be an a dynamic and engaging internal communications platform – able to successfully promote collaboration, share knowledge, and further employee engagement.

We see this again with Line of Business people. They need a system to support their workflows, such as creating proposals, building project plans, organising resources, generating the right documentation, and more.

We know that SharePoint is a powerful platform for creating and managing workflows. It doesn’t bring with it additional licensing costs, nor any integration, security, and document management challenges.

Speaking of documents, SharePoint also has comprehensive document (and knowledge) management capabilities. So, if a standalone document/knowledge management solution is being used it begs the question whether this is really necessary?

In every instance, having a separate system is complicating matters for IT. Introducing unknown technology that affects support, provides ongoing integration issues, and compromises security.

IT Service and SharePoint

The ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) framework places a strong emphasis on IT being a service to the business. We’ve seen that there are several ways in which SharePoint can address common business needs. Each of these represents an opportunity to improve IT service: improving the alignment of IT’s service to the business’ goals and objectives, improving security, and delivering improved value.

Using a fully functional SharePoint, as opposed to a third-party solution, will also eliminate licensing costs and associated support costs.

Can you use SharePoint to Improve IT Service?

It may not make sense to replace existing third-party systems, so we suggest a quick and informal review of the current situation.

Are there third-party solutions in place to meet the needs of HR, Internal Communications, line of business processes, and document/knowledge management? If not, are these expected requirements that IT can lead? If there are solutions in place, how satisfied are the departments with what they’ve got?

Where there is a high level of satisfaction, you may want to leave well alone. But it is still worth considering whether the solution’s operational costs make it a candidate for change. You don’t know what pressures a future strategic or budget review might bring.

Although you may not have the expertise to capture business needs and do the necessary development work in-house, this is most certainly do-able. It’s something we regularly do for organisations you’ll know. As with many IT projects, it’s readily addressed by collaborating with an expert partner.

Following, your initial review we can help you to establish if, and how, you can use SharePoint to meet existing business needs more effectively. Whether they’re HR, IC, line of business, and/or document/knowledge management needs.

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