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Sharepoint's Business Value And Evolution To Team Sites

By Jason “JD” Duigou, CIO, Medxcel Facilities Management

Jason “JD” Duigou, CIO, Medxcel Facilities Management

SharePoint On-Premises

For more than a decade, many companies have adopted a SharePoint on premises solution to meet various functional uses. Common uses range from basic web-enabled file sharing to corporate intranet with sites and sub-sites. Some have adopted SharePoint because it was in vogue and heavily marketed. This has often led to underused and misunderstood solutions that bring into question the true value the business is receiving in return of the investment.

Some implementations have stretched SharePoint to the limits. These involve large infrastructures, highly customized coding, teams of developers and administrators, third-party add-ons, and mountains of data. The fall out is often misaligned supportability with vendors and high costs of contracted partners simply to run and maintain the environment.

“No matter where you are on the continuum of SharePoint usage, it is important to understand the value the solution is providing and what the business needs moving forward”

No matter where you are on the continuum of SharePoint usage, it is important to understand the value the solution is providing and what the business needs moving forward. Maintaining the status quo is no longer an option. For businesses to truly thrive in the global economy, they need to change to remain competitive. IT solutions such as SharePoint need to enable the business to succeed and that drives the need to question what’s next.

SharePoint On-line Value Proposition

SharePoint on-line is part of Microsoft’s O365 hosted solution. The value of SharePoint on-line is cost savings, ease of access and tight integration with the O365 suite. This environment is great if you wish to leverage many of the out-of-the-box options that can be configured. SharePoint on-line will be a significant challenge if you are living with a highly complex customized environment. For some, the prospect of being free of the tedium of chasing patches and releases alone is reason enough to move. Cost savings of not having to maintain the infrastructure, hardware and software adds validity to the possibility of pursuing SharePoint on-line.

Maturation of Cloud-based Tools for the Enterprise

Organizations are now seeking nimbler solutions with rich features. As options are explored, cost savings and IT efficiencies should not be the only factor. It is important to focus on delivering value to the business through tightly integrated solutions that are easy to access and use. Thus, an increasing number of companies are taking a hard look at enterprise cloud-based solutions.

The decision to potentially move to a cloud service should not be taken lightly. The key is taking the time to acquire the data to make informed decisions ensuring the appropriate level of due diligence and risk management. It is important to understand the business problems that need to be solved to appropriately right-size the investigation.

While not a new concept, only recently have cloud providers began to deliver enterprise-focused solutions that better address legal, compliance, and true single tenant privacy. Offerings are beginning to legitimately address these concerns while delivering highly available and redundant solutions. Subscription-based services are readily consumed on various platforms and the cost per person is hard to beat when looking at Return on Investment (ROI) and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of on premises solutions.

Business Engagement and Cultural Shift

When considering SharePoint on-line, there is an opportunity to change perception of IT by actively engaging the business by understanding their needs and show the value of the solution. Active partnership helps drive positive cultural change by challenging old ways of working. The newer workforce generation comes into organizations with an incredibly high level of social interactions via various solutions in the consumer marketplace. This group often feels stymied by outdated longstanding traditional IT solutions. They are attracted to companies who are agile and provide solutions to enable them to not just deliver the norm, but thrive, grow, and add value. Organizations who have an agility-based culture that buy into true business and IT partnerships will readily seek out solutions to enable their workforce to work more efficiently and effectively.

Microsoft Team Sites SharePoint Killer?

In cases where the IT and business relationships are strong and positive, they are better positioned to review new solutions–not because they are new or hip, but because they add value to the business. Such an opportunity comes into play with the advent of Microsoft’s game changer– Microsoft Teams in O365. This chat based workspace enables real-time collaboration in a frictionless way. Teams is fully integrated into the familiar office suite within a single user interface giving it a leg up on adoption. One approach to see if Team Sites will add value to the business is to try it out once it becomes available to the public. The business opportunities that this new powerful tool can provide to your teams will be self-evident. Only time will tell whether Microsoft Teams will be the SharePoint killer or not.