You've just been told that you need to cut 20% of your budget immediately. As you walk from that meeting to your office you are keenly aware that the smiling people you see in the hallway will not all be here next Friday. Your organization is way beyond deadwood layoffs and is cutting right straight to the bone. This time you are going to lose critical players the organization depends on day in and day out.
Just as the shock of the meeting wears off and the sick feeling takes hold of the pit of your stomach, one of your knowledge workers comes into your office. With a big smile the knowledge worker pitches the need to step up the SharePoint project, and goes on and on about the need for something called Governance and Taxonomy planning. If only they knew how tough things really are...
Why is SharePoint a good idea during an economic downturn, and why is Business Governance And Taxonomy Planning a good, solid move during times like these? Forget all the technical talk, the buzz words and the raw enthusiasm of technical people with a potential new toy. You know and I know that, especially during a downturn, there are no technical issues or decisions. There are only business decisions. Some decisions will lead your organization to survival and some will lead to disaster. A really astute decision will lead to your company excelling even in tough times, but what are the key strategic factors in making these decisions?
SharePoint isn't just a new toy, it is a tool that can help your company be more agile while being more strategically focused at the same time. Think of it as a replacement for Microsoft Windows. Windows has been a great platform and as such most of the technology decisions have centered around it over the past ten years. The problem is that Windows is older now than DOS was when it was retired. Windows is a good tool but its is at an end. When DOS was at the end of its useful life, Microsoft introduced Windows 3.X which installed on top of it. Windows started out being a program interface tool that extended the life of DOS. Over time DOS was absorbed into Windows. The same thing is happening now. SharePoint is a virtualized program interface that installs on top of Windows and is used within Windows. Over time Windows and SharePoint will be merged together. The days of doing your work on physically located desktops is pretty much coming to an end.
SharePoint can be thought of as a series of shared desktops (sites) that house highly intelligent folders (libraries). These enable people from various locations to work together on a common desktop and manage themselves. The libraries then provide for document management, tracking, approvals, security and many other highly effective and powerful capabilities WITHOUT IT ASSISTANCE. IT manages the overall environment but it is the end user that manages and controls the individual libraries, sites, publishing sites and workspaces.
SharePoint also adds the incredibly useful ability to track information no matter how or where it is used by recording metadata and metrics. This means that you can have dashboards, audits, and reports provided for you that help you make better, faster and more informed decisions.
The biggest value-add for attending one of my workshops is that SharePoint requires a collaborative business planning and business governance approach if it is to be successful. In order to take full advantage of SharePoint you need to provide maximum tactical freedom to you knowledge workers. At the same time, you need to articulate the policies and processes that you will use to manage and lead such a rapidly evolving and adapting information organization.
The answer is to provide a simple structure or taxonomy of business policies that can be implemented in SharePoint. These then allow the knowledge workers freedom to act tactically using SharePoint, and the policies help provide boundaries, accountability and focus for their ad hoc actions. Sound slippery? It is a new management concept to support an entirely new class of technologies, of which SharePoint is the first contender.
So here is a list of concrete reasons to continue with your SharePoint deployment, but to first attend one of my Governance and Taxonomy workshops. By the way, in order to make this easier on your budgets I've now rolled out a "Public Workshop" that provides open enrollment. You can send one person to the public workshop and they will come away with the tools they need to begin your Governance and Taxonomy planning process. The first is in Sacramento, but I am planning to roll out similar workshops in the major regions around the U.S.
Here are concrete business reasons to roll out SharePoint, under the guidance of a Governance and Taxonomy Workshop, especially during a downturn.
SharePoint can capture intellectual property that would otherwise be lost.
- Survival in uncertain times will depend upon an organizations ability to rapidly adapt to new circumstances in the market. SharePoint, IF DONE RIGHT, provides agility while also keeping a strategic focus on the organizations goals. (this is, by the way, what my workshop does. It helps you decide where and how you can be agile, and where the strategic directives of the organization must be enforced in SharePoint).
- Economic downturns generally lead to an increase in litigation between companies. People aren’t paying on time, corners are cut and companies take higher-risk approaches to compliance, competition and everything else. SharePoint can help limit legal discovery so that the specific parameters of the court are executed in a document or records center. Open-ended legal discovery can be economically devastating.
- With travel budgets cut or eliminated entirely, SharePoint provides an effective collaboration medium for geographically-dispersed teams of information workers.
- SharePoint improves interoperability between line of business applications so that those applications operate more effectively
- SharePoint delegates most routine day-to-day site and document administration tasks out to the end user. This reduces the burden on expensive and highly trained IT workers to provide busy-work support tasks like building new sites, customizing sites, setting workflows and approvals, and branding.
- SharePoint makes use of the skills your employees already have. It has borrowed its key architectural patterns from PowerPoint, Word, Excel, Windows and Outlook. So it has a very fast learning curve.
Please feel free to contact me at email@example.com for more information about the workshops
©Copyright Mark Ragar Schneider, 2009 All Rights Reserved