An Insight into SharePoint and its Trends

Steven Sherkanowski, President & COO, Akumina
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Steven Sherkanowski, President & COO, Akumina

A Brief Overview and the Market Trends

What we are seeing is Microsoft is fully committed to SharePoint and how it aligns with the cloud and Office 365. For many CIOs we work with, they are looking more holistically at providing an engaging employee experience and see SharePoint as one component of a multi-dimensional Digital Workplace. As they look at all of the business systems that their employees need to engage with, whether they are Office 365 cloud business systems (SharePoint, Yammer, Power BI, OneDrive, Office Video, etc) or other enterprise business systems (SAP, Salseforce.com, etc...), they are less concerned about a single application focus, on just “how does SharePoint fit into my strategy” and more interested in how they bring all these business systems together in a way that is purposeful and intuitive for their user’s unique tasks and use cases. 

Increased Adoption of SharePoint

We see the opportunity for all Office 365 business systems to get better adoption including a huge growth potential for SharePoint. Providing a more intuitive user experience is the key to user adoption. To get there, organizations will need to stop thinking about these technologies as individual business systems, or silos, and start to think about how they bring them together in a way that can abstract the business user from the complexity of those systems.

Challenges in Moving Towards SharePoint

SharePoint has a reputation for getting in its own way. Remember you should not focus on the technology but more on the problem you are trying to solve with technology. SharePoint is a very powerful platform that can be customized to solve a lot of problems, but can quickly become very difficult to navigate from an end-user perspective. If you are looking to provide a more engaging, collaborative, mobile experience, you should focus on the user experience across the multiple business systems they work with (guarantee it will be more than just SharePoint). If your launch plan requires extensive user training on multiple business systems, you have already failed.

  Businesses should be looking for a scalable Digital Workplace that will not only fit their current needs but will grow along with them as their needs change 

Technological Needs and Consumer-like Experience

Technology is needed to accomplish our daily work tasks. When you look at it through the lens of how the user will engage with the technology it becomes more about aligning to the individual use cases allowing the technology to assist without getting in the way. By consolidating multiple technologies and displaying just the right information to the user in the context of each task, they are working on, you will deliver a significantly more engaging employee experience. Think about it like this: You should be able to provide your employees a way of working with the most complex enterprise business systems similar to how they work with apps on their phone. That is the consumer-like experience they are looking for. No training required, they have a task and there’s an app for that. With this approach we are seeing significant increased adoption of SharePoint and advanced workloads in Office 365, from our clients.

Advice for the executives

When thinking about your SharePoint strategy, think beyond SharePoint. Focus equally on the other Office 365 systems (Yammer, OneDrive, Office Video, etc…) and the enterprise business systems your employees are using, or trying to use and how you can provide better user engagement across those systems. Digitally transforming your business, while removing technology as a barrier, will have a tremendously positive impact on your corporate culture.

Additional Insights

We believe that the world of computation is moving towards a new ERA. We all came to age in the era of the mainframe computing. We saw how that era moved to the PC and then came along the era of the device. Now we are experiencing the era of the cloud. That cloud is more than just moving your datacenters from on premise to in the cloud.

On the surface the cloud supports the world of mobile, making your data accessible any time, any place, and on any device. But at a deeper level the cloud supports services that otherwise would either not be affordable by a single business or maintainable. Services such as Artificial Intelligence on top of that data will provide the ability to deliver insights into the data and drive the user’s experiences and productivity. New cloud services that will emerge over the next several years will provide those businesses with a competitive edge over those businesses that failed or delayed their adoption to the cloud.

Best Methods for Implementation

Businesses today are looking for increased collaboration, productivity and improved engagement with their employees. That has typically been the driver for implementing SharePoint. They have a high priority on both employee and knowledge retention and simplified access to information and applications from anywhere and on any device. Unfortunately, when attempting to solve this problem with SharePoint alone, their users are left trying to navigate the complexity of SharePoint. To achieve this, they need to look beyond SharePoint and think about their entire digital transformation journey. The modern Digital Workplace and enterprises moving to the cloud is all part of that same movement of Digital Transformation. SharePoint becomes only one piece of a Digital Workplace. These businesses should be looking for a scalable Digital Workplace that will not only fit their current needs but will grow along with them as their needs change. If you can empower your users to accomplish their daily tasks without the need to become experts on all the various business systems they need to engage with, or better yet, keep them out of those systems completely and provide them with a consumer-like experience, you have broken through that glass ceiling.

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