Archive for SharePoint Roadmap

Be Proactive

Are you proactive or reactive when it comes to SharePoint? 

In the classroom I often have students who are programmers, developers, system administrators, business analysts, or IT managers.  I always ask the question:

“What are you doing, or are you planning to do, on SharePoint?”

Many students don’t have an answer or a clearly defined need.  I ask, because as an instructor I look to emphasize topics during the training, and provide relevant examples based on students’ interests and needs.  Without a specific need, the primary objective of training for many students is to understand the capabilities of CorasWorks software so they can respond to questions and requests that come to them – they’re in a reactionary mode.  Why?  I hear several common reasons:

  • Nothing’s in the queue – no one’s come to us recently with a request.
  • We’re short staffed – we don’t have the resources to look for needs.
  • We don’t know what to ask – what are the right questions and who do we ask?
  • We don’t think of SharePoint as an applications platform, rather it’s an ad hoc collaboration environment that we support and don’t drive.

There’s nothing wrong with first understanding the capabilities of CorasWorks’ software to then see the possibilities for solving productivity challenges.  However when that knowledge is applied through a reactionary mode our customers miss a huge opportunity to get exponential business value from our software.  Let’s flip the common reactionary responses to a proactive mode.

Get things in the queue  Meet with functional teams, generate a SharePoint survey, set up a lunch-and-learn, or leverage the CorasWorks Cim product to capture and define the productivity busters in your business, where:

  •  Users can’t readily access information how they need it, where they need it.  This could mean sifting through spreadsheets on a local hard drive, or information stored in different sites and site collections, external databases like SQL, legacy DBs, etc.  CorasWorks displays and dashboards could be the answer.
  • Users need a visible and manageable process where one doesn’t currently exist or isn’t optimize.  CorasWorks actions can help meet common business process needs.
  • Users have communication breakdowns or delays, trying to manage correspondence and exchanges through email or meetings.  Manage the data in SharePoint and drive communication with email notifications.

Think Big, Start Small – Don’t overload a lean staff by opening the flood gates, rather look for one, or the next, key business challenges that can be solved on SharePoint with your current resource availability. 

  •  The repeatable and reusable component architecture of SharePoint and CorasWorks often means you don’t need to reinvent the wheel to solve “like” challenges. 
  • CorasWorks Solution Consultants can be used as a sounding board, free of charge, for guidance on how to best apply our software against a particular need.
  • CorasWorks Professional Services is also available to help, with short term or long term engagements when you need resources or expertise.  

Start asking questions -  The only dumb question is the one not asked.  This applies in the classroom and in the workplace.  Open the channels of communication.  Usually IT groups start with the areas of revenue generation, customer interaction, or greatest exposure and cost impact.  Key questions include:

  • Where are you lacking visiblity and accountability?  If you’re missing deadlines, or things are taking longer than they should, they could likely be managed better in SharePoint with CorasWorks.
  • Where do you spend time generating reports?  Could those individuals generating and viewing reports benefit from real-time reporting through chart displays and dashboards?
  • Are there common request that you receive, and updates you provide, where you and your requestors could benefit from a structured process versus ad hoc communications?
  • What cross functional activities do you own, or participate in, that would be better served in 24×7 SharePoint environment?

These are just a few of the questions to get the ball rolling.  CorasWorks has successfully delivered lunch-and-learns with our customers’ business users, in support of the IT group, to help ask the key questions and identify needs.  Email to schedule one today.  These can be done via the web or in person.

SharePoint is an application platform, but sometime it takes software like CorasWorks to help get you there to realize its value in delivering applications.  Many CorasWorks customers have dozens of applications on SharePoint, and hundreds of point solutions. 

  • We can help you think through the broader architectural questions, and how to leverage various capabilities to both deliver and maintain solutions.  See William Roger’s blog on Applications for SharePoint.  SharePoint also offers tremendous value as a collaborative platform for general use like basic team sites, which CorasWorks can extend and enhance. 
  • Stay tuned with CorasWorks v11.2 release that offers enhanced end user enablement like printing reports, modifying information displays ‘on-the-fly,”  preconfigured Widgets, default data displays and actions, and more to enhance general collaboration and applications.

Feel free to lean on us and our educational resources, support team, solution consultants, and professional services to help get you more proactive to meet individual, team, and organizational goals. 

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