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29. April 2020

Simplifying SharePoint For Project Management Success

Business IT is complex: fact. Unless you’re an expert – a senior developer, software engineer, or solutions architect – understanding how different software fits together is an unknown quantity.

The problems kick in when non-tech employees need to coordinate a new project, initiative, or collaboration internally. They often face a steep learning curve – particularly when it comes to using Microsoft SharePoint.

We first began to notice this was causing issues shortly after SharePoint 2007’s launch back in 2006. To counter this we’ve built an entire business model around reducing its complexity; so that its business case is clear and that anyone can use it – via a simple, intuitive interface.

A Software ‘Swiss Army Knife’

While an excellent tool in so many respects, SharePoint is a lot like a Swiss Army Knife. From a practical standpoint it’s a document management system that gives employees access to different pieces of information.

However, there are many definitions of ‘what’ it can do and a whole host of potential uses – from organising information in a centralised way to structuring business processes in a collaborative fashion.

Getting the most out SharePoint is an art in itself. One of its biggest benefits (and arguably its biggest downfall) is the fact it’s highly customisable. But it takes an expert to successfully organise information in a way that’s meaningful for business users.

Adding An Operational Layer

Another main benefit of SharePoint is the fact it’s part of Microsoft 365. This means it aligns with all Office applications as well as the software’s advanced compliance, security, and collaboration tools.

In a similar way to using SharePoint in isolation, Office programmes serve specific purposes. However, it takes time to understand how to mix them together – which can lead to confusion and frustration.

This is a real problem for a lot of project managers, who rely on being able to create extensive resources using a suite of different tools – before sharing them centrally.

What we aim to provide is a simple, accessible ‘business layer’ on top of these technical applications – providing organisations with a business application consistent with Microsoft 365 as opposed to standalone apps.

A Modular, Scalable Approach

Our solution is built with a number of modules. Take a project management department in a large organisation – which needs a system to manage each project, the workflows around it, the different stages, as well as all the documentation and communication.

We can deploy all of this much faster in a modular fashion – much more quickly than if a business was to create something from scratch using Office 365. The alternative would be to build something bespoke – which would sit in a silo next to Office 365.

Our approach is cheaper too, as there’s less time and effort spent on development – plus it’s easier to maintain as there’s no custom code to deal with. It’s also scalable. Once a single module is deployed in one department, it’s much easier to use our solution for various purposes across a single organisation.

We also put a structure on the unstructured. Lots of businesses have many different ‘soft data’ outputs – email, documents, task, workflows, alerts. We can align all of this in a way that’s accessible and coherent.

Delivering Value

Sectors that are document centric, information, governance, and process heavy will get the most value from our service. In addition to deploying solutions modules, users can plug in ERP systems and other third party software to ensure everything relating to a business’ operations is aligned.

We’ve had a good amount of traction with legal, financial, and professional services firms; as well as organisations operating in offshore and energy, public sector and NGOs, and the construction engineering industry.

Our solution is flexible, so it’s ideal for mid-sized corporate and enterprise customers. It can be applied to many different areas, including project management, case management, HR management, contract management, and quality assurance.

Ultimately, our aim is to take the technical complexity out of SharePoint, and deploy a viable business solution using a no-code approach, via an interface that end users are comfortable with, but can use to configure more complex information across numerous departments.

In this way, project managers can accelerate the way they create and deploy information, and give a more robust structure to different types of data.

Do you want to know more about WorkPoint Project Management, click here.