Image by: SIphotography, ©2016 Getty Images

I find it interesting that so many organizations using SharePoint have not explored it fully as far as its capabilities. When it comes to following the Microsoft Roadmap, nearly one-third of organizations see a move to the cloud/Office 365 as a strategic platform vision, while 22% see this as taking advantage of the latest SharePoint updates. Yet, a recent report by AIIM titled "The Impact of SharePoint - 2016" shows that 29% of respondents say they are "not aware at all" of what SharePoint 2016 offers and 43% say they are "somewhat aware."

In a recent report, AIIM surveyed respondents on their awareness of SharePoint 2016 and its stated enhancements.
AIIM Industry Watch "The Impact of SharePoint - 2016"

So, the question to ask is, "Why did you purchase SharePoint, and why are you not taking advantage of what it can do?" Additionally, ask, "How can you possibly maximize your investment?"

Consider this
Perhaps the answers are hidden in the fact that organizations report their SharePoint implementations are not a success (40%), according to this same research study. The reasons cited for this are:
  • Inadequate user training (67%)
  • SharePoint is hard to use (65%)
  • Lack of senior management support (64%)
So, if users are not trained, and not using it, and senior management is not fully committed, it stands to reason that there will be a diminished interest in expanding SharePoint and exploring how much it will offer. It is easier to go find something else.

What to think about

If your SharePoint deployment is stalled, or failing to add new value, identify the reasons and develop a plan of action to resolve them. Confirm with senior management what role SharePoint plays in the organizational strategy for enterprise content management (ECM), document management (DM), records management (RM), and collaboration. Then focus on those areas and plan and budget for training and system enhancement.

If you feel that SharePoint is not the best-suited approach to meet your business requirements, seek third-party add-ons that will enhance your SharePoint environment, remembering that users still need to be trained, simplicity is key, and senior management must be there in support—not just lip service—in order to succeed.

In my view
SharePoint has a lot more to offer than most organizations realize. The fact there is a lack of awareness is an issue, but one that can be overcome. As a vendor, Microsoft must have a clear message on the functionality and business benefit it delivers. As a customer, there should be a commitment to seek the latest information and education on the product purchased.

Is SharePoint the perfect platform? Perhaps; perhaps not, but until you understand it, how will you know?

Bob Larrivee is Vice President and Chief Analyst of Market Intelligence at AIIM and an internationally recognized subject matter expert and thought leader with over 30 years of experience in the fields of information and process management. He is an avid techie with a focus on process improvement and the application of advanced technologies to enhance and automate business operations. Follow him on Twitter @BobLarrivee.

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