Collaboration is a Strategy – Part 2


In my prior post, I introduced the concept of Collaboration is a strategy, and how it needs executive ownership.  In this post I will discuss the importance of being able to map the solutions you build within SharePoint to the corporate strategy.

Sample Corporate Strategy
Here’s an example of a fictitious corporate strategy communicated to employees via the CEO (usually via a crafted email from the corporate communications department).  Usually the highest level objectives are shared:

  • Grow the Business 35% in the next 5 years
  • We Must Differentiate our Products & Services from our Competitors
  • Achieve Best in Class Customer Service
  • Lean our Business Processes

Very high level, strategic messaging.  What happens from these top down goals are where we can begin to map the solutions in SharePoint.  Executives in charge of each major department in the company have more detailed goals that map to the 4 example points above. 

Map SharePoint Solutions to Corporate/Department Strategy
If you are the SharePoint Site Owner for your respective department, you need to know what these department specific goals are.  With this knowledge, you will be in position to do a couple of things:

  • Develop a systematic approach to new SharePoint requests that results in a go/no-go decision, because the solutions need to map to business objectives
  • Communicate to your bosses the value the solutions in SharePoint are providing

Business first, technology second.  Justs because it can be done in SharePoint, doesn’t mean it should.

Collaboration Defined
Remember our definition of Collaboration from part 1 – “Collaboration is a business strategy – a way to improve the productivity of people and teams and accelerate the flow of information throughout the company.”  From our sample corporate strategy above, you should be able to map collaboration based solutions with two of the four points rather quickly:

  • Achieve Best in Class Customer Service
  • Lean our Business Processes

Mapping Examples
With SharePoint you should easily be able to improve the flow of information within departments, as well as across departments by making it easier to create, store and access information in a central location.  This will help decision makers have easier access to information – in turn helping to become more responsive to customers and improve customer service.

Another benefit to SharePoint is you can create areas to gather ideas from anyone in the company – which in turn can be designated as projects and in the end deliver new and better ways to run the business.  Wikis, Blogs, Discussion Boards, Custom Lists all provide ways to gather ideas from employees – to collaborate with one another. 

These ideas can be organized around continuous improvement – which is a component to leaning out excessive business processes .  Usually the people closest to the individual business process know the process the best.  Give these people an easy way to suggest improvements.  Then act on their suggestions.

Business First, Technology Second
As long as you understand the business objectives, you should be able to ensure that SharePoint is used in a manner that provides value to the business, and more importantly, showcase the value by mapping the solutions to your corporate strategy.

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