In this blog post I wanted to explore the business case for collaboration, and the circumstances that have changed over the last 3-4 decades which make collaboration such an important vehicle for driving value for organizations. I will reference several sources for this article and welcome any comments. My goal is to explain concepts clearly so you can have better conversations within your organization. Continue reading
When you look at utilizing SharePoint within an organization, there needs to be shared understanding around four questions, which will enable you to steer the usage of SharePoint to support the business and help drive value.
- What is the future state you want to achieve and what does it look like?
- Why did you choose that specific future state, as opposed to other options?
- Who will do what to get you to that state?
- How will you get to that state?
Running a SharePoint Deployment is Complicated
SharePoint provides unique challenges because the application can morph into something completely differently than you originally planned. The application’s greatest strength – flexibility – is also its’ greatest challenge. The following is taken from Lynn Warneke’s article on nothingbutsharepoint.com…
Welcome to the final part of the Driving Business Value with Enterprise Collaboration series. Here’s an overview of the series:
- Part 1: Examine how the changing workforce is a driver for enterprise wide collaboration
- Part 2: Understand the business value of collaboration (how can it help our company)
- Part 3: Set the direction for enterprise wide collaboration (how we align employees)
This article will look at implementing collaboration projects by utilizing a framework to manage and measure collaboration. If we take a step back for a second, the reason for this series was to look at where enterprise wide collaboration can possibly take a company and why the need has emerged.
Part 1 of this series looked at the changing workforce and why collaboration plays such a critical role in making your most important employees more productive. Part 2 of the series explored how collaboration can add value to your company. In this article we will examine how to set the direction for companywide collaboration to support an important business driver for your company.
In part 1 of this series we explored how the changing workforce, and the work we are performing, is driving the need for improved enterprise collaboration. In this article, we will explore how collaboration adds value to a business. As I stated in the series overview, these articles will pull content from many different sources, so I hope it acts as a concise reference for you to speak about collaboration in terms of a way to add value to your business.
Within this article, I will:
- Provide a definition for internal collaboration
- Discuss how collaboration adds value
- Identify how to achieve strategic benefits with collaboration
- Identify the different types of collaboration
- Help you identify where your company is within the collaboration life-cycle
Many companies are currently examining how collaboration, and more specifically social networking within the enterprise, can increase productivity. There are many reasons why – globalization, new ways of working within and outside of your company, emerging Web 2.0 technologies, and the shifting demographics of the workforce to name a few.
In this article, I am going to focus on the changing workforce. An article entitled, “The Next Revolution in Interactions” from the McKinsey Quarterly 2005 November Number 4, examined the rise of the tacit workforce.
The premise of the article is simple – the way we work is changing and it has a dramatic impact on performance. We are becoming a workforce that is more and more focused on tacit interactions, rather than transformational or transactional interactions. The workforce now consists of people who largely or wholly spend their time interacting.
In this 4-part series I will be focusing on a strategic implementation of enterprise-wide internal collaboration to support the corporate strategy and top business priorities. This entails a top-down approach to collaboration. I will not be dealing with ad-hoc collaboration solutions (which can provide a lot of value) in this series. In order to embark on an enterprise-wide collaboration initiative, we need to look at the following components:
- Examine how the changing workforce is a driver for enterprise-wide collaboration
- Understand the business value of collaboration (how can it help our company)
- Set the direction for enterprise-wide collaboration (how we align employees)
- Utilize a collaboration framework to manage and measure collaboration (how we implement collaboration)
In the first article I will look at the outside forces affecting companies. I will:
- Examine the typical business drivers for enterprise-wide collaboration, and focus on how the workforce is changing
- Explain why collaboration tools play a critical role in improving the productivity of your most important employees, and
- Discuss how Web 2.0 technologies provide new capabilities to improve the productivity of your employees
In the second article I will examine how collaboration can help companies. I will:
- Define collaboration
- Discuss how collaboration adds value to the business
- Point out the different types of collaboration
- Identify how to achieve strategic benefits with enterprise-wide collaboration, and
- Provide a tool to help you identify where your company stands in the life-cycle of collaboration
In part three of the series, I will look at aligning employees. I will:
- Look at what it takes to set the direction for enterprise-wide collaboration
- Walk through how to properly align your collaboration vision with the business vision and strategy
- Showcase a way to identify where collaboration will have the biggest ROI
- Examine how to set collaboration priorities to properly align people’s activities, and
- Speak to the power of adopting an evolutionary collaboration strategy
Finally, in the last article, I will look at implementing enterprise-wide collaboration. I will:
- Look at implementing a collaboration framework to manage and measure collaboration
- Explore what it takes from a people and culture perspective, a process and governance perspective, and finally a technology perspective
These articles will pull content from many different sources, so I hope it acts as a concise reference for you to speak about collaboration in terms of a way to add value to your business. As always, please feel free to post a comment, or share the article with colleagues of yours if you find it valuable. Your feedback is always appreciated.
In a series of articles I wrote entitled, A Process to Showcase SharePoint’s Value to Your Organization (Part 1,2,3), I walked through the process of easily displaying the different business processes that SharePoint supports in your organization. The whole intent of the process is to get visibility with management to show how SharePoint has been used to support the business.
This is needed because in most organizations SharePoint is introduced via a bottom-up approach, largely driven by early adopters, without a direct connection to the corporate strategy. This type of ad-hoc utilization leads to fast adoption rates at the lower levels of an organization (people that are closest to the business processes of the company) but not much visibility with the executives – because there is no connection with the corporate strategy and the top priorities of the company.
Eventually, SharePoint’s growth gets management’s attention when they realize there is a lot of mission critical information residing in the system. Then attention is usually focused around how best to control the application (governance) to ensure data can be recovered in a timely manner.
I think the majority of companies are missing a terrific opportunity when they reach this stage. They should turn their focus to determining how the company can better leverage collaboration to drive business value.
Article 3 – Map SharePoint Usage to Your Business Process Map
Create a High-Level Business Process Map Diagram (Process Framework)
In our last article we examined how the Value Chain can help you see your company from a wider perspective and better understand the types of business processes (Core, Primary and Support) your company performs to add value.
In this article, we will walk through creating a Process Map Diagram and how we will use the diagram to visualize SharePoint’s value to the company.
Article 2: Understand Your Corporate Strategy & Your Business Processes
Understand Your Corporate Strategy
In order to better understand your corporate strategy – and how you can map the usage of SharePoint to that strategy, you need a basic understanding of the Value Chain. The Value Chain was first described and popularized by Michael Porter in his 1985 best-seller, Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance.
Dr. Porter states every company has a Value Chain – how you create and sustain value as a company. Every firm is a collection of activities that are performed to design, produce, market, deliver and support its product. All these activities can be represented using a value chain (pictured below).