As we get further along into the IABC World Conference, we continue to hear some recurring themes and common challenges from the companies and communicators approaching our booth. We recently discussed some of these challenges of SharePoint in our blog post, IABC World Conference 2013 – A Communicator’s View of SharePoint.
SharePoint is a very powerful platform, used by over 100 million users worldwide, for business enablement, corporate collaboration, document management, social, data analysis, and more. Why then are so many users left feeling frustrated with such a popular and powerful solution?
We find that one of the key challenges to successfully implementing a useful SharePoint environment lies in how companies are classifying (or not classifying) and organizing (or not organizing) the data itself. While most organizations understand the value of getting data into a centralized location, many are left unsure about how to properly structure, classify, and tag the data to better enable business stakeholders to search, identify and report on the data they they and their colleagues enter. Fortunately, there are several effective activities that companies can undertake to address this challenge.
First, investment in a well-designed and agreed-upon information architecture can result in a much better structured SharePoint farm that makes navigating, finding, and using relevant information more streamlined and intuitive. Additionally, the creation of a rich, unified taxonomy of managed metadata that accurately reflects the business, and that is reusable across various departmental or line of business sites, can be of enormous value in classifying and tagging items, whether those be list items, documents, or custom entities. Finally, leveraging the tagging infrastructure across the SharePoint farm provides users with a consistent and familiar way to understand how items are classified and categorized as they navigate between sites that perform various functions within the enterprise.
ElevatePoint products are based heavily on the concept of robust classification. For example, news articles, communication plans, objectives and measures, ideas and campaigns, are all integrated with a shared taxonomy that associates region, location, department, news channel, and other general tags. If a user is looking for all news articles that relate to the North America region and the Finance department, finding those articles is a snap. If a user is looking for all communication plans that relate to social media strategy, the corresponding classification (via a tag) makes this a breeze. This approach also makes for some very interesting scenarios, such as adding ElevatePoint News web parts to another site within the farm, and granularly filtering news items to provide very focused, relevant news to a particular audience. Without great classification, these scenarios become difficult if not impossible to realize.
Of course, consistently and accurately classifying information does require an ongoing commitment from the business in order to realize the value, but for those companies that are serious about improving their SharePoint environment to be more usable and valuable to users, this is an essential element that should not be underestimated or overlooked.
If you’d like to understand more about how ElevatePoint products can help you better classify and organize your key communicator-related information, please contact us — we’d love to talk.