For those familiar with SharePoint, you know that your SharePoint platform can truly be the definition of a love/hate relationship. While SharePoint provides a fantastic foundation for enterprise communications and collaboration, the cost of maintenance, upgrades and the creation of custom business applications can create a worry of never-ending costs and effort to maintain SharePoint and keep it relevant to your organization.
It’s not just about setup and maintenance costs, you’ll need to find ways to encourage users to adopt the technology, using it. Moreover, you may never even reap the benefits; although Microsoft claims that two out of three enterprise workers have access to SharePoint, AIIM has stated that half of all SharePoint implementations are pursued with no business case being made to justify the investment, causing major challenges in user adoption. In some cases, organizations reach a point of total abandonment of the platform without ever realizing the many benefits SharePoint has to offer.
SharePoint intranets – full of issues, full of possibilities
In working with our customers, we have seen SharePoint present challenges, including:
- Poor planning
- Poor information architecture and farm structure
- Lack of utilization of the right features to solve the problems
- Disengaged employees
- Lack of business support (by leadership and/or key business units)
These issues all leave SharePoint collecting dust. But I’m alumni of Microsoft, I know the power and capabilities of SharePoint when it is leveraged to its fullest potential.
This gap between what SharePoint can do for your organization and the significant challenges around SharePoint business value and user adoption have created a major concern for communication and technology professionals alike. The question many organizations are asking is how to get the most out of their SharePoint platform – whether with in-house resources or external support.
Often times it comes down to improving SharePoint’s user experience (UX) both in design and functionality as well as leveraging what makes SharePoint great, like real-time collaboration. That’s where ElevatePoint comes in. We use what SharePoint does well and then enhance it to make it easier to use to increase adoption. We’ve heard from communications and IT alike, this makes their jobs easier.
We even have created features for communicators to extend SharePoint well beyond its goals so communicators can plan, publish, manage and measure their communication effectiveness. And we’ve managed to do all this while making IT teams happy; they can control the entire ElevatePoint intranet themselves during and after implementation.
Provide a good user experience (UX)
Countless articles have been written about the gap between the technology we engage with in our personal lives and what is offered in the workplace. Employees now expect good design and features that solve their needs.
Although SharePoint may not have the best UX, with companies like ElevatePoint, it can.
For example, intranet news can be consumed better using as a foundation how we consume news in our personal lives. By utilizing a set of advanced web parts that deliver news to your audience, enabling them to subscribe to news they want, but also receive news targeted to them.
It’s not just news. SharePoint intranets from ElevatePoint, for example, can have a good design that brings brand and culture to life – clean, simple, and elegant with your color palette and logos. It can even go beyond, too:
- Recognition areas where employees can give each other kudos
- Mega menus that provide at-a-glance context
- Search that actually works, finding people and things quickly and easily
- Mobile-friendly, designed to be used on any device, anywhere – including using search and collaborating
Engage employees, contractors, partners and everyone else
While SharePoint adoption statistics are disturbing by themselves, when you combine that poor adoption with recent employee engagement statistics from Gallup, you begin to see a clear picture.
According to Gallup, 2 out of every 3 employees are not fully engaged, costing the US economy somewhere in the neighborhood of $450-550 billion annually in lost productivity.
It’s no wonder then why organizations are exploring avenues to identify communication tools that can empower their employees to be more productive and better support the organization’s strategic initiatives.
At ElevatePoint, we’ve been helping organizations make the most of communication and collaboration tools in order to better empower and align their workforce. We strongly believe that one of the best platforms to achieve this is SharePoint. With real-time collaboration and team sites, it’s hard to beat. What SharePoint doesn’t do well is thread discussions, rating content, and engaging in it. That’s where we come in. We have threaded discussions across the intranet with the ability to share pages and news articles as well as rate them. Organizations tell us that’s a big advantage.
Active Directory enables you to handle permissions so – without extra work – you know how should have access to what information. That means your intranet can become an extranet.
Centralize communications and meet your communications strategy
We’ve been working with internal communicators for a long time and have some as employees. We know intranet news and intranet platforms are two vehicles used in communication systems. We also know how to leverage SharePoint to make it easier for communicators to be effective and efficient, including measuring that effectiveness.
With our products, you can easily plan, publish, manage and measure news and intranet content – without having to know complex systems or HTML. We have robust metrics that let you know – qualitatively and quantitatively – how your communications are going. That helps with understanding how your communications strategy is going, as well as what you need to do – leveraging more channels or contacting content authors to refresh their information.
It’s all about ROI – understanding it and proving it.
Target your audience, make it personal
It also makes targeting your audience easier. SharePoint, talking with Active Directory, has the potential to know who employees are, what their job title is, where they work, and what they need. ElevatePoint uses that functionality so communicators can tailor messages to their audience, answering the all elusive WIFFM (What’s In It For Me?). With that functionality comes the ability to:
- Notify specific employees or teams across your intranet
- Provide relevant news and information
- Understand how employees are, individually and collectively, engaging with information
- Reduce noise, including reducing unnecessary emails
News and intranets that know employees, without introductions, is our specialty. And when intranets are personal, users can add information to menus, items to the home page and more to make them more productive.
It’s really SharePoint + another solution, such as ElevatePoint
The value and importance of effective internal communication and employee engagement are a reality that every organization must face. SharePoint can be the platform to get you there. But it means you probably don’t want to use SharePoint alone.
ElevatePoint helps bridge the gap between IT and corporate communications to do just that. We’d love to hear from you as we continue to make this product better to meet your goals and needs!