Will SharePoint 2016 allow users to get more from SharePoint?

SharePoint has been around since 2001, and was first adopted as a point solution – collaboration tool – to solve the document sharing challenges of project teams, as a stand-in to files-shares.

Today, despite increasing competition from consumer-style collaboration tools, such as Box, Huddle and Dropbox, SharePoint is positioned by many organizations as the preferred platform for digital collaboration in medium to large enterprises.

However, despite Microsoft’s best intentions with product support and evolution, not all in the SharePoint garden is rosy. It does lack a little when it comes to collaboration (compared with other tools).

Few would regard its mobile functionality as a strength, even with the addition of basic native mobile app support to SharePoint recently.

A further issue has been usage. Many enterprise software deployments can suffer from this, and SharePoint is no exception.

With the release of SharePoint 2016, Microsoft is hoping to address all these issues.

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The question is, how will it get on and how can organisations get the most from their SharePoint investment?

The state of the SharePoint nation

A recent AIIM study, ‘The Impact of SharePoint – 2016’, surveyed business executives about
their use of SharePoint, their understanding of SharePoint 2016, and future plans for the product.

The study found the major reasons a project stalled or failed was because of inadequate user training (67%), difficulty in use (66%), and lack of senior management support (64%).

Sharepoint had not learned from it’s mistakes in the past.

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Microsoft executives are now aware of the need to get users more engaged with SharePoint, placing internal training as the main priority or 58% of respondents, while 50% plan to update and enforce their Information Governance (IG) policies.

SharePoint 2016 and future plans

Microsoft’s direction for SharePoint 2016 is supported by market trends and does appear to be the ECM platform of choice for 35% of AIIM’s respondents, indicating that SharePoint adoption as the primary ECM system is a top priority.

So what does this mean for SharePoint 2016 and how will it play for the future?

Will organisations seek to leverage the enhanced capabilities of SharePoint 2016?

When it came to SharePoint 2016, research shows that only 43% of respondents are somewhat aware of what SharePoint 2016 offers, and 29% indicate they have no awareness at all, indicating a lack of communication, or certainly limited communication on the part of Microsoft.

While SharePoint 2016 is an impressive upgrade, it is concerning that people are willing to invest in it without a full understanding of what it can offer.

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For those who are planning for SharePoint 2016, indications are that they see this as following the SharePoint upgrade path (14%) or the Microsoft roadmap (11%).

15% see a move to SharePoint 2016 as part of their strategic platform vision in building their information management ecosystem.

In an effort to enhance SharePoint’s capabilities, 26% of respondents have plans in motion to increase spending on SharePoint add-on products, with a further 27% looking to increase spending to integrate with other repositories.

Getting the most from SharePoint

The good news for Microsoft, is that many who were surveyed felt that SharePoint provides good value with 40% who agree and 8% who strongly agree that they are happy with SharePoint and the on-going roadmap, while 42% agree and 8% strongly agree that SharePoint provides good value to costs.

But how can an organisation get the most from SharePoint?

1) – Look at your business processes. Regardless of where an organisation is starting in its SharePoint implementation, it needs to step back from the technology and look at the business processes. By doing this an organisation will create an engaging SharePoint environment and improve workflows. This is the road to a successful SharePoint project.

2) Moving business processes from paper and into SharePoint. This is imperative if you are to get real value out of your investment. Circumnavigate being locked into to custom workflow development by using an add-on product.

Connecting SharePoint with other enterprise systems is also crucial for business processes that relate to transactional and unstructured content.

3) Get senior executives to give more support. Senior buy-in is imperative. This is where many enterprise technology projects fall flat, and SharePoint is no different. Endorsement and confirmation from leaders in the organisation that SharePoint is the organisation’s go-forward strategy for ECM, records management (RM) and collaboration make securing budget for adequate training and system enhancement much easier.

4) Create an information governance (IG) framework. 21% of respondents in our survey admitted they do not have good IG policies in place. An IG Framework can be used to see where you have parts missing in your SharePoint capability, especially in terms of records management.

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SharePoint is a rich platform that can meet many enterprise challenges and needs.

Regarding SharePoint 2016, updates and upgrades have been made to better suit modern business requirements.

However, SharePoint is not always being used to its full potential, primarily because users are not engaging with it in a committed way.

This must be addressed or the potential remains for usage issues associated with SharePoint to continue with SharePoint 2016 and beyond.

Sourced by Bob Larrivee, chief analyst, AIIM