Effective collaboration in your business


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Many organizations continue to implement supposed collaboration tools such as Microsoft SharePoint. However, this is a technology unloved and un-used, that has users scratching their heads and reverting to collaboration via e-mail. Microsoft's SharePoint Server currently epitomises the state of legacy collaboration tools and presents challenges such as poor user adoption and complex licensing. This whitepaper examines how enterprise cloud collaboration and content management tools, such as Huddle, overcome many of issues associated with legacy systems and support effective collaboration in today's 24/7 organizations.

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Effective collaboration in your business

  1. 1. Effective collaboration inyour business
  2. 2. Effective collaboration in your bussinessTABLE OF CONTENTS1 The need for collaboration1 Collaboration and the cloud2 SharePoint - A limited and limiting collaboration tool3 Total Cost of Ownership4 Huddle - True collaboration4 About Huddle
  3. 3. THE NEED FOR COLLABORATIONWith the uncertainty surrounding the world economy showing no sign of abating,businesses are changing the ways in which they work, becoming increasingly globaland diversified, and collaborating in ever growing numbers. The days where you workedwith only the few people in your immediate location are gone forever. Modern businesssees collaboration across geographies and time zones and with a wide range ofcontacts, including suppliers, partners, external consultants, clients and many more.A broad selection of media has said that we live in a ‘Collaboration Economy’ and it isundoubtedly true that social media has changed the way we communicate in both ourpersonal and professional lives. But collaboration is really about people and a differentapproach to achieving goals and technology is what enables that to take place. Soit is therefore important to give your employees the right tools to enable them to dotheir jobs and seize the business opportunities that present themselves. But whatexactly do we mean by collaboration and what are the best tools to get your workforcecollaborating effectively?COLLABORATION AND THE CLOUDIt is highly unlikely that any employee consciously thinks they want to ‘collaborate’ intheir work, yet it is something that impacts many employees within an organization.People are inherently social and are drawn to working together. In the past, it has beencorporate structure and archaic technology that created artificial barriers to workingtogether productively.For example, the terms intranet and extranet were created to help distinguish whenemployees could publish information internally and when they could publish externally.These were often completely different platforms with different security requirements,training and user groups. Even when the platforms are all the same, such as SharePoint,the IT complexities and corporate governance made them prohibitively complex forusers and IT departments alike.The instant something is either too complex or too restrictive to use, users will default towhat they know best – e-mail. So should a good collaboration platform seek to replacee-mail? Absolutely not. Collaboration is centered on people, not the technology, andshould provide the most convenient way for your employees to work together, whereverthey are and on whatever device they are using. What a good collaboration platformshould do is ensure that conversation retains the context and content associated with it.The shifts in our global economy have seen the IT industry react with a move towardhighly-scalable, secure and multi-tenanted services rather than the monolithic softwaresolutions of the past. Cloud computing is the term used to describe the continuing trendto move services to the Internet. The Internet provides economies of scale in a waynever seen before – allowing companies to leverage vast, commoditized computingresources at very cost-effective rates.Tools in the cloud are inherently more flexible and dynamic, allowing your users toaccess their data wherever they are in the world securely, provide an IT departmentwith greatly reduced administration costs and satisfy finance departments by providingtransparent monthly “per user” pricing. In fact, cloud computing has realized an entirelynew business model for procuring IT services. Large up-front capital expenditureand uncertain and variable operational expenditure, with extortionate maintenancecontracts, has given way to transparent per-user/per-month licensing that can bescaled up and down as your requirements evolve.Many legacy software vendors are ‘migrating’ their products to the cloud. This isoften a multi-year strategy with many compromises along the way in functionality and 1
  4. 4. continued dependencies on client-side software. Worse still, the commercials thataccompany these changes lag even further behind, while they might hide behind a per-user model, company-wide and multi-year commitments, maintenance contracts andexpensive services engagements are all still present.Gone are the days of cumbersome security practices, overly-complex softwareand confused users. But despite this, many companies continue to implement‘collaboration’ tools such as Microsoft SharePoint Server. This is a technology unlovedand un-used, that has users scratching their heads and reverting to collaboration viae-mail, which is a communication rather than a collaboration tool.SHAREPOINT - A LIMITED AND LIMITING COLLABORATION TOOLMicrosoft’s SharePoint Server currently epitomizes the state of legacy collaborationtools. It is feature-rich and tries to be many things to many people. Unfortunately, a‘jack of all trades’ solution means far too much complexity for IT and, more importantly,confusion for end-users. Adoption of SharePoint installations is typically very lowfor users that actively use it to collaborate – and too many of the users that do useSharePoint, it is little more than a file repository. This is unsurprising, as SharePoint wasoriginally created to replace shared drives with ‘collaborative’ capabilities bolted onlater.SharePoint’s licensing is also highly complex, with numerous versions of the serversoftware and client-side licenses. Additionally, there are minimum requirements on atleast three other Microsoft products with additional licenses if you want to collaborateexternally or open SharePoint up for extranet use.Legacy-based licensing compounded by poor adoption, means for every employee thatdoes not adopt SharePoint, either due to usability or internal/external limitations, youare increasing your average cost per user. With an average adoption rate for SharePointat 30-40 per cent, this can effectively double or triple your costs.For larger companies, deployment can take upwards of six months and even migrationor upgrade from previous versions of SharePoint is not a simple affair, as Microsoftwill recognize. This is often compounded by the pre-requisites that require even morecostly upgrades. For example, Internet Explorer 6 is not supported by SharePoint 2010– requiring a browser or even operating system upgrade for every user.Finally, collaboration with external parties is increasingly important in the Internet age– this could be prospective clients, partner companies, consultants or anyone else thatrequires access to information your employees are working on. While SharePoint’stechnology and licensing does not prohibit this, it makes it incredibly difficult and costlyto both procure and deploy external users within the environment.Microsoft purports that SharePoint Online solves many of these issues but unfortunatelymany more still persist. Existing SharePoint deployments often do not migrate intoa cloud environment, as they have been customized in a way that Microsoft cannotsupport, while the vanilla SharePoint Online lacks features and capabilities required bymany businesses. Furthermore, Office 365’s new “per-user, per-month” pricing modelhas minimum commitments, no fewer than seven versions, on-premise requirementsand still requires third party migration and customization consultancy. External accessis supported, but only for customers coming in via Windows Live ID. REFERENCES [1] http://download.microsoft.com/ download/1/9/2/192e73a4-7abb-4bad-b469- 34632d54a8a6/IDC Whitepaper Demonstrating Business Value.pdf 2
  5. 5. TOTAL COST OF OWNERSHIPOne of the most important factors for a CIO in deploying any technology is tounderstand what the total cost of ownership (TCO) might be. The cost of the actualsoftware is just the tip of the iceberg. According to a Microsoft-sponsored whitepaper[1],software licensing only accounts for seven per cent of the TCO for an on-premisesolution. The hardware, consultancy and training accounts for a further 33 per cent butby far the largest component is staffing at 60 per cent.This is often the single biggest ‘hidden’ cost of SharePoint. Beyond the SharePoint-specific administrators, network and database administrators and security specialistsare all needed for a SharePoint deployment. In larger companies, content andknowledge managers are often required too.In order to understand the true TCO, we’ve carried out extensive analysis based upona highly-available SharePoint deployment for a mid-sized company (2,500 users). Weanalyzed all software components required to deploy (i.e. server/database software) andnecessary (i.e. anti-virus) for an enterprise. We also used the Microsoft whitepaper[2] torepresent the TCO fairly over a 3 year period.A breakdown of the analysis reveals number startlingly close to Microsoft’s ownestimates:Staffing continues to be the largest cost associated with SharePoint deployments andis often the hardest to measure. It is assumed that about seven full-time employees willbe used to run and maintain the SharePoint environment, both from a technical andcontent perspective. This includes database administrators, security, networking anddedicated SharePoint resource, as well as a knowledge manager or a similar businessfunction.The next biggest cost was software. This differs to Microsoft’s own estimates thatput software at seven per cent of the TCO. However Huddle’s analysis has includedall software requirements and Software Assurance. Therefore, as part of SoftwareAssurance and the outsourcing costs, Huddle assumes IT staff training is covered inthese expenses.Next, there is user downtime risk. This is defined as the cost associated with thelost productivity of users affected by system downtime. Again, this value will varyconsiderably for different companies, but we have estimated that 25 per cent of atypical workforce will be adversely affected by system downtime. We are also assuminga 99.9 per cent uptime SLA on SharePoint. This is very high for an on-premise solution, REFERENCESbut we’ve gone with the best to give a fair, baseline estimate. [2] http://download.microsoft.com/ download/1/9/2/192e73a4-7abb-4bad-b469- 34632d54a8a6/IDC Whitepaper DemonstratingOutsourcing, hardware and ancillary costs make up the rest. This includes all Business Value.pdfconsultancy, servers, remote access, power, SAN/WAN optimization and more that [3] http://h71019.www7.hp.com/activeanswers/would be included in a typical enterprise deployment. Hardware prices have been Secure/548230-0-0-0-121.htmlsupplied by the HP SharePoint Sizer to get an accurate number[3]. 3
  6. 6. HUDDLE - TRUE COLLABORATIONHuddle however, addresses all these issues, offering a genuine and worthwhilealternative to SharePoint. Licensing is simple, straightforward and transparent withno hidden costs. Deployment is either instant, allowing users to immediately accessHuddle through a browser, or takes a matter of weeks to integrate with your company’sActive Directory to enable a more seamless experience for your users.Huddle even offers a guarantee that within 90 days every participant in the initial usergroup will be trained and actively using it, whilst the TCO is far lower than SharePoint,with no costs for servers, customization and additional licenses.Perhaps most importantly, users are allowed to collaborate however they like, via thebrowser, Microsoft Office, non-Microsoft e-mail clients (such as VMWare Zimbra) orthrough mobile access on all major mobile platforms: iOS (iPhone, iPad), Android andBlackberry. External access can be granted simply and securely by users by specifyingan e-mail address.So for any CIO keen to deploy a collaboration tool within their business, there arechoices. For many years, the default option has been SharePoint, pushed to anunwitting workforce because of the following:• Microsoft Office, a standard in most companies, has close ties to SharePoint• Technology buyers have been unaware of the alternatives• SharePoint is a low risk option, made by the world’s largest software companyThe emergence of Huddle means that CIOs are no longer reliant on a technology that issimply not up to the job. In simple terms, if SharePoint was built today, they would’vebuilt Huddle.ABOUT HUDDLEEstablished in 2006, Huddle is the leader in cloud content collaboration for theenterprise. Huddle is used by more than 100,000 business and governmentorganizations worldwide, including Unilever, AKQA, HTC and Kia Motors, to securelystore, share and collaborate on content with people inside and outside of theirorganization.Huddle can be accessed online, on desktops via Microsoft Office applications andon the move with BlackBerry, iPhone and iPad apps. It is currently available in 15languages including English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian andJapanese. 4