True collaboration, or: Why SharePoint is no friend to the CIO


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Technology has transformed our working lives. Where people would once work in silos, they now collaborate and are actively encouraged to do so by many businesses that recognize the flexibility and productivity it brings to the workforce. However, when CIOs look at implementing collaboration software, the default option is often SharePoint. They are then faced with four key issues: adoption, deployment, hidden costs and complexity

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True collaboration, or: Why SharePoint is no friend to the CIO

  1. 1. True collaboration, or: WhySharePoint is no friend tothe CIO
  2. 2. True collaboration, or: WhySharePoint is no friend to the CIOTABLE OF CONTENTS1 The age of collaboration1 The changing role of the CIO1 The status quo is not an option2 Collaboration technology that works3 Huddle in action4 About Huddle
  3. 3. THE AGE OF COLLABORATIONOf all the ways in which technology has transformed our working lives, one of the mostinteresting (and challenging) for the CIO has been the rise of collaboration. Even at theturn of the millennium we were largely restricted to email and telephone, yet we nowlive in an era where collaboration in the workplace has become second nature to manyindividuals and enterprises. People are able to work as closely with colleagues in anothercountry or timezone as they can with someone in their immediate team and can do thesame with any supplier, partner, consultant, client or affiliate that their job requires.Where people would once work in silos, they now collaborate and are activelyencouraged to do so by many businesses that recognize the flexibility and productivitybenefits it brings to a workforce. Naturally this has enabled technology platforms thatsupport this to flourish, as CEOs demand of their CIOs ‘find a way for us to become acompany that encourages collaboration’.THE CHANGING ROLE OF THE CIOOnce a CIO’s role was straight forward - oversee a company’s IT department, orderequipment, reset forgotten passwords and manage the helpdesk function / IT support.Some of this still goes on of course, but as technology has changed, becoming morecentral to every department and business unit, CIOs are becoming key participants invirtually every business decision. They’re also sharing control over technology purchaseswith other departments and could be perceived to be losing some responsibility.In some ways what is being asked of the CIO is no different to what has always beenasked - find and deploy technology that will either streamline processes and efficienciesor add business value to an organization. With many enterprises (and by default theirCIOs) under pressure to reduce costs, add value and operate more efficiently, a largenumber of these new technologies are cloud-based. Cloud services are becomingincreasingly popular as organizations realize the flexibility and cost-savings that comewith software in the cloud.As part of its 2012 predictions, industry analyst organization Gartner has predicted thatmore than 50 percent of Global 1000 companies will have stored customer-sensitivedata in the public cloud by year-end 2016. It also predicted that 35 percent of enterpriseIT expenditures for most organizations will be managed outside the IT department’sbudget by 2015.So as the cloud becomes more mainstream, in effect CIOs are being asked to implementproducts and services that will erode their influence, control and budgets. Yet the movetowards collaboration and the cloud is really an opportunity for the CIO to play a morecentral role in shaping a business’s strategic direction.THE STATUS QUO IS NOT AN OPTIONAs CIOs look to implement collaboration software, the default option for many years wasSharePoint. Microsoft has been able to grow SharePoint’s presence in the enterpriseover the past 10 years thanks to a combination of the following:• SharePoint’s close ties to the rest of the Microsoft Office suite, which is already a standard in most companies• Huge numbers of Microsoft Partners and system integrators that sell additional services and software to SharePoint buyers• A lack of awareness of the alternatives from the buyers’ side, which is only now changing• SharePoint is still the ‘safe’ choice for many buyers, because no one will ever get blamed for having bought a product from the market leader 1
  4. 4. But although one might think that SharePoint has all the features needed forcollaboration, that is not the case. It is not a plug and play solution and requiresextensive customization. While it is possible to provide basic collaboration functionality,any CIO would need to purchase third-party services or customize SharePoint tohave a product that their users will adopt. In most cases, SharePoint is nothing morethan a development platform and there are four main issues for CIOs that attempt toimplement it - adoption, deployment, hidden costs and complexity.In fact, adoption is one of the key issues many enterprises have with SharePoint - theiremployees simply do not use it in sufficient numbers. For a CIO to drive enterprise-wideIT change, a product must be commercially viable and adoption is a key part of that.Recent Global360 research revealed that the lack of an easy-to-use interface is one ofthe biggest issues when implementing SharePoint. If a workforce does not enjoy usingit, they will continue using other less efficient means of collaboration, such as email.There are also issues around deployment. SharePoint roll-outs are typically planned foranything up to a year, due to its heavy dependencies on other Microsoft applicationsand services. Microsoft states in its ‘Evaluation Guide to SharePoint’: “Whether on-premises or hosted, deploying SharePoint Server requires the IT pro to be heavilyinvolved.” So once the deployment is complete, IT personnel are still needed formaintenance and upgrades. Additionally, on-going maintenance of a typical SharePointenvironment requires a dedicated IT staff or admin that has been specifically trained inadministering SharePoint - a further drain on the resources of any CIO.Additional or hidden costs can be a factor too. The most significant are customization,training and maintenance, which all affect every single version of SharePoint youcould choose. According to Microsoft itself, 80% of SharePoint deployments involvea Microsoft Partner, due to the expertise and skills required during deployment andmaintenance.Finally, the complexity of software dependencies, hot fixes, patches, security issuesand knowledge base articles is increasing all the time. Every time Microsoft has aproblem with one of its components, it is down to a company’s own IT department to fixit. These constant reboots cause massive amounts of downtime, which in turn decreaseuser adoption and limit the CIO’s ability to create a business advantage.COLLABORATION TECHNOLOGY THAT WORKSBut there are other options for CIO’s that want their business to have the tools to workcollaboratively but don’t come with the issues associated with SharePoint. Huddle, theleader in cloud content collaboration and a viable alternative to SharePoint offers a 90per cent adoption rate, which is around three times that of SharePoint. The company isso confident that people will use Huddle that it offers a guarantee that within 90 daysevery single individual of the initial user group will be trained and actively using it. Thisimmediately makes implementing Huddle a much more commercially viable option forthe CIO.The fact that Huddle is so intuitive and straight forward to use, also makes the CIO’sjob much simpler when driving user adoption. The idea of a dedicated internal adminsupport for collaboration software is a waste of a CIO’s resource and Huddle is atechnology that most people are able to use almost immediately. When designing theHuddle user-interface, attention was paid to the on-going consumerization of IT soanyone familiar with social networking will find Huddle as easy to use as Facebook.Should anyone still feel that they need support and guidance in using Huddle, itsupplies in-person training, interactive demonstrations, educational videos and 2
  5. 5. webinars as well as access to its knowledgebase and support portal as a part of everynew enterprise account. These support tools are easy to use, understand and access,helping any users that might be having difficulties to be up and running within a fewminutes.As budget is such an on-going concern for many CIOs, Huddle, with its multi-tenantcloud architecture, can significantly reduce the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) ofcollaboration software in the enterprise. Using Huddle there are no initial costs forservers, customization and additional licenses and Huddle can be deployed in a matterof days. Transparency is important when costing software and we are keen to avoid thehidden costs associated with SharePoint. Transparent and all-inclusive pricing allowsCIOs to correctly estimate the total cost of ownership, the time and budget needed forthe deployment and the expected ROI.Huddle also comes with enterprise-class layers of security, particularly important giveninitial industry concerns about the privacy and security of storing business critical andconfidential data in the cloud. It provides its customers - which includes 70 percent ofUK Central Government departments - with a multi-layered, secure online environmentwhere files can be stored and accessed by anyone working on the project, both insideand outside of an organization. The security measures put in place are equivalent tothose used in banking so any CIO can have absolute trust that their company data willbe kept private and secure.HUDDLE IN ACTIONHuddle currently works with 75 percent of Fortune 500 companies and a wide range ofgovernment organizations across the world. To have such a pedigree with both privateenterprise and the public sector it is vital for customers to have complete trust in thevalue Huddle provides and the security it offers. “Thanks to Huddle, our shared network drive for the presidency project is obsolete and, for some projects, Huddle has replaced email completely.” - Max Raets, Policy Officer, Belgian FPS Social SecurityOne of the most high profile Huddle deployments was a multi-country deal that involvedSpain, Belgium and Hungary. When in 2009 the Treaty of Lisbon came into force,for the first time in European Union (EU) history, three countries had to collaborateon preparation for the Presidency of the Council of the EU. The Belgian FPS SocialSecurity worked with teams across Europe, from a variety of administrations andorganizations, developing social policy and co-ordinating activity. Their internalnetworks, shared drives and email systems fell someway short of what was needed butthe replacement service - Huddle - not only had to have the functionality required bymodern government, but be completely secure too.The way people work has changed forever and collaboration tools have under-pinnedthat change. But a CIO needs to have confidence that their users will adopt thetechnology and that it will add value to the business. Just as the Belgian FPS SocialSecurity had that confidence to work with Huddle, so are CIOs in other organizations ina variety of industries all across the globe. 3
  6. 6. ABOUT HUDDLEEstablished in 2006, with offices in London and San Francisco, Huddle is the leader incloud content collaboration and management for the enterprise.Huddle is used by more than 100,000 organizations worldwide, including Disney, AKQA,HTC and Kia Motors, to securely store, share and collaborate on content with peopleinside and outside of their business.Huddle can be accessed online, on desktops via Microsoft Office applications, on themove with BlackBerry, iPhone and iPad apps. It is currently available in 12 languagesincluding English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian and Japanese.Simply: if SharePoint was built today, they would’ve built Huddle. 4