SP24 - What is SharePoint? Defining SharePoint for Business Users


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Can you answer this question? Let's be honest, even for the most experienced SharePoint professional this isn't an easy question to answer. SharePoint is often called a DMS, Intranet Portal or a tool to create team sites. The official Microsoft Office website contains the following statement: "Organizations use SharePoint to create websites". Really Microsoft? The official Wikipedia has the following to say: "Microsoft SharePoint is a Web application platform developed by Microsoft." You cannot use these descriptions during a presentation for business users, especially when they never heard or worked with SharePoint before. In my role as SharePoint Consultant this question came up many times when talking to the business. In this webinar I share my vision and thoughts how to answer this important question.

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  • Do you want to see a SharePoint expert make a difficult face? Ask him or her the following question:What is SharePoint? This will be pretty funny to watch.I am not going to be a hypocrite because even I am and have been struggling to answer this question.Let’s be honest, this is a really tough question to answer. Well, not as hard finding an answer to questions such as : why are we here and is there life after death but still pretty hard! I decided to use Google and look for an answer. Let’s see if you can use the following definitions to explain SharePoint to people new to SharePoint.
  • Let’s start with Office.com. The official Microsoft site.Well, this isn’t really helpful is it? Business users relate to the word website only with public websites not Intranet or Extranet portals. This also doesn’t really cover it does it? Because SharePoint is more then websites. Let’s go on to the next quote.A web application platform? That means nothing to a business users. What even is a web application? Most people haven’t heard of the web application platform. Also not really helpful.This is the definition I used until a couple years ago. Pretty good right!! Let’s move on.
  • Did you really try it? You are a brave soul because at this point you probablyhave lost your audience because these definitions don’t say anything about the product. The majority of the business can’t related to the definition.
  • This leads up to my goal for this session. Explaining SharePoint to business users. What is SharePoint? What does it offer and how can it help you? Valid questions for business users. This session is also interesting for SharePoint Consultants who are struggling day by day to explain SharePoint to their customers. I hope this session helps you in your SharePoint travels and adventures. Let’s start by taking a look at a official video released by Microsoft over a year ago.
  • Although it’s a marketing video I really love the video! It really gives you a great overview of the possibilities of SharePoint. In my opinion you can take multiple keywords from the video that describe SharePoint.
  • I liketobundle these keywordsintofour topics:SearchSocialMobile & AppsOrganize
  • Let’s kick off with Search. In my eyes a key factor to the success of any type of SharePoint Portal. Just think about how much time you spend at work searching? Just really think and perhaps write it down. You will be shocked by the end of the week how long you search! What do business users search for:
  • ContentDocumentsVideosPicturesSitesWiki’sPeopleSkillsExpertiseInterest
  • Let’s take a look at the Search features of SharePoint in a demo.
  • Social had a huge impact on the consumer market with platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Every day hundred millions of people use Facebook to share photo’s, share their opinion about movies on Twitter and share business articles. What makes this so fascinating is the fact that these people are spread out over the world. They aren’t bound to their location or time zone.What does Social offer people?
  • Social offers business users to Connect, Collaborate and be Engaged. If anything has been proven over the last years is that people want to connect with each other, with colleagues with their peers. They want to collaborate on projects or tasks. They want to be part of the company and be engaged, not feel like an assembly line worker. They want to be heard and they want it now.What can Social realize within a business?
  • Traditionally business users were, most of them still are, bound to their own silo. This prevents them from collaborating, connecting and being engaged. Applying Social within your business enables you to break down these silo’s and especially the following:
  • These barriers are in the shape of:Organizational: People shouldn’t be limited to answering questions and finding expertise by going through the hierarchal structure. People have to be able to ask questions to any member of the organization, no matter their position with the organizational structure.Location: This is the key to the success of Social media such as Twitter and Facebook. The location of its users doesn’t matter! It allows people to virtually cross borders and connect with people all over the globe. Does your business have a branch in Europe and Africa? Social allows these to connect with each other and break the geographical boundaries.
  • Let’s take a look at the Search features of SharePoint in a demo.
  • Do you have a smart phone? Or a tablet? The answer is most certainly yes. Not only a Social revolution happened the last decade but also a mobile & apps revolution. This started with the iPhone, Android Phones and the tablet. Continued of course with the windows phone and surface tablets. Most people have a mobile device, with apps, and want to use these in their work life. They want to access their SharePoint Portal collaborate and work on documents! Let’s take a look what SharePoint offers in combination with mobile & apps.
  • You form!People have their iPhone, Android or Windows Phone. Or their Surface or iPad tablet. They use it every day (morning, afternoon and at night), at home, in a café, in the train. They want to do the same for their job! They want to connect to their SharePoint portal to work with their personal or team documents.
  • You work in a team and want to centrally store your team documents, provide valuable information to your colleagues and collaborate with your team members. How do you organize changes within your organization? Probably in projects? You need a project site for all the project documentation and information, a central location for you and your project members.You need to be able to organize your documents, video’s, pictures, procedures and other information.
  • Let’s take a look at the Search features of SharePoint in a demo.
  • Without Governance business users will most certainly missuse features of SharePoint or won’t use features. For example: Document Management. The project team agreed on not using folders in document libraries but metadata. Without Governance, with policies and rules about this subject, other users will use folders. This leads to misunderstandings with business users and eventually into frustration. This leads into
  • People get frustrated because they don’t know about certain rules, procedures and possibilities of the platform.
  • Share success stories: Don’t keep the success of your SharePoint project from other people. You can’t expect people to heard about it. Make sure they experience and see the benefits of SharePoint for their business.SharePoint Champions: You, the SharePoint Consultant, can’t always be there to help people with SharePoint problems or questions. The SP Champions take up that role and provide their colleagues with answers and tips. They keep promoting SharePoint, with its advantages but also limitations, in the business.Executive Support: Make sure the board is aware of SharePoint to prevent strategic decisions being taken that negatively impact the use of SharePoint. Ask executives to use the portal, being Social or writing blogs, so people feel inspired.Training: Key! You can’t expect people to know how to work with SharePoint
  • I don’t believe there is a perfect definition for SharePoint. The features of SharePoint don’t fit in one sentence. You need to experience and see SharePoint. My advise to SharePoint Consultants is to show SharePoint, use this presentation of parts of it, and show them the benefits and advantages!
  • SP24 - What is SharePoint? Defining SharePoint for Business Users

    1. 1. What is SharePoint? Defining SharePoint for the business user Jasper Oosterveld The Netherlands, GTM +1 April 16th, 2014
    2. 2. SharePoint Consultant Macaw Amsterdam The Netherlands Contact @SharePTJasper jasperoosterveld@hotmail.com www.jasperoosterveld.com
    3. 3. “Organizations use SharePoint to create websites.” “Microsoft SharePoint is a Web application platform developed by Microsoft” Office.com “A platform to build Intranet, Extranet and Internet portals” Jasper Oosterveld Wikipedia
    4. 4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fvn3qNAdF2Y
    5. 5. Collaborate Connect Share Mobile Social Search Expertise Apps People Projects Anywhere, anytime Documents Skills Centralization Engage Network
    6. 6. “Governance is the set of policies, roles, responsibilities, and processes that control how an organization's business divisions and IT teams work together to achieve its goals.” TechNet