Why is SharePoint 2010 so widely used? I believe it is because it offers for the first time one technical solution that meets many business needs rather than just one.
If you want to improve knowledge sharing you will have many tools to consider. Again if you need to manage your documents you will have a wide choice of vendors. But if your business has more than one need or can see how solving one will create other requirements then a solution like SharePoint 2010 comes become more attractive to consider.
What if your organisation needs employees to use your intranet while away from their place of work? There are huge savings in office costs and increases in productivity if employees can use the intranet to help them with their work while they are mobile.
Before we can consider if SharePoint 2010 can help meet these needs and provide these benefits there are other important steps to take first.
Why is your organisation considering mobile access to your intranet? You need to develop a strategy aligned to your overall business strategy that sets out how providing this need will help to improve the performance. Without a clear, agreed, mobile strategy in place there is little chance of creating a successful business case for a solution that can help employees. You need to research which content and tools are most needed while employees are mobile.
Who should be responsible for sponsoring the implementation of your mobile strategy? You need to find a senior representative who will champion this or, better still, a board or steering group of senior representatives from business functions across your organisation. Make sure the role is clear, and you have the authority to make the decisions needed, supported by funding.
Who needs to use a mobile device for their work? You need to be clear which employees will benefit from having a mobile device. It probably will not be everyone. Even if it is, you will have to prioritise who has the greatest need. Factors like the number of employees involved, time spent away from their place of work, what contribution they can make, will help decide the greatest need.
As well as having a champion for the use of mobile devices your governance framework needs to include the standards for owners of content and tools to follow so mobile devices can be used by employees. Roles and responsibilities need to include meeting the needs of mobile users for content and tool owners. The content and tools must not be a complete duplication of what exists already.
Will you let employees bring their own devices to work or will you provide your own? That decision is critical and will depend on your organisation’s corporate values, type of employees, security (more below on this), funding and speed of adoption. Once that decision is made you can then focus on what devices your organisation provides or you recommend employees have that offer the best experience for what they need to do while mobile.
How can you be sure the right people only are using your intranet? It is vital you have a representative from your Legal team involved as well as from IT. You need to find the right balance of secure but easy access. It is no good if it takes ages to authenticate who you are before employee can access your intranet. But you do need some intelligent software working in the background to ensure you know who is accessing content with a mobile device.
As I said at the beginning most organisations are either considering using SharePoint 2010 or are in various stages of rolling out to meet their needs. One of these is increasingly the need to provide content and tools that is needed by employees while mobile.
The problem with SharePoint 2010 is the ‘out of the box’ experience can be a bit underwhelming. It is a text only version which most mobile users of internet sites will feel is like going back in time. It may be improved by the next release of SharePoint but can your organisation afford to wait that long?