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NothingButSharePoint.com: We Don't Have a SharePoint Strategy

When a new technology is everywhere, people can’t resist delivering applications upon it to solve business problems. But like all new application platforms, it takes a few bold pioneers to take the first steps toward building a strategy...

I work for a company that deployed SharePoint internally without a business strategy. We deployed it as a departmental team site then IT rolled it out as a horizontal technology - content management, portals, and collaboration. Like hundreds of my colleagues I was given access to the platform and was left to figure out how to take advantage of its many robust features on my own. The more I learned about SharePoint, by participating in conversations across its broad user community, the more I learned I was far from alone.

Technology adoption can often outpace its business strategy in the enterprise. For example, smart phones were everywhere across the enterprise before CIO's recently began considering mobile applications that could improve customer service, improve operations, or reduce inefficiencies. What is the next technology for CIO's that is outpacing business strategies? Microsoft SharePoint.

A 2010 report from the Radicati Group indicated that by 2014, SharePoint "will have an installed base of 477 million, representing a 31% average annual growth rate over the next four years". In the midst of this massive growth, a January 2011 survey of 830 SharePoint users by Global 360 and EndUserSharePoint revealed:

* The top challenge expressed by Business Managers and SharePoint Analysts surveyed was the lack of or limited SharePoint strategy.

* Over 50% of organizations have deployed SharePoint enterprise wide.

* The top two challenges organizations faced with SharePoint were development time and effort to build business applications and end user adoption and training.

* 33% of organizations claim over half of the content in SharePoint is considered mission-critical, up from 27% six months earlier.

With SharePoint's proliferation across the enterprise, there is no question that one of the leading growth areas for the platform will be line of business applications that take advantage of its now enterprise ready content management, portals, search, and social capabilities.

When a new technology is everywhere, people can't resist delivering applications upon it to solve business problems. But like all new application platforms, it takes a few bold pioneers to take the first steps toward delivering really great applications that solve real problems for business.

These pioneers are leading a more strategic purpose for SharePoint by delivering greater productivity and other benefits for their organizations. In the coming months, we will highlight the efforts of these pioneers in a Profiles in Productivity series. The series will aim to highlight the successes of the pioneers while encouraging CIOs, business leaders, and SharePoint advocates to consider similar paths toward their own successes.

The CIO's 21st Century Process Platform

For today's CIO, SharePoint business strategies are no longer optional. IT leaders must deliver on business goals and grow end user adoption in order to protect enterprise wide investments in SharePoint, applications must be delivered on top of the platform to support getting more work done, faster and easier. And with the growing mission-critical nature of SharePoint documents, applications need to put that content in motion - supporting the improvement of business processes. Organizations challenged by the development time and effort to build business applications themselves will need to look to the SharePoint community of vendors and consultants to support their strategy around the platform.

We recently sat down with Mark Gilbert, Research VP at Gartner and one of the SharePoint Influencer50, to discuss SharePoint 2010's role as the 21st century process improvement platform.

During the 12-minute video interview, Mark discusses some of the significant enhancements SharePoint 2010 delivers to CIOs. Mark also discusses the opportunity for businesses to deliver powerful applications on top of SharePoint. He discusses SharePoint application strategies that take advantage of new social and collaborative technologies, put workflow capabilities on steroids, integrate with enterprise systems, and deliver improved business intelligence.

As Mark explains, businesses are past the "how can I survive" mindset of 2009 and are now into "how can I compete" thinking of 2011. "It is about rapid response and rapid reorganization. You need the right tools in place, both from a sensing and business intelligence perspective as well as from an execution and process perspective for that to happen on top of SharePoint."

In the same video, Steve Russell, SVP Research & Development and CTO of Global 360, shares an example of how a business is delivering a Loan Origination application on top of SharePoint to improve the productivity of both information workers and business managers.

Profiles in Productivity

In the coming months, we will share more Profiles in Productivity highlighting real examples of the pioneers leveraging SharePoint to deliver real business value because we want to encourage everyone's business to be wildly successful with SharePoint. Upcoming conversations will cover topics including: why have a SharePoint strategy, what are some great examples of applications delivered on top of SharePoint, and how does one get started in building their strategy. We will also shed some light on the future of productivity - giving you a glimpse of some of the cool things you will be able do with SharePoint-based applications that are just around the corner.

I hope you will continue to follow me in this series as we introduce the pioneers and their SharePoint strategies in our Profiles in Productivity series.

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Jennifer Troxell
(703) 819-0631

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