Recognizing the Value of Collaboration

With the advance of social networks and diminishing use of desktop PCs in favour of more mobile devices such as netbooks, phones and tablet computers companies are becoming more dependent on different means of information sharing as means of accomplishing both routine tasks and tackling complex projects.
As competency increases amongst old and new market players businesses have to make sure common knowledge remains up to date and available to everyone in order to make timely decisions with right economic outcome.

SharePoint is one platform, available from Microsoft that targets this problem by allowing personnel to share their ideas, documents and workflows in a way found most suitable by high management. However, the flexibility offered with this powerful solution introduces a set of questions that should be considered right from the start in order to avoid incurring losses at a later operational stage.

One should consider for himself whether the SharePoint licensing spending actually brings positive ROI into current economic environment and if so, how, if at all can it be further enhanced to maximize revenue impact?

Unlike many other standardized IT services, collaboration is a vague concept, stemming both from the human nature and the surrounding environment. This alone can leave oneself wondering on what he\she should concentrate his\her attention, what key elements should be considered as primary indicators of success in each and every case. With SharePoint the answer is not that simple. Its flexibility leaves enough room for tuning it for different business models and operating scenarios that differ from one instance to the next one, yet this very nature intruduces levels of complexity into collaborative performance analysis which could baffle even the most experienced analyst or decision maker.

On online store would tend to concentrate on search ratings for its products, finding out what products, sites attract the most attention and how do they differ regionally in order to correct purchasing decisions. Support departments within large companies may want to know whether their workflows are mostly suited to resolve any open tickets at shortest possible time frame; government certification authorities might want to measure steps it takes to legitimize new products and cervices for sale within a specific country region while the military could mostly be concerned with security and access conditions to specific documents, how often do they get updated and by whom.

Corporate decision makers should not overlook the initial impact the SharePoint brings and weight it against its actual usage as a collaboration platform. Is it used widely by personnel and clients? If so, are they using it with a specific purpose or to solve their own issues that do not cross against common goal? Is it reachable by everybody and is licensing spending justified?

Only when we have answers to those specific questions which are also verified with trustworthy metrics that is business-relevant in each business scenario can one be certain that company teams, projects and departments collaborate towards fulfilling corporate strategy and maximizing chances for outbidding competitors across a great variety of business tasks, from research, production, to sales and consultancy.