Microsoft SharePoint is an accepted enterprise standard for online collaboration, but unfortunately many organizations don’t use it to its fullest potential. If you’re preparing a telework pilot program, it’s important to ensure that your SharePoint implementation is set up and optimized to support and assist your teleowkers. Here are some tips.
- Test SharePoint via remote access. Since your SharePoint implementation is sitting inside your firewall it is important to test typical SharePoint tasks like accessing document libraries through your remote access solution prior to turning your teleworkers loose. Access issues will only make teleworkers bypass the platform.
- Make SharePoint more social. With a product as customizable as Microsoft SharePoint, you can deploy it in any number of configurations. Unfortunately, these many choices may also mean many SharePoint sites go online with practically no frills. Starting with SharePoint 2007, you can incorporate social media options including blogs, wikis, and RSS feeds into your SharePoint sites. Launching these social media tools can help foster collaboration and ensure your SharePoint site is a focal point for project and communications activities.
- Factor SharePoint into your telework processes. I’ve been working with SharePoint off and on since its inception and seen implementations inside organizations large and small. Two common mistakes I see are SharePoint sites that are too locked down and no better than static web pages, and SharePoint sites that are implemented without input from the project teams or the business side of the organization. When creating your telework pilot plan, factor SharePoint into business processes and communications. Follow up with appropriate documentation and training for your teleworkers.
- Develop a SharePoint test site. If SharePoint is currently underutilized in your organization, then perhaps your teleworkers can help you recoup your investment by developing a SharePoint test site. Developing a test site during your telework pilot progrtam, you can discover which SharePoint features are required and how it is best used.
- Consider a hosted SharePoint solution. There might be technical, budgetary, or logistical reasons for not opening up your SharePoint site to remote access. So if SharePoint is already familiar to your teleworkers and you are looking to take advantage of SharePoint/Microsoft Office integration you may want to consider a third-party host for your SharePoint sites. Microsoft and a number of its hosting partners offer SharePoint on a monthly subscription basis.
How are the teleworkers in your organization using Microsoft SharePoint? Share your tips below.
Related GigaOM Pro content (sub. req.): Report: The Real-Time Enterprise