Blog for the May 2016 seminar: SharePoint

If your Organisation uses SharePoint, or is thinking of doing so, the May NetIKX seminar was just what the doctor ordered!

The first speaker was Nathaniel Suda and his talk followed this format: first he discussed MicroSoft’s Sharepoint road map, then he looked at probable future trends and finally gave some examples of SharePoint in action. All of this was accompanied by a rather fine set of slides.  He explained that he himself not only works as an implementer for SharePoint, but also has a role providing feedback to MicroSoft so that they are able to learn from user experience.

He asked the audience to identify which of us are currently using Sharepoint and what they were using.  There was a variety of users of different versions, and also many people who were not in organisations that use SharePoint and were just wanting to learn more about it.  He certainly helped us understand the different versions available and how they interrelate.  The trend has been towards Cloud and on-line versions, but he explained that the hybrid model which gave users a choice whether to go for more cloud would still be available for a while.  Although Cloud was gaining ground with users there were no plans to shut down other versions yet. He believed that integrating the different options within the various versions was an appropriate strategy.

He identified new trends, for example different options you could choose to add to SharePoint.  One of his examples was ‘Delve’, a system that identified who each user worked with regularly so it could customise views to match this.  No longer would a worker be hobbled by the organisational organogram. Collaboration would be supported on a much more practical basis.   MicroSoft’s vision was that the most recent version of SP would form a foundation, on which many more functions could be built.  The exciting prospect of more integrated systems and innovative new applications was the hope for the future.

He then drew on his wide experience to discuss individual cases that he had worked with, so we could see the different ways that this one software could be used.  It was a valuable talk that gave us an idea of a vision and road map that the powerful minds at MicroSoft are working towards.

In contrast Cerys Hearsey had her feet firmly on the ground, looking at the practical problems of implementing and managing the potential of a SharePoint system. A hugely enjoyable speaker who also had knowledge that gave us a glimpse into the difficulties as well as the successes of organising and setting up organisational wide collaboration systems.  Hearing her gave comfort to those of us who have struggled with SharePoint.  It is not necessarily simple!  But she had a clear and optimistic message.  The system can provide amazing potential to users, but not without having clarity in what it is supposed to deliver and how it needs to be managed to allow real people to extract the benefits identified.  The software in use would only be as good as the care and capability with which it I introduced.  It is essential to be clear about the precise benefits required, how the system can deliver them and the user behaviour required to harvest these benefits.  Out of the box was not necessarily wrong and some customisations could be more harm than good, but tailoring how the system is used to match the way people work has to be considered before the release starts.

It was a long hot afternoon, but hugely worthwhile. After learning so much from the two speakers, we settled down to our syndicate sessions, where people share information about their organisations’ experience.  It is wonderful to share with others doing similar work to you or to learn from people a little ahead of you.  At the end of the meeting everyone gave feedback on the meeting and the response was enthusiastic.

If you work with SharePoint or your organisation is thinking of moving this way, don’t plough ahead all alone.  There is so much useful experience out there.  For only £60 you can access NetIKX members and their insights, as well as a large store of information from other past events.  Oh, and as a bonus, members can attend all the other meetings we hold for the coming year.  Hope to see you at a NetIKX meeting soon!

Lissi Corfield