Interlink Cloud Blog
Stephanie Donahue

Microsoft SharePoint - Proving a Return on Investment

microsoft sharepoint proving roi

Every day I speak to clients about how we can solve their communication and content challenges with Microsoft SharePoint. However, no matter how obvious it is that SharePoint can solve their issues, we still run into scenarios where we hear, “We think your team is great and we love your ideas, but we just don’t have the budget this year.” What do you do when you don’t have a budget? You prove the return on investment of Microsoft SharePoint.

No Budget

The challenging thing -- okay one of the challenging things -- about SharePoint is that it too often starts out in the IT budget because it’s considered company-wide software that everyone uses. In addition to not being allocated as part of everyone’s budget, SharePoint also has the issue of being tough to measure in terms of return on investment (ROI). Those of us who have been around SharePoint long enough know the value of what SharePoint can do, but we struggle to communicate how that translates into real money saved. Being frustrated with the no budget answer, I’ve been racking my brain on what the answer is to showing SharePoint’s true ROI. So, I decided to run through a series of recent scenarios I’ve heard about from clients, friends, and even personal experiences. What has been obvious is that it all comes back to communication. Problems stem from communication issues, and conveniently, SharePoint (and Yammer) fix those communication issues.

The ROI Challenge

You can’t estimate SharePoint ROI, or any content management system, in terms of dollars gained during a more efficient process. People are not a manufacturing plant where stats are kept on how much content or value is derived from a single action from a single person. However, what you can measure is the cost of mistakes. People are human and while some mistakes can be contributed to inexperience or a lapse in judgment, it’s more often related to a lack of communication. In some cases, communication can even overcome inexperience and bad judgment.

Think back through the last time your organization lost money on a deal, a new partnership, or a new product. How would effective communication have changed the situation?

Communication Issues Plague Organizations

Scenario 1: A client has a proposal sent out with unclear terms of engagement with a vendor. This client is now ‘on the hook’ for far more work than they should’ve been. Not to mention the initial projected time-frames for the work are now completely irrelevant. Had this proposal been put through a formal review process where the entire team knew about it (rather than it ‘hiding’ in email and file shares), the ambiguity could’ve been caught. Not simply because of a formal approval process being in place, but because of the visibility of the document to someone who may not be directly involved.

The cost: Extra time negotiating what can be accomplished in the contract, lower profit margin on the work, if there is a profit at all, and potential loss of client due to the possibility of expectations not being met.

Scenario 2: A survey was sent out to all users and the number one complaint was a lack of company-wide communication. Employees did not feel properly informed. This same client doesn’t have the budget for SharePoint this year. So they continue to use a home grown intranet application where a developer must provide announcement updates. This slows the time to share those updates and will likely prevent many from being shared in the first place.

The cost: Unlimited and depends on the organization

What is the cost of the lack of rapid communication across the organization?

  • What is the turnover cost of an employee who doesn’t feel engaged or informed and leaves the organization?
  • What is the cost of waiting on an email response only to find out after the person you’ve been waiting on for 3 days is the wrong person?
  • What is the cost of not properly communicating new safety procedures to field engineers on remote sites? Have you dealt with law suits this year?
  • What about health care benefits to those sitting at headquarters? How much time does HR spend explaining things that could be available in a forum or Q&A section?
  • What about new compliance policies to content managers? Have you been through a painful audit recently?

The visibility provided by the social communication channels provided in SharePoint (and also in Yammer) can transform the way an organization works. The speed at which information is communicated is directly tied to an organizations ability to adjust to rapid changes in the market, to the amount of income that can be generated with the same number of people, and most importantly tied to defining an efficient and effective corporate culture that spans many remote locations.

The next time you are faced with the ‘no budget for SharePoint’ problem, it may be time to start discussing the cost of poor communication. From there you should be able to start defining what your return on investment looks like.

Matt Scherocman

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) in New Office 2016, SharePoint Online, and OneDrive for Business

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) in New Office 2016, SharePoint Online, and OneDrive for Business

Clients have benefited from Data Loss Prevention (DLP) technology within Exchange Online for years. Microsoft is now expanding the functionality to cover data and documents that may be in Office, SharePoint, and OneDrive. Plus they are enhancing the console where the policy rules are managed so that the policy rules for all of the services are controlled in a single location.

Client can continue to use the templates that Microsoft builds to help them stay compliant with regulations like PCI and HIPPA. Severity levels can also be set – so administrators, for example, could have one set of actions that happen if a user tries to send a credit card number externally and another if they are trying to send a file that contains ten or more credit card numbers in it.

DLP not only is for people who are actively trying to share content that they shouldn’t, it is also for people who didn’t notice that there was a company credit card contained 10 emails down in a thread before they forward it to a new distribution list.

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Matt Scherocman

The Future of Microsoft SharePoint

Microsoft SharePoint started out as a collaboration tool designed to help with team sites, and it has come a long way. The evolution of SharePoint includes management layers along with customizable features, and is now focusing on taking things to the cloud for the next generation of business productivity tools. As technology continues to evolve, so do the needs of the modern business. Microsoft is using tools like SharePoint to continue to provide solutions for its enterprise clients.

SharePoint in the Cloud

The cloud is the next level of business productivity. The core areas of SharePoint, experiences, management, and extensibility are evolving in Office 365; as well as other Microsoft Office products, are taken to a new level in the cloud. Many organizations still run much, if not all, of their SharePoint on-premises. Microsoft is making significant investments in a Hybrid SharePoint solution. That’s why with this latest release of SharePoint, security has been at the forefront so that organizations can take advantage of cloud innovation on their terms.

Office Sharepoint

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Matt Scherocman

Data Loss Prevention now available in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) was a feature previously only found in Exchange, Outlook, and OWA to prevent data from being sent out of the company. Now clients can easily search for this same kind of sensitive content in SharePoint and OneDrive using Microsoft’s new Data Loss Prevention for SharePoint and OneDrive functionality.

Office 365 Admin are now able to Leverage 51 built-in sensitive information types including credit cards, passport numbers, Social Security numbers, and more. This is designed to allow you to be better informed about what type of sensitive documents exist and where in SharePoint Online and in OneDrive for Business. This visibility can help with compliance needs, contractual obligations, and internal policy enforcement.

Later this year, Microsoft will introduce additional capabilities that will allow you to create policies that automatically detect sensitive content and apply protection such as taking actions like deletion of content or quarantine until further reviewed.

Click this link to view the original blog article

Matt Scherocman

Which Online Plans Include Yammer?

Microsoft’s purchase of Yammer means that they have a real social collaboration platform.  Plus, they have included it in Office 365 SharePoint and E Plans at no additional cost for Enterprise Agreement (EA) clients.  The bottom line is that any plan with SharePoint now includes Yammer if it is licensed under an EA.  We also predict that Yammer will become available to everyone as Microsoft’s consolidates the licensing tools for Yammer with Office 365 later this year.
http://blogs.office.com/b/sharepoint/archive/2012/11/12/yammer-sku-plan-and-pricing-details-direct-from-sharepoint-conference.aspx

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