Archive for June, 2014

Who needs SharePoint anyway?

Who needs SharePoint anyway? Collaboration happens between people, not between a person and a piece of technology.

If you are not “in the know”, many businesses are sold on the idea of collaboration tools such as SharePoint. Apparently they enable people to work better together.

Like myself, I am sure you would like to know what tools such as SharePoint can do for your business and why is it worth the costs in licensing fees.

I’ll be honest with you, there are quite a lot of consultancy firms who could provide you with a long list of possible benefits and collaborative features that, they will assure you, justifies the purchase and roll out of a particular product to your business. I won’t provide that list to you because I would just be giving you a list of things you will never use.

Collaboration tools are designed to enable people to work together on the same project, keep files up to date, input into documents and make working together simpler and easier. SharePoint isn’t the only application available for this purpose but it is commonly used in large organisations and is seen as one of the leading collaboration tools.  They’ve even integrated social media-type functionality to make working together fun!

It all sounds great but there is a slight but rather important point to note in all of this. PEOPLE have to use these tools. People don’t know how to use these tools and people don’t have the time to use them as they are intended. People will email you their spreadsheet rather than putting it onto SharePoint because it is easier and, well, everyone knows how to email.

I have heard that some people,  a friend of a friend of a friend, have actually used the collaboration functionalities in Sharepoint and it is fantastic, however I am beginning to think this might just be a business focussed urban myth.

The point is that in every example I have seen, Sharepoint becomes a document repository that very quickly becomes out of date. It doesn’t encourage any more collaboration within your business that DropBox or any cloud based storage application could achieve. It will however, enable the loss of some profit that could have been used more effectively somewhere else.

When we look at technology there is a lot of “it can achieve x” but there seems to be a failure to recognise that there are people in your business and that adding technology is not necessarily going to improve anything. Rather than trying to implement a collaboration tool, get all of the people you need together in a room, or on a video conference and collaborate as a group. Talk to each other, explain your ideas, have someone collate the outputs as you go. It might sound old school and non-technical but you will find that this is the most efficient way of collaborating and more cost effective than a technical collaboration solution.

Remember, people collaborate with people, not technology. Keep that in mind the next time someone tries to offer you technology that is the “next big thing.”


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