Present Organisations have their presence globally. Employees are working remotely, and organisations are under tremendous pressure to ensure that employees work in a productive environment and are not obstructed during collaboration, communication and work.
SharePoint is a single product but with various facets providing employees with a productive environment. Some organisations use it to create and host websites, others use it as a document repository, a secure place to store, organise, share, and access information from any device. All you need is a web browser, such as Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Chrome, or Firefox. SharePoint provides you with an ideal platform for shared access, interaction, and collaboration.
In this article, we will be exploring how in today’s world different industries have adopted SharePoint to meet their needs with some real world cases.
There are many reasons why large organisations are adopting the platform or migrating to it:
- Easier collaboration
- Document Management
- Document sharing
- Intranet Services
- Social Communities
- Integration with Cloud using Azure Cloud infrastructure
- MS Office Integration
Information technology giants often suffer from common problems, like having different internal isolated portals for different functionalities, resulting in poor employee satisfaction and inefficiency in process. Employees find it hard and tedious to collaborate and share documents over the intranet. Also, in the era of mobility and where most companies are already offering or moving in the direction of offering mobile-based apps to support various functions, having such a collection of isolated applications is far from ideal. Employees should be able to collaborate and share using the mobile app.
An India based, technology services company was also experiencing the same issues. They had a legacy intranet in place and numerous isolated portals/websites for different functions. To accomplish any given task or activity within the system, like applying leave for example, the user had to navigate between different applications which differ widely in interfaces and design. The main system seemed to be more of a collection of links to different applications that the employees could use to reach out to respective application. Each link redirected employees to pages within the sub-applications having respective information. It was never a good experience and a classic example of poor usability. The key challenge was that there were independent islands of systems which needed to be integrated into a single portal. Also, the company wanted to offer mobile support under their Bring Your Own Device policy.
To sort those issues, the company explored all the available options for collaboration and communication and ultimately decided to adopt a single system-wide user-centric portal built over SharePoint that leveraged collaborative and document management capabilities that could seamlessly connect with enterprise data. SharePoint provided an integrated platform where all the employees could search for employees or any other desired information, share documents and manage data. The company had many sub-systems for various internal functions built over .NET too and they did not aspire to lose all historical audits and data. They were able to integrate the existing applications with SharePoint and this was a key differentiating factor when compared with peers. The company leveraged the high customisation capabilities of SharePoint coupled with numerous features and launched its completely revamped intranet.
SharePoint also allowed them to integrate the existing BI dashboards. Also, SharePoint allows integration capabilities with SSRS.
AxioWorks SQList allows you to export SharePoint lists & libraries as normalised SQL Server tables, and build powerful reports on SharePoint data using SSRS, Crystal Reports, Power BI, on an other reporting tool.
A US based global IT consulting firm, is another example of a collaboration platform hosted on SharePoint. They had built a social media-friendly collaboration platform that lets its employee base to collaborate over work and hence, increases productivity. The platform is also used for project-management related work. With over 8000 employees, it provides an excellent knowledge source for employees to search for information.
They extended their platform by adopting Office 365 and migrating the repository to SharePoint Online. It served two bigger concerns faced by the firm. Firstly, it allowed the employees to search for desired information or documents irrespective of whether they are in office premise/network or at a remote place. Secondly, it reduced their IT footprint drastically. Thanks to SharePoint, they no longer need to worry about web farms or server maintenance and security.
The Education Industry is also adopting technology keenly. The key players offer learning management systems which aim at creating, delivering and tracking of all types of courses and training. But it is hard to implement a perfect solution, even harder to maintain, and difficult for students to use. They are worried about the continuous maintenance and frequency of both hardware and software upgrades. They want to eradicate the on-premise solution as it involves a continuous challenge of keeping up to date with technologies and hardware. Also, education industry is facing the challenge of working within budgets that are often shrinking year after year, yet educators and administrators still strive to deliver high-quality education.
Traditionally, their work has involved a lot of manual record keeping resulting in the extensive use of paper. This paper-based system caused numerous inefficiencies. Accessing student records was a long process and involved a lot of manual effort and was often delayed in the process. Also, the manual process of filling out forms was error-prone and resulted in duplicated efforts as the same information was entered numerous times on multiple forms. Not to forget, paper files contained various types of confidential information, there was a risk of a privacy breach if the physical folder ended up in the wrong hands.
One large education company, hence opted a suite of learning apps designed for Microsoft Office 365 and SharePoint online. The resulting system turned our to be user friendly, extensible, and robust. Since the learning management system is hosted on Office 365 which is widely popular, the system feels familiar to the customers. Also, it being an Office 365 product the deployment is easy, the clients (schools, institutions) can set it up with ease and are able to offer a secure, modern learning management solution without requiring any kind of investment in any other technology or platforms.
All industries, Aviation, Automotive, Financial Institutions, Civil Engineering Firms, and a lot more have opted for SharePoint in one form or other.
Retail industry is also constantly evolving as e-commerce grows ever bigger. The industry requires better reporting services to gain more insights on the current sales. They suffer from the problem of rapidly expanding volume of data and need to deal with it efficiently.
AxioWorks SQList continuously export SharePoint lists and libraries as normalised SQL Server tables with SQList by AxioWorks, making SharePoint data available to reporting tools like Power BI, Crystal Reports, or SSRS.
A leading Turkish clothing manufacturer and retailer was expanding rapidly. To support its expanding operations more efficiently, the company wanted better reporting tools and faster access to business data. They chose SharePoint along with Azure cloud infrastructure and set up their reporting framework on it. Now, they have saved US$1 million a year in IT costs with self-service BI and, by using cloud services, it has improved insight with minimal additional investment. The company uses Power View dashboards through Microsoft SharePoint for reports.
Many companies are also hosting their websites in SharePoint because it offers scalability, high availability, and security. Also, the performance is good and maintenance cost is low. SharePoint along with Microsoft Azure cloud platform provide an ideal hosting solution.
A large Media and Entertainment company was working as a promoting partner for Olympics. As a part of the promotional efforts leading up to the Olympic Games, they developed a new comprehensive website that contained a primary committee site as well as future sub-sites for each of the country’s 27 sports associations. But they were sure that as thousands of people around the world would be visiting the site for the latest sports news, so round-the-clock availability was mandatory. Performance was also critical as it could affect company’s reputation and they wanted something that they could reuse for a future similar project.
The committee also sought to find a secure hosting solution to protect against distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) and other attacks.
After evaluating a variety of offerings available in market, the committee chose Microsoft SharePoint as it provided the high availability and scalability, as well as fast performance and strong security they wee looking for.
Disclaimer: this article is based on publicly available information on real companies adopting SharePoint in their LOB. All references to those companies have been removed as the scope of the article is the technology used rather than the companies themselves. AxioWorks is not associated with any of the companies described above.