Are you making use of SharePoint on the move?

The rapid risk of mobile and remote working has meant that many businesses have deployed Microsoft’s collaboration solution SharePoint to enable employees to work together more easily online and reduce operational costs. However recent research shows that, once businesses make the move to SharePoint, they face new challenges to meet user needs.

A recent survey of 100 UK CIOs, IT Directors and senior IT professionals about their attitudes towards Microsoft SharePoint found that the majority of businesses surveyed (87%), and 92 per cent of enterprises with 3,000 or more employees, have deployed SharePoint.

However, the results show that many businesses find it requires a high level of customisation, and extra work to ensure that documents are accessible securely to employees on the move. More than half (51 per cent), and 64 per cent in the financial sector, say that the software requires a high level of customisation due to a poor user interface.

But customisation and a poor user interface aren’t the only pain points for IT. They also face the challenge of how to extend that access to mobile and the cloud. Interestingly the results showed that the majority (54 per cent) have already granted business users access to corporate documents via mobiles or tablets, or plan to within the next 12 months.

As a result many companies have to fork out extra investment both financially and in human resources to realise they value intended from their SharePoint deployment. While collaborative technologies are undoubtedly becoming increasingly important, this research highlights that considering how people work and use the solution is equally important.

A separate study carried out by the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) of senior IT professionals using SharePoint showed that 18 per cent are currently using a workflow or business process management third-party add-on, but this is set to grow to 55 per cent in total.

Nearly half (40%) plan to have add-ons for security, classification, records management and archive, and 30% are seeking to improve back-up, external storage and email integration.

With more users requiring access to corporate documents and repositories such as SharePoint on the move, IT leaders should be using a deployment like this as an opportunity to revise their document management strategy.

Crucially IT professionals need to make sure they are choosing tools that will make major deployments like Microsoft SharePoint easier to adopt to get the most out of a SharePoint deployment.

The bottom line is that collaboration technologies are being deployed to give users productivity gains. So, if they aren’t easy to use and employees aren’t adopting the systems, that investment is wasted. These solutions are meant to help employees get their jobs done more quickly. It’s clear that businesses need a way to use SharePoint and other collaboration technologies easily and securely.

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John Safa is the vice president of engineering at document collaboration software provider and Microsoft partner Workshare. With more than 20 years of IT experience, including 12 at the executive level, John oversees the research and development efforts for Workshare’s products. He has. An innovator as well as an engineer, John has over 20 granted patents. He is a recognised expert on IT security issues and is regularly quoted in leading media publications. Prior to joining Workshare, John founded Bitarts, which was one of the first companies to offer digital rights management activation technology for both PC and mobile devices. He also co-founded DriveSentry, an anti-virus solution for desktop PCs and removable storage that utilised whitelisting and cloud-based detection techniques. Most recently, John was a director at SDL PLC, one of the world's largest translation companies, where he directed the development in the language technology division.