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Assess the Usefulness of SharePoint Collaboration Features Based on an Organization’s Structure

On February 13, 2014, we will host an online class, Making Enterprise Social Real in your Organization with Yammer and SharePoint, which will be lead by Naomi MoneyPenney.

Communities of SharePoint users interested in promoting collaboration between internal departments, or external partners should consider sending personnel to attend our class. It makes sense for any community considering a collaboration effort, via SharePoint, to run a preliminary assessment of cultural suitability before deciding, one way or another, to implement this type of program.

SharePoint 2007, 2010, 2013 and Online all offer a number of features suitable for inclusion within a broad collaboration effort. But often times efforts to implement these features fail. The reasons for failure rarely have to do with technical issues. Rather, the reasons for failure usually stem from the actual internal culture of the organization. Remediating the cultural features of an organization to open an opportunity to implement automated workplace collaboration features through a platform like SharePoint has more to do with organizational factors, than it does with technical issues.

If an organization is vertically organized, with a clear hierarchical, top down architecture, it will be very difficult to extract the “gold” from a powerful newsfeed service like Yammer. Line personnel will be unlikely to freely post comments to a community newsfeed if management has not entirely bought into the program.

For this reason it makes sense for any organization contemplating a collaboration effort to work on the governance piece, in detail, before proceeding on the effort. Once program ownership can be clearly established, and articulated across the community of SharePoint users, from the top down, then it makes sense to implement Yammer newsfeeds. But it doesn’t make sense to go down this path if the governance piece has not been entirely worked out.

If your SharePoint community is seriously considering implementing any of SharePoint’s collaboration features, and you could benefit from vetting the notion a bit more, then please let us know. We will welcome the opportunity to speak with you about your plan.

Ira Michael Blonder

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