…….to understand what SharePoint will do for my business. It isn’t surprising that a useful, flexible tool like SharePoint is a best kept secret to reduce costs for a company.
With SharePoint there are easy gains on moving people off file shares and into OneDrive/libraries to control documents. This provides a single version of the truth for company policies and processes that insure consistency across the organization. If you happen to be a virtual company – using talent in different geographical locations (across the street or the other side of the world), having the same information for everyone at the same time is invaluable.

A few years ago, my client’s team was selected to build a software solution for their customer. In this case the team consisted of 15 Developers, 2 Quality Assurance Analysts, 2 Testers, 1 Product Manager and 1 Business Analyst. When the team was together and met with the customer, the goal was clear and everyone was on the same page – each knowing what they needed to do to fulfill the goal. As time passed, scope creep became the challenge for the Product Manager to contain and the Business Analyst to determine if the change was in or out.

Seems like a pretty good process but let’s look behind the scene. What started with one document and set of marching orders presented at the Client kick-off meeting, turned into an email distribution to each team member resulting in 20 “copies” of the same document. Each change to the requirements caused another version of the document to be generated and distributed. In all, they ended up with 25 versions or 500 copies. With each version, the risk of NOT meeting the client’s requirements were increased.

The unacceptable result did happen – the Developers began and continued coding the solution based on an old version of the requirements document. The Testers’ automation scripts were created based on the newer requirements and would not pass the software developed as the functionality did not deliver the expected responses. The corrections required reprogramming and delivery of the solution to the Client was delayed.

The beauty of document management in SharePoint is that there is only ONE version – everyone sees the same thing and all changes may be tracked (who/when). You know who to go to regarding the change, saving valuable time and preventing miss-steps. As an added bonus, you can select to set up automatic notifications which will email each team member when a change is made to the document, insuring everyone has the same information. Even clients can be granted access to the document to keep them fully informed, which improves their level of confidence or understanding of what to expect.

If a brick and mortar company can make a million dollar error, causing rework and paying penalties for non-delivery, it means there is a risk for a smaller entity or a Virtual Organization. Being a distributed team and not able to walk to the office next to yours, makes it essential to utilize tools to organize, communicate and share information. SharePoint provides that and more.

About Your Columnist

Linda Amaro is a featured columnist for Women Taking Charge, the official blog of Connected Women of Influence, where she covers topics, tips and tricks surrounding The Virtual Office and using Microsoft SharePoint to improve collaboration. Linda Amaro, has been in the Information Technology (IT) industry for over 30 years and has risen to the position of CIO in the corporate arena managing multiple departments with over 150 staff members and projects for tier one customers ranging from $2.5 million to $20 million. In 2010, she started Klarinet Solutions, a SharePoint consulting firm that provides SharePoint Design, Site Branding, Workflow Automation, On-Line Forms Development, Document Management, Custom Development and Business Intelligence.

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