Hiring new employees can be a long, complicated, and tedious process. Department managers and staff in charge with selecting and hiring an employee must weed through hundreds of resumes, spend hours interviewing candidates, and finally select the candidate who is not only right for the business but also for the position.
Once an employment position is filled, it might seem as though the hard work is over. On the contrary, the hard work is just beginning. Employee success often begins with how quickly and how effortlessly they can get up to speed at the business, within the role they will play, and the duties they will perform.
Additionally, onboarding new employees involve tasks not just related to the human resources department but the department for which they will work, and possibly others. This can lead to complications for HR because now they must cross-functionally track and manage tasks. Not only must HR staff track and manage the tasks that are related directly to HR, but they must stay in step with tasks associated with other departments that are in line with current rules and regulations.
In our last blog “The Hidden Issue of Siloed Departments and Organic IT Chaos,” we discussed the impact of siloed departments that operated in isolation of each other at businesses. As the business grew, these siloed departments, such as HR and IT, added their own separate applications and systems. The result was a chaotic IT infrastructure, or what we call Organic IT.
Organic IT has a chaotic effect on the business, from IT costs to interdepartmental communication to employee productivity.
In our last blog, “The Need for a Digital Workplace on Office 365,” we talked about Organic IT - systems and applications that arose naturally as the business grew. At the time this was necessary from a departmental point of view in order to set into place a way for employees to receive services, follow procedures, submit requests, and ask questions.
The downside to this approach of Organic IT is that interdepartmental communication and access to employee-facing business processes, such as time off or expense reporting, is completely separate from one another. This presents a number of problems when employees need to interact with multiple departments and receive services in order to effectively do their job.
By Darrell Trimble
A lot of new Intranet-in-a-box offerings for SharePoint are flooding the market that promise businesses a vibrant intranet that employees will love and use. These Intranets-in-a-box promote an enhanced interface, responsive design, content targeting, and social features.
As with any technology or software purchase, it’s important to educate yourself on what you are actually paying for. SharePoint, especially SharePoint Online, already comes with the features mentioned above as part of its base platform.
So, what are these new Intranets-in-a-box really providing, which can cost businesses close to $50k? To be straightforward, they are putting a new face on what some people consider “old and ugly” SharePoint. This scenario is similar to paying for a complete kitchen remodel when all you’re really getting is kitchen cabinet refacing.
Even more interesting is that with the announcement of the new SharePoint user experience, the need for “refacing” will soon go away. The Intranet product-specific user experiences will collide with the common user experience Microsoft is releasing across Office 365 components, such as Groups, Planner, and email.
Your Intranet should share this common look and feel with the rest of Office 365; otherwise, it will stick out like a sore thumb, leading to inconsistency with other Office 365 services that users traverse each day.
Recently Microsoft ended support for managed-code solutions for SharePoint Online on Office 365. As a provider of out-of-the-box portals and business applications for SharePoint Online, we here at SP Marketplace prepared for the change long ago, and there was little to no impact on our solutions for our more than 1000 global customers.
However, we receive calls from numerous organizations who had used consultants to develop custom Intranets and other business solutions that now are not working due to the change. Unfortunately, the consultants did not support the applications against changes in Office 365, and many were long gone. These organizations got burned.
Should you use consultants or internal development to build solutions on SharePoint Online?
After a full week at Microsoft Ignite 2016, technology is again offering real game changing opportunities for organizations across all industries. There were many great sessions that are now available online from the Ignite 2016 site.
At the core is a cloud computing model and a new term “Digital Workplace.” Moving to a cloud model represents great cost savings and accessibility options. But this infrastructure alone does not result in more productivity and collaboration within your organization. How you apply it in your organization makes the difference.
Providing your employees with a common platform that brings together communication, collaboration, processes, and information as a Digital Workplace becomes critical. This is where Microsoft is taking the Office 365 Ecosystem, delivering many new services that form the basis for your Digital Workplace.
We at SP Marketplace have been working with Microsoft to leverage this new technology in our Office 365 out-of-the-box solutions, and here is your chance to see what is possible. At Ignite, we saw many sessions on these new services and how Microsoft is delivering a common user experience across services laying the foundation for transformational change in the way business is done.
As a vendor of Office 365 solutions, SP Marketplace speaks with hundreds of Office 365 customers every month. It always amazes us how many businesses are using just a fraction of the Office 365 functions. Apparently ROI for technology investment is not important. Obviously this inflammatory statement is not true (we hope); but rather, it is a lack of information or education about Office 365. You can benefit from what you don’t know.
The average Office 365 customer we see mostly uses it for email. In fact, the main reason in buying Office 365 for many was to get rid of their Exchange Server. What they don’t know is email is only about 15% of what Office 365 can do. In fact, even worse, their staff still uses only the Outlook client and never signs into the Office 365 site to discover all the cool functions available. This is just sad because often they are paying for 100%, but only getting 15% of the possible ROI.
SP Marketplace views Office 365 usage as a technology Maslow’s Hierarchy. It starts with the most basic needs fulfillment up to optimal realization. Your ROI corresponds with a rise in level of maturity of use. The higher you go, the more ROI you get out of it for your organization.
Consumption is the new buzzword from Microsoft. Over the last couple of years Microsoft has been pushing partners to migrate companies to the cloud. Getting them to the cloud is one thing, getting them to use it and see value is another. Now Microsoft is asking partners for help in driving use or “consumption” of the online services. Obviously, if clients don't see the value then they won't renew the services. But for many partners understanding how to drive consumption is not as easy as migrating clients. While Office 365 is a great platform with many services, it in itself is not business solution. That is the challenge for many partners. An article in Redmond Channel Partner magazine said it best:
"It's not enough for partners to drive sales of Microsoft's cloud; now, they're being asked to drive cloud workloads."
- Redmond Channel Partner Magazine article: "For Microsoft's Cloud Partners, Consumption' Is the Order of the Day."
If you are a Microsoft cloud partner who has migrated a number of clients to Office 365, you might be asking what else can I offer them? What can I go back to these accounts with to take advantage of the consumption-driven incentive from Microsoft?
Many business and IT professionals are now familiar with the benefits of an intranet portal. Serving as an organization hub, internal employees can share information, documents, news, events, and can access departmental services.
Built strategically and consistently, an intranet portal can drive internal business collaboration and productivity while also providing better service across the organization.
Business solution portals, most often deployed on SharePoint On-premise and more recently Office 365 in the cloud, are seeing a rise in popularity and demand.
So why not extend that model to your extended organization? Your business partners, boards, committees, members, volunteers, and clients? Rather than an “intra,” why not an “extra” net for external users?
According to TechTarget, an extranet is a private network that uses Internet technology and the public telecommunication system to securely share part of a business's information or operations. An extranet can be viewed as part of a company's intranet that is extended to users outside the company.
Without an extranet, many organizations resort to sending emails or using basic document hosting sites, such as dropbox, to exchange content and information with outside partners and groups. This is time-consuming and ineffective for maintaining and building partner and business relationships.
By creating an extranet environment, you give your external partners and groups a way to collaborate externally as well as self-service access to more cohesively work with internal staff. This reduces work load at your business, improves communication, and builds a better business relationship.
Project management is an essential function of every organization, with all levels requiring the ability to track and manage projects to some extent. Unfortunately, most organizations spend money and effort with the best of intentions on a project management tool that cannot be applied across the entire organization. This benefits only a few employees, such as the professional Project Manager, but leaves a majority of other departments and roles, including Marketing and IT, to use insufficient methods like Excel for project management needs.
The reality is that the level of project management functions varies across organizations. One size does not fit all. After more than 1,000 customer deployments, SP Marketplace has seen a variety of project management models in a variety of different size organizations.
In large enterprises or for certain project-heavy industries like construction firms or IT companies, there is a need to manage large-scale projects, often managed by project professionals. This requires rigorous processes, resource scheduling, and extensive reporting.
While these projects are critical for the organization, there also exists many smaller projects in departments that are managed by casual project users, often department heads. Applying the same rigor and processes as large projects can result in a situation where managing the project takes more time than the project itself. It is for this reason that many managers still use Excel for projects. In this blog, we will look at options for how to manage and track small to medium projects.