“Did Juan in Bogota read the comments I made on that report?”. “Did Natalia in Kiev check the document?” “Did Ashwin in Hyderabad action those updates?”
A large corporation is a fascinating place to work; with colleagues around the world producing amazing results in all sorts of fields. The opportunities to grow and learn are unparalleled. However, like any workplace, corporations have their drawbacks. Individuals can sometimes end up feeling like a small (and insignificant) cog in the machine, bureaucracy stifles innovation, and company culture can often become overwhelming.
From the perspective of senior corporate leaders, navigating today’s unpredictable business environment, and developing an inspiring vision of the company’s future is highly challenging. Competition often comes in unpredictable forms, and new disruptive technologies can upset the best laid plans.
It’s striking how many major corporations depend on Microsoft’s SharePoint for their company’s Intranet. The IT giant’s enterprise productivity tools are reportedly used in 80% of Fortune 500 companies. How might we explain this level of popularity within large corporations?
Problems and Solutions
While technology can’t solve every problem that corporations face, it can certainly help them manage challenges much more effectively than they would have done. SharePoint is the leader in Intranet innovation by a considerable distance, and since its first iteration in 2001 has become the model to replicate.
All businesses struggle with the efficient management of documents. As with the examples at the beginning of this post, ensuring colleagues are all working in parallel, and are ‘on the same page’, is crucial. While in small companies it’s fairly easy to simply ask colleagues if they’ve committed a certain action or completed a report, this is far more difficult in large companies.
If you have people in offices in different countries, working in different time zones and languages, ‘organically’ ensuring they’ve completed a task is much harder.
SharePoint cuts out a lot of friction here. By allowing colleagues to store and access documents from one single place, they can be sure they’ll have all the latest updates. And because all documents uploaded to SharePoint are versioned, it’s possible to see how a document has been edited by different users.
If there are twenty people in your company, finding colleagues is pretty easy. If there are five thousand, finding the right person to help you becomes a lot more challenging. Employees are often looking for advice, information, and guidance on how to do certain tasks. In large companies, doing this becomes very tricky.
SharePoint is also useful here. It allows users to search the organization for people who know how to do certain things. Using your organizational chart, you can discover specific colleagues and visit their profiles to find out what they’re working on and see if they’re available. Say you wanted to find a lawyer who has expertise in compliance regulations. Without SharePoint you’d be at a loss as to where to start. SharePoint helps you narrow down your search quickly and efficiently.
Comply With Regulation
Most of today’s large organizations are burdened with extensive regulations regarding how they manage customer data – including the European Union’s new privacy rules. With thousands of employees in many different countries, ensuring everyone is complying with the rules can become extremely complex.
SharePoint includes a large range of privacy controls and permissions levels, which make it much easier to control who can access specific documents and what they can do with them. For instance – an organization may decide that only the Human Resources team can see a specific set of documents. Adding permissions means that these files and folders become inaccessible to anyone else, thereby improving security.
Develop a Corporate Identity
Large corporations often struggle with encouraging loyalty and a sense of belonging from their people. When an organization becomes too big, teams simply stop feeling a strong sense of place within the company. Individuals are, therefore, more likely to ‘jump ship’ if they get an even slightly better offer elsewhere, and have less hunger to improve the business.
With its customizable interface, and the ability to share company news and communications from the landing page, corporations that use SharePoint are able to develop a stronger corporate identity. Additional features, such as video, go a step further to helping share corporate news, and increase a feeling of belonging among colleagues.
Workflows form the basis of most employees’ day-to-day activities. While they may have specific tasks which they do independently of colleagues, workflows – receiving a task to do before passing it onto the next person in the chain – are the backbone of most businesses. However, a major pain point for corporations is that workflows often break down. Colleagues make mistakes, or forget to carry out their specific task in the chain.
Once again, SharePoint helps here – especially when extended with an add-in like Nintex workflows. Users can boost productivity and workflow compliance by automating the whole process – sending reminder emails to the individuals who have to carry out a specific step, and making sure they complete all their tasks on time.
It Worked For Them
SharePoint is used by tens of thousands of companies around the world – both big and small. It’s incredibly flexible, relatively easy to use and, when implemented correctly, can have an impressive impact on how your company works.