The blank slate of a New Year inspires us to rethink the world around us. We resolve to do things differently: eat better, exercise more, practice patience or pay off our bills. This year, we tell ourselves, everything will be different.
But as I look to the year ahead, I find myself less interested in doing things differently and more interested in simply doing them better.
I'd like to see this year be a year of staying the course and continuing to execute against established priorities, as well as planning for the future. The time is now for delivering against the basics!
Defining the Basics
It is no surprise that in a universe as complex as the enterprise, the list of “basics” is pretty long. Here are some of the projects that I think deserve special attention in the coming year.
Let's finally figure out the right mobile strategies and align them with business needs across different mobile personas, device types and intranet applications.
Let's wrap our arms around the rapidly changing smartphone marketplace. In 2013, Samsung overtook Apple as the market leader and Blackberry dropped off the map. Now, Microsoft is acquiring Nokia and is poised to become more of a player with enterprise customers. We need to figure out what all of this means for the enterprise.
Let's drill down on the integration of content, communication, collaboration and application environments and bring social into the reasoned part of our communication and collaboration portfolios.
Let's rise to the challenge of user expectations about access to real-time data and prepare for increased demand on corresponding delivery systems.
Let's figure out SharePoint 13. With online, on premises and hybrid forms, SharePoint 13 will continue to evolve (especially in its Office 365 form) and dominate the intranet space. It is going to take some work, but let's figure out the SharePoint 13 app model and capitalize on the app commercialization model.
Personalization and Aggregation
Let's deliver on our expectations of personalization and aggregation as information overload and end-user focus converge to create greater demand for these capabilities.
Let's capture the power of analytics to understand internal usage patterns and adjust information worker-focused capabilities accordingly.
Let's embrace the capabilities of the cloud (because it's not going anywhere!).
Let's deliver better search tools and educate end users to conduct better searches. By integrating various content sources and improving functions like rules-based catalog views, search has the potential to become more of a suggestion engine and automatically surface content that’s critical to an individual’s day to day job functions.
Planning for the Future
Getting back to the basics does not mean turning your back on strategic planning.
Great strategy ensures that the right bets are made, the right level of funding is provided, and things are orchestrated in a rational manner across a portfolio of initiatives. As the landscape articulated above becomes more complex and the opportunities for value production become greater, strategic planning becomes even more important in 2014.
Developing a holistic "Communication, Collaboration, Content and Social Computing Strategy" will allow you to take a step back and develop a more holistic view of your current and future delivery portfolios across these areas as aligned with your business needs, current adoption levels, budgets and technical trends.
A "SharePoint Strategy" will help you define the things you need to put into place moving forward to get more value out of your investment in that platform (such as business alignment and enablement, further service and capability development, etc.).
But none of this works if you don't have a good understanding of your user base and their user experience needs, which must be at the heart of any strategy.
This year, the enterprise can close the loop on some of the nagging issues that have been holding us back. By prioritizing doing things better and getting things done, we can prepare for the exciting innovations that lie ahead. And that will make for a happy New Year for us all!
Editor's Note: Read more from Kevin in Enterprise Social: Driving Productivity or Driving to Distraction?
About the Author
Kevin Conroy is founder and president of Blue Rooster, an interactive technology consulting firm building the globally connected enterprise, specializing in collaborative internal- and external-facing social business Web sites for Fortune 500 corporations. Blue Rooster works with the world's leading companies, helping them to Create, Build and Experience powerful and intuitive Microsoft SharePoint solutions that are easy to adopt in the enterprise.
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