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How Business Models and Culture Intersect SharePoint Deployments and Why It Matters

The mission critical nature of technology in the enterprise has elevated the status of the IT department, which is gaining influence in shaping enterprise business strategy and company culture. However, the inverse is also true.

Due to the inter-connectedness between business strategy and IT strategy, decisions made at the business model or company culture-level are increasingly impacting IT’s effectiveness. As a result, dysfunction at the business model level significantly impacts enterprise-wide technology implementations, including SharePoint deployments. However, the dysfunction will typically surface as a technical problem rather than a business or cultural problem, making the source of the problem difficult to identify and correct.

Dysfunction in your company’s business model or culture will negatively impact an enterprise software deployment; however, the dysfunction will often be viewed as a technical problem first. The success or failure of your SharePoint deployment depends upon your ability to build a healthy business model and culture.

Diagnosing dysfunction in your business model or culture requires that you have a working model with which to measure health versus dysfunction. If the core elements of a business model are missing or poorly implemented in your company, your entire organization, including its enterprise software deployments, will suffer.

Fortunately, the inverse is also true. If the core elements of a full business model exist within your organization and are implemented in a healthy way, you'll find that your enterprise software deployments will be healthier as well.

Take a moment and compare your organization’s business model with the healthy business model described below to uncover possible areas of dysfunction that might surface during a SharePoint deployment. The elements of a good business model include a core ideology, a vision, a mission, core processes and a governance strategy, all of which have a direct impact on your technology implementations.

Core Ideology

A core ideology is comprised of a company's purpose statement and set of core values. It should be transcendent and timeless. The purpose statement is the company's reason for existing beyond making money. The purpose statement provides a common focus for the organization. It serves as the foundation for strategic planning and is often a guide for the allocation of limited resources, but, most importantly, the purpose statement gives meaning to daily activities for employees.

The core values define a company’s identity, set it apart from the competition, serve as a rallying point for employees, and reflect what people believe in and consider important within the organization. Core values are translated into behavioral statements, and so they identify expectations for individual behavior. Business priorities are also decided based upon an organization’s core values.

If your company lacks a core ideology, employees will instinctively seek to fill the gap by formulating their own purpose for the company and inserting their own values. If SharePoint is implemented in an environment with an undefined purpose and a lack of core values, it is inevitable that the various teams will use SharePoint in ways consistent with their own conclusions, often ignoring or not caring how their use of the software may be misaligned with the company’s business objectives and goals. 

This will include disparities in how information is managed within SharePoint. When conflicts arise as to the use of SharePoint, many will immediately blame SharePoint for creating the conflict instead of understanding that the software is surfacing problems that originate in higher levels of the business model. An established purpose statement and set of core values can help employees put aside their individual agendas and see technology as a set of tools that enable them to work toward a common goal.

Vision

Once an organization understands why it exists, it's time for that organization to define where it wants to go in the future. This is a company’s vision. A vision is a long-term view of the course an organization will take over the next five to ten years.

The development of a vision statement is an ongoing process due to the adjustments that need to be made as short-term goals are either achieved or not achieved. The vision statement is under frequent, but not constant, development. The vision of the organization should be something that is achievable, but it is also something the organization isn't doing today. There is a necessary tension that is created between the future desired state and the present state when effective visions are realistic, credible and attractive.

 

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