The challenge was big. Get a company to collaborate better.
But not just any company. A global human resources consulting firm that had more than 14,000 employees distributed in 1,500 locations across 35 countries.
It was the task of the team at Buildingi and Roberto Yglesias, the consultancy's business technology director.
"In their case, after a large merger they had no real way of collaborating across teams and geographies, and it was done through file shares if it was done at all," said Yglesias, who is speaking on the topic at the AIIM Conference in Orlando tomorrow.
"We architected a SharePoint deployment that allowed them not only to collaborate across all regions effectively and easily but also it automatically implements all required retention policies."
Yglesias talked to CMSWire about SharePoint and enterprise collaboration on the heels of his conference breakout session, "ECM at a Global Scale: Empower Users Ignite Change." He is co-speaking with Tejas Mehta, senior group program manager for legal strategy in Microsoft's Legal and Corporate Affairs (LCA) group.
When he's not speaking at the AIIM Conference, Yglesias helps companies with tailored technology solutions for enterprise content management (ECM), SharePoint site customization, worker and vendor collaboration, eDiscovery, business intelligence and real estate portfolio management.
"When SharePoint is deployed well, in my opinion it is the most complete collaboration tool out there," said Yglesias, a senior consultant and architect.
"Great examples are when it’s used for project collaboration like the one we’ll be speaking about or when it’s used for team and department sites within an Intranet. Its features of offline synchronization using OneDrive for Business and the integration into Office makes it the perfect tool for productive collaboration, not to mention everything else users don’t care about but IT does such as retention policies, etc."
Email: Dead or Alive?
A lot of folks claim email is dead — forgotten in favor of SharePoint and other collaboration tools for enterprises. How does Yglesias see it?
"I don’t think it’s dead," he said. "It definitely has its place in the workplace for targeted communication."
However, for file collaboration, it should be dead, Yglesias said. The days of "emailing back and forth" will soon be gone, he added, especially as millennials enter the workforce and push harder than ever for more social collaboration on tools like Yammer.
"The reality is unfortunately that today, still a lot of companies are depending on just email and file shares to collaborate," Yglesias said. "And this is where I think Office 365 and SharePoint Online is going to help by making it easier for people to get on SharePoint without a big hardware investment."
Avoid IT-Based Effort
Yglesias said he's seen many organizations consider SharePoint or any other tool “IT-owned” and therefore deployed by IT teams. The trouble with this? It doesn't help gather business needs.
"We see this over and over with our customers where we have to come in and untangle a deployment that never got any engagement," he said.
Another common pitfall in enterprise collaboration? Making it too hard for users to collaborate. In order for these tools to be successful, make it easier to collaborate rather than going to a service where you lose all control over content.
Office 365 Enhancements
Yglesias said there are several upgrades to Office 365. He talked about a couple with us.
First, the announcement of OneDrive for Business as a standalone offering is a great opportunity for companies who have on-premise implementations. "This is a perfect way to get a simple hybrid implementation going," he said. "This will allow IT teams to deploy OneDrive for Business to teams that require that collaboration outside the firewall and with external users without punching holes through the firewall."
Also through Office 365, organizations have the ability to have site collections of up to 1TB on SharePoint Online and infinite size tenants. "This is a game changer, especially for records management as records centers tend to be very large, and now you can have it online," Yglesias said.
On the server side, one reassurance Microsoft did for everyone still on-premise is offer coming in 2015 a new version of SharePoint which will include most of the features rolled out to 365. "So companies who have a large on-premise investment can rest assured that SharePoint Server is not going anywhere," he said.
SharePoint Search is Hot
Asked about trends in SharePoint use, Yglesias said many organizations are leveraging search in SharePoint. Using search in SharePoint 2013 now allows users to aggregate easily information across multiple site collections and separate where a document lives vs. where it’s presented.
"This is a great benefit that makes it easier to have records centers and other centralized document repositories, but users still feel like they don’t have to hunt for their files," he said.
Ultimately, successful collaboration comes first with an organization's champions understanding their company’s culture and how it collaborates.
"There are lots of possibilities and ways to collaborate today," Yglesias said, "but you have to understand how your company will adapt to something you roll out as this could be the difference between engagement or indifference."