I’ve had the great opportunity to spend time with some of AvePoint Public Sector’s customers discussing SharePoint for business in my role as CTO. In most of my conversations, a recurring topic that kept bubbling up is the fact that a lot of executive decision makers still don’t perceive Microsoft SharePoint for business as an essential platform unlike Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and Human Resources (HR) platforms. SharePoint is mostly viewed as a utility tool for business users to store files and/or centralized repository for group collaboration.
As IT continues to provide value to the business with limited resources, it is critical to elevate the strategic business value of SharePoint. As you know, when implemented with realistic business buy-in, it can accelerate and transform business engagement in any organization.
How can we effectively engage decision makers to understand the strategic value of SharePoint for business? Here are 4 steps:
1. Identify and assess what are their top business needs
One of our key public sector customers is undergoing a major IT transformation initiative. Because of this, they have a lot of projects going on that needed visibility for transparency and accountability. Along with a partner, we were able to provide them with a project transparency solution on top of their existing Microsoft technology investment (SharePoint, Project, Project Server, Yammer, etc.)
The formula to our success is:
- We did our homework, identified their top business need
- We assessed what resources and solutions are needed to meet their requirements
- We didn’t pitch our solutions from a technical feature set; we showcased how our services, partnerships, and solutions coupled with their technology investment can help meet their business needs
2. Showcase AND stress SharePoint for business enablement
As you may already know, SharePoint is a misunderstood technology. Even if it’s already a 12-year-old product, many organizations use it today as a glorified file share.
In my experience, taking them through and demonstrating how SharePoint for business can automate processes, provide better reporting, and facilitate better collaboration is key. Go above and beyond the document management/file sharing conversation.
I encourage you to watch these presentations to get some ideas on how to do this:
3. Showcase customer wins relevant to your industry that prove the value of SharePoint for business
4. Offer takeaway resources and/or connect with SMEs on SharePoint for business
Engage with internal or industry subject matter experts (SMEs) who may be able to address any questions your decision makers may have beyond your initial conversation. The SharePoint community is so vibrant and is overflowing with experts who are willing to help.
Additionally, send them relevant articles, whitepapers, videos that may help them better understand the strategic value of SharePoint. Here are some resources you may want to pass along:
I hope you’ll find these tips helpful. I would love to hear about other tips and tricks that you can share. Leave a comment below, or feel free to connect with me on Twitter and let me know if I can help you identify SharePoint’s relevant strategic value to your organization! Have a fantastic week!