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SharePoint and Digital Transformation
Is SharePoint Still Transformative Part 5 of a 5 (or 6 – who knows) Part Series

 Jun 29, 2017      Matt Bowers

Optimizing Operations

So, what comes first? Digital transformation or improved operations and business process?  Do improved operations and business process drive digital transformation? Or does digital transformation just naturally lead to enhanced operations and improved business process?  In many ways, it’s a classic “chicken and egg” question!

And the answer to those questions varies depending on who you talk to, or who you are reading.  Survey the literature and you will find a wealth of articles such as “How Digital Transformation Is Helping Businesses Optimize Operations” or, “The future is digital: Optimizing operations to enable transformation”.

But, you will also find, “Designing and improving processes for your

digital transformation” Or, “Getting processes ready for your digital

transformation” or, “Business Process Improvements are Shaping the Digital Transformation Age”.

So, at the very minimum, improving operations and business process improvement are tightly interwoven with and integral to digital transformation.  You cannot have true digital transformation without some focus on business process and operations improvement.

That brings us back to the point of our discussion: SharePoint and digital transformation.  Does SharePoint have a role to play? Arguably, some of the most powerful ways in which SharePoint can be leveraged to transform an organization is in the optimization of business processes and operations!  The ways in which this can be accomplished are almost limitless.

What are some of the ways in which SharePoint can be leveraged to drive business process improvement, thus leading to digital transformation?

·       Using workflow to update and enhance many obsolete and manual processes to improve productivity and optimize time for production.

·       Using SharePoint lists to provide more robust forms of project, task and process tracking.  Replacing bloated Excel spreadsheets with SharePoint lists to leverage versioning, auditing, workflow, enhanced task tracking, management and close out.

·       Service ticket tracking to streamline business processes to provide faster response, efficient service delivery, and lower costs.

·       Data, data, data and using SharePoint to surface data, provide data reporting platforms and analytics engines.  As Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, said, “transforming the products and services companies offer is happening because of data intelligence. All companies everywhere are becoming data companies — from farming to finance, from New York to New Delhi — businesses are using data to connect everything from cars to cows.”

·       Optimizing financial reporting through automation in a reporting portal.  Can literally reduce month end close out processes from 30 – 40 hours to less than 8 hours!

·       Application integration into CRM or ERP applications to enhance reporting, data analysis and report distribution.

·       Portal applications to drive employee enablement and engagement.

·       Portal applications to drive customer engagement and enablement.

·       IOT Portals and equipment lifecycle management

These are just some of what are probably many scenarios for improving business processes, leveraging SharePoint.

Workflows are arguably some of the most exciting and interesting ways of driving innovation, change, business process and operational efficiency in SharePoint.

If you think of your workflows, workflow processes or business processes as a maturity curve or maturation model, then you can easily see where enhancements improve process.

Think of the curve this way:  (all of the below from my Partner and colleague Scott Weinstein and his article entitled “Is My Intranet Done Yet”)

At the lowest level of maturity

  • ·         I walk over to the HR Office
  • ·         I go the appropriate HR rep’s desk
  • ·         I ask for the form
  • ·         Fill out the form
  • ·         Give it to the HR rep
  • ·         HR rep keys it into the appropriate system


At a little higher level of maturity

  • ·         I go the intranet
  • ·         Find the form
  • ·         Print out the form
  • ·         Fill out the form
  • ·         Drop it off at HR
  • ·         HR rep keys it into the appropriate system


At the next maturity level

  • ·         I go the intranet
  • ·         Find the form
  • ·         Fill out the form online
  • ·         Send it to HR online
  • ·         HR rep keys it into the appropriate system


At the next maturity level

  • ·         I go the intranet
  • ·         Find the form
  • ·         Fill out the form online
  • ·         Send it to HR online

·         Based on the values on the form it gets routed for approval or automatically entered the system

Are all your forms and processes at the last level of maturity?  Are you never going to add new forms or processes?  If the answer is no, then your Intranet should continue to evolve.

As it evolves, SharePoint is driving digital transformation through business process improvement!




Matthew is a Partner, Senior Business Solutions Consultant, Client Engagement Manager and Senior Business Development Executive, with Covenant Technology Partners, a St. Louis, MO based technology and business consulting firm.

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