The global enterprise with SharePoint

In this blog we discuss how SharePoint can really support global operations in a way that allows businesses to expand and build upon success, minimising the risk of different operational standards between regions or any business disconnect.

Woman standing in the street on her phone

Modern business has changed. Organizations more and more frequently look to expand beyond the reach of a single geographical location to increase their market share and their profitability. With the ever evolving nature of enterprise IT, the obstructions to this kind of business model are becoming fewer and more manageable. This trend of globalization of products and services will undoubtedly continue to grow, as more organizations strive to remain competitive and grow dynamically, both in terms of reach and profitability. Choosing the right IT to support this kind of expansion, and to support global enterprise operations, is pivotal to success. SharePoint Intranets are being used across the world to facilitate just these such approaches to global business development.

There are many features of SharePoint that make it so effective at uniting disparate offices and teams such as:

  1. Enterprise Content Management
  2. Business Process Management
  3. Document Management
  4. Social Collaboration

Each of these features in the context of international business are hugely valuable, and now through a use case, we will look at exactly how they can be used to unify international operations for more effective business.

SharePoint in Action

Let's imagine that in this use case you work for a digital design agency that designs everything from corporate logos, all the way through to digital documents such as presentations or even web pages for customer facing sites. You operate out of the US and expand into the UK with a new office and a host of staff and other resources. SharePoint can keep these two offices connected, and can keep this new operational location informed of the latest company developments, in order to maintain an effectively streamlined approach to business.

1. Enterprise Content Management

Within your organization there is a wide array of content which has grown over a period of many years and different design projects. This knowledge comes in many forms such as documents, briefs and proposals, through to presentations and policies, and is often managed in very different ways by different staff. SharePoint Enterprise Content Management is concerned with how this content is created and shared amongst your various users. In the context of your expanding digital design agency, this represents the digital history of all your past design projects; the knowledge acquired from working with a variety of unique clients, that your new UK teams will want to access, in order to help define best practices. By establishing the way in which digital content is created, stored and shared within a SharePoint Intranet from the outset, new geographic locations can more readily draw on knowledge archives in order to extract pertinent information for ensuring the standard of future work.

2. Business Process Management

Business processes themselves are simply sets of activities that require completion to achieve a specific business task. Automating these processes using software applications has been heavily discussed over the years, yet early attempts at reflecting real life processes were fraught with failure. However the technology, using systems like SharePoint 2013, has finally come of age in the enterprise. Through your SharePoint Intranet your design company can define the path from winning that corporate logo design job, through collaborating with designers and artists, and finally the various stages of client approval, making for effectively managed projects that are uniform in process, regardless of geographic location.

3. Document Management

Almost every modern company operates some kind of document management system, and they are now almost always created digitally. In your digital design agency the chances are that this will be the case and everything from sketches, to colour pallets, through to proposals tendered and signed agreements, must be stored for future reference. Having this kind of structure in place builds a repository of valuable templates for new offices and makes for ease of finding content when necessary. It also means less work duplication and the maintaining of a single version of the truth throughout the organization, which directly translate to quality assurance and less wasted time and money, both of which are essential for a spread workforce.

4. Social Collaboration

As we have seen, a key part of any organization's collaboration strategy is working with teams and individuals to achieve common objectives. Social media and social networking tools can have a huge impact on how these objectives are discussed, managed, and met. Social Collaboration is the relationships and conversations between users who are trying to collaborate. With new offices opening across different regions these conversation can become difficult and even disruptive to every day work flows. Enterprise social is the solution that allows knowledge transfer to take place between people and whole locations instantaneously. With enterprise social profiles, skills and knowledge can be identified quickly by any new teams that have need of colleague help and are unsure about who the right people are to engage with. It is this is the kind of real time sharing that will have your new UK office up to speed in no time at all with minimal hassle.

However with enterprise social tools the rewards aren't just yours, they also extend to your staff. When employees are given a voice, via social tools, they feel they are providing a useful contribution to their organization. This in turn can help them feel more useful, more engaged and a bigger part of the organizational culture - collaborating more effectively as a result.

As you can see SharePoint can really support global operations in a way that allows businesses to expand and build upon success, minimising the risk of different operational standards between regions or any business disconnect. Staff remain engaged and connected to each other and your organizational values and knowledge pool, across boundaries and throughout your united enterprise. In this today's use case it was a digital design agency, but tomorrow it could be you.

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