A serendipity is a happy surprise or coincidence. When you are looking in one direction and unexpectedly discover what you did not anticipate. Like trying to find a new way to work and coming up with an easy access Starbucks with a drive through. Or making a new friend at an event you really didn’t want to attend. Or looking into the best solution for EDMS (electronic document management system) and discovering it to be SharePoint!
SharePoint is a Web application platform commonly associated with the management of verbal and written communication. This beginning point in 2001 has developed over the past 13 years into remarkable new functionality.
SharePoint web tools are designed to be usable by non-technical users, to provide intranet portals, document and file management, collaboration, social networks, extranets, websites, enterprise search, and business intelligence. It also has system integration, process integration, and workflow automation capabilities.
Microsoft provides the following overview of SharePoint, which helps to highlight the powerful functionality:
- Share – Connect with employees across the enterprise – use SharePoint to engage with people, share ideas and reinvent the way you work together
- Organize – Whether working as a team or an individual, SharePoint helps you organize information, people and projects
- Discover – SharePoint makes it easy to find answers, discover insights and connect with experts
- Build – Developers and web designers can create new experiences on SharePoint using familiar tools and internet standards
- Manage – SharePoint provides powerful controls that allow IT departments to manage cost, risk and their time
The need for a powerful interface such as SharePoint is readily seen by the growing amount of information reflected daily in GB of document data storage. What to do with all that information? Rather than just store it, why not manage it? Storing data is the haystack. Managing the data is the needle easily found.
The benefits of EDMS are easy to predict. EDMS helps to reduce paper storage. With the management capacity there is improved document workflow within the business. A good EDMS systems allows for faster search and document retrieval. Not to be slighted by being placed last, there is improved redundancy and disaster recovery potentially available (disaster recovery implies the existence of a disaster recovery system).
The biggest challenge to an effective EDMS is adoption by the people involved. If the people creating the documents do not understand and buy into the value, then the system is of no value. In spite of the powerful resource EDMS represents, piles of paper continue to be stashed in upright metal filing cabinets. Thousands of needles in a dense impenetrable haystack!
SharePoint is by far the most popular EDMS on the market because it has a Microsoft Office-like interface, and it is closely integrated with the Office suite (Word, Outlook, Excel). It is also very well supported by the vendor community and many vendors offer extensions and plug-ins to integrate with it. The web tools are designed to ensure higher user adoption and better user experience.
Microsoft claims that SharePoint is used by 78% of Fortune 500 companies, yet scalable for small-medium businesses as well, and provides a cloud service edition as part of their Office 365 platform. The cloud service edition cost is based on a monthly user fee as low as $3 per user.
Driving down the road to a best in class EDMS solution, I pulled into the driveway of SharePoint! Give us a call at Alliant, (626) 461-1300, to collect your free serendipity. To hear how SharePoint could manage your work environment.