One of the key gaps that organizations need to understand and plan around within their SharePoint implementation is often the distance between what the team is doing, and what needs to be done to recognize business value out of the platform. While any organization can derive value out of the basic SharePoint deployment, real business value comes from customization and refinement. But where do you start? What is going to drive productivity across your teams?
In my upcoming session in Atlanta entitled The Connection Between Metadata, Social Tools, and Personal Productivity, I plan to share some ideas that I hope people will take back to their organizations, planting them as seeds, challenging attendees to reflect, to ask the right questions, and to determine whether or not their organizations are moving in the right direction.
The ideas may not be revolutionary, but they may help your team to be evolutionary, improving on your existing plans:
- Underneath the hood, it’s all about metadata.
Metadata is at the foundation of every knowledge management platform. It populates your taxonomy, it enables your search, it adds relevance to your content. As it is structured, as it is refined in ad hoc ways your end users, as it is expanded, it needs to be managed.
- Social is just another layer of the search experience.
In the rapidly changing enterprise, social is the new norm for communication. It’s the way the incoming generation interacts with their peers, their family, the community. Consumer-based social tools and the behaviors they drive (real or perceived) have many employers concerned that they may drain productivity. But while many social tools can be rightfully labeled as novelties, the core of social interactions are completely relevant to your business. Think about it: Wikis are cutting down on inefficient document review processes, allowing people to work together collaboratively, offline or in real-time. Comment threads uncover important dialog over time — relevant conversations that would be otherwise lost. Ratings and Likes are yet another data point allowing content to be filtered and prioritized based on trust networks — I trust you, and therefore I am more likely to trust the value of content that you have Liked over content you haven’t Liked. And content tagging… well, I’ve already covered that one.
- Productivity is about capturing — and utilizing — data.
Searching for a document in a folder with a dozen items is a fairly simple task. Searching across millions of artifacts is quite different. One of the biggest complaints with SharePoint, as with any knowledge management platform, is not being able to find your content. To be productive, your data needs to be searchable, organized and relevant. Assigning metadata to each document is the beginning. Organizing your taxonomy and maintaining strong policies and procedures for governing your end-user generated folksonomy is the next step — but will only take you so far. Enabling end users to discuss, append, comment, rate and Like, and then correlate their content to other content, to projects and to teams, and to people inside and outside of the organization will exponentially improve the productivity quotient in your organization.
On the surface, metadata, social tools, and personal productivity seem only loosely connected. But in actuality, they are tightly bound. It’s a fun topic to present, and I’m looking forward to the discussion in Atlanta in April. If you have not yet registered, you can find more information at http://www.shareconference.com/us/. I hope to see you there.