User Empowerment through SharePoint Online

Harnessing the groundswell – that’s has been the direction of 37% of the US information workers’ workforce by using do-it-yourself technologies. Being highly driven and resourceful, these people in the organisation are empowered. Realising the need to solve customer problems and act inventively, empowered users understand that technology plays a big role to business success. Comprising 20% of the US information workforce, empowered users use technology by automating and streamlining processes; solving problems; as tools for new business strategies; and an avenue to increase revenue and business value.

Microsoft has long implemented a business stance in architecting its products and services. Office 365 for example allows companies to use tools that will enhance overall value without full IT involvement and most importantly total cost of ownership. SharePoint Online as part of Office 365 is all about bringing powerful IT tools to business people. Helping to create sites to share documents and information, SharePoint Online makes working with colleagues and customers easy.

Tools that Empower Users
SharePoint Online provides tools that empower users without relying too much on IT. Firstly, it enables users to share personal documents and information through both shared and personal sites. With this, sharing documents, maintaining version controls and ensuring that documents are always up-to-date is easy. Secondly, SharePoint through its integration with Lync Online allows easy collaboration through instant messaging, audio/video calls and conferences. By having a Team Site – a place where people can work together to share documents, critical tasks and events; users can easily work together. Thirdly, with SharePoint being used as a central portal, keeping employees in the loop is easy. Finding documents and people, forum participation together with storage and access of important documents are all optimised to a level the meagre file server cannot compete with.

Users in Control
The adoption of SharePoint is often driven by business units. Unlike other IT systems, SharePoint implementations are driven by end users. Primarily due to having more visibility on the business’ front lines, department employees see the issues that can be critical and disruptive. For instance, versioning of an employee handbook or linking purchase orders with cheques can be issues that mean little to IT but matter highly to human resources and accounting. SharePoint can solve these problems given a little user support and training. Through proper guidance and end user empowerment, employees can utilise SharePoint with minimal IT support. Well trained users can perform minor configurations such as setting permissions, creating custom workflows and creating team sites. Now with SharePoint in the cloud, SharePoint Online can be implemented without having to maintain servers on-premises. By choosing Office 365’s pay-as-you-go service, users can have enterprise grade productivity tools and at the same time have a fulltime IT department focused on ensuring that the on-premises line of business servers are blinking green.

Empowerment is about removing barriers that hinders users’ capability to make actions and decisions. SharePoint provides users the right tools and aids in fostering a sense of empowerment and user control. Employees who feel empowered are more visionary and most likely to drive IT adoption within the organisation.

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