SharePoint and the F.O.S.H. Life – Operations (part 3 of 4)
F.O.S.H. Stands for Finance, Operations, Sales and Human Resources and denotes four areas in an organization where SharePoint can have an immediate impact. SharePoint is a tool that can be tailored to any business to enhance communication and automate repetitive business processes within and across departments.
In ‘SharePoint and the F.O.S.H. Life – Human Resources’, we discussed how SharePoint can enhance and optimize HR processes, exemplified by the Employee Life Cycle. The second part in the series, SharePoint and the F.O.S.H. Life – Finance, focused on how SharePoint can streamline some of the various Finance functions within an organization. In this third installment in the F.O.S.H. series, we will discuss how SharePoint can help improve organizational operations while helping an organization respond quicker to changes in its operational environment and efficiently manage internal requests.
In an increasingly litigious society it has become more important than ever for an organization to be able to respond to legal claims. Records management can be a difficult task for even the most mature organizations, but SharePoint can help prevent the loss of valuable information. The process of developing a Records Management Policy will help an organization:
- Identify what is important information and what is not important (vetting records)
- Define what happens to potential records while they are still active documents (proactive records management)
- Set a records retention policy that clearly outlines and enforces timeframes for retention
- Route records for review before they are deleted (protecting legal information)
- Easily find documents when they are needed
One of the barriers to a successful Records Management process is the level of difficulty in assessing the potential value of a record and determining where to store that document (the “putability” to borrow a term from Microsoft). SharePoint 2010 has a robust set of features which can help make this decision for employees thus increasing the likelihood that eRecords will:
- be placed in a secure area
- be found when they are needed
- not stay around longer than they are needed
In today’s modern business world, organizations have contracts with a variety of external companies such as suppliers, distributors, government agencies or a landlord. SharePoint can help manage all aspects of contract administration. By using SharePoint lists, a company can easily keep track of all of the contracts that are in effect, and by using SharePoint metadata, it is easy to track the important contract details (i.e. parties involved, expiration date, specific terms).
SharePoint can provide further benefits for a contract management process by assisting with the development of a contract. By using the collaboration features of SharePoint, a lawyer can develop a draft of a contract and then route it to the involved departments of the company for assessment. Any specific comments can be tracked and responded to by the lawyers. Once a draft has been approved to be sent to a third party for review it can be placed on a secured portal.
A SharePoint portal can provide a platform for collaboration with external organizations, allowing others to download copies of the contract. Once a contract has been reviewed by the third party they can respond with specific comments to the draft. Once the collaboration period has finished the third party can post a signed copy of the contract on SharePoint, thus creating a record of when the contract was signed and who uploaded it.
IT Service Management
Information Technology has become a strategic branch of any business’ operations. A specific example of an area that IT has responsibility for, and which impacts all aspects of an organization, is the management of IT assets. Almost every employee has a computer (with accessories) and the Consumerization of IT (COIT) has indeed begun to penetrate further, expanding into mobile phones, tablet devices and cloud based applications. This has created a quagmire of devices to track and maintain. By using the asset management modules of SharePoint, an IT department can track each employee’s IT assets as well as specific attributes of those assets.
Another benefit of SharePoint is the ability for employees to create their own service requests. If an employee encounters an issue with their equipment they can easily log the issue on an IT SharePoint site. Once the issue is logged, an alert can be sent to the manager of the IT Department who can then respond by assigning a technician.
The technician can open the service request log and provide an update once they have started working. This helps increase the visibility of the IT process and provides a central location for all members of an organization to keep track of requests.
This blog post is the third in a series of four focusing on the advantages of SharePoint within the F.O.S.H. areas. The first two blogs exemplified the many advantages of using SharePoint to enhance HR and Finance procedures and departmental collaboration. The remaining fourth blog post will discuss how SharePoint can improve and streamline business processes and collaboration in the Sales arena.