Can't we just use SharePoint to manage our processes?


We often get asked this question: "Why can't we just use SharePoint to manage and improve processes?"

Project teams and business analysts (BAs), if given the choice, almost always prefer the status quo. They'd rather keep building processes in documents with the same tools they've used for years, like Visio and Word.

Why are these outdated practices still popular?

  • It's fast for BAs. Processes can be churned out relatively quickly

  • The primary project objectives are met - process created, signed-off, box ticked.

  • They can apply an approved style, but essentially it's freeform - they can draw at whatever level of complexity suits their current project, and their personal preference.

  • They can be left on the network, or easily added to an intranet / document management system / SharePoint at the end of the project

We call this approach the 'old way'. Most organizations are now considering BPM tools like Promapp, because the 'old way' almost always fails business teams that are serious about owning and driving process improvement on an ongoing basis - after the project.

Here are a few reasons why the old approach fails:

  • Change management is critical. Visio charts and documents are consistently ignored by business teams, for valid reasons. They're documents, and are not well suited to navigating through multi-level, multi-'object' (think forms, guides, policies), multi-relationship information, which is what processes are.

  • Hyper-links to associated docs? Without two-way traceability, this is not manageable.

  • Drawing tools like Visio, whilst simple for project teams, have proven too hard for business teams to manage. Therefore they're often not managed at all, and quickly become outdated.

  • Process guidance disappears off the radar with zero interaction. Effective process management depends on personalized notifications and reminders - a personal dashboard that triggers emails to owners when a process change is made, or a process review is required.

  • It's good practice to build a central process repository of process knowledge, but does that mean it's good enough to publish processes in one place only? Can you build it and they will come? Process information needs to be available and updated real-time across the multiple platforms it is accessed from. For example, central repository, intranet, CRM menu, ERP menu, tablet, smart phone, etc

The majority of our clients use SharePoint, and use it well. In fact we strongly recommend it as one of the deployment channels for their processes from Promapp. The two are easy to blend because the dynamic content from Promapp slots into standard web-page web parts.

SharePoint is a very flexible tool, but it has been touted as a cure for many ills. Used to store process documents, it's turned out to be similar to the old way, but on SharePoint.

Take a look at how McDonald's integrated Promapp into SharePoint to make sure their teams can access the right information anywhere, anytime.


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