What is most valuable?
- Enhanced communications
- The ability to set up sites to share data/information in a one-stop shopping method. Including:
- User-friendly interface to share files
- Ability to have calendaring specific to the function/department addressed by the site
- The important links facility, which provides easy access to frequently used items
- Workflow, which allows us to define processes and make it easier for the user to perform a task. The workflow provides a consistent framework for performing the task, as well as providing behind-the-scenes flow, thus removing the manual process of determining where the flow goes next. This also removes the human error portion of that flow.
How has it helped my organization?
As the employees are spread around the country and the world, this allows us to communicate more effectively by providing an easier interface with the information (files, calendars, links and news) all in one spot. It allows us to collaborate more effectively as people can access this information according to their time availability. The one-stop shopping is critical, as everyone is looking at one version of the truth and therefore are on the same page.
This product has allowed us to coordinate the efforts of individual groups, as well as different groups that need to interact for specific projects/processes. Before this, there was a lot of emails being exchanged and certainly there were times that some of the people that needed to know where inadvertently left off of an email or two.
What needs improvement?
Not so much an improvement as a caveat: Due to the flexibility and power of the product, out of the box it can be daunting to use. Without some consulting work from a SharePoint expert, the product would not be quite as user friendly.
For how long have I used the solution?
I have used it for two years.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
At first, we encountered stability issues, but they have been ironed out and – knock on wood – we have been stable for a while. I believe our issue might have been related to sizing the resources properly, as we started small with the intention of growing as we developed more uses for the product.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
At the end of the day, I would say we have not encountered any scalability issues. We have added more sites and continue to add them as people realize the power and effectiveness of the product. There are times, though relatively infrequent, where it seems to bog down a little but it does not have a major impact on productivity.
How are customer service and technical support?
I believe most of our external support comes from a consultant and from a user point of view, I am satisfied as I have yet to have a question/issue that could not be resolved and I have not had many questions or issues.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We did not previously use a different solution.
How was the initial setup?
Here again, from a user’s view, I would say initial setup was complex as to obtain the most benefit, you needed to understand what you were looking for and how best to fit it into the scheme of SharePoint. It seemed that there was often more than one way to solve the need and trying to map the need with the best approach took some time.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
I am unable to comment as I am not involved with the details of this.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
Before choosing this product, I did not evaluate other options. We chose SharePoint as we had business partners that were already using it, we had exposure to the product that way and liked what we saw.
What other advice do I have?
Make sure you find the right consultant.
Make sure you invest the proper amount of time to plan the implementation. This is not something like Excel, where you can install, train and use. To get the most out of it, you need a game plan for what you will use it for and how to design/customize it to your needs.