“Simple is one thing SharePoint definitely is not. . . SharePoint can be just plain hard to use.” – Redmondmag
At first glance, Microsoft Sharepoint seems to make a lot of sense for managing process documentation, SOPs and training materials. It can be configured to do just about anything with enough effort. It looks reasonable from a cost standpoint and most IT heads are comfortable with this technology, but there is much more to the story.
Sharepoint costs between $5 to $20 per user based on the features you need. Then, according to the people we talked to, you have programming and configuration costing an average of $20K to $150K based on complexity. Finally, there is ongoing maintenance that either taxes your already overworked IT department, or adds to it. So even if you build your system “in house,” chances are it’s going to cost you tens of thousands of dollars each year, using an “off the shelf” tool that was designed to handle word documents, not knowledge documents. Of course, these numbers depend on the size of the company and the complexity of the system you build. Note: It is important to factor the total hard and soft costs when evaluating in-house versus a vendor solution.
Many times IT departments will try to limit Microsoft Sharepoint cost by sharing user licenses. This opens up a whole new can of worms. Just keep this in mind, if your real goal is to create a system where your people can find the information they need and contribute to it so your organization gets better, you need to have input from the people in your organization that perform critical tasks. When you know who they are, you can learn from them through data.
“SharePoint is the Swiss army knife of software—able to do almost anything, but none of them particularly well. The amount of time and expense that’s required to get SharePoint to do what you need it to defies the point of buying it in the first place.” – Alastair
The HowFactory team traveled around the country for two years learning about how companies manage processes and knowledge documents, and we picked up a few things. Whatever you choose, your system needs to:
- Make it easy for anyone to contribute
- Be powerful, but simple enough that you don’t need to be an IT guru to setup and manage the system (those folks are busy enough as it is)
- The system should solve more problems that it creates
As one of our clients told us, half the battle is just making it easy to get stuff done, “User experience is key. If people don’t love the solution they won’t adopt and contribute.”
“Simple things should be simple, complex things should be possible.” – Allen Kay
We have a lot of process geeks at HowFactory support that would love to share what we’ve learned along the way. Just give us a ring and together we can make processes great again!
P.S. We developed a framework called The Impact Canvas to help us evaluate the issues people face. If you’d like to read more about our process for customer discovery, you can download it here at theimpactcanvas.com and check it out. It is a phenomenal way to evaluate any solution your organization is looking into.
Co-founder of HowFactory