Streamlining Common Business Processes Using SharePoint

4 overlooked ways Microsoft SharePoint can improve the workflow efficiency of any organization

Is your organization losing precious hours over tedious and frustrating minor business processes?

If so, you aren’t alone. Lots of organizations both small and large suffer from these little processes, mistakenly assuming there really isn’t anything they can do about the wasted time and resources.

These processes may only be few extra minutes here or there, but over time and spread across all your employees, they can add up to a major obstacle in doing business more efficiently.

Fortunately, if you have Microsoft SharePoint, then you already have all the tools you need to start streamlining workflow and cutting back on those extra business processes—you just need to learn how to use them.

Specifically, SharePoint is superb when it comes to streamlining these four common business processes that are present in nearly every organization:

  1. Recurring Projects
  2. Missing Information on Requests from Multiple Channels
  3. Collaborative Editing
  4. Assembling Data From Various Sources

Recurring Projects

Problem: A majority of business projects and reports are done on a regular basis and follow the same basic formats. For instance, consider marketing campaigns, year goals, and proposals. These recurring tasks don’t need to be created from scratch every time, yet they often are, costing an organization valuable time and resources.

Solution: Using SharePoint, you can tailor a subsite and make a template out of it. Then, you can post the template on your team site, so anyone in your organization will be able to build off this template in the future and go from there. This site collection not only prevents employees from having to spend time on redundant work, it also helps improve the consistency of your projects.

Missing Information on Requests from Multiple Channels

Problem: Someone submits a request via email, phone or a Word/Excel document, but the receiver has to contact the sender again to ask for missing information. This scenario sound familiar? Probably so, since human error, forgetfulness and plain laziness doesn’t just magically disappear when an employee enters the workplace.

Solution: With SharePoint, you can specify mandatory entry fields by using a simple SharePoint list, an Office template in the Document Library, or an InfoPath form, depending on the complexity of the document needed. This reduces time spent going back and forth trying to gather all the necessary information. SharePoint also stores all requests in a central database, so you don’t have to waste time filing them and they are readily accessible. 

Collaborative Editing

Problem: When a project is approaching its deadline, you may have several people trying to work on one file at the same time. This often happens with Excel spreadsheets, resulting in one person’s edits overwriting the changes another person just made. To resolve this issue, some organizations try mandatory check-in/check-out procedures, but inevitably an editor will forget to check-out and lock other users out.

Solution: Instead, SharePoint enables you to implement a list system that allows all registered users to access the file simultaneously and update their line item independently of another user’s edits. This not only avoids the problem of overwriting, but also improves transparency and file management.

Assembling Data from Various Sources

Problem:  In an organization, several employees may be asked to complete a group project by the end of the month. When the deadline arrives, it is then up to the project manager to spend valuable time sorting through emails, as well as cutting and pasting information of different team members into one, cohesive report. Every manager or process owner learns to despise this procedure.

Solution: By using a SharePoint list to collect the information, project managers will get to spend more time doing what they are there for—analyzing the data and planning a strategy—and less time sifting through a flooded email inbox.

To find out other ways you can use Microsoft SharePoint to help streamline your business processes and make your organization more efficient with time and resources, talk one-on-one with a certified SharePoint consultant today, or visit our blog and knowledge center to learn more.