SharePoint Makes Short Work of Remote Collaboration Difficulties

December 17, 2013 by Alex Collins, IT Services Consultant

remote-collaborationJust another reminder of the inevitability of a mobile workforce: a recent survey of business executives found that 83% of its thousand-plus respondents spent at least an hour or two a day working remotely, with almost 66% anticipating their workforce making a shift to fully virtual teams within the next year or so.

And for over 90% of these respondents, the right collaboration software is crucial to the success of their enterprise. An enterprise-level collaboration solution like Microsoft SharePoint solves many of the difficulties inherent in remote collaboration right out of the box.

The survey noted three major concerns about remote collaboration - none of them insurmountable, with SharePoint providing solutions to each one with ease.

Lack of direct communication with co-workers. More than a third of respondents - about 37% - found work on the road isolated them from their team mates. The more conventional tools of remote collaboration - off-the-shelf email or scheduling software - exacerbate the problem.

SharePoint solves the problem in part by visualizing team interactions on a single interactive social feed that shares the team's common content, information, tasks, and schedules. Threads in the feed display sequential microblog posts, status updates, conversations, and other updates. Coworkers can post replies, hyperlinks, and embedded content that allow greater collaboration and connection across the board.

Poor visibility into colleagues' activity. Related to the first point, about a fifth of respondents - 19% - felt remote collaboration hindered their view of the big picture. But a SharePoint-enabled intranet manages to overcome this difficulty by simplifying access across the board: both structured and unstructured information, regardless of location or platform, can be easily accessed by SharePoint users in any location.

SharePoint also allows users to use familiar Microsoft solutions like Excel or Word, simplifying work flow for everyday tasks.

Access to data is hindered. About 21% of survey respondents felt the distance reduced their ability to access or use the data they needed. SharePoint provides a single environment that solves this issue in several ways.

First, a SharePoint-based company intranet allows users to just drag and drop important documents and files into the environment: once it's in, the document is accessible from anywhere in the intranet, available to any authorized team member.

Permissions can be customized to control access, and advanced version control ensures that team members work only with the most current version of data, while preventing accidental deletions.

Finally, SharePoint's intuitive search functionality gets more powerful as team members use it, learning to recommend people, documents and sites based on past intent and behavior.

If these difficulties are your difficulties, contact us to find out how we can implement SharePoint in your organization... so you can reap the benefits. Call us at 866-446-1133 or contact us to set up an appointment.