Search & Share: Two Ways Sharepoint Efficiently Empowers a Company

77% of businesses report gaps in existing systems & a dearth of integration between affected business processes. Learn how SharePoint can improve processes.

January 11, 2017 by Alex Collins, IT Services Consultant

As Toronto-based commercial real estate services firm Avison Young logged a third straight decade of growth, they realized that the status quo was holding the company back.

“When the sales and marketing teams needed information or collateral for a new prospect or customer, we found the staff spending a lot of time e-mailing back-and-forth looking for current documents,” explained Lyndal Hanna, Avison Young's Vice President of Information Technology.

Avison Young, like so many other growing companies, found that instantly sharing data across their organization, with vendors, business partners, and clients, was becoming critical to success. But they were learning this the hard way – processes that worked in a paper-pushing age were bogging Avison Young down.

Gaps in Existing Systems

It's a common dilemma: a recent IDC study found that 77 percent of businesses reported that gaps in their existing systems and a dearth of integration between them affected business processes adversely, with 63 percent blaming paper-based process issues for the same problem.

The old-school processes were also preventing Avison Young from propagating its thinking throughout its multiplying workforce, scattered around over 50 offices in North America.

“As a fast-growing company, we also found it challenging to communicate with employees and to promote our business culture,” complained Hanna.

Search, Solved Stat

The solution that Avison Young eventually settled on – SharePoint – solved both search and share dilemmas for the company.

SharePoint is a centralized, browser-based information portal that allows its users to collaborate and synchronize daily tasks and responsibilities. With its easy-to-use intranet, extranet, and internet sites, SharePoint allows stakeholders to easily access critical information, regardless of their physical location.

In Avison Young's case, SharePoint improved collaboration between geographically-dispersed sales teams. Instead of manually requesting documents across emails, users now get quick access to essential data by simply searching for it on SharePoint – aided by an intuitive search engine that made information almost child's play to locate. (The search function isn't limited to documents – it can also zero in on announcements, users, and conversations logged in the database.)

The New Water Cooler

The new SharePoint portal also brought Avison Young's different offices together. Using social networking tools like meeting rooms, wikis and RSS newsfeeds, the social experience on SharePoint is fully integrated and easy to use.

The social experience has only improved with the recent integration of microblogging features (allowing you to engage in conversations on your newsfeed) and Skype for Business (a voice communication channel for users).

In Avison Young's case, users participate in regular contests, where branch offices post pictures and videos to win. By using SharePoint to bond over fun activities, Avison Young employees begin to engage with each other, not just as faceless names on a mailing list, but as actual human beings working for a common goal.

A Capable Partner

Deploying a SharePoint intranet portal required the assistance of a capable partner, which Avison Young found in their long-time collaborator All Covered.

“The All Covered team… offer expertise in both SharePoint and Office 365, and they recommend practical approaches that sync with our business goals,” Hanna explained. “Now that All Covered has created the SharePoint foundation, we can add new components on our own, such as a new line-of-business or department…. But we still consult with All Covered on any complex functionality we need to add.”

If you'd like to discover how SharePoint can empower your own business, contact All Covered to arrange a demonstration today.