Process Improvement, Part 2

We had a great call last Friday discussing SharePoint and some lessons from running a large process improvement project which saved $7.5 million dollars.  (Summary of case below).   CLICK HERE to join our weekly SharePoint® Process Improvement Forum.  (Fridays, Noon to 1 pm, Central time, no cost)

This week we will focus on:

1.     Setting yourself apart by focusing on business results with SharePoint. In our last call we had agreement that focusing on business results is the right thing to do (especially when many others are distracted by technology, buzzwords, playing with new toys, etc.).  The question is HOW to get started.  See Key Processes Where We Have Used SharePoint Effectively and Process Inventory for Services Industry Master for a great place to start.  Think about these examples.  Which areas of the company are the most important?  Which have the most urgent, compelling, unmet needs?  Which could be helped rapidly with SharePoint?  (I like replacing big, ugly spreadsheets.)  Ask your business users “How could I help you with sales pipeline management?  How could I help you with creating proposals, statements of work and complex PowerPoint sales presentations?”  (Examples from last call – problems solved with SharePoint.)

2.    More on Getting Executive support and User Buy-In. It takes time to learn to speak and think in “business results” terms (instead of “technology”).  Finding an urgent, compelling business problem (usually from the above process list) and getting the user some rapid help is my secret weapon.  Sounds obvious and easy?  You have to stop talking in fuzzy buzzwords and technical acronyms and talk “business results”.  (I particularly dislike “collaboration”.)  You will have competing pressures, time demands and fires to fight.  The hard part is finding more and more time to work on important business problems.  Helping the business user learn to solve their own problems with SharePoint® is particularly effective.  As you get better at these skills, you will notice that you are more credible with senior executives – and more likely to get support.

3.      SharePoint® and Business Process Improvement:  Good News / Bad News. SharePoint’s great power is that users can solve their own process problems for almost no cost – if we avoid the traps.  SharePoint is particularly effective at solving business problems not addressed by Oracle, SAP and other big software packages.  We’ll discuss how in this week’s call.  We’ll also discuss the bad news.  (SharePoint’s workflow limitations, search problems, file multiplication problems, user frustration, things that don’t work as reasonably expected, etc.)

Stay tuned, check us out at or CLICK HERE to join our weekly SharePoint® Process Improvement Forum

CLICK HERE for full case study.  Some results from the project:

  • $7.5 million in labor savings over three years.
  • Consolidated 36 offices to 13 with nation-wide set of standard processes
  • Removed 250,000 potential errors per year. ($30 saved per error prevented.)
  • Reduced order error rates from 15% to less than 5% in some cases.
  • Freed up 63,000 sales and sales support hours per year.

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