Friday, 12 December 2008

Credit Crunch SharePoint

As Christmas approaches many businesses and organisations are starting to feel the pinch of the Credit Crunch all over the world. Many employees are having to pay for their own meal at the Office Christmas parties and the number of corporate gifts in circulation seems to be less this year. It is now nearly the middle of December and still the Officetalk office awaits it’s first Christmas card of the year. Gone are the days when company’s marketing departments sent all their customers calendars of lovely local views. Now every penny (or for the American readers cents) seems to count. So how can companies save even more money apart from having the lights automatically switch off when there is no one in the room? For organisations who already have SharePoint it could be worth seeing how much more SharePoint can be used to save money. How much does the average company spend on Finance systems, HR Systems, CRM systems, Sales Order Systems, Project Management and IT Helpdesk systems? It is worth always thinking if you are looking at buying any of these systems or looking at reducing maintenance costs on an existing system. Can SharePoint be configured to do this job? Many companies spend considerable amounts on developers designing systems for them and then being almost held to ransom by the Developers when they need a relatively straight-forward change made. This is where SharePoint can be so effective as all the Lists and Views work in very similar ways and fields can easily be changed. SharePoint is fully customisable. Like many SharePoint Consultants Officetalk have found an increased demand for customised SharePoint Application Templates and Webparts lately. Although Microsoft have their fantastic forty Sharepoint templates to download many of these either rely too heavily on InfoPath or are too standard. They are very much starting points and I have seen very few examples (especially here in the UK) of companies using these as out of the box solutions. Companies are beginning to realise that this tool they have for their Intranet or Document Management could be used a whole lot more. Whilst I was shivering in the cold at home last night (as I had turned the heating down by two degrees to try and save money) I was thinking of the ten best systems that could be developed on SharePoint. I seem to have an unhealthy obsession with making lists of top tens. This week alone I have done my favourite 10 Villa Midfield players and my top ten comedy films. Please email me if you would like either of these lists although the hyperlinks are clues to one of the entries in each. So here is my list of ten possible systems on SharePoint in no particular order, no need for Top of Pops music; 1. Security / Carpark Passes 2. Expense Claims 3. Customer Sales Enquiries 4. Senior Managers Movements (no funny comments, I mean who is where when) 5. H&S Incident Reports 6. Chargeable Project Time 7. Meeting Room and Resources Booking 8. Stock Control 9. On Call Rota / Out of Hours Contacts 10. Medical Appointment Booking System I could probably have gone on and on with this list, but I just wanted to show how SharePoint can perform many jobs. Okay, it won’t be the best at any of these jobs because if you spend thousands on, say an ‘H&S Incident Report System’, it would probably do a better job, but would it be so easy to make changes to. Also would the expensive system also be able to store images and monitor Sales Enquiries? Officetalk are trying to do their bit to help you use SharePoint to help with the Credit Crunch by producing a series of Customised Application Site Templates. The first of these was realised this week called Projectbreak and is well worth a look. Priced at under £60 (90% off the 2008 price) it could save companies who charge for their work a few pennies. Click here to take a look at Projectbreak Now perhaps I should end this week as it is nearly Christmas to give you my top ten Christmas songs of all time (yes, they are in order); 1. Last Christmas – Wham 2. Merry Xmas Everyone – Slade 3. White Christmas – Bing Crosby 4. Wombling Merry Christmas – Wombles 5. It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year - Johnny Mathis 6. Wizzard - I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday 7. The Pogues feat. Kirsty MacColl - Fairytale Of New York 8. David Essex - A Winter's Tale 9. Mud - Lonely This Christmas 10. Wonderful Christmastime - Paul McCartney Feel free to leave your comments on my lists. Don't forget to check out the Mr Bean Christmas link. If you are still Christmas Shopping and want to download last week's Christmas Shopper SharePoint Template click here.


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