Selling SharePoint to stakeholders and users can be tricky. Some may hold grudges against software of the past that promised more than it delivered, feel apprehensive about cost and long-term return and, of course, there will be those who are simply ambivalent to change. Proving factors like ROI and quantifying productivity gains and intangible benefits, like the impact of improved employee satisfaction and stronger teams, can complicate making the business case for SharePoint. Here are a few main areas of apprehension and a little bit of ammo to tip the scales:
Deployment costs: Whether it’s an initial deployment or an upgrade, there will be an impact on the budget. The budget impact of deploying a hosted or dedicated solution versus standing it all up onsite is dramatic whether considering an initial deployment or upgrading onsite. A hosted or managed SharePoint option moves the cost of software licenses, hardware upgrades and related tasks to a trusted provider with the infrastructure and expertise to handle the technical details. The cost and headache of deployment are removed, leaving the team able to focus on how to best integrate SharePoint for maximum benefit.
In most organizations, deploying SharePoint also means decommissioning other applications like project management systems; report generation and data aggregation tools; and file servers. The consolidation of resources improves performance, saves server capacity and relives the burden on IT to support more applications by delivering multiple services on a single, familiar platform.
Productivity gains: By consolidating tasks into one system, businesses can save precious minutes that turn into hours of productivity. For example, by using Proposal Manager in SharePoint, an enterprise sales team shaved 42 minutes from the quote preparation process. The value of that time varies between organizations. In a company where multiple quotes go out each day, you can easily multiply those 42 minutes by your average hourly salary to come up with a number. However, that time could be spent chasing the next lead, participating in training to improve skills or just reducing stress by giving workers more breathing room. Those benefits are as important as the simple hourly wage savings and should be presented alongside the hard numbers.
Hidden savings: The complaint may simply be that there is no centralized file storage. SharePoint can provide centralized file storage and a whole lot more. Present SharePoint as the answer to the stated complaint then build excitement with the bonuses of version control, permission settings and file check in/check out. There are other incidental savings, for example, the reduced need to buy and service printers, printer ink and printer paper because all documents are immediately available, editable and shareable in SharePoint. Look for the less obvious ways that SharePoint can streamline business processes and reap even more savings.
Though you’re familiar with the potential SharePoint has, the inability to deliver firm numbers can stop the deployment plan in its tracks. When we consult with a customer, our goal is to help not only with the technical aspects of implementation, but also the human aspects of developing a compelling business case, training and user adoption. Get more advice on organizational buy-in and answers to your other SharePoint questions from the Rackspace team of SharePoint experts and other SharePoint users on our LinkedIn group.