We all know that COVID wreaked global havoc of an unprecedented nature in 2020. As we proceed through 2021, many localized, unseen business repercussions of the previous year are coming to light.
One aftershock is in the area of remote working — or, more specifically, the after-effects of the rapid deployment of remote working systems during the pandemic.
Let’s go back to March 2020. The need for tools like MS Teams, SharePoint Online, and Office 365 to facilitate remote working was clear — and now puts in a poor light every CIO that passed on the move to the cloud before 2020. Formerly hesitant lines of business scurrying to get moving was a little bit like watching a SpaceX Falcon launch. Each project was hopeful, but not every launch went quite as expected. Not every project ended in a “rapid unscheduled disassembly” (aka an explosion), but each one was at best unpredictable.
The good news is that this year, organizations moving to the cloud can learn from those that bravely went before them.
For some organizations, 2020 was the year of successfully using technology to keep a business alive. For others, it was a time to thrive. The experience and knowledge acquired by this collective group are now being leveraged for digital transformations, including initiatives to move organizations from SharePoint on-premise to SharePoint Online.
For years, many CIOs may have blissfully ignored the need to migrate SharePoint to the cloud. After all, it was working on-premise perfectly well. But what was once considered a moonshot (or at least a very difficult) transformation is now readily achievable.
It’s time to start thinking about SharePoint again.
Building Your Rocket to the SharePoint Cloud
The metaphor of space exploration is useful in thinking about SharePoint again.
In theory, you can fly a rocket to Mars without training, measurements, and experience, but it would be based entirely on luck rather than judgment. The same logic applies to SharePoint migrations.
SharePoint-focused digital transformation projects should first look at the content management capabilities that already exist within the organization. No one should be thinking of SharePoint as just a content repository anymore. There are a host of new capabilities that automate document-centric business processes and convert documents into knowledge that gives organizations the insight they need to optimize their business. Combining traditional capture capabilities with newer, advanced machine learning techniques can provide intelligent document processing, automated document classification, and proactive data extraction to turn business information into the fuel for your SharePoint rocket to the cloud.
But this fuel is only part of what you need to get to Mars. You also need document storage, compliance, and content services. These are the components that make up your rocket.
For some organizations, massive SharePoint farms hosted on Azure are perfect. For others, a smaller, purpose-built deployment leveraging the scalability of the Azure platform with agile, integrated content services solutions works better. Azure provides flexible levels of resource provisioning and management, letting organizations scale up or down based on where they are on their journey. This flexibility is critical to keeping content management costs and work effort to a minimum moving forward.
Charting the Launch Path
Before you launch your rocket ship, you need to think ahead to where you’re going. Flying blind into space is not a good idea. The same applies to content management. As more content is digitized, and more information is stored across departments, and more access is required for more people, your organization needs to create a simple yet strong search capability. In other words, all that content will need to be findable and easily accessible to your employees.
Every rocket has a team of astronauts, and each astronaut has a job to do. So, you also need to think of the hierarchy of roles and who needs to do what. The Azure platform can provide a role-based access layer to secure your SharePoint Online sites and services. Executives will need to access certain folders and documents. Managers will access others. A purpose-built configuration with business taxonomies and classifications is key to efficient work for your employees, partners, and customers.
Changing Course Mid-Flight
Once in flight, the ability to be responsive and agile is critical. Imagine an asteroid flying towards your rocket — how do you react to avoid it? Similarly, business needs change, and your SharePoint in the cloud solution needs to adapt accordingly. Thankfully low and no code features provide the key to keeping your rocket ship agile, enabling rapid configuration and even on-the-fly app-building capabilities. There is a saying that sometimes organizations need to build the plane while flying it. Low code tools allow you to do that. These are the types of tools and expertise your SharePoint Online partner can bring to your mission.
Does Your Rocket Have Robots?
All the technology in the universe is no good without the human mind and muscle to use it. But with the new array of cloud-based digital automation tools, astronauts typing on keyboards is not the best way to maximize your human resources.
Modern-day rockets use robotics, and so does modern cloud-based SharePoint.
The automation of simple, repetitive tasks usually performed by humans is crucial to ensure your highly trained astronauts focus on the valuable work of flying your rocket ship. With Robotic Process Automation (RPA) tools, organizations can accelerate the investment payback for their move to SharePoint Online.
More and more organizations are finding use cases where RPA, in tandem with content services, can work alongside astronaut counterparts to drive huge productivity increases. Where SharePoint events are triggered, bots can initiate and execute high-volume, repetitive processes. An intelligent, cloud-based solution such as KnowledgeLake combines RPA, intelligent capture, and content services, so your astronauts (re: workers) can become more effective and relieved of the distractions of traditional information management work.
Ground Control to SharePoint Online
Flying a rocket to Mars requires a rocket, fuel, and a team of astronauts — but it also requires a ground team. Rocket scientists bring them all together for the mission. Finding a partner with deep knowledge of SharePoint Online and Azure can transform the chances of project success.
KnowledgeLake has been working in the SharePoint ecosystem for many years, from the days of on-premise installations when SharePoint was first the talk of the town. More recently, as organizations across the globe look to move to the cloud, KnowledgeLake is leveraging its experience with SharePoint, SharePoint Online, and the Azure Cloud to partner with organizations to design, develop, and deliver their cloud mission.
SharePoint has never gone away — it has introduced millions of businesses to content management and continues to store, control, and serve billions of documents every year. Despite falling off the radar somewhat in recent times, SharePoint, and more specifically SharePoint Online, is now very much back in vogue. With organizations keen to continue their COVID-induced exploration to the cloud with increased resilience, compliance, and extended capabilities, KnowledgeLake brings the tools, people, and skills to support your digital transformation.
Whichever way you look at it, 2021 will be the year people start thinking about their rocket to the SharePoint cloud.