For years, SharePoint has been a ‘ride or die’ business workhorse for organizations — from a pure document repository, to an advanced workflow system, a supporting platform for various line of business applications, and more.
Training and development has also played center stage among its many uses. So, it bears the question…is SharePoint still relevant for learning in the workplace?
The answer is yes.
While the marketplace remains congested with various LMS options, don’t count SharePoint out nor underestimate what it can do to boost training.
In fact, the evolution of this platform has shown many changes and introductions in the form of features like OneDrive for Business, Microsoft Teams and Office 365 Groups that continue to differentiate this platform from alternatives in the market.
With more user-friendly and modern enhancements, it’s no wonder SharePoint remains at the top of the training game.
And, with over 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies currently utilizing SharePoint or Office365, it only makes sense to expand upon a proven system with a track record of providing the most ‘bang for your buck’ in benefits.
One of the biggest challenges of an LMS is getting learners to actually go into the system and use it.
By far, one of the most beneficial reasons to use SharePoint for training is the ease it provides because it’s already embedded into the day-to-day work environment of your employees. No more remembering different passwords or complaints of having to learn another system.
And with new versions of SharePoint, there is more features than ever to reignite excitement in the workplace.
For those who need to stay on-premise, both SharePoint 2016 and 2019 provide opportunities to upgrade and modernize your infrastructure and benefit from better collaboration and portal building technologies. The other Microsoft option is Office 365. It also offers collaboration capabilities that are built around all the apps in Office 365, as well as team chat, online meetings, co-authoring and sharing files securely, group email and a social network for work.
New systems and strategies can also be highly disruptive to your business.
Using SharePoint for training has a unique advantage in that it is already a part of your business ecosystem. And, as a result, there is much less to worry about and it provides a smoother process with regards to implementation, integration, customization etc.
And, of course, you can’t ignore the cost savings of using SharePoint. When you make the most of your organizations existing infrastructure, processes and know-how, it automatically results in lower overall costs in upfront acquisition, annual per-user license fees and expenses related to support, deployment and integration.
Content is a critical component of any learning program. In fact, there is no learning without it. So, this means it’s even more important to have a dialed-in system to ensure success.
It’s fair to say that the amount of content created will only increase as your business grows which leaves more room for errors.
Problems occur with other systems when there is difficulty uploading content into an LMS or versioning control issues when documents are being passed from one system to another.
Many learning administrators already use SharePoint to house content. And, when it’s tied to a SharePoint-based LMS it provides a streamlined process that keeps things organized, accurate and efficient.
With increased industry regulations, this is a huge benefit when it comes to compliance
SharePoint is the software of choice for companies like NASA because of its ability to handle very complex content needs, versioning, auditing and automation necessary to stay compliant.
Collaboration has been and will remain an important part of the workplace and particularly with regards to training because of its ability to improve productivity and learner retention.
However, company’s standards for collaboration continue to rise and they are constantly on the search for the best methods – on average using six or more collaboration tools.
Having too many options poses a risk of collaboration inconsistency. As collaboration gets dispersed across multiple solutions, and so does communication history, newly generated content and employees’ expertise, it’s very hard to build a homogenous enterprise wide collaborative environment.
SharePoint offers a solution by unifying everything under the same umbrella of features trainers and learners alike are already using.
Earlier versions of SharePoint offered a host of features conducive for the social learning environment from personal sites, communities, forums, Wikis, blogs and more.
When tied into formal training, it provides a space where learners can connect with experts after taking a course or match with a peer mentor through SharePoint’s badging system.
Recent versions of SharePoint demonstrate the advancement toward being a full-fledged collaboration hub as well.
Whether you run an on premise SharePoint deployment or have cloud subscriptions, you can use a set of sites adapted to different collaboration goals.
• Team Sites. Communicate, store and share content, accumulate knowledge, brainstorm, access team and corporate resources.
• Project Sites. Great for hosting project management collaboration and enable teams to stay tuned with every project stage from any place and on any device.
• Community Sites and Portals. Support both professional and social communities and unite people working in the same business domain or sharing similar hobbies and passions.
• Blogs and Wikis. Optimal for content and knowledge-oriented collaboration.
With SharePoint Online, there are two new ways to collaborate.
• Communication Sites. Support any collaboration scenarios implying users’ interaction with a large audience, be it spreading news and reports, organizing corporate events or collecting a community’s feedback.
• Hub Sites. Serve as aggregators putting together content and activities from associated team and communication sites. This way, employees can follow the updates on multiple SharePoint sites at once.
Reporting is essential to know if learning objectives are being met and to know if they’re positively impacting the success of your business.
And, the key to getting this information is the breadth of data available and how easily it’s attainable.
There are many things to consider when it comes to your reporting.
• Is the infrastructure there to support detailed reporting? Active Directory must be linked.
• Who has permissions to the data?
• How difficult will it be to customize?
• Can automation be implemented to make reporting easier?
SharePoint reduces the friction of reporting that is common with other systems because it is entwined so closely to all of your most important business processes and IT infrastructure.
By nature, SharePoint is incredibly flexible and this is a major bonus when it comes to reporting. When all of the data is already stored within SharePoint, it’s that much easier and quicker to access it as well.
Dashboards provide the ‘icing on the cake’ in order to help make better business decision from the data collected.
Shawcor Reaps the Benefits of a SharePoint-based LMS
Shawcor Ltd. employs close to 8,000 people around the globe and hundreds of independent subsidiaries and businesses. Each independent business unit has their own organizational structure, HR and training teams, operational divisions, physical sites and projects to manage — equating to thousands of training related groupings that need their own content authoring, content management, training workflows, integrations and reporting.
Shawcor leverages a combination of centralized and decentralized learning throughout the company — meaning each business unit has their own content creation, onboarding and training processes while also needing access to centralized resources, training, policies and procedures managed by corporate HR and centralized training team.
Companies like Shawcor must balance the need for federated control with the unique compliance needs and processes of their business units.
This lack of central visibility and control for Shawcor was a huge concern. While individual business units often lacked the compliance tools to better automate, track and report on their compliance activities.
These issues increased Shawcor’s onboarding costs and training time, caused auditing issues and dramatically increased the chance of a fine or compliance failure.
ShareKnowledge inherits complex business processes and workflows already developed and enhances them with LMS feature and functionality required to manage enterprise training programs — turning every SOP, work instruction or content into a trackable, reportable and potentially automatically distributed training resource.
This drives adoption, saves time and money, and reduces duplication of effort while lowering risk. With content management, assignment, tracking and reporting all within the same technology ecosystem, it reduces the chance of mistakes, gaps or process errors resulting in compliance failure.
The streamline of processes by ShareKnowledge led to Shawcor saving over $500,000.
Sometimes we get so consumed with what the next ‘big thing’ is that we forget that the solution might be right in front of us.
Yes, there are many training options to get sidetracked by, but companies who think strategically recognize the training beauty that lies within an old stand-by…SharePoint.
There is nothing old about SharePoint though. With all new features and functionality, it gives any other system a run for the money.
This multi-functional tool can help keep your entire organization in sync, make processes and people more productive, deliver more engaging and effective customer experiences, assist in achieving legal and regulatory compliance, and balance IT and business needs.
With all these added benefits for training, who wouldn’t choose SharePoint for training?