SharePoint Spotlight On – Samir Abdul (Cape Town, South Africa)

Neil van Wyngaard was kind enough to help out and ask one of his clients in Cape Town if they’d like to participate in this series, Samir was happy to oblige, so without further a do…

Where do you work?
Masthead Distribution Services Pty Ltd.

What is your job title?
Operations Manager.

How many SharePoint users in the company and how many are you responsible for?
138 staff users.
2900 client users.
I am responsible for all users.

What version of SharePoint are you using and how long has your company been using SharePoint?
SharePoint 2007, using since 2008.

How did you learn SharePoint and how long have you been using it?
Mostly learnt by navigating within SharePoint and by reading various blogs and articles on the environment.

What is the biggest challenge you face with user adoption?
Initially it was to ensure user buy in and everyday use however this has steadily been improving.

How are you handling governance?
There is a limited amount of users who have design and owner rights, everyone else can only view. All changes are also controlled via our IT partners.

Do you have a dedicated SharePoint team and Executive buy-in and is it helping?
Yes we do, and it is helping. We have three versions of SharePoint in our environment, an intranet, extranet and a public facing environment. These environments were launched over a period of one and a half years. Each launch included a company strategy to ensure the maximum buy in and use from users.

If you had unlimited resources in your company and could design the ideal SharePoint dream team, what would it consist of?
I feel the ideal dream team would need to consist of people who all buy into making use of SharePoint to its full potential. I found that the features and benefits of SharePoint are endless and because it is user driven, it’s up to the user to explore what he/she needs from the platform and make it happen.

Have you built anything cool (out of box) in SharePoint that your users loved, and if so what was it?

  • We’ve added various audio and video content via the content editor webpart, which has opened a new means of communicating with our clients and staff.
  • We’ve created online forms within the list environment which has allowed us to make these available to our various partners as a way to collect information from our clients. No more hardcopies needed.
  • We’ve imported access databases into SharePoint lists which has allowed us to have a central point for data which can be edited live by any of our staff members nationally.

What functionality do you use the most on a day to day basis?
It varies depending on the focus of the company. At the moment a big focus for us is creation of surveys and custom lists in order to gauge feedback from clients for various reasons. We’ve started creating workflows which depending on how these lists are answered send’s off automated emails to our clients.  We are also starting a new offering within our company and a huge need for us currently is to accumulate a host of client data, the custom lists is allowing us to accumulate this data in a simple and easy means.

How has SharePoint changed your life?
It has honestly made my day to day work much easier. It has also created a much closer working relationship between our various staff and clients around the country. The impact on our company has been immense.

What’s the hardest thing about your job?
At times, the amount of projects running each with their own deadlines. Time management is a big thing for me.

What’s the best thing about your job?
Well, I’m someone who is extremely passionate by the growth in social networking and the best thing about my job is that through SharePoint I have found a way to marry my role within the company and this passion.

What do you know about SharePoint 2010 and are you planning to upgrade?
Not much, other than it will assist us in much of our growth needs from SharePoint going forward. One of our big needs going forward is the ability to integrate our external data within SharePoint and the feedback from IT partners is that SharePoint 2010 would assist us in this area.

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