“Am I on the Right Track? #SharePoint

Events can be tricky things. They can either empower you, or scare the skin off you. We were having a conversation with a long-time industry friend who was concerned about her progress in SharePoint after hearing all kinds of “keep up or die messages”. Here’s our take on this as we think it’s a common fear.

Stay focused on the speed of your business needs and its people, not the speed of technology. (Thanks Carl).

The horse has bolted. Business people sitting in corporates are highly unlikely to catch up to technology ever again. But in any case, should you? There is a school of thought that says you better keep up or get left behind and basically become redundant. That’s not entirely true….

Don’t be intimidated by all this technology or pressured to keep up. You can’t. No-one can, except the developers at Microsoft who are building it. Everybody else around the world apart from the tech giants actually have normal businesses. Just because Microsoft throws yet another thing at you to daze and confuse you, does not mean you have to use it. You do what works for you and to hell with the rest.

Just because you aren’t building massive PowerApps and workflows, does not mean you are failing. Remember that the vast majority of people using platforms like Office 365 are not tech savvy and are working in a very admin intensive way using subfolders and email. Most businesses and people are years behind technology, and even further behind in documented processes, policies and procedures to get things done systematically. It takes time to change. A long, long time and it’s true for all types and sizes of businesses who are not specifically in technology.

We went to a home for adults with disabilities this weekend – they are quadriplegics who are under 24/7 care. Do you think Office 365 and the speed at which it changes is going to add one single iota of value to those people? Of course not. Do you think 700 people sitting in outlying areas where there is no internet access, and who have to look after children and sick people care about Office 365? What about managers who have endless deadlines, working late into the night and weekends, whilst managing difficult staff to manage care about how technology works to the level some consultants expect them to?

So if you are creating a standard task list just to help people keep track from one place, you ARE succeeding. If you got just one team to store all their documents in one library using one metadata field for the first time in their company’s history, you ARE succeeding. If you’ve created their first list or library views and they love it, you ARE succeeding. Leave the hardcore stuff to those that want to and can. Listen to the people you are serving, empathise with them, understand their world and challenges, be gentle with them – and yourself; do small, incremental changes and you’ll still get there.

And when all else fails – go sit in a forest, or go to the sea or mountains. Go to creche full of toddlers. Go to an old age home. Go to an animal shelter. Get some perspective on what you’re stressing about. Technology and business are both here to stay. But we must remember that technology is here to serve our businesses, NOT the other away around.

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