Good, bad and ugly on show at SharePoint workshops

Consultancy surprised by low profile of SharePoint 2013 in New Zealand

Information and knowledge management consultancy Information Leadership (IL) has had a very good response to its planned roadshows around the country over the next month, but co-founder and director Sarah Heal accepts that many people won’t be coming to see the company’s products and services so much as the new release of Microsoft’s SharePoint, on which IL’s suite is based.

SharePoint 2013 has had a surprisingly low profile in New Zealand, with little active public promotion from Microsoft, Heal says. “We’ll be telling people the good, the bad and the ugly.” Ian Morrish, an acknowledged SharePoint expert, who formerly worked for Microsoft, will be the lead speaker. Morrish joined IL in mid 2011.

The second part of the workshops is on planning an enterprise EDRMS (electronic data and records management system) strategy, “particularly focussed on governance and information architecture” and the third on how data and records management are used in conjunction with social media and mobile devices, she says.

“Our products fill in some of the gaps in SharePoint” Heal says, particularly around records management. This discipline has attracted particular interest over the past few years, largely because of the Public Records Act, which sets key record-keeping standards and is binding on government agencies, state-owned corporations and local authorities.

IL’s iWorkplace products and surrounding methodology also assist in collaboration, project management and managing standard templates for correspondence and reports. The centrepiece, Records Manager 3 is a new version of the company’s records management software. This not only assists PRA compliance but “gives organisations a whole lot of intelligence about what content they’ve got; who’s creating it, what kind of things it’s being created about, where it’s being stored and how it’s being used,” Heal says. This provides a window into an organisation’s processes as they work in practice.

Current users include Whitirea Polytechnic, the Bay of Plenty District Health Board and the Environmental Protection Authority.

Records management is often a neglected part of office applications; many organisations see it as rather intimidating and are unsure of their direction, Heal says. A software product by itself is not enough. “We have a process that lets people get to grips with it very quickly, with a lot of preset tools.” Records Manager also has migration tools to help organisations classify the subject matter of files being moved into a SharePoint partition from a file-share and organise them appropriately.

IL has had to put on a second session in Wellington to accommodate the degree of interest, “and we may have to come back for a third. Auckland’s now almost full,” she says, with almost three weeks to go to the event; take-up in the smaller centres is a bit slower.

The roadshow moves from Wellington on February 20 through Christchurch on 25 and Auckland on 27 and finishes in Hawkes Bay on March 6.

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