It all started at the turn of the millennium. Digital team collaboration was just beginning to make inroads into businesses in 2001. And Microsoft’s SharePoint was the newest collaboration platform making waves. The adoption back then was led by IT professionals and network admins, who loved the platform’s functionality and also its Microsoft-like experience everyone was familiar with. With SharePoint, they could easily organize large bodies of work and also enable digital teamwork.
It’s been almost two decades and SharePoint is still one of the most widely used collaboration platforms in organizations globally. According to a 2018 report, some of the key factors that influence its adoption are:
However, one must understand that the platform was built for and is still adopted primarily by the desk-based workforce. But businesses are not solely run by desktop workers anymore. In fact, the number of non-desk workers in enterprises is growing at a rapid rate. Team collaboration today can’t ignore reaching out to this essential set of employees. Communication that loops in the deskless workforce undeniably forms the backbone of any kind of collaboration between them.
So what the deskless tribe need primarily is a mobile-first, engaging and relevant communication platform that connects them to the rest of the enterprise. Collaboration will follow naturally. There’s actually very little that just file organizing and document collaboration functions can do here to meet the foremost requirements of the non-desk workforce.
So does this make SharePoint relevant in businesses today? Let’s take a look at some major challenges when deploying SharePoint to your frontline workforce.
Non-desk workers don’t have access to corporate emails required to register on SharePoint. So they can’t become licensed users of the platform. Nor do they work on desktop computers that is the primary channel for SharePoint. All this makes SharePoint a naturally redundant tool for the non-desk workforce. Its force-fit creates communication confusion, gaps and inconsistencies, and dependence on poor and risky alternatives like WhatsApp.
Lack of relevance and engagement
Without customization or add-ons, SharePoint doesn’t have the capability to reach out to a focused target audience with relevant content. In addition, notifications cannot be personalized, engagement can’t be measured and the tool can’t be white-labelled. This makes the platform an irrelevant choice for mobile-first non-desk employees looking to stay looped in to work updates and company news. Engagement also suffers since there’s no support for bottom-up communications or access to adoption and usage metrics.
Weak adoption, cumbersome navigation
SharePoint is not an easily navigable tool for both frontline employees and content creators. While extensive and time-consuming training is required for first-timers, it is very tough to link various sites to create a smooth employee journey. Non-desk employees, who are mostly not tech-savvy, are easily lost in its complex maze. Thus, adoption rate takes a hit. They won’t care about the brand if the user experience is weak.
The document collaboration functions offered by SharePoint are quite important for desk workers and, thus, surely worth the investment. But frontline workers don’t require document management tools for their day-to-day jobs. So spending on SharePoint licensing for your frontline workforce is a futile exercise. Moreover, without extensive customizations or add-ons, you cannot access communications, analytics, bottom-up feedback, etc. on SharePoint. And even then, the functions come with their own set of restrictions like lack of mobile compatibility, push notifications, user-friendly content, etc. So investing in customization is also not a foolproof idea.
What about a mobile tool that easily connects your non-desk workforce and also enables excellent digital collaboration? When we say mobile, we mean mobile-first. Being mobile responsive is not the same as being native mobile. The fundamental target of every enterprise should be to bring these two goals together – communication and productivity.
Groupe.io is a powerful mobile-first communication, engagement and productivity platform exclusively designed to drive communications between your non-desk employees and augment SharePoint by taking the experience mobile. It also packs in features of a mobile intranet like supporting knowledge management and collaboration, content management, e-learning, onboarding, extensive admin governance and more.
Loops in the non-desk workforce
Groupe.io makes joining the network really simple for non-desk employees. They don’t need any corporate email addresses to hop on to the platform. Unlike SharePoint, they can simply join Groupe.io using their personal mail address or mobile number.
Loops out additional O365 licenses
Going for additional O365 licenses for non-desk workers reduces the overall ROI of investing in the MS Suite. On one hand, most of its features are irrelevant for the frontline staff. On the other, most frontline workers don’t have the technical expertise to use the MS suite. Groupe.io enables enterprises to connect their entire non-desk workforce over a single easy and relevant app without the need to purchase additional O365 licenses.
Connects to SharePoint, extends it to mobile
The benefits of SharePoint for desktop workers are undeniable. Yet modern workplaces have to cater to both desk workers as well as their non-desk colleagues. With Groupe.io, enterprises can easily integrate with SharePoint and also extend its most relevant capabilities to mobile for the benefit of the blue-collared workers. It supports content pull, content push, file viewing, calendar integrations and powerful search of the O365 system. The functions don’t have any restrictions as with SharePoint customizations and can make work and communication easy for both desk and non-desk workers.
Consumer app-like interfaces for better adoption
Navigating through a cumbersome enterprise software like SharePoint is not a cup of tea for the extended workforce. But Groupe.io’s user-friendly and easily navigable interfaces are similar to those of consumer apps, ensuring a minimal learning curve, wider adoption and a smooth experience for non-desk workers. Unlike SharePoint, site creation, allowing admin permissions and managing different roles don’t need any IT support with Groupe.io.
Easier content management, better top-down communications
In SharePoint, content is published as individual pages that need to be managed individually. Keeping track of published content and gaining visibility into communication effectiveness is difficult. Groupe.io makes content management easy with simple and easily deployable communication templates (like announcements, events, etc.), in-line actions and read-receipts.
Built-in productivity features suitable for frontline workers
Along with driving two-way communication and team collaboration, Groupe.io also enables productivity among non-desk workers through essential, relevant and easy-to-use in-built tools. While digital forms and checklists ensure process automation and improved compliance, the intuitive task manager enables streamlined operations and sharper work visibility.
Drives better engagement
Groupe.io not only drives wider adoption but also comes with various tools to ensure top-notch engagement among the non-desk workforce. It encourages continuous employee participation with pulse surveys, polls, employee recognition, idea challenges, etc. In addition, Groupe.io packs in rich and insightful engagement metrics, unlike in SharePoint where you need extensive customizations to access them.
Deep customization and white-labelling
Groupe.io supports multiple customizable networks, easy creation of custom admin roles with granular permissions, and enables enterprises to publish content the way that suits them best with highly customizable communications templates. Also, Groupe.io’s army of 1500+ engineers, combined with a rapid app development ecosystem, can help businesses quickly roll-out custom apps, integrate them with their enterprise systems and fully customize the app experience, including white-labelling.
Traditional intranets that plug in to SharePoint are communication and productivity hubs – but only for desk workers. Leveraging a communication solution like Groupe.io to extend its scope and benefits to non-desk employees is the need of the hour.