by Matthew Woods, Information and Knowledge Management Recruiter, TFPL
As part of the Training and Events programme, yesterday TFPL brought together Sharepoint users and vendors from the public and private sectors for “Better Information Management to Create Better Business Intelligence”
The conference heard from Microsoft on some of the exciting ways their clients have been using Sharepoint, as well as from users on how they have used the platform in their organisations and about the issues they’ve faced with its introduction and use. Brendan Clarke of Microsoft gave the delegates some real world demonstrations of the capabilities of Sharepoint, with some particularly interesting ideas on creating dashboards using linked data and use of the Business Intelligence tool. Throughout his discussions with delegates and the panel (during the Sharepoint Surgery), Brendan was keen to stress that Sharepoint’s capabilities are dependent on how it is used, and that Sharepoint is the Platform and not the end product.
One of the recurring themes at the conference, and at other gatherings, has been the question of to what extend Sharepoint is a technical or an information system, with some delegates ruefully admitting that their projects were “controlled” by the IT departments. From the recruiter’s perspective, it was interesting to hear many of the delegates talk of how they value staff that not only have the technical expertise in Sharepoint, but also the appreciation of Information Management principles and metadata that underpin its successful deployment. The theme of how implementation is viewed by end-users was enthusiastically taken up by Alexis Castillo-Soto of the Department of Education and Janine Weightman of Wellstream. Both seemed to take an approach that tried to distance the end user from the very phrase “Sharepoint” by branding new systems with their own in-house names, as if to impress upon people the capabilities rather than the technicalities of the new system. Both Alexis and Janine relayed their own success stories in improving end-user take-up.
Further capabilities were demonstrated by Paul Billingham of conceptSearching in his closing address, where he applied principles of Metadata, Insight and governance to the practical use of the Smart Content Framework in a Sharepoint environment.