Customizing SharePoint To Improve Communications

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Challenge

Microsoft operates retail stores throughout North America. Teams on location relied on individual SharePoint intranet sites to perform a number of functions, including scheduling shifts, conducting project management work, disseminating internal communications, and coordinating with corporate offices.

This framework was hampered by the use of SharePoint instances, hierarchies, and permission rights unique to each retail location. In lieu of a common approach, redundant and conflicting calendar functions for shared employee scheduling and the lack of a central project management platform caused communication challenges between stores, inconsistent access and sharing privileges, reduced e-mail functionality and security, and undocumented project workflow between company headquarters and retail locations.

Approach

The labor-intensive communication system that required bulk data and document transfer from SharePoint to an external e-mail client needed to be overhauled. Working from an established list of business requirements provided by the client, Kalles Group set out to create a universal SharePoint site to assimilate and streamline the local instances. Our consultant translated this information into a technical SharePoint architecture, and clarified which user stories were the highest priority to deliver by the release date.

Kalles Group was tasked with creating a new SharePoint instance to improve project management communication spanning more than fifty Microsoft retail stores.

Solution

Kalles Group developed custom SharePoint 2013 master page functionality for a new global site, capable of performing all critical retail business functions, including:

  • Embedded email client supporting images, font formatting, and attachments, with artifact pull-0through from multiple sub-sites.
  • Flexible protocols allowing messages to reach external email domains securely.
  • Automated project communications, activated according to stage and status, including delay-send and contingent-send features.

Our consultant partnered with program managers and the scrum master to ensure proper prioritization of tasks, sifting critical user stories from less urgent stories that could be addressed at a later date.

Kalles Group also laid the groundwork for extended optimal performance of the intranet site. Our consultant assembled and distributed training documents, and created a test domain to stage the site. Once the Microsoft retail master site was deployed, the test site continued to serve a valuable purpose as a place for training SharePoint admins and super users, and for preparing release cycles. In this way, Kalles Group provided a framework for the future integration of new features, including specific applications like DocuSign and Office 365.

Results

The SharePoint site created by Kalles Group successfully:

  • Improved workflow for enterprise projects requiring hundreds of inputs.
  • Improved document sharing, calendar management, and other communication needs affecting thousands of users.
  • Delivered a more functional framework for project management staff.
  • Centralized a previously localized management model, streamlining authorizations, permissions, access rights, and other processes vital to security and enterprise project management workflow.

Ultimately, this effort served to unify and streamline team communications throughout the retail space, increasing overall efficiency and visibility across business operations and functional teams.

Kalles Group’s effort served to unify and streamline team communications throughout the retail space, and laid the groundwork for extended optimal performance of the intranet site.