In the "Case Studies" series of my posts, I describe the projects that I worked on and lessons learned from them. In this post, I am going to describe the project of SharePoint deployment at Autodesk.
Autodesk is a software engineering company with worldwide presence. Autodesk worldwide marketing produced a lot of marketing assets. On many occasions, marketing produced assets which either was duplicate of what was already created in the past or assets that were not needed. Marketing assets were stored in a digital asset management system. This digital asset management system did not have a way to track marketing assets.
Marketing decided to use SharePoint which already was deployed at Autodesk as the tracking system for their marketing assets. This would be a tool where they would log an asset they would like to create and it would go through a workflow to vote, review, and approve this asset before it would be produced. After this asset was produced, it would be tracked in this system.
I started the project with identifying major stakeholders, gathering their requirements for this system, and writing use cases. It was decided to add BrightWork software in order to be able to create forms, reports, and templates in SharePoint. SharePoint features such as lists, workflows, discussion forums, blog were used for this project.
The project was approved by the company management. I created functional requirements which were submitted to IT. I have reviewed the document with the IT staff so that we would be in agreement about functional requirements and users’ needs.
A consulting company was identified for custom development of SharePoint and to integrate it with BrightWork. After this was done, I defined and created the information architecture, taxonomy, metadata based on users requirements. I created sites, lists, and workflows and set up information governance processes. I have also created advanced search and configured metadata for it. IT has configured the metadata and the crawler on the server level. IT has also set up all applications functions on the server.
Based on department managers’ decision, security permissions for documents were set up.
User acceptance testing of the system was performed. Users were satisfied with the system set up and functions and it was deployed. Information governance was set up from the very beginning. Group and individual training was conducted on ongoing basis.
After the SharePoint was deployed, users started tracking marketing assets creation in this system.
The project was a success. Company management and users were very cooperative in helping to make this project a success.
SharePoint deployment helped to increase efficiency and productivity of worldwide marketing and thus saved Autodesk cost because employees did not waste any time on recreating marketing assets that already exist. The system was adapted by multiple users.
1. User-centered design is paramount to the project success. When you design and build the system based on users’ requirements, they are going to use it. Users have the sense of ownership of the system which provides excellent starting point. They know that the system you are building will be what they need.
2. Top-down support is critical for the project success. Management support is a huge factor in employees' encouragement to use the system and in setting up and enforcing procedures for information governance.
3. Assurance of users from the very beginning that they will not be left alone with the system provided their cooperation.
4. User acceptance testing helped to encourage employees to start using the system. When they participate in this process, this gives them the feeling of ownership of the system.
5. Ongoing training after the system deployment made user adoption smooth.