The many benefits of MS SharePoint: System Administration’s secure cross-campus collaboration tool

Early 2015, System Administration upgraded Microsoft SharePoint to improve collaboration and knowledge-sharing among System staff and with campus partners. The new version offers a familiar ribbon interface like other Microsoft applications, but also provides powerful website development capabilities that allows departments to meet their unique content management needs. It also allows cross-campus authentication, meaning that campus staff can easily request access to sites and log in using their campus network login, reducing the need to remember different logins for CU systems.

Learn about the benefits of the System Administration SharePoint application and how it has improved cross-campus collaboration with System Administration offices.

About SharePoint

There are currently 128 unique sites on SharePoint. In an average month, the most active sites average 1,029 unique users and 39,000 hits per month.

As part of the project, a governance committee staffed by System Administration volunteers was established to ensure that SharePoint processes aligned with changing department needs as the application matured and that application usage remained in compliance (Image 1). Accomplishments to date include recommending processes to approve of change requests and upgrades, as well as determining site naming conventions and confirming appropriate training modules to meet employee needs. 

To educate System Administration staff on the benefits of SharePoint, the governance committee is preparing to reach out to System departments to show what the application can do for them. More than serving as System Administration’s secure data repository that it is in compliance with CU’s data governance policy, SharePoint has many additional benefits, as detailed in this one-pager – Team/Project Collaboration: What are my options?

Beyond just collaborating on documents, SharePoint offers customizable web pages with workflow options, easy campus access, web forms, drag & drop document uploads with versioning and more. It’s also backed by the full support of the UIS Service Desk to best meet the needs of System departments internally and for cross-campus collaboration. 

An example of what you can do with SharePoint

Departments use SharePoint to do everything from storing documents for their System Administration department to collaborating on projects as large as the Elevate Finance and Human Capital Management (HCM) system upgrades.

CU’s Office of Advancement is an example of how far you might take a SharePoint site to meet your department’s needs. Advancement has a staff of over 270 located in Broomfield and on each campus. Because of their distributed nature, they needed a well-developed intranet site where staff could easily navigate to information that mattered to them for their role and location (Image 2). 

Kiki Holl, Advancement’s Web Developer, used SharePoint to take advantage of the flexibility it offered for configuring access to information, while ensuring security and alignment with CU’s data governance policies.

“The hardest thing for me was learning how to use SharePoint as a web developer,” said Holl. “It was a big learning curve and I recommend training for a large custom redesign like ours. However, it’s a good platform for end-users and it has powerful out-of-the-box functionality that is easy to implement for most needs.”

Holl recommends that departments wanting to implement a new site keep two important considerations in mind before contacting the UIS Service Desk to begin work implementing their site. These include:

  • Knowing your site needs ahead of time and gathering the right people to help you plan your requirements. How will your users use the site? How will they best interact with it? It’s easier to build it all the first time than to reorganize later.
  • Set up a preliminary meeting with UIS to learn your options with SharePoint before deciding what it can or cannot do for you. Did you know that the application offers calendars that connect to Outlook and other apps, notifications, form creation and more?

Since relaunching the site at the end of May, 2016, Advancement’s intranet has averaged nearly 8,800 hits per month and almost 1,200 unique users per month due to their well-planned design that helps users easily navigate to their content. That’s a busy site!

How do I get in on the action?

Are you a System Administration department interested in a new SharePoint site?

Are you a campus employee interested in accessing an existing site?

  • Ask your department liaison for a link to the site. When you click on the link, you will be prompted to submit an explanation for your request, which is then routed to the site owner. Shortly, you will be provided access or contacted by the site owner for additional information.

It’s that easy!

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