Defining the Digital Ambassador: SharePoint Roles and Responsibilities
Large scale Office 365 and SharePoint projects, inclusive of Intranets, Document Management Systems and Automated Business Processes require a core team to ensure success. The team members (Digital Ambassador) will ensure successful implementation, user adoption and ongoing evolution.
During a recent project kick off the term “Digital Ambassador” was utilised. I felt this was a great representation for what all users, who impact and inform SharePoint and Office 365 projects, deliver. The reason a “Digital Ambassador” works so well is that these projects are in place to deliver “Digital Transformation” and provide a “Digital Workplace” so it all fits together nicely.
There are numerous Office 365 and SharePoint roles and responsibilities that will be shared throughout the organisation. This article is in place to give an overview of each of these. It will assist organisations in collating their teams and understanding the level of training required.
The core reason for placing Directors and/or Managers in place as a specific role (as opposed to only being an End User) is that management buy in is extremely critical to the delivery of a successful project.
Believe it or not, the entire organisation looks up to management for guidance. If there is a clear message that the use of Office 365 and SharePoint will improve business efficiency and make for a better working environment then the End Users will take note. Therefore, they will adapt.
Within core business accreditations surrounding items like Quality and the Environment (ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 for those in the know) evidence of Management buy in is critical. Therefore, I see no reason why it should be any different within Office 365 and SharePoint projects.
There is a large difference between Management buy in and Management Directives. It is, of course, correct that the Senior Management team can tell the organisation that they MUST use SharePoint and Office 365, and can also add it to their objectives. This is slightly beneficial, however, the majority of teams prefer a “lead by example” methodology. Therefore, if the Management Team are willing to utilise the system themselves, they can also identify and share the benefits with their teams and are open to hear feedback/suggestions. Consequently, improved user adoption will occur.
Administrators and Power Users are the individuals who understand the system inside out from a technical perspective. Majority of the time these will be the IT Team Members, but it does not have to be limited to them.
The Admin and Power User Roles should be granted to users who will be working on the system frequently. This involves making updates, supporting others and developing new systems to extend the organisation’s benefits from Office 365 and SharePoint.
Administrators and Power Users will need to always be looking at the bigger picture. Understand the KPIs and Objectives that are being met by the organisation and working towards achieving these.
These users will need to be trained on how to use SharePoint from a generic basis. Not just training that focuses on the delivered build of the Office 365 and SharePoint System. Therefore, it is standard practice to train these users on a SharePoint environment with no modifications (also known as being “out-of-the-box”).
The role of Content Editors, who would be granted Design Permissions, is to keep the delivered system dynamic. They continue to add new and exciting information for the end user to consume.
A selection of Content Editors will usually sit within the Marketing, IT and Internal Communication Teams. This enables control of the core content that would sit within an Intranet Home Page. They can also update other content that is located throughout the site map.
Each area of the Site Structure, e.g. Department and/or Function, should also have a minimum of 2 Content Editors. This is to avoid a single point of failure. They will be responsible for updating content within their specialist area.
A communication channel between the High Level Content Editors and Site Specific Content Editors should be introduced. This is to allow for the delivery of news and updates from teams. Marketing and Communication Departments are likely to need to sanity check articles and update them to fit with design and tone of voice.
Content Editors will need specific training on exactly how the system has been delivered. Some of this would be SharePoint and Office 365 specific, although some might be based on bespoke systems that have been generated by your SharePoint Consultants and Developers. The Content Editors would also attend End User Training as well, so this level of training is an addition.
The identified Champions of each area of your Site Structure, may also share a role of Content Editor. There should once again be more than one user for each area.
The Champions should be involved from the start of the project, specifically when elements like Document Management and Business Processes are being discussed. The core Business Champions would be the point of contact when consulting on new systems. For example, the HR Champions would be able to define how the HR Documents are currently stored and what improvements are needed. As well as this, define the existing workflow processes that need to be migrated, newly built and/or improved within the new system.
The Business Champions would be involved within additional consultancy. They will of course learn about Office 365 and SharePoint to allow for the generation of ideas. However, this level of user does not need any specific training other than that of an End User. During End User Training there will likely be a number of business related questions asked that cannot be answered by an external party. Therefore, the Business Champion would be identified as the person to provide those answers or escalate them if necessary.
Governance & Intranet Committee Members
A number of personnel from the roles listed above should also join together on a frequent basis to form a committee. It is common practice that the core project team and stakeholders are the first members as they already meet frequently.
The committee is a forum in which discussions can take place about the existing Office 365 and SharePoint Solutions. Discussions can also include current level of user adoption and necessary improvements, feedback and suggestions from staff and the existing roadmap. It is within this meeting that usage analytics should be reviewed and acted upon. This allows for fact-based decision making to infer the organisational direction.
Committee decisions are also important from a security perspective, e.g. will External Sharing be enabled within the SharePoint Environment? A number of these questions and answers will be required by the SharePoint Consultants and Developers. Thus providing further evidence that early formation of the committee during the planning and realisation phases is a necessity.
The Committee will need to attend relevant training from their other roles, such as Champions and Power Users.
The most important role of all is the End User, which is a catch-all for everyone who will be using the system. These users will be making use of Office 365 and SharePoint on a day to day basis. They should be benefitting from functionality that is provided to them.
It is critical to the success of these projects that End Users are given the platform to provide feedback and suggestions. This can help form the organisation roadmap and ensure that the End Users remain bought into the system. Because of this, user adoption continues to thrive and increase.
End users can be approached with a “Train the Trainer” approach. Multiple members of the team, usually Champions, are delivered training and expected to then pass it on to their colleagues. However, there is also great benefit to getting all users trained on how to use the system, if resources are available. End User training is in place to introduce the system and the core functionality that will be used frequently. Core functionality such as creating and uploading documents.
Organisations should also consider how they can continue to engage all end users. They must also consider keeping them up to date with tips, tricks and additional functionality. This can be delivered through the use of a well-structured communications plan, wiki sites, FAQs and training videos.
End User training will need to be continuously considered throughout the entire life of the Office 365 and SharePoint Systems.
First, you need to define the core project team and understand the core roles/ responsibilities of individuals within the organisation. This will ensure a successful Office 365 and SharePoint project, with continued engagement from your users. This will also ensure that the system is fit for purpose. This is due to a large cross section of the organisation being available to advise on requirements.