NHS organisational readiness for SharePoint

A couple of conversations at the recent Yorkshire Mafia Group annual fest prompted these thoughts about the preparation required by NHS organisations considering the investment of time energy and money in a SharePoint – or similar – web based knowledge system.

These notes focus exploring how the organisation can arrive at an honest and evidence-based assessment of its needs and readiness.

1. Who are the players what are their interests and why ?

  • Map stakeholders to identify prospective champions, opponents, interests and perceptions
  • Can these be synthesised to produce a vision of a future knowledge system which commands wide attention ?
  • Is there real high level support for a more collaborative culture and richer internal knowledge flows ?

2. Do we understand the current state of readiness ?

This grid Towards analysis of NHS organisational readiness for SharePoint sets out some of the considerations. These elements can inform the decision to go ahead or not, and the planning of development in terms of scale, scope, focus and pace.

Question: Can there be an organisation in such bad shape that it could not mount – or benefit from – an effective SharePoint project ?

3. Some of the characteristics and issues at successive stages of development

Early stages

  • Sandpits/play areas
  • A limited number of pilot real projects that are
    • Small and focused enough to deliver measurable benefits and convert some opponents around at least one key organisational challenge / priority
    • Large and systematic enough to test assumptions about the client and their readiness – existing processes, behaviours, compliance, hardware and about the design, Information Architecture, timescales and costs to develop, deploy,  support and maintain

Middle stages

  • Completion of key architecture
  • Replication/roll out  of proven pilots
  • Development of larger scale applications
  • Synergies between different applications create benefits not previously available
  • Learning and adoption by significant numbers of users
  • Extending the ownership, and numbers of champions, including conspicuous use by senior figures or in totemic events or processes
  • Does the initial analysis of readiness still hold true when operating at scale ? Have preparatory/remedial measures worked ? How has the environment changed ? Does the trajectory need recalibration ?

Later stages

  • Use of portal becomes commonplace in planning forward work programmes
  • Configuration queue develops, strategies for prioritising and managing growth needed
  • Wider issues of system governance, editorial oversight/knowledge management become more pressing e.g. reworking of architectural elements, taxonomy maintenance, alignment with record management.

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