tidBiTS
Informs and engages the UNB community on IT developments and news

ITS Management Briefing SharePoint making its UNB debut

Author: ITS

Posted on Apr 3, 2017

Category: General Interest , News , Management Briefings

Introduction

SharePoint is a collaboration platform from Microsoft that is used by organizations worldwide to facilitate and enhance internal communications, to organize and control documents and files of all formats, and to enable groups—whether internal or external or both—to work efficiently and easily in a familiar, webbased environment. UNB has deployed SharePoint on a limited scale—a few team sites have been developed for Senates and the Board, plus some special projects have been launched. As part of the Educational Computer Network (ECN) UNB participates with other universities and colleges in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island in a centrally hosted and managed SharePoint environment; each institution is free to set its own objectives for SharePoint deployment and use, providing its own development and support resources, though a simple set of standards, templates, and services is available to the collective. ITS will lead development and deployment of SharePoint at UNB over the next two years.

SharePoint Vision

SharePoint will be firmly established as the easy‐to‐use and secure enterprise repository for university information and preferred platform for internal collaboration. Objectives for the next two years include:

  1. Create an initial SharePoint implementation team. A team has been formed to consider an array of issues around SharePoint implementation, from coordination with data management standards to rollout logistics to training requirements within ITS and the whole UNB community. The team will review documentation already compiled about SharePoint, and will incorporate key elements into a plan and timeline. Membership on the team will expand beyond ITS as the service is more fully developed.
  2. Build SharePoint expertise. ITS started the SharePoint rollout without strong internal expertise, but has provided training to technical staff, and has worked with ECN partners to establish a SharePoint support position dedicated to assisting institutions get started. We also engaged outside consultants to help us understand and then develop best practices in setting up the system, implementing governance, and configuring the centrally hosted service. These best practices, such as site organization and governance, meta data management, and definitions of security and access levels, will be introduced to the entire community as the project unfolds.
  3. Deploy an intake process for requests. We will define and implement an intake process for requests for SharePoint access, setup, site development, and consulting services. Though self‐service will be encouraged, the university community has very little knowledge about SharePoint, and is certainly not equipped to adopt it without guidance and support. ITS will assist as much as possible.
  4. Develop SharePoint applications and workflows. We know that SharePoint is a platform fully capable of supporting special applications and workflows designed to make many business processes more efficient, effective, and economical. While we are not yet in a position to undertake complex SharePoint development, expertise in this area is being encouraged wherever possible (whether internal or external to ITS), and will allow us to take full advantage of the SharePoint environment.

Terry Nikkel, AVP, ITS, April 3, 2017