Making Countywide Collaboration a Reality
Have you ever:
- Sent an email with attached files to a long list of people?
- Gone to the County Intranet (a.k.a. “The Blue Screen”) and searched for information that you expect to be there and can't find it?
- Tried to share large electronic files with another agency or department?
- Accessed information on the County Intranet only to find that it is outdated?
- Tried to use email to route a document for approval by multiple reviewers, only to find it lost somewhere in the process?
- Created a form for users to print out and complete by hand instead of electronically?
Anyone who has ever used a computer at work has probably experienced these and other frustrations. The solution, though, is just around the corner.
In the summer and fall of 2011, the Technology Council Collaboration Services project team, consisting of several Agency/Department representatives, reviewed the state of collaboration technologies throughout the County. The team found that while many agencies and departments had deployed some type of internal solution, these solutions varied and nothing addressed the many needs of the County as a whole. At the same time, the team recognized that what should be the launch point for countywide collaboration – the County Intranet – was inefficient and based on outdated technology.
How can the County best make use of limited dollars and resources to improve its Intranet and provide the functionality needed by the County and so many agencies and departments?
Microsoft SharePoint 2010 is a solution that we are looking at to address Countywide collaboration, document sharing and forms processing needs. SharePoint is designed to empower business users through a set of flexible services and tools. It offers the kinds of Web functionality most of us use every day in our personal lives — personalization, collaboration, communities, social networking, content management, tagging — but leverages this functionality for use in the workplace. What’s more, this functionality is easy for non-technical users to customize and deploy.
There’s also already a fair amount of SharePoint knowledge around the County. Several agencies and departments, including OC Community Resources and OC Public Works, have used SharePoint in developing their Intranets and Extranets. The plan is to share that knowledge among agencies and departments via two SharePoint Communities of Practice – one for business users and the other for technical.
CEO/IT plans to deploy an Enterprise SharePoint Platform as a Service at the OC Data Center. This platform will initially be used to host a comprehensive redesign of the County Intranet, one that will take advantage of cross-organizational collaboration opportunities and provide real value to users countywide. Agencies, departments and working groups (e.g., OCLA, Administrative Managers, HR Managers) will also be able to use the platform to enable SharePoint within their own organizations without having to assume the cost and complexity of hardware, software, security, hosting, operations and maintenance. Users will be free to focus on their individual sites and business needs rather than having to worry about the technology.
The OC Data Center recently completed the installation of Enterprise SharePoint in a test configuration. CEO/IT is working with a limited number of Agency test users to explore some of the many ways that SharePoint might be used to address a variety of business needs. The formal project for the redesign of the County Intranet and the implementation of SharePoint in a production environment will begin in July 2012.
For more information or to discuss participating in the Enterprise SharePoint test environment or the Communities of Practice, contact Lynne Halverson, Program Manager, at (714) 834-5294 or email@example.com.