Information technology users are notoriously ungrateful bunch. The IT folks spend all this time and energy and talent figuring out what the very best systems are and going around installing and implementing them — and then users have the audacity to complain about “non-functionality” or “lack of participation” or some other strange concept significantly at variance with the idea that IT is a highly professional area. These people are trained professionals; don’t try this at home.Well, the ingratitude easily cuts both ways. The fact is, designing, installing, and managing information systems needs to involve a whole lot of people in the business, not just those trained in the IT business. In fact, the better the training in IT, often the less understanding of the real purposes of the business. One of the reasons that people trained in information technology management are so needed is that they will have developed the ability to speak to all sides with some degree of fluency, and thus be able to mediate some of the conflicts that otherwise might shake things apart. Implementation is above all a political interaction.The case for this module involves looking at the implementation of Microsoft’s SharePoint system — a set of online tools and communication structures made available largely at low or no cost by Microsoft in an attempt to tie organizations to their systems. These systems are functional in some ways and less than functional in others, and have been received with widely varying degrees of enthusiasm across companies and industries. Before we begin to look at the specifics of SharePoint implementation, however, we first need to establish some context. A.G. Sharp has a nice review of basic organizational behavior issues here:Sharp, A,G. (2012) Organizational Behavior. Encyclopedia of Business, 2nd Ed. Retrieved March 3, 2012, from http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/encyclopedia/Oli-Per/Organizational-Behavior.htmlThe best framework for looking at SharePoint implementation involves considering the role of various stakeholder groups — those who have interests one way or another in the success or failure of the system. Here is a very nice short summary of stakeholders and the roles they play:ICRA (N.D.) Stakeholders â€“ Key Concepts. Retrieved March 3, 2012, from http://www.icra-edu.org/objects/anglolearn/Stakeholders-Key_Concepts.pdfNow let’s consider the issue of SharePoint directly. Scott Garfield has generated two short complementary analyses , one considering implementation success and the other implementation failure:Garfield, S. (2011) The Art of SharePoint Success: 10 Reasons Why SharePoint Projects Fail. CMSWire. Sept. 8. Retrieved March 3, 2012, from http://www.cmswire.com/cms/information-management/the-art-of-sharepoint-success-10-reasons-why-sharepoint-projects-fail-012592.phpGarfield, S. (2011) The Art of SharePoint Success: A Quick Start Guide. CMSWire. Aug. 8. Retrieved March 3, 2012, from http://www.cmswire.com/cms/information-management/the-art-of-sharepoint-success-a-quick-start-guide-012239.phpYou may also want to examine Microsoft’s own description of SharePoint at various places in their website. Basically, SharePoint is the system that is now been put in place to support students at Trident University — the suite of software tools and communication and information storage made available as of this term. Hopefully, you will have some experience with this by now; if you don’t, it’s an excellent time to get started with it, since that’s what the case is about.When you’ve had a chance to read these articles, review information from the background readings, and conduct your own research, please prepare a 3-4 page paper on the topic:Principal stakeholders in A Universityâ€™s SharePoint system, and how their different interests and participation affect the implementation and use of the systemBe sure to discuss these interests and participation issues explicitly. Stakeholder groups would at a minimum include staff, students, faculty, and IT staff; you may wish to include others in your analysis as well.
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