Westmorr Consulting has the basic framework for the Intranet and Sales division sites setup in Office 365 and SharePoint. Now, they’ll loop in more of the company and start getting into defining their information architecture (IA) in preparation for adding sales contracts and building out the Sales CLM process.
Planning for the Future with Basic Information Architecture (IA)
Contracts are an organization-wide concept and so are customers. Most departments in the company have some sort of “contract”, and more than one department interfaces with customers (Finance – Billing, Marketing – Content Publishing, IT – Compliance). Similarly, the definition of divisions and departments is something which is defined across the organization. Echoing a reoccurring theme: it is critical to the success of the CLM solution, and general business management in O365 and SharePoint, that Sales makes sure to involve other key division/department planners when defining the CLM system because they’re actually designing pieces of the broader/entire Intranet as a side effect. The same will be true when Marketing builds out their Customer Outreach program, when Finance implements their Fiscal Planning Strategy for next year, and when IT launches new applications and governance policies – design with the entire organization in mind. Let’s couple that concept with the following statement: there is nothing more important to an organization’s success with SharePoint than defining, deploying, and enforcing some sort of well-defined information architecture. So, through collaboration and a bit of forethought, the following IA was constructed around the CLM process.
Simple IA for Sales Contracts and Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM)
First, the actual stages of the lifecycle for Sales Contract Lifecycle Management were agreed upon:
Also, in partnership, pieces of the broader IA for the entire organization as well as specifics around Sales CLM are laid out.
Kicking the can just a bit further…if Sales hadn’t met with other teams, here’s what would have likely happened:
- Sales wouldn’t have defined a “Sales Contract Lifecycle” – they would have defined a “Contract Lifecycle” that doesn’t apply to other divisions’ contract lifecycle definition.
- This falls out into the values for stages, status, and other particulars that will drive automation, metrics, and reporting
- It also impacts intuitive understanding of the type of contract
- There would have been contention/disagreement on how to identify divisions and departments which resonate with everybody in the organization.
- There would have been a missed opportunity for cross-training and recruiting of champions and sponsors for the next program in Sales and other divisions.
This planning now enables a set of artifacts to be defined in SharePoint that are going to power SharePoint Search, navigation elements, content reusability, process automation, extensibility, and much more (that will be demonstrated). This 30-60 minutes of planning is going to stop Sales from just jumping in and creating document libraries, lists, and pages that are local to only their site, and instead, create meaningful, reusable, and agreed-upon content that will power the Intranet and demonstrate to other teams how they can do the same.
In the next post, we’ll see exactly how to implement this IA as content types and site columns in SharePoint online.