It seems appropriate to start a post about Line of Business (LOB) applications in SharePoint by first defining the term. In some ways, the definition of ‘LOB application’ is like that of collaboration or enterprise social – it means different things to different people. Wikipedia describes a LOB application as “one of the set of critical computer applications perceived as vital to running an enterprise.” This is a solid definition, but it opens to door to what exactly it means for an application to be ‘vital’ to running an enterprise. Is your application that manages the development and introduction of new products to the market vital to your organization? How about your intranet or extranet? Our clients often answer yes to these and many other applications.
This post is the first in a series where we’ll share ways we’ve helped clients use SharePoint to build applications they have deemed vital to their businesses.
SharePoint is Made for LOB Applications
When people and companies think about SharePoint, document management and intranets often come to mind. These are two of the earliest, most common uses of SharePoint. However, with powerful workflow, business intelligence, data connectivity, and other capabilities, SharePoint, online and on-premises, is gaining recognition as a powerful platform for LOB applications. We’ve talked about the ROI benefits of SharePoint for LOB applications, and Pique Solutions conducted a study [PDF] highlighting the extremely rapid ROI that some organizations have realized. Among their findings, they identified savings of 80%-90%, with “faster deployment, far less custom coding, and simplified ongoing administration and governance.” All powerful considerations in building a LOB application.
Real-World SharePoint LOB Applications
In this series, we’ll share a “day in the life” from the perspective of users in various business areas, and detail how they have leveraged high-value LOB applications. Among these stories, you’ll hear from:
- Corporate Communications on fostering a common culture through improved communications
- Human Resources on enabling a well-managed, empowered, and enjoyable employee experience
- IT on establishing transparent and efficient project management and asset management
- Legal on finding a solution for timely and compliant contract management – without the headaches
- Product Management / Marketing on accelerating speed to market
- Purchasing on expediting purchase requisition management that follows the rules without excessive burden
- Sales on creating collaborative and workflow driven sales enablement to streamline team-based selling
It’s likely that SharePoint is uniquely suited to one or more rapid return on investment LOB opportunities in your organization. This series of articles should illuminate some of the possibilities for boosting SharePoint use by building LOB applications – not only driving value within a specific business area, but increasing your enterprise ROI for SharePoint. Tahoe Partners can work with you to identify those applications, and keep in mind, you may have Microsoft SDPS money available to help you explore the options without cost to you.