Sharepoint is a solution that is used quite a lot for a wide range of automation projects. Often pitched as the Swiss Army knife of software, it promises to do lots of back-office administration. However, it is most commonly known for its Document Management System. There are a wide range of Sharepoint consultants that build solutions within Sharepoint. This all sounds great, but there is a great fallacy in this way of working. Sharepoint is not an Integrated Management System, let alone a QMS or a QHSE solution. It needs to be developed, which comes with the same difficulties as developing software from scratch.
When a company tries to use Sharepoint to manage its IMS, it needs to build it within Sharepoint. All the logic, approval processes, questions, process flows, and everything else needs to be thought of. There are no best practices built-in, because it is simply a framework. Taking this approach means that the company needs to commit a significant amount of resources to develop the Management System. This commitment is without the development resources. If the company has Sharepoint developers in-house, this might reduce the costs of development, but it increases the opportunity costs. Of course there are templates available, but they never suit the company’s processes and certainly aren’t free.
Quality and Safety Management is all about continuously improving the processes within the company. The Quality and Safety platform should, therefore, allow the people to make changes when improvements are required. Sharepoint is often too complex for ordinary people to make these improvements themselves. Either internal or external specialists need to be involved in making the improvements. Financial or time limitations will have a significant impact on the speed of implementing these improvements, which can lead to inefficient processes that are running for months on end. The problem in the processes has been identified, but it cannot be fixed, which is far from ideal. Proper QHSE platforms allow for rapid changes to be done by the QHSE or operational managers.
Maintaining the Management System is something most companies forget about. There will be no automated updates on the Sharepoint-based Management System. Every new feature, new field, or altered flow needs to be developed by either internal or external developers. Furthermore, these features need to be thought of by the company itself, which limits the options. Great platforms are continuously innovating their solutions based on feedback from companies facing the same difficulties. The result is that their customers can leverage the new features with simply a couple of clicks. No need for internal or external resources to develop new features.
In the end, Sharepoint can work as a QMS or Management System, but it was never designed to be one. This is painfully clear when you try to use it like this. In the beginning it all looks fine, but when changes are required, problems will start to occur. Make sure you pick the right solution for what you are trying to accomplish.