The final report from the University of Northumbria, completed through the Eduserv-funded ‘Investigation into the uptake and use of Microsoft SharePoint by Higher Education Institutions (HEIs)’ is now available for download. I’ve taken the key findings directly from the website:
- Most UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are using SharePoint to some extent (78% of the 40 UK HEIs interviewed in a telephone survey of IT Directors said that they were making some use of SharePoint)
- SharePoint’s rapid rise in the HE sector can be attributed to several factors: (i) the ease with which it can be procured; (ii) its wide variety of functionality the gap in the HE information environment for such a product; (iii) its devolution of a lot of power to local users which suits the federal culture of HEIs.
- Two distinct types of SharePoint implementation were discerned: organic (bottom-up) implementations and corporate (top-down) implementations
- Drivers for implementing SharePoint included: improving document management; supporting collaboration (internally and externally); improving an intranet or external website; targeting information to particular audiences; improving and automating cross-institution processes; providing a personalised portal for staff and students; bring together and managing data from different information systems in the HEI
- A range of critical success factors for SharePoint implementations were identified.
- With most HEIs already having a virtual learning environment (VLE) in place only two HEIs were found to be using SharePoint as a VLE; but SharePoint is being used in teaching and learning, particularly for functions such as group collaborative work, ad-hoc non-repeated courses, and work that cuts across different courses
- Several HEIs are using SharePoint to support collaborative research work with colleagues in other institutions; whilst there is plenty of scope for SharePoint to support research groups it will face strong competition from open source systems in this space.
The research is the first study into the use of SharePoint in UK HE, and was very comprehensive – it involved telephone interviews with 40 HEIs (mostly IT Directors and Project Managers); an online survey attracting 51 responses from 47 universities; three case studies; an online community consultation and a literature review. It was conducted in the summer and autumn of 2009, and one conclusions is that “2010-11 is likely to see significant development in the SharePoint space”
This study was funded under Eduserv’s Research Programme to improve HEIs’ understanding about the level and nature of interest in SharePoint and whether it is justified in terms of accepted good practice, and to enhance Eduserv’s understanding about the uptake and usage of SharePoint solutions in the UK HE community and influence their 2-3 year plans for service provision in line with their charitable mission.