SharePoint On the Job

The last few days in Vancouver have been a blur, as the Olympics and the entire city geared up several notches. Media, athletes, and spectators are pouring in and the streets are buzzing with excitement. The weather’s been outstanding—I think it’s the first Spring Olympics in Vancouver city, which is great for all but one venue, and apparently Whistler’s a winter wonderland.

Here at NBC, we have hundreds of people arriving each day, needing to get up and running quickly in this enterprise-within-an-enterprise. And, as was the case in Torino and Beijing, SharePoint is up to the task!

We’ve applied SharePoint to many business requirements already. Like many enterprises, the majority of our requirements center around collaboration within the enterprise and with partners, intranet and extranet.

We make heavy use of out-of-box collaboration features: lists, libraries, sites. We don’t have a lot of need for enterprise search or business intelligence, but we do support business processes with SharePoint Designer workflows. At the Olympics in Beijing, we had an InfoPath Forms-based application, but that’s not in use this time around.

We also continue to use SharePoint as “glue” for disparate applications used for production and operations. Applications that otherwise could not “come together” do so by publishing information and documents to SharePoint; or through SharePoint navigation elements.

In the past, many users had to install applications to get ‘read only’ access to certain information: now that information is available to them as documents in libraries. Most of our applications aren’t even using SharePoint APIs—they’re publishing PDFs and files using WebDAV, which is easy even for developers and components that don’t “talk” SharePoint.

Our Help desk, which supports the thousands of users who are here to work on the broadcast, is managed using a Help Desk site that is derived from the “Fabulous 40” Help Desk template. We’ve customized several of the content types in order to support the data gathering we need, and we’ve customized the portal with several web parts that make it easier to match users with computers, and for user self-service.

We also built a SharePoint application to support our transportation operation—I’ll share more about that, next week.

Around and “above” all of this is our OLY2010 intranet site—the home page for all users—which itself is SharePoint, and guides users to the resources, applications, and information they require. It’s very handy, as the IT organization, to be able to respond to most user requests by saying, “click the X link on the home page!”

It’s all about being able to build, manage, and tear down a large enterprise in the time span of a few weeks! It’s the craziest, busiest, most interesting job on the planet with a best-of-class IT organization.

I hope that you and all of your friends and family enjoy watching and following the XXI Winter Olympics starting Friday night! For those of you in the USA, you’ll get unprecedented coverage on the networks of NBC Universal and from NBCOlympics.com. And somewhere behind all of that, playing a role big or small, is SharePoint.

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