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Office 365 Tenancy - sharing with other companies

As companies embark on their cloud journey, I am sure more organisations will be asking themselves whether there is more. The answer is ‘Yes’ there is always more as we embark on next technological advancement that we can’t even comprehend. 

But my thoughts drift towards whether we can get more from the existing technology. Well this is where I started thinking about whether, while sharing Infrastructure in the cloud, would companies not gain from sharing tenancy (in office 365 for instance). We did some analysis on this and came up with some exciting outcomes.

Think about possibilities of Inter-organisation collaboration beyond what good old extranet can offer and lately made possible with technologies like Yammer.Some examples where shared tenancy can work as not just an enabler for saving cost but also driving collaboration and innovation are:

  • Hospitals – Can lead to shared customer database, increased knowledge sharing in real time for doctors and in stretch scenarios being able to leverage off resources by sharing them when needed
  • Government Departments – The possibilities are endless as we start connecting department of education to human resources, Customs with immigration, renewable energy with ‘well’ Energy, and finance with every other government department
  • Schools – I can’t even begin to enlist the possibilities here
  • The list can go on…and on

But wait! Before you embark on this journey, here are few things to consider:

  • Governance: How will this be managed? Perhaps a governance board would be a good start with membership representing different companies
  • Security: You can lock down information of course, but this is again a Governance decision. This shared tenancy cannot become a repository for records management (unless there is a good reason for that)
  • Information Architecture: Where does information live? How do users navigate to information? Search – right people being able to search for relevant information. Business Taxonomy – there has to be an agreement on this if you go for a central taxonomy architecture. Go for distributed model if consensus is not possible 
  • What about customisations? This is a governance question as well but falls under IT governance. Perhaps another committee with members from IT departments of these organisations. A big plus is the possibility of introducing cross-departmental automation of business processes. This will need to be ratified with central governance committee – both business and IT groups
  • User Identity management
  • Administration – who controls it? This is all about power

I am not sure how many private organisations are seriously considering this, but I have started to see some shared tenancies popping up in government set up.

Posted by: Kartic Kapur , Senior Consultant, Business Productivity Solutions  | 20 July 2015


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