8 Tips To Increase SharePoint User Adoption

Skills:  Strategy, Enterprise/Business Analysis

1. Don’t Let IT Run The Whole Project

As both IT and the Business were major players in choosing SharePoint to solve some specific business problems, neither party should assume full responsibility or ownership for the product.  It requires ongoing coordination, prioritization and updates for it to continue to be a success within the organization.  Both IT and the Business need to define and refine what success looks like as the product evolves within the organization.

  •   Adoption starts Day #1 of every project and may include the following steps
    •  #1 – Involvement
    • #2 – Awareness
    • #3 – Ownership/Empowerment
    • #4 – Engagement
    • #5 – Attitude/Behavior
    • #6 – Results
  • The Business Users will not care what you know; UNTIL, they know how much you care

2. Requirements Gathering

Perform high-level Enterprise Analysis to identify the BIG problems and opportunities; and then understand how SharePoint can add value with solutions that can provide quicker time to market, lower costs, centralized knowledge management, competitive advantage, etc.

Then dive deeper with Business Analysis to identify the business processes that require improvements to help users work smarter not harder.

3. Custom Code

There is always a time and a place for this but usually this is not the time or the place.  SharePoint is about time to market and achieving 80% of the requirments at 20% of the cost.  It usually is not worth the time, effort or cost to get those additional 20% of the requirements at 80% of the cost.  Identify what you want to achieve, be creative, be smart, prioritize, implement and look long-term to achieve continuous improvement in easy bite-size steps.

4. ‘Out of the box’ Features

Get a firm grasp of the total buffet line of features that SharePoint offers.  The genius is in understanding the purpose of each feature, web part, list and document library and applying solutions in creative and empowering ways to your business users.  It’s really not about building a feifdom; instead, it’s all about providing new functionality into the hands of your business users so they can run with it.  The less IT Support required, the better!

5. Third (3rd) Party Products

The genious of SharePoint is that it is extensible; there are many 3rd party developers that have engaged with Microsoft to produce sound features that can be added into the SharePoint environment at minimal cost.  These cost a fraction of what it would cost your own development team to build and provide for that quick time to market functionality.

6. Baby Steps

With the emphasis on time to market and the wave to agile rollouts of new features, endeavor to deliver enhancements in a phased approach with an emphasis on the low hanging higher ROI fruit.  This will demonstrate utility, ease of use and a continuous mindset within the user community as IT works to understand the business processes and helps to remove the most painful points first.

7. End User Training

Provide a high-level overview or general awareness training to establish a baseline of understanding.  This baseline must answer the BIG WHY or vision for the product within the company.  Clearly state WHY this product versus some other product.

The 2nd level of training may be a Lynda.com subscription or other online training that identifies the features or functionalities by use case or topic and provides demonstrations via a simple script or video of HOW TO’s for the end user.  Short scripts (< 10 steps) or videos (5 minutes or less) work best.

The 3rd level of training is to provide contextual help for the end user.  For example, a user is editing a page and needs help now.

Provide a link on the page that directly links the user to a set of instructions that directly applies to page editing.  They review a few topics and they are off and running down the track again.

Providing users with multiple means of awareness and training is key to the success of any product.  Get them trained and they will use the product to its full potential!

8. Support

Having the user submit a Help Desk ticket is not the best approach for SharePoint.  Usually users are in a bind and need an answer now.  A better approach is to identify the Power Users in your organization and make them visible and accessible to assist the business users.  One solution may be to provide a visual map with easy to access contact information about each Power User.

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