As a SharePoint consultant who has worked with dozens of customers, the one constant I face, over and over, is that users are inherently resistant to change. It’s just a fact. And, who can blame them if they’re not properly educated and supported over the course of that process change – whatever that may be.
So, with respect to SharePoint, driving user adoption is one of the most important, but also one of the most difficult tasks that a SharePoint architect/administrator has. You could even say that it is the single most important task when designing/deploying SharePoint. Simply because it drives everything else. If the deployment doesn’t function correctly, then user adoption will suffer. If it is difficult to navigate or understand, then user adoption will suffer.
Couple all of these factors together and it will be difficult to meet your SharePoint project success metrics. Here are some key areas that I like to focus on when planning for user adoption:
In order to properly design a SharePoint deployment, you must think like an end user. And not just any end user…YOUR end users. Every corporate IT environment is unique.
How do your users access shared documents?
How do they access their personal documents?
How do they access reports?
How do they share ideas?
These are all key questions that need to be asked. A survey of a portion of your users probably wouldn’t hurt either. The closer you can make accessing documents and information to the way your users are familiar with will help tremendously with user adoption! For example, if your users are used to the traditional network share filled with folders, then a single document library may work best. If the folder structure is broken out by department already, then setting up separate document libraries for each department may be best.
One of the biggest reasons for choosing SharePoint that I hear is for ‘document sharing’. But, why use SharePoint? Why not just use a network share or maybe even a cloud based sharing solution? These are common questions and they are completely understandable. However, it shows a lack of understanding of the key enterprise features that SharePoint offers. Here are some key features that users should be well trained on prior to deployment so they fully understand how to use the tool.
Content Types and Document Templates
These are just some examples of features that most users find indispensable. So make sure you engage and educate them prior to going live with the deployment.
Automation is key when implementing SharePoint as well because it makes refusing to use SharePoint very difficult to justify. Automating processes such as HR On-boarding, Capital Purchasing Approval, Information Requests, IT Help Desk Ticketing, and so much more have huge ROI potential! A simple, high-level review of ‘painful’ processes that departments have to deal with could reveal perfect use-cases for automation.
Have you deployed SharePoint in your business? If so, what is your user adoption rate? What could make it better? If you haven’t deployed it, but would like to, did this post help give you a good idea on how to drive adoption? Let us know how we can help! Contact eGroup’s Application Services Team at ApplicationServices@eGroup-us.com for more information.