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5 ways to successfully drive end-user adoption of SharePoint

Jessica is a senior marketing professional with over 10 years in the industry.
Jessica Mckenzie
28 June 2018
Drive end-user adoption of SharePoint

Picture this…your organization is implementing Microsoft SharePoint, as the team member who has done all the hard work to get this project ready you are excited to see it launch company wide. The boss is on-board and execs love it! And then you roll it out, waiting, expectantly to hear how much productivity has increased, collaboration is much simpler and teams feel more engaged, but instead tumbleweeds…..

The point I’m trying to make is that it doesn’t matter how brilliant a SharePoint solution you create if users don’t, won’t or can’t use it, the result is no adoption which equals no business value.

If you want to find out how to drive successful end-user adoption of SharePoint, read on.

Why should your teams use SharePoint?

SharePoint is a platform designed to share and manage content and seamlessly collaborate. It is highly configurable so usage between organizations varies greatly.

  • Compliance – in heavily regulated industries compliance is essential, SharePoint can help you stay compliant
  • Collaboration and project management made simple, this can lead to the breakdown of department silos, creating a better team culture
  • Can be used to engage and inform your organization quickly
  • Business processes can be transformed
  • Can reduce overall business costs

Why do end-users resist?

SharePoint implementation within a business primarily focuses on improving technology, what is often overlooked in successful adoption is changing human behaviour. People don’t like change to their existing routine. Common reasons for resistance are:

  • Users don’t think SharePoint will be useful for them
  • SharePoint has so much to offer, users don’t know where to start
  • The business already has systems in place to do their job so end-users have no driver to change behaviour
  • Users have had a bad experience of SharePoint in a previous role or company
  • End-users are driven by a legacy mindset of using shared folders or mapped drives
  • Roadblocks to use/rigid governance policies – complex security policies and access permissions, making the end users job harder than it needs to be
  • They find SharePoint hard to navigate and quickly become lost when trying to navigate between different systems built on SharePoint (aka – SharePoint sprawl)

Companies see SharePoint as an efficient and cost-effective way to store and manage content, as well as to improve collaboration, however it can be perceived as hard to use by end-users. To counteract this, you need to plan your adoption strategy just as carefully as you designed and developed your SharePoint environment.

How can you drive successful adoption of SharePoint within your business?

  1. Share your vision for what SharePoint will achieve for the business – get users to buy in

    1. Explain why you are changing the way you want teams to work 
    2. Communicate the benefits of adoption, for them and the company
    3. Map SharePoint capabilities to business values, goals and functions
    4. Communicate frequently to inform and inspire – create an adoption communications plan, pre, during and post launch. Have engagement events, webinars, hands on learning, emails, launch events, etc.
  2. Enable users with training – show them why they should use it

    1. Manage change with minimal impact to users – they only need to know about what will affect them
    2. Understand your users and their needs – tailor training to a specific audience, different departments will have different needs
    3. Show them how SharePoint can help them do their job more productively
    4. Give them time to learn at work, not in addition to their day job, there will be downtime when implementing new technology
    5. Create a hub of easily accessible training – cheat sheets/ webinars/ demos etc that users can refer to
    6. Monitor regularly – stay in touch with users and offer regular refresher or advanced training
    7. Find and enable your internal champions – train the trainer
  3. Make it simple and easy for end users

    1. Remove unnecessary governance – these roadblocks can make the SharePoint experience unpleasant for users by creating extra work for everyday tasks
    2. People like what they know, implement a tool that makes using SharePoint familiar by delivering SharePoint to where users work. OnePlace Solutions products – OnePlaceMail, OnePlaceDocs and OnePlaceLive provide a solutions focused approach to engage end users with SharePoint and drive the adoption of solutions delivered on the SharePoint / Office 365 platform.
      1. OnePlaceMail – seamlessly connects Microsoft Outlook email to SharePoint / Office 365 without having to leave the familiar Outlook environment. You can access SharePoint from Outlook. This means change to end-users is minimal with all the benefits of implementing SharePoint being retained, capitalizing on your investment
      2. OnePlaceDocs – connects SharePoint / Office 365 from your desktop, as well as inside Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Adobe Acrobat
      3. OnePlaceLive –. Transend information architecture and technical design with solution profiles to bring what end users need to environments they work in. Solution profiles allow you to personalise the SharePoint experience for each end user, by delivering them the right content to applications they are familiar with.
  4. Make it a business requirement

    1. Cut duplicate data sources and systems – remove work arounds, make Microsoft SharePoint the single source of truth
    2. Reach the ‘tipping point’ where SharePoint is the trusted source of content. In other words, the first place people think of when looking for or saving content. To help with this:
      1. Remove barriers to change and bring the SharePoint to the familiar user work environment
      2. Lock down the network drive to the read-only and provide and easy method to save content to SharePoint with metadata
      3. Shine the torch on highly valuable SharePoint capabilities, such as well thought through search and search result pages, efficient business process and easy access to critical business information.
  5. Get support

    1. Executive buy in and support
    2. Create internal champions
    3. Enable and showcase super users

We hope you find these tips effective in driving successful SharePoint adoption in your organization. If you have your own success story I would love to hear about it – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. This is just the beginning, if you have also faced these issues and want to learn more about how we can help you succeed get in touch today.

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