If You Build It, Will They Come?
The adoption of any new technology can be challenging.
Just this year, I have traveled to 12+ cities, sharing the point, and delivering SharePoint Adoption tactics sessions. I’ve also spent plenty of time consulting on and rolling out intranets for all of our clients. One thing that is consistent and true is that I’ve witnessed a common theme. Adoption is important to organizations that are investing in SharePoint as a business and solution platform and business decision makers and IT owners of SharePoint want to do it right. My sessions are always packed!! Organizations want their intranet to be a success and to serve as a tool for their end users to be more productive at their daily jobs and collaborate on innovations that can take their company to a whole new level of competitiveness.
SharePoint 2013 has come a long way since its conception in early 2001. The new platform provides a gamut of out of the box (OOTB) features that give way to an amazing and adoptive end user experience. There is also an array of pre-built features that will increase end user productivity among your users around project management, task management and aggregation, document management, and even gamification that can help change your users’ behaviors.
You are likely visiting this blog to gain some insight on how to increase end user adoption. Perhaps you’re in the beginning phases of rolling out SharePoint in an intranet scenario. Or perhaps you’re evaluating what it will take to have a successful roll-out with beaming users that love their new portal and collaborate like never before. Either way, this article will give you some tips on how to get started.
If you’re currently in the planning phase, maybe you’re including your end users in the design of solution, which is a good thing! Having your end users fully engaged in the design of the solution enables you to design the solution to solve critical pain points that the users are experiencing in their daily job functions. This ultimately means that this solution that you are putting in place will change the way your workers do their job! And as you may already know, not everyone enjoys change even when it is good. I commonly hear from clients that the majority of their information workers are resistant to any change.
In order for you to change your workers’ behaviors and to manage the change you must create an end user adoption plan. One of the most common reasons that SharePoint intranet roll-outs fail is proven to be the lack of end user adoption. So that should tell you just how important this is.
In this series, I will be providing guidance on how to inspire and sustain end user adoption for SharePoint 2013. I will demonstrate features and functionality within SharePoint 2013 that inspire adoption as well.
Let’s get started.
Step 1- Create and Document Your Vision for SharePoint in the Enterprise
With no vision there is no victory. Did I just suggest that you need to document an end user adoption plan? YES! Actually documenting an end user adoption plan helps inspire thought and collaboration, which means your vision will grow while piecing together this document. Pardon my frankness, but so often we hear about failed SharePoint roll-outs due to the strategy of, “throw crap at the wall and see if it sticks.” When it doesn’t stick IT and end users become angry with SharePoint and want to give up on it. SharePoint is a platform that is meant to help your organization better share information, better manage business processes, better manage documents, bring the social computing aspect and improved productivity for information workers into your work environment, and serve as a development foundation on which more business solutions can be created. If you’re not considering SharePoint for all of these facets, then you’re still approaching it with the crap slinging method. Which leads me to my second point.
What sort of information needs to be in a SharePoint 2013 End User Adoption Plan Document?
What business problems will SharePoint solve?
Find the low hanging fruit inside your organization. Solve those problems first and make an impact on your end user experience.
Who will champion the solution?
Internal evangelism is a must! If you can get upper management to start using SharePoint in meetings to demonstrate and communicate certain messaging it will go very far. Identifying internal evangelists or champions in each department is also very important.
Who owns what in SharePoint? Users must know how, when, and why to use SharePoint or they won’t use it. You have to identify a model for feedback and change management. Governance needs to be thought through before the roll-out.
If you’re users can’t find what they need, when they need it; they will not use SharePoint. How your information is organized, what your search schema will be, what your metadata strategy will be and what navigation should look like will all need to be considered prior to rolling a SharePoint 2013 based intranet out. This will drastically play a role in end user adoption.
How are you getting the users excited about the upcoming launch? Are there teasers out and around the office? What kind of messaging is out there and when is it released?
Social in the Enterprise Policy and Use Cases
Social is a big part of SharePoint 2013 and will increase user productivity and collaboration. Identifying a social policy and use case model for it will be key in adoption.
Rewards and Recognition Programs (Can gamification be used here?)
What kind of rewards and recognition program will you offer? Changing a user’s behavior will be easier if there are rewards or recognitions to be earned. I will go over gamification in more detail in a later post.
Continuous training plan (internal user group?)
Training users, admins, and power users in SharePoint is not a one-time task. Learning should be continuous. When identifying internal evangelists, consider forming a monthly internal SharePoint user group for your organization.
The above information should give you a great starting point in creating your end user adoption plan document. In my upcoming blog posts I will start highlighting SharePoint 2013’s feature set that also drives adoption.