How to Increase SharePoint User Adoption?

Mobile Man / Friday, September 11, 2015

If you’re reading this post, chances are you’re already a convert to SharePoint. Of course you understand the power of lists and libraries. Metadata? Love it. Team sites - you’ve got them on lock. Unfortunately, not everyone in the office thinks like you; many employees see SharePoint as an additional level of IT and will do anything to avoid having to deal with it. They don’t get it, they don’t do technology and anyway, can’t we just store everything on the hard drive?

Sometimes, explaining the value of SharePoint to colleagues can feel a little like speaking a foreign language. The more you talk, the less they understand, and the less they understand, the more likely they are to reject it. And naturally, a lot of IT, knowledge and information managers are worried about this misunderstanding. SharePoint ain’t cheap, and your boss wants to see ROI. At the same time, you invested in the platform because, in theory, it really can bring major benefits to your business. So, have faith; with a few steps in the right direction you’ll be able to turn SharePoint into the best thing your office has ever seen. OK, we might be exaggerating. Nonetheless, implementing a few simple steps can have a real impact on user adoption.

1. Build a campaign to encourage adoption

We so often hear about companies that are baffled by low SharePoint user adoption. They installed the platform, they got everyone to come along to some training sessions, yet no one seems to be using the new intranet.

The problem here? SharePoint isn’t Facebook. It’s a great tool for managing and organizing company files and folders, but people aren’t going to leap at the opportunity to use it. It’s a cliché, but the ‘build it and they'll come’ philosophy just doesn’t work with enterprise IT. Instead, you need a well-structured, targeted and realistic plan to get your people onboard.

Sit down with your team, work out a timeframe and targets (in 3 months’ time, we want X number of daily users; in 6 months’ time we want to be in a position where we can ban the use of local drives). Then, work out your campaign for achieving those targets. You know your company and you know how your colleagues work. Get creative and build a plan which will inspire them. 

2. Think like an end user

We know SharePoint is awesome. Your end users, however, are just trying to get their day job done, answer emails, find information and avoid boring meetings. You need, therefore, to think like an end user. What does Rick in Sales need that SharePoint can provide? What are his pain points? People just want things to happen easily and if they can see how SharePoint will help them do that, they’ll be very happy to wear the ‘I love SharePoint’ hat.

3. Lead from the front

SharePoint is a little like House of Cards. Bear with us here… If you want success with SharePoint adoption, you need strong leadership. What does this mean? Your CEO, your senior staff and managers throughout the company need to be seen to be on board with SharePoint. If they’re not correctly adding metadata or giving documents the correct minor/major version, you can’t expect anyone else to either.

4. Targeted training

We’ve all left a company training session at some point and thought “that’s two hours of my life I’ll never get back…”. Your colleagues will almost certainly benefit from SharePoint training. However, these sessions need to be targeted, effective and, above all, useful. You need to show them how the platform can be used in their day to day work, give them concrete examples so they can see just what SharePoint can do for them. Whatever you do, don’t offer something generic.

So, for example, if you’re training the legal team on using SharePoint, focus the session on a walkthrough that’s actually relevant to them. Many legal professionals are concerned about saving documents onto a shared network because they’re worried about anyone being able to access the document. It’s essential therefore, to teach your solicitors how to apply permissions to a document in SharePoint. When people can actually see what SharePoint can do for them, they’re often really enthusiastic about using it.

5. Marketing

Get people excited about SharePoint. That might sound like a big ask but it needn’t be so complicated. A few posters around the office, emails with daily tips, Q&A sessions. Build some excitement around your platform; convey the message that SharePoint will make things easier, faster and better in their day to day life. You’ll be surprised how effective this can be.

6. Measure engagement

SharePoint offers a range of tools for measuring how engaged your users are. Keep an eye on these figures and work out where there are problems (and give yourself a high five for any growth you see). Target departments with low engagement; listen to colleagues and implement a plan to encourage adoption.

You see, increasing SharePoint user adoption isn’t so hard after all. Now, get planning your campaign!

Have you already tried Infragistics SharePlus, our native mobile SharePoint solution? SharePlus is amazingly easy to adopt and loved by users working with SharePoint on the go. Sign up for a SharePlus Enterprise demo today.