- by Scott Nagy
- February 2016
Think you’re ready to take that plunge?
Your challenge might seem daunting at first. You’ve been tasked with transforming the way your company conducts business by achieving full-scale SharePoint adoption, and you know success won’t come easy.
That SharePoint’s multitude of applications and functionality carries the potential to dramatically redefine your company’s workflow efficiency and productivity standards is not in question. In fact, with proper buy-in you fully expect SharePoint’s longterm impact on your bottom line to be nothing short of significant.
Yet you’re also readily aware that resistance to change is all too real, particularly as it pertains to new product implementation. Since the 1970’s, change management studies have consistently revealed a 60 to 70 percent failure rate for organizational change projects. You’re making a major investment with purchasing and deploying a SharePoint platform – how can you convince your employees to actually utilize it to its full capability?
You’ve already dipped your toes into the icy waters of change, but now you’re ready to dive right in. Here are 10 quick tips for succeeding with SharePoint adoption at your company:
1. Have Business Lead and IT Follow:
For SharePoint adoption to prove effective, business must direct IT – not the other way around. Your business needs, and the underlying inefficiencies you wish to eliminate, must dictate the course of action your IT department takes with installing and customizing a version of SharePoint that’s catered to your culture and operations.
2. Clearly Define Your Goals:
It’s easy to get caught up in the massive undertaking that is SharePoint adoption and take your eyes off the prize. What are your over-arching objectives for implementing SharePoint? Are you seeking to streamline workflows, improve company-wide communication, encourage collaborative efforts, etc.? Constantly remind yourself and your leadership team of what you’re trying to accomplish with SharePoint from a business standpoint.
3. Find a Solutions Partner:
There’s no need to go it alone when help is readily available. The right SharePoint solutions partner will share your commitment to delivering a successful project, helping guide your deployment along the way. A solutions provider can also assist with customizing SharePoint’s functionality to more exactly meet your business needs.
4. Bring End Users into the Discussion Early:
Don’t wait until it’s too late – bring SharePoint end users into the roll-out process early and often. Even if you’re mired within install or beta mode, you can plant the seeds of successful organizational change by collecting early user feedback, reiterating the value proposition and alleviating employee concerns.
5. Implement in Phases:
Rome was not built in a day. Rather than rushing your SharePoint adoption for the sake of self-imposed deadlines, make your deployment gradual, driving small-scale user adoption at each stage. This strategy often proves effective in circumventing stiff resistance to change.
6. Make Training Ongoing:
As the saying goes, “You’re never done learning.” Provide demos and conduct interactive training where you explain the ins and outs of SharePoint, framing it in the context of how it integrates with your users’ actual work. Rather than only offering a single crash course, make training continuous by hosting a series of short workshops every month. When transforming your company’s operations with a major change involving both technology and business processes, training must be ongoing.
7. Manage the Complexities:
Based on the vastness of its functionality alone, SharePoint can represent a complex platform, particularly for less tech-savvy staff members. At the start you can’t assume all employees even know what SharePoint is. However, you can minimize low SharePoint user adoption by leaving the complexity to the IT team. For the remainder of your staff, keep it simple and avoid tech jargon. Convey SharePoint as a website, and as a new and improved version of your corporate intranet.
8. Demonstrate the Value:
What’s in it for me? That’s what most employees will wonder upon first learning of your planned SharePoint adoption. Outline exactly what SharePoint is capable of doing, and how it will benefit your staff directly, providing concrete examples. Create an inviting SharePoint environment that demonstrates efficiencies to end users and allows them some degree of personalization.
9. Communicate Regularly:
Communication is key. Be prepared to check in often with all necessary constituents – especially end users – during your SharePoint adoption process. Maintain email correspondence regarding deployment updates and consider establishing a private employee group on LinkedIn dedicated to engaging in SharePoint discussions. Respond promptly to user questions and promote early success stories.
10. Monitor and Seek Feedback:
The SharePoint journey is not over simply because the platform is up-and-running for all relevant end users. Build user confidence and drive increased usage by highlighting effective use by an employee or department. Request honest feedback by conducting an anonymous employee survey regarding the SharePoint adoption experience. Above all, just remain proactive with overseeing the post-adoption period. Once your staff has truly committed to joining you in taking the SharePoint plunge, you can emerge confident you’ve charted a better course for your company’s future.
At Parlae Solutions, we enable our clients to focus less on their technology challenges and more on doing what they do best. We help businesses transform Microsoft SharePoint, Dynamics CRM, Dynamics GP and in-house legacy applications into valuable business assets that streamline processes and empower employees at every level to achieve longterm business objectives. Tell us what’s holding you back, and we’ll help you uncover solutions that move you forward and leave inefficiencies behind.