When SharePoint is well-designed and solves real business problems, a company will enthusiastically embrace the program and see all of the promised productivity gains.
Unfortunately, not every implementation has the right measure of each critical ingredient to be successful. IT didn’t quite understand the business case for the product. Users couldn’t see the value of the tool, or management wasn’t quite on board. However it happens, where the company aimed, where it hit, and where it should have aimed weren’t the same thing.
MCS is often brought into companies that have recently rolled out SharePoint but struggled to find the desired level of adoption. The company sees the potential, but hasn’t yet embraced the program.
These “Rescue” projects are usually a combination of education, proselytization, and reorientation. We identify the problems with the SharePoint site and then resolve them. See our post on SharePoint Hierarchy of Needs.
What Prevents SharePoint Adoption
SharePoint is a powerful tool that can solve a wide variety of problems, so making it successful is usually just of matter of identifying what is really important and figuring out how SharePoint can make it better, faster, or more efficient.
Some companies have trouble taking the portal from conception to usage because they are missing one of the key ingredients.
For a company to be successful with SharePoint every level of user needs to be educated on what the portal does, and the right users need to know how it does it.
- Business Managers – Educate the deployment team on all of the potential outside and inside of the box functionality to help them give better direction to the development of the site.
- IT Support – Educate whoever is supporting the site on best practices for (1) creating a stable and secure environment and (2) the business needs that are driving the adoption.
- Power Users– The power user or site owner fights at the front lines to make SharePoint more powerful and accepted in the company. Give them the fodder, skills, and authority they need to do this work.
- End Users – Yes, SharePoint is as simple as a website, but if users struggle, they will resist.
For more ideas see our post on SharePoint Education.
Wrong Goal Posts
SharePoint can be a splendid solution, but be utterly unsuccessful if it solves the wrong problems. Where the company should have aimed, where it aimed, and where it hit should all be the same thing.
Unfortunately, some businesses that deploy SharePoint fail to solve any problems with it, either because it is a solution in search of a problem or it simply missed the mark. Thorough planning by educated team members will set the right goals in the most feasible and important ways.
See our article on solving problems with SharePoint for more ideas.
Once SharePoint has taken off, users inevitably see a wide variety of potential problems it could solve. A backlog of these requests is a sign of a healthy site, but if the development team loses sight of the finish line, the site will stagnate with a growing pile of incomplete projects. The goal is to complete, not commence projects.
Strong executive sponsorship can help sort through the incoming requests and prioritize the development plan in alignment with the business plan. Developing discrete project plans with groups of related requests also prevents scope creep by affixing clear starts and stops to each phase.
Marketing and on-going support
SharePoint sites are never fully developed or launched. SharePoint is an evolving platform that serves many purposes. As new problems arise, continually develop SharePoint to solve them and get the most out of the portal.
Without new ideas, users may think of SharePoint too narrowly and not continue to push the application of the product to their issues. Host regular lunch and learns, user groups, and training sessions to keep their ideas flowing. Reward power users with silly awards that draw attention to their achievements and enthusiasm for the project.
Most importantly, keep the content on the site fresh and engaging to keep all eyes on SharePoint.
The SharePoint Life Preserver
Make the most of SharePoint by resolving these issues and looking toward future development.
- Resolve Technical issues first, providing a stable and secure environment users can trust.
- Make content accessible and easy to use
- Identify a handful of “killer apps” that solve a big problem beautifully.
- Rebrand or design if necessary.
- Re-launch through power user ambassadors who are excited about the product and ready to help.
For more ideas, see our post on Ongoing SharePoint Support and Marketing.