The features available to users in SharePoint 2013 are going to spark the interest and excitement of many. Simply listing the improvements and features of a product, however, won’t necessarily ensure adoption within your organization. As is true with the implementation of any new system, acceptance and adoption can be a struggle. The struggles in SharePoint adoption come in varied aspects: preexisting biases, a steep learning curve, and self-preservation. Preexisting biases against SharePoint are often a result of poorly implemented SharePoint environments. It is a challenge to take on this bias, but properly planning your SharePoint implementation and/or upgrade will help dissolve this issue over time.
Train Your Users
End-users often despair at the learning curve associated with a new system implementation. The learning curve in SharePoint can be both steep and overwhelming. Without an appropriate training plan in place, end-users and information workers will be overwhelmed with the capabilities that the tool presents and how to effectively use them. It is essential that [Train Your Users] employees be resourced with training materials before the implementation occurs and that the training continues past deployment. Employees should have the opportunity to expand their SharePoint knowledge to foster the environment of growth that makes the tool useful. An effective training plan encompassing all stages of deployment and system maintenance will create an enriched base of end-users and will propel SharePoint’s usage forward in the organization.
Sell the Process
The need to improve processes and save money is vital to the success of an [Sell the Process] organization. SharePoint often replaces legacy systems and processes, eliminating the need for certain employees’ responsibilities and/or jobs. These will be the employees who resist SharePoint the most as they try to protect their livelihood. It is almost impossible to attain adoption from these employees. The key to winning this struggle is to concentrate on selling the process improvement benefits to key stakeholders at the higher levels of the organization.
Sure, You Can, But Should You?
Frequently, implementations are planned considering infrastructure over information. It is important to identify how SharePoint will be used in your organization. While the capabilities of the tool are great, just because SharePoint can do something, it doesn’t mean it should. Pinpoint the processes that can be efficiently improved with SharePoint and do not complicate processes by forcing them into the system. A properly planned infrastructure is vital to the adoption of the system into an organization’s daily processes. It is easy for users to reject SharePoint if sites load slowly or web parts or libraries don’t work as they should. In order to obtain buy-in, your system must work well. A properly designed architecture is the key to an efficient SharePoint implementation.
Announce Your Wins
Once the deployment/upgrade has occurred it is important to promote “quick wins” [Announce Your Wins] to demonstrate the benefit of the tool. This is where proper information/process planning is important. Identifying processes that can be quickly improved through SharePoint and that benefit key stakeholders will create your SharePoint “cheerleaders.” The best marketing tool you can own is a happy employee. It won’t happen overnight; small consecutive wins will spark change within the organization and acceptance will grow. Beware, however, of the overzealous cheerleaders that love SharePoint so much that they try to make everything a SharePoint solution.
Plan It Out!
The key to SharePoint adoption is planning. A poorly planned SharePoint implementation is likely doomed to failure. In the words of Harvey Mackay, “Failures don’t plan to fail; they fail to plan.” Efficiently and methodically plan the implementation, deployment, and maintenance of SharePoint and it will become an integral, efficient part of your organization’s collaboration.