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SharePoint User Adoption Key Factors: Part 1 of 4

As a consultancy, we place strong emphasis on driving user adoption of the collaboration solutions we develop and deliver for our clients. As an application and collaboration platform, SharePoint can be leveraged for many different purposes; Intranet, Extranet, Public Website, Document Management, Social Collaboration, Workflow, Business Intelligence, to name a few. Over the course of this four part blog series we’ll examine the key factors that influence user adoption of these solutions built upon the SharePoint platform.
Organizational adoption of the SharePoint platform involves the successful integration of SharePoint-based solutions into the business process of the end-user community. Successful user adoption requires attracting, empowering, and fulfilling your users while satisfying the strategic objectives of your organization. It is important to remember that successful user adoption is not a “point in time” event; it is a key element to the strategic deployment of the SharePoint-based solutions that requires vigilance, ongoing governance and enhancement throughout the lifecycle of the implementation. The measurement of successful user adoption will vary across organizations or even across business divisions within an organization; however, the key factors that influence user adoption are common, these include:

  • Executive Support: the platform (or solution) has established support from executive management
  • Business Alignment: the strategic vision for the implementation of the platform is aligned with business needs and expected return on investment
  • Identity: the solutions implemented on the platform have an established identity and user experience that users can connect with emotionally, and that reinforces executive support and organizational commitment to the solution
  • User Involvement: the end-user community is active and involved, with many champions
  • Training: users, administrators, and developers have access to training
  • Grow with the Culture: a strategic vision for the platform has been established and communicated that allows for growth within the business culture
  • Trusted Infrastructure: the platform is deployed on a reliable and trusted infrastructure
  • Communications Plan: an upfront and ongoing communication plan has been established and followed
  • User Support Plan: users know how and where to find support when needed
  • Dynamic, Fresh Content: content such as news, social activity feeds, micro-blogs, documents, and knowledge base are fresh and relevant, with a plan to maintain this on an ongoing basis
  • Incentives and Rewards: users have a voice in the design and evolution of solutions deployed on the platform
  • Enable End-user Feedback: users have a voice in the design and evolution of solutions deployed on the platform
  • Usability: solutions are usable, well organized, and reflective of the corporate brand
  • Accessibility and Mobility: the system is accessible wherever users work and from a multitude of devices

Successful user adoption of the SharePoint platform depends upon the strategic application of concepts related to each of the key factors mentioned above. As depicted in the graphic below each of the key factors is a critical input for successful user adoption. While the relative importance of each key factor will vary according to the unique attributes of your organization, each of the factors must be considered to achieve the user adoption goals of the organization.

Within this context, it is critical to have a clear understanding of the cultural, political, and technical challenges which may limit user adoption. Understanding these challenges will allow you to establish a strategic approach to user adoption specific to your organization’s needs. This understanding is gained by examining the lessons learned from past projects, from incorporating factors that lead to successful user adoption, and from mitigating the factors that lead to failed user adoption. In addition, it is critical that your organization identify and clearly define goals and objectives that will allow you to measure the success of your user adoption strategy. These goals and objectives will serve as a baseline which can be used to further refine that strategy.
Over the next three weeks we will have three additional posts on this topic where we will examine each of these key factors in depth.

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Patrick Falgoust

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