3 Building Blocks for Successful SharePoint Adoption


“SharePoint is the definitive OS or platform for the middle tier” — Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft

User adoption represents a crucial factor when it comes to implementing SharePoint; however, the process of turning a new user into an experienced one can prove challenging. As Gartner points out, “SharePoint clients often report that broad business adoption has not been easy to achieve, and they struggle with training, governance, cost management and migration.”

So how can a company boost adoption rates? It starts by understanding the end goals and developing a strategic plan for achieving those objectives. Overlooking the smallest details can have a long-lasting impact. Let’s examine 3 building blocks for higher SharePoint adoption.


1. Keep Training Simple using Microcontent & Staging

Breaking down training into stages simplifies the adoption process and reduces confusion.

Learning to use new software such as SharePoint involves many steps. Developing an organized and simplified approach will make this process go as smoothly as possible. Before devising a plan, team leaders should learn how to use the software themselves. Then, they will have a better understanding of the process and the best way to implement SharePoint from their own experience.

Because learning new software can present challenges, breaking down information into “microcontent,” or tidbits of information at a time, and “staging” training so that it is spread over a longer time period, will make the process easier and less overwhelming. For example, learn how to understand one feature at a time before moving on to the next.

Focus on the areas that will benefit most users in your company. Turn off unnecessary features to avoid confusion. Show your support by providing educational material at each stage. SharePoint will allow the teams to communicate (i.e. share project news) and collaborate (i.e. team and task details) with one another. This allows for more engaging training in which new users can learn from each other and ask questions.


2. Continuous Training through Early Adoption Process

Communicate with new users throughout the learning process to boost motivation.

A dynamic learning environment engages new users and reinforces material. Create a dedicated team to actively communicate with users throughout the adoption process to keep them engaged and to address questions. Add social elements to your site to encourage interaction among users. In this way, they can turn to each other for support and guidance.

Integrating an online guidance platform like WalkMe creates an engaging learning environment. The software provides contextual step-by-step instructions as users learn a new system. This will keep users motivated, reduce frustration, and speed up the learning process.

Once online, test user-data by asking questions or by conducting anonymous polls. Thank users for both positive and negative feedback, and communicate which changes have been made based on the feedback. This not only makes users feel valued, but also provides valuable feedback which can improve the implementation process.


3. Appointing Mentors to SharePoint Users

After the initial learning stages, users will begin working with SharePoint more independently. However, most people don’t remember everything, or even the majority, of things they learned during training. Make sure to keep an experienced user available to answer questions during integration. Focus on integrating the solutions and applications that people use on a regular basis (such as Outlook, or Word). As users become more familiar with SharePoint, introduce new features that will enhance software usability. Consider including incentives and reward systems for using the system.

These few small steps should serve as a starting point for implementing SharePoint site and driving user adoption. Combine SharePoint with your existing tools and other strategies that generate usability. Remember to continue learning about users and the problems they encounter. That knowledge will help every time you build a new solution within SharePoint, and the learning path will become a shared one.

Marissa Hart is the Lead Author & Editor ShareMe. ShareMe is a blog focused on SharePoint Online. SharePoint Online delivers the powerful features of SharePoint without the associated overhead of managing the infrastructure.