5 Ways to Drive SharePoint User Adoption

Enterprise adoption of SharePoint is on a steady rise; in fact a recent survey by Global 360 (a document management company) revealed that 90% of their respondents currently use content in the browser-based document management platform. Moreover, 67% of those that use SharePoint use it for all departments, indicating that SharePoint isn’t just for the IT department.

While this trend is encouraging, user adoption has been identified as the single most crucial factor in realizing SharePoint’s full value. A number of factors have been identified as barriers to effective use of this platform including: lack of sufficient knowledge, reluctance to accept change to work routine, and information overload.

Managers with SharePoint at their workplace will tell you that getting employees excited about this software is no simple task. ‘Teething’ problems are bound to arise during the initial stages of rolling out SharePoint.

So, how can you enhance better SharePoint adoption?

#1: Create Awareness at the Right Time

Lack of understanding about what SharePoint is and how it works may hinder its adoption. According to a report that was presented at the AIIM 2011 info 360 conference, 66% of end users flatly refuse to use SharePoint due to the misconception that it’s complex and ambiguous. Lack of proper information and insufficient preparation makes it nearly impossible for employees to get excited about SharePoint. As such it is important for the team leader or business manager to let the users in on the discussion early. Doing this not only paves way for adoption but cuts down on roll-out time as well.

#2: Be Specific about SharePoint Benefits

As a way of ensuring psychological preparedness before rolling out this software, it is imperative to lay out exactly what SharePoint will do for the organization and why it will make life easier for everyone. Be very specific about what they’re going to get out of it so they get excited about signing up.

 #3: Influence Adoption

Getting everyone excited about SharePoint does not end with awareness. You need to push a little further using ‘the power of influence’. Of course, you’ll need to find strategic influencers in your organization. For example, an influencer could be Angie at reception because she is respected for her experience. It could be John, because he has been in the accounts department for 20 years and knows where to find any document. It’s important to dispel the belief that your chosen influencers are in leadership positions or mentoring roles.

#4: Connect the Processes

To maximize on adoption rate, you need to apply substantial efforts to methods that make it easy to connect employees to those processes that can produce business results to your company. The best way to do this with minimal interference in your employees usual work routine is to streamline the training process, for example, by using tutorials and training videos.

To ensure a proper grip on SharePoint, take care that the training is offered on a continuous and progressive basis all the time. Tools like WalkMe come in handy in self-automating the learning process. Offer onboarding tutorials to guide the employees through all the learning phases, in the exact moment of need, as they continue to work.

#5: Baby Steps

Instead of aiming to adopt SharePoint across the whole company at once, start off with a pilot project – by starting with one department, there is a chance to refine the learning process. After succeeding in this, determine what metadata is mission-critical and required on a regular basis by your employees. Then you can start the full migration process onto the SharePoint platform while updating the critical data. Starting small, with a single department for example, will help you to tailor your training to the unique expectations and characteristic of your organization so you have a relatively easy time in the full roll-out stage.


Sustainable SharePoint adoption maximizes value with the least disruption to your organization. Be sure to use an incentive-driven adoption program to inspire users with potential to help their day to day work activities.

sharepoint graphic


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.