Back in December, Joe Puckett, Vitalyst’s training and recruiting director, wrote about approaches to increasing technology adoption. “Employing a user adoption approach that achieves both broad and effective use of the technology turbocharges the return on investment,” he said.

For this post, we explore how his recommendations can be put into practice with SharePoint, whose utility is often eclipsed by its complexity.

SharePoint site settings. Click to enlarge.

SharePoint’s utility is often eclipsed by its complexity: A view of standard site settings. (Click to enlarge.)

Start early

SharePoint is not a one-size-fits-all application, and Puckett’s first recommendation is to start well ahead. Make a plan for what you can do weeks or months before implementing it.

Find out how employees use their current tools, and identify ways in which processes can be improved with SharePoint. For example, suggest using SharePoint’s collaboration features instead of emailing documents for editing and review (see below).

TIP Working Better Together: Using Collaboration Tools in SharePoint 2013

Connect pain and gain

People rarely call IT to ask how they can use the technology to be more productive. They call when it hurts. Puckett suggests making a plan for how you will provide gains while addressing the pains. “People tend to be open to what you suggest when you just helped them,” he writes.

For example, if an employee contacts IT support for help using SharePoint’s versioning feature, follow up with a useful tip, such as how to create alerts (see below), and send an email with links to more resources.

TIP Creating Alerts in SharePoint 2013

Rethink training

Training is an essential part of any new technology implementation. The challenge is getting people to attend. Make it accessible to those who need it, offer it in small doses that fit into their schedules, and be sure to cover relevant topics. (Big Bang training is still needed around a launch, but smaller bits are just as vital in various places and forms as the universe expands.) Examples of smaller, more focused SharePoint training topics include: Building a team site; Understanding and using SharePoint security features; creating and managing a blog in SharePoint; introduction to document libraries; and more.

Go long

Puckett also notes the importance of sustaining your efforts to increase user adoption. Don’t give up too soon. “A server may turn on at full effectiveness when you throw the switch, but people need time to become more effective.” Indeed.

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