By Jen Sweeney
On April 21, we’re joining Microsoft and Metalogix in St. Louis to kick off the SharePoint 2016 and Office 365 Road Show. Each free, daylong road show event will feature SharePoint and Office 365 experts, who will discuss ways business leaders can improve productivity, increase security and enhance operational efficiency within their organizations.
Improving collaboration is on every business leader’s wish list today. The benefits are widely understood—numerous studies have demonstrated the increased value people generate when they work better together. They’re more creative, more efficient and more productive.
In general, business leaders understand the relationship between collaboration and productivity. BYOD and social media are no longer prohibited in the workplace, and in some offices, use of personal devices and social media are part of the job. In addition, the number of organizations implementing Office 365—which includes collaboration tools like SharePoint and OneDrive—has grown remarkably in recent years. One of Office 365’s most compelling selling points is its focus on improving collaboration.
But something is still missing. People continue to waste time with inefficient approaches to teamwork—squirreling away knowledge with one-to-one communication like email, searching unorganized network drives for internal information, looking for colleagues who can help with tasks, and wading through congested email inboxes. Today’s workers spend too much time trying to figure out how to use the very technology that was designed to increase their productivity.
But why? The availability of advanced collaboration tools like SharePoint will not improve teamwork and productivity, but end-user proficiency with those tools will.
The availability of advanced collaboration tools like SharePoint will not improve teamwork and productivity, but end-user proficiency with those tools will.
For companies that have recently migrated or are planning a move to Office 365, that means they need to increase focus on user adoption. SharePoint is a good place to start—its utility has often been overshadowed by its perceived complexity. Here are a few tips for putting SharePoint theory into practice:
If you haven’t migrated yet, find out how employees currently collaborate and use their tools. Identify processes that can be improved and suggest new approaches.
For example, if a team uses a network drive and email for content collaboration and editing, suggest using a team site instead. Team sites are highly customizable, and enable users to capture feedback, set up confidential document libraries, share sites with external users and more.
Training is essential, especially with applications like SharePoint. Provide a mix of training options to fit end-users’ varied learning styles and availability. Keep sessions short and hyper-relevant. Examples of smaller, more focused SharePoint training topics include building a team site, understanding and using security features, creating and managing a blog in SharePoint, introduction to document libraries, and more.
There’s no precise figure for how much information the human brain can retain, but one thing is clear: Humans have memory limits. Providing sustained training is the most effective approach to getting around these limitations. Maintain a training calendar for a full year in advance. This increases the chances that even the busiest employees can reserve a block of time for skill building. In addition, be sure to set up microtraining sessions that are department- or role-specific.
Focused efforts before, during and after any new technology upgrade will help increase end-user adoption. However, for critical applications like SharePoint, these efforts can deliver even greater benefits—they can help propel organizations toward the inevitable digital, collaborative future.