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With Microsoft’s acquisition of Yammer hitting the headlines last week, businesses are once again awash with questions about SharePoint’s credentials as a social platform.
It’s no secret that Microsoft SharePoint 2010 is one of the most pervasive technology platforms of recent years – it has gained a record number of licenses, a reported 125 million in just over two years. And the numbers just keep on rising. Whether you use SharePoint Foundations, Enterprise or Office 365, the chances are, SharePoint has made its presence known within your business.
Unfortunately, despite its ubiquity, SharePoint suffers from a host of worst practices for adoption. In “Taking your SharePoint Implementation to the Next Level”, we discussed the reality that organizations have to stick with, and make SharePoint work, but that enterprise decision-making is focused incorrectly. There is too much focus on the needs of implementors which results in a punishing user experience that sabotages adoption.
Unspoken Assumptions Cause Problems
In the early days of any typical SharePoint project, we often catch an undercurrent of thought that is not often explicit, but makes SharePoint implementations harder to embed and adopt as time goes on. These are centred primarily around the user experience, namely;
- “SharePoint is an intuitive product.”
- “SharePoint doesn’t require training.”
- “SharePoint integrates seamlessly in MS Office, and therefore users like it.”
In our experience, every one of the above points is a deeply held belief by IT decision-makers, but just isn’t true from a user perspective. At Dachis Group we are laser focused on user centered design. This helps us get to the root of why so many SharePoint implementations fail and why, even in organisations with high usage, adoption is often very low.
Announcing a Series on SharePoint – Barriers & Solutions to Adoption
We are excited to announce an upcoming series of blog posts, webinars and events looking at the common pain points of a SharePoint implementation. Here is a small taster for what we’ll be releasing soon:
SharePoint Barrier: Siloed information
One of the biggest selling points for SharePoint has been its ability to break down silos of information. The reality however is that in many cases it either re-enforces existing silos or creates a new one.
In this discussion we will be looking at ways to break down information silos via search. Specifically, we’ll discuss a unified navigation framework to ensure that your search strategy is focused on the way your users actually perform their searches.
SharePoint Barrier: Confusing Navigation
This barrier is strongly linked to the information silo issue that we highlighted above. Using the native SharePoint navigation framework can lead to confusing global/site navigation experiences, inconsistency across sites, and no obvious ownership or governance for the information architecture (navigation, tagging schemes and search). These issues frequently lead to very confused users!
We will discuss how to take a user-centred approach that ensures a balance between search and browse behaviors. Our focus will be a technology-agnostic approach to designing the navigation framework combined with a deep understanding of the SharePoint elements that create the experience.
The result? A SharePoint navigation experience that is logical and easy to use.
SharePoint Barrier: Adoption
If usage of a system was equal to adoption, then SharePoint would be in an even stronger position within organizations today. Unfortunately, organizations equate usage with adoption and fail to offer critical training and support. Over time, the lack of these critical elements is compounded to disastrous effect.
For this discussion, we will focus on a holistic approach to adoption built around users and their needs. This is is the only solution to driving adoption. For more on our approach to adoption, Dion Hinchcliffe’s recent post on getting effective results by applying culture change is a great place to start.
We are excited to share our insights over the next couple SharePoint-themed posts. We’ll share some of our specific work around these pain points, and our thoughts about SharePoint v.Next due into public beta any day now.