Many businesses struggle with low user adoption rates whether they are operating in a cloud-based, on-premises or hybrid environment. A SharePoint implementation is no small endeavor and there are several common factors that can be easily overlooked during that time. Fortunately they can be addressed and, with a little patience and a little more effort, they can be fixed.
You’ve spent countless hours migrating your system and creating the best collaboration environment for your company, but for some reason, adoption is low. Why are employees opting to use external tools when you know that SharePoint is already set up to meet their needs? Knowing that SharePoint user adoption is one of the most critical factors in its success, how do you compel people to move away from alternative products and engage with SharePoint as their main solution?
If these questions are sounding all too familiar, you’re not alone. Many businesses struggle with user adoption rates regardless if they are operating in a cloud-based, on-premises or hybrid environment. A SharePoint implementation is no small endeavor and there are several common factors that can be easily overlooked during that time. Fortunately they can be addressed and, with a little patience and a little more effort, they can be fixed.
How to Improve Your SharePoint User Adoption Rates
Brand Your Site
Ask any marketer and they will tell you that branding makes a huge impact on decision-making. This is no different for your SharePoint environment. Your users will be more inclined to engage if you offer them something that is not only useful, but aesthetically pleasing. Whether it’s an extranet or intranet that you’re creating, the effort you put into the interface directly reflects to your users the level of importance you give to the platform. The more importance or value they perceive = the more likely they are to engage.
One important note to point out is that if you are not gifted on the area of design and/or CSS, do not attempt to brand SharePoint yourself. You want to represent your business well with a good design that generates positive response. As they say, you only get one chance to make a first impression. Work with a SharePoint branding specialist to ensure you meet that goal.
Keep it Clean
The fastest way to lose your users is to ask them to use a cluttered, outdated environment. Nothing frustrates them more than having to navigate around a mess, and once they reach that point, your job of bringing them back becomes infinitely more difficult.
As an admin, it is your responsibility to avoid putting them in that situation. Make sure you are set up from the start with a good information architecture and that your site navigation is user friendly. We understand that with multiple users constantly making changes to your site collections, it can become difficult to maintain. That is why it is important to keep a constant eye on what is happening and also to take action before it gets out of control.
Hold Regular Trainings
This probably sounds like a no brainer, but you’d be surprised by the number of companies that do not teach employees how to take full advantage of their SharePoint environment. Perhaps it’s a lack of resources or perhaps the expectation is that it should be an intuitive experience, but the fact of the matter is that if you want to maximize adoption, you need to engage users from the start and keep them coming back for more. Without a good understanding of how the platform works, people won’t see the value and will start looking for other solutions.
You can make your training program whatever you want it to be. Whether you decide to customize your own videos, hold regular in-person demos or host webinars for remote individuals, it is important to let your audience know that help is available. If you aren’t able to create your own materials, there are plenty of training resources available online. A good training blog series for SharePoint beginners can be found here.
When it comes to increasing your SharePoint user adoption rate, the main things to remember are simplicity, organization and communication. Look at your environment from the perspective of your users and be sure to ask for feedback. As with anything else, knowing your audience and responding to their concerns will make all the difference in your success. Best of luck!