ID-10031442Courtesy of the great Susan Hanley .


User adoption is the holy grail of any SharePoint project. SharePoint guru and Share Conference speaker Susan Hanley shares her top 12 secrets for user adoption success. Here is part 1 in the three part series.

#1: Adoption is Not the End-Game

Adoption is not the end-game when it comes to SharePoint, business results are. I could stop there but I have eleven other secrets to share! So often we build a SharePoint solution and we wonder why it is that users just don’t come and use it on their own. Remember that you are completely invested in that solution, you’ve spent your life’s work (or at least the last few months) working on the solution and when you start bringing this to your user community, adoption rarely happens all at once. You have to give it a little time, so cut yourself a little bit of a break here!

The other thing to consider is that every single user in your organization is listening to the same radio station WIIFM: What’s in it for me? It’s important to think about that as you communicate the value story of your SharePoint solution because each user has a very different perspective about how your solution is going to resonate with them. The messaging needs to be personalized and targeted in order for them to change their mind about the way that they’re currently working.

#2: Adoptable Solutions Solve Problems

Often we think that the correct adoption strategy for SharePoint is IT housing but the reality is that SharePoint is just a tool on which you can build solutions. And the solution that you build HAS to solve the meaningful business problem or you have no chance of getting people to adopt it.

Normally I don’t like to talk about features when I talk about business solutions but there are some very cool features that can help engage your users and help them want to be part of your solutions. One of these is the “like” feature in SharePoint 2013. This feature allows people to indicate an affinity with an idea or document which encourages the person that authored the content to know that people have seen what they did and “liked” it. When you start getting feedback about what you’ve done, it encourages you to contribute more.

Another feature that can help with user adoption is the search functionality. I have written another blog post about the top 10 search tips for SharePoint 2013 which I encourage you to read and share with your users. To take search that one step further, one idea we’ve tried recently on a project is adding a search results feedback box on every search results page. This gives users the opportunity to rate the search results and give feedback to intranet admins to tell them what they were looking for. So far we’re getting quite a lot of feedback, both positive and negative, which is helping us decide what new training opportunities we need to create for the solution as well as where we need new content or new keywords to improve search results.

Finally on this point, engaging content helps too. Well written content that is structured for the web (which is something we don’t always do a great job at) helps engage users. Also, think about having a plan to ensure your content is accurate, useful and relevant meaningful to “me” as the user. Finally please make sure it addresses the point – not lots of words, short, sweet, consumable content is what helps users engage with your solution. Read more