Courtesy of , ABC, Eloquor Consulting

Some organizations don’t use the profile in SharePoint’s MySite at all. Most of those who do use it exactly as it arrives in the box. But low adoption and doubts from executives often stifle further investment in what could be a tremendously valuable tool for the business.

The opposite end of this spectrum is the organization that customizes the MySite to meet important business needs.

For example, we recently worked with a client to consider how its MySite could address specific interests expressed by employees in interviews and testing. Here’s a stripped-down sample wireframe.

Sample SharePoint Profile

A few notes and observations about this approach:

  • I can see how far along I am with completing my profile, which incents completion.
  • I’m seeing recommendations for other people and teams for me to follow.
  • Badges I’ve earned for my contributions appear here, but may also appear elsewhere as other users encounter my name.
  • I can see who in the organization is looking at my profile.

This approach came about from a series of user interviews and usability testing. It’s an example of where you can take SharePoint if you’re willing to listen to users and do some customization. The client is looking at building this in its SharePoint 2010 environment.

Photo Fears

One of the concerns I hear most often is about the profile photograph. I have several clients that do not believe they should allow the use of a photo other than the one used on the employee’s security badge. Employees, meanwhile, prefer the ability to post something that doesn’t look like a mug shot.

This is a management issue no different than misuse of email. If problems are observed, they should be corrected and discussed with employees. Managers must take the time to periodically review profiles of their employees.

It is a matter of trust. If your organization is trying to shift culture toward one that generates innovation, self-service and initiative, then building trust is a step in the right direction. Letting employees post a photo of their choice is one small demonstration of your trust in their decision-making ability. You’ll still set guidelines and conduct periodic auditing. But, at least you’ve opened the door to a more transparent environment.

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