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Are SharePoint Social Features a Useful Method of Motivating Users to Increase Adoption?

As a report titled SharePoint 2013 Clouding the Issues, which was published by AIIM, points out, despite the popularity of Enterprise Content Management (ECM) and Document Management (DM) applications for large organizations using SharePoint, 26% of respondents reported very low usage of the platform by so-called “active users” — only 1 in 5 users in this category demonstrated any frequency of engagement with SharePoint for this segment of the respondents.

It may be useful for readers to provide a reference point, AIIM’s definition of an “active user”: in this report an “active user” is defined as someone “accessing [SharePoint] content at least once or twice a week” (quoted from the above mentioned report by AIIM on SharePoint 2013). One would think this level of engagement with SharePoint is very low. But when we are talking about the above mentioned 26%, where only 20% of the community of SharePoint users equipped with the privilege of accessing the platform are actually doing so, with any regularity, then the level of engagement, for 1/4 of the respondents surveyed is very, very low.

An important component of the kind of SharePoint training we, at SharePoint-Videos.com, recommend is repetition. But users can’t repeat procedures if they only very infrequently use the computing platform. So larger organizations for whom average “active user” engagement with SharePoint falls into the same pattern exemplified by the 26% segment of respondents to the AIIM survey will likely find themselves in need of short, context specific training content (like our SP131 End User Training Course). At least with similar content, and a method of delivering the content directly to the user within SharePoint (for example, VisualSP, our help system for SharePoint), end users who use SharePoint, from time to time, can quickly refresh their skills.

Another method larger organizations after better SharePoint adoption by end users should consider is implementing more of SharePoint’s social features. Neither ECM, nor DM stimulate the “stickiness” end users require to adopt a computing method. But when these same users are empowered to use SharePoint lists as a method of sharing files, and Discussion Boards as a method of cutting back on their reliance on email, altogether, then SharePoint stakeholders may achieve their targeted level of user adoption.

It makes sense to explore some of the opportunities to stimulate engagement around lists and shared document libraries. More obvious social features (newsfeeds and Yammers) can require a supporting organizational culture, in order to be effective. So focusing on the “easier” social features to implement will likely make sense for stakeholders.

Ira Michael Blonder

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