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The Dark Side of SharePoint Adoption Campaigns

SharePoint-Videos.com hosted a webinar titled “Conquer the Chaos Of SharePoint End User Support” on Thursday, February 6, 2014. Over 200 people attended this hour long presentation by Asif Rehmani, SharePoint MVP and MCT. Some of the questions submitted by attendees presented the familiar problems often accompanying the dark side of SharePoint adoptions. So it makes sense to devout a post to this blog on the topic.

If you fear your organization resides on the dark side of a SharePoint adoption campaign, and need to confirm your concern, here are some points to look for:

  1. “We have a questionnaire we use to collect information on end user/departmental needs for SharePoint, but we don’t have a formal governance plan”
  2. “End users have repeatedly been trained in the procedures we need them to follow as we execute our plan to use SharePoint for ____ (you fill in the blank), but they’re not drinking our Koolaid”
  3. “We invested heavily in Yammer and SharePoint Newsfeeds, but we’re still not seeing the cross departmental/business unit collaboration we need. We’re even considering writing off the funds spent on the project as non recoverable”

In fact, there are many more examples of telltale signs your SharePoint adoption campaign has either not left the station, or gone off the rails. But the above 3 should suffice for this short post.

As a preface, let me note the importance of a Governance plan for SharePoint. All three of the telltale signs I’ve listed above stem, in fact, from problems with the Governance plan piece of the puzzle.

In the case of the first point, it isn’t possible to collect truly useful information about an entirely unique organization, and the SharePoint user community it will support, without first putting together a governance plan>

This plan must identify each of the important stakeholders in a successful SharePoint implementation. The plan must also describe how the departments will interact once SharePoint is operational. At the department level, all of the SharePoint roles (site owner, Site Collection administrator, Farm Administrator, etc) need to be clearly defined.

Once a detailed governance plan has been put together, the questionnaire should be populated with queries designed to provide indications of “SharePoint readiness” on a per user, and even a per department basis.

A value proposition (meaning a proposal about recouping and even profiting from an investment in SharePoint) should be included in the governance plan. Once Line of Business (LoB) units are educated in the tangible, quantifiable benefits they will receive once SharePoint is successfully implemented, they will direct their communities of users to adopt the new computing methods requested of them. Without this top down endorsement and directive, SharePoint end users can’t be expected to take the new techniques seriously.

Vertically organized organizations who have not been apprised, in advance, of a collaboration initiative, cannot be expected to support the effort. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense to spend time putting together a plan to increase collaboration across an organization without first receiving the endorsement from leadership in each of the LoBs expected to participate.

Ira Michael Blonder

© Rehmani Consulting, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved