SharePoint can be an incredibly powerful tool, but implementing it in your organisation is not always easy. These tips will help you to encourage adoption and ensure that your SharePoint implementation goes as smoothly as possible.
Explaining SharePoint to Your Team
It’s always easier to introduce new technology to your company if most people are on-board with the idea. Get the endorsement of directors and team leaders and spend some time talking to employees “on the floor”, since they will be making extensive use of it. Explain how implementing SharePoint will make their life easier in the long run.
Work With Experts
Bring in some Sharepoint consultants to help with the initial rollout and to iron out any teething troubles. Remember that first impressions count and if the rollout is a mess then people will resist the new system. Have your consultants help you to put together some detailed guides and documentation for key departments so that people are not left confused or unable to get their work done while the system is being rolled out.
Set up a sandbox area where users can experiment with the features of SharePoint. Explain, clearly, that the sandbox area is not designed for production sites, but that people can use it to learn how SharePoint works without fear of breaking anything. Let people play with this environment as early as possible – ideally before the roll out, so that they are more comfortable with the system when it goes live.
Roll out the system with one or two small applications and minimal customisation. As people become more comfortable with SharePoint you can start adding more features and moving over other business processes to the system. Don’t over-commit during the initial rollout. The less you have tied in to the system, the easier it will be to make changes and the less you will lose if something goes wrong.
Find a Killer App
You are more likely to earn the support of your users if you give them a good reason to like SharePoint. That reason could be a “killer app” such as a timesheet or holiday planning application. Once you have people on-board because they like that application, it becomes easier to introduce others.
Deploying SharePoint for the first time will be challenging, but there are many benefits to moving your internal processes to a SharePoint based system. If your company consists of younger, tech savvy employees then they may appreciate a more computerised approach, but it is human nature to fear change. You will need to show clear benefits quickly to get people to accept the system.
Keep your initial deployment simple and don’t worry about extensive branding or cosmetic changes, especially if you have a limited budget for the deployment. Put functionality before everything else. You can worry about making the system look different to SharePoint once it is in place and people are used to how it works.