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SharePoint Blog

March 03
​User Adoption: Benchmarking, ROI and Your Plan of Attack

According to the Nielsen Norman Group’s Intranet Usability Guidelines report (3rd Edition) a company with 5,000 employees can lose $6 million a year in lost productivity when an intranet has poor usability.

As the business owners of our intranets, how can we effectively demonstrate that our new and improved implementations are not only worth the investment, but will pay off big dividends in productivity?

Often clients ask us to help them show value in their SharePoint investment. I turn around and ask them to define value.

  • Increased Productivity? How do you currently measure productivity?

  • Increased Employee Engagement? What metrics do you currently use to measure engagement?

  • Increased User Adoption? Are you sure people aren’t using it now?

  • Reduced costs due to reduction of Exchanged databases and file stores? How do you define a successful reduction – 50% or 5%?

All of the above?

That’s what I thought.

Let’s be clear – a SharePoint implementation that does all of these things is a well-architected enterprise solution that (probably) is several years old and has significant traction in the organization. New SharePoint implementations don’t achieve the highest levels of efficiency and success overnight.

In a typical SharePoint implementation allow at least two years before any discernable ROI can be effectively demonstrated.

Of course you’re not sitting around for the next two years. The following timeline highlights critical activities necessary to “prove” the above statements with quantitative data.

Pre-Launch- Last Week

It should already be done, but 99% of the time it’s an afterthought – define the following:

  • What does value mean to our organization?

  • How can we measure value?

  • What benchmarks and data do we already have that demonstrates current value (or lack thereof)?

  • What data do we need to gather to help demonstrate value?

Up to Three Months Pre-Launch

Create, distribute and analyze any additional surveys you need to gather that appropriate data for your benchmarking exercise. Remember, you are going to have to ask the exact same questions for the next several surveys in order to demonstrate consistency and clear-cut improvement. Try to keep anecdotal data and comments to a minimum. They certainly add human interest, but they are difficult to quantify.

You should also be creating your training calendar during this time. Training can take several forms and your training schedule should incorporate both formal training (classroom style training) and informal training (lunch and learn sessions). Training sessions should include evaluations post-session to help determine if and what users learned.

Up to One Month Pre-Launch

Start formal training courses. Formal training means many things to many organizations – and it another discussion completely, but it’s critical in this period to continually encourage users to attend more than one training session, work to create a train-the-trainer atmosphere and learn: who are you fast learners, and potential SharePoint evangelists.

Launch Day (and Week)

Be available. Evaluate the possibility to online chat tools to help facilitate questions and help sessions. Be ready to work many, many hours. Be patient.

Post-Launch- Ongoing

Continue all strategic communications and training events surrounding SharePoint site launch and final implementation.

Six Months, 1 Year and 18 Months Post-Launch

Redistribute your survey. Adjust training and communications to support deficiencies reported in benchmark survey.

After two years it’s time to not only continue to assess success, but to evaluate the big ticket items that have been put in the “parking lot.” While additional investment post-launch is a given, large investment should be considered carefully – especially given the rapidly changing technology landscape.

 - Maggie Swearingen

User Experience Expert


Read more about User Adoption for SharePoint! 

For more information tips on how you can develop your own User Adoption Strategy, consider downloading our User Adoption Whitepaper or contacting our SharePoint Training Team​! ​​




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