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SharePoint Blog

February 24
Education Drives Adoption, Adoption Ensures Value

The promise of an enterprise software platform like SharePoint lies in time savings, enhanced business processes, revenue gains, increased efficiency, more effective teamwork, greater access to analytics, better Client and Partner collaboration, etc. 

Seems pretty straightforward, right?  Achieve one or more of the above and the investment will likely provide returns that are at least acceptable if not extraordinary.    Why then, is it so difficult for organizations to realize the value that they invested so much to achieve during the initial implementation?

Given the sheer size of the Enterprise Content Management market, almost $5 Billion according to the Gartner Group, it would seem that modern organizations should be collaborating, analyzing, and teaming better than ever before.  And, in some cases, they are.  But, in far too many, they are not.

Consider the findings of a recent Association for Information and Image Management survey focused specifically on users of SharePoint (“The Sharepoint Puzzle”). ​ 



So, how do we explain that almost 50% of organizations responded that “lack of expertise” was the top ongoing issue?  After all, don’t we spend all of this money, time and effort to create expertise?

Over the past 15 years, I have been involved in large scale implementations of both customer relationship management (CRM) and SharePoint solutions.  Generally, the Client organization diligently studies the available options, invests significantly to make the right choice, empowers key staff to spend necessary time with the selected vendor, involves stakeholders across the organization and provides training to users.​

Then, after the much anticipated Go Live event, accomplishments are acknowledged, stakeholders are thanked and everyone breathes a sigh of relief – “we did it!”  Now back to the original question, why is it so difficult for organizations to realize the expected value?

The simple reason is that continued planning (and investment) focused on a project that was recently completed goes against logic.  Or, more simply, the general reaction to continued planning is “didn’t we just do that?” 

Of course, some advanced organizations do plan for the future by identifying a cross departmental team responsible for encouraging use and tracking results, but practical experience demonstrates that many more do not incorporate this type of long term discipline. 

The good news is that achieving this type of discipline need not be either expensive or complex.  In fact, the investment necessary to sustain momentum and achieve results is modest in comparison to repeating the process of researching a new product, choosing a new vendor and introducing a new solution in a few years.  

Organizations focused on long term value and continued adoption deliver consistent and ongoing training focused both on newly hired staff and existing staff.  It stands to reason that newly hired staff members require training to understand best practices in using SharePoint, but existing staff members will also benefit from ongoing training to maintain and expand skills. 

Successful businesses constantly grow and evolve, so the best use of SharePoint in these organizations will necessarily evolve as well.  Remember to plan for adoption as carefully as you consider configuration or design decisions and remember that ongoing training is not a one-time event.  In the long term, educated and empowered users will determine the value realized from your SharePoint investment.

-Jason Schnur

Director of SharePoint Training

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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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