It is this thing called SharePoint!

Whilst SharePoint 2010 is more intuitive than previous versions, mainly due to emulating the Office 2010 interface, it is still a new environment that users need to get comfortable with. In many cases how we expect users to transition users across to SharePoint is not considered and typically a project ends when the final team site has been created (because it is an IT managed change) .

SharePoint goes something like this….

Users are sent an email that gets them as far as the home page, if they are busy then they will quickly close the window and go back to the report they have to finish by end of day. A few inquisitive ones will click a few more links and if they have time might read the delivery email and follow any instructions given. A few technically adept users might start to explore the features of the new Intranet and might even go to Google and learn a little more about SharePoint. The end result is that the new ‘expensive’ intranet is taught by the few who are interested in it and the business fails to get the return on investment that was promised.

If we take this a step further and consider the cost of information across the business and increases in Data storage that incur each year regardless of workload then the business is losing more money because  they are not allowing the in-built tools offered by SharePoint to maintain the information store to a level that follows the growth of the business (see previous post Managing Information Management ).

To get the benefits from a SharePoint installation, then you need to plan to get the users onto the system and fight the inbuilt aversion to change that is inevitable and part of the Human DNA. Came across a great article that covers makes some great suggestions on Business Change.

Business Change Tools

My experience with Business change is to Keep it Simple Sir (I know KISS) not because it supports the user better but because managers and the business can follow a few simple steps rather than having a complicated change process when the task of persuading people to change is already large.

Assessment is a key attribute with a measure before and after the project to define success. Measurement is not easy and inevitably we fall to a consensus from the business about their current status and reply the same assessment at the end to show the improvement. Then it is about training and 1-2-1 meetings to show how the new system can make their life easier and a short time at the desk to answer specific questions and remove any excuses that user might have against the change.

Very Specific Training!!

For the business to maintain its information it must ensure that it gets stored in the SharePoint libraries and lists and that it is categorised. This then allows some rules to come into play that will store or delete specific information after pre-determined times as defined by the rules associated with the business time… the cool thing is that SharePoint will manage this for you. All we need to do is ensure that their users label their information correctly and use the SharePoint libraries.

Usage is where training comes into the equation and very specific training. A SharePoint course typically spends about 15% of the time on Document libraries and misses out on the key attributes that bring benefit. We always deliver Library specific training to the user spending a day ensuring that they understand the benefits of the tools and capabilities of the various functionality that include Versioning, Workflows, Approvals as well as permissions and metadata.

Key to all of this is to show how these tools will make their life easier with improved searching of information and being able to create views that are personal to them and way better than folders that they are currently used. Ensuring they see a personal benefit is key to the change message that is being delivered.

In later posts we will look at taxonomy in SharePoint 2010 and how this will assist end users and the business define and find its information. In the mean time we can provide  Library Specific Training that support this level of change and can assist you in ensuring you obtain the most return on your SharePoint investment.

Thanks for listening… this was SharePoint and Business Change.

About Steve Dalby

An experienced and solutions-driven IT strategist and leader offering a proven track record of results delivery and high-level business improvement within the IT sector. Connect with Steve on Google+

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