April 18, 2012


Get the Most from SharePoint—from Implementation and Beyond 

As an information sharing, document management and workflow platform, and a business process management framework and development foundation, SharePoint packs a lot of punch. It can help your organization address and accomplish a lot of things.

But getting the most out of your investment requires a bit of research, planning and, of course, training. Before you get started, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What specifically do members of your team need to accomplish on a daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly basis?
  • What customizable SharePoint features and functions can help them accomplish these tasks?
  • What can you do to ensure ease of use and organization-wide adoption?

Best Practice Punch-List

1. Incorporate and customize features that ensure a good user experience:

  • Information Architecture: Create an intuitive content and navigation structure. Assign names to sections, folders, files that clearly describe the contents so even new users can know what to expect.
  • Search: Help users easily find what they’re looking through search functionality and navigation. Employ a metadata strategy that supports an effective enterprise search experience.
  • Term Store: Use this SharePoint feature to easily tag content and support improved search results.
  • User Profiles: Use the social aspects of SharePoint to connect teams, individual co-workers and content through comments, news and photos.

2. Establish a content migration plan for pre-existing data. Simply mass-migrating data into a new SharePoint application is not your best bet. Prune existing data before it is migrated. You can:

  • Clean and migrate everything.
  • Migrate nothing and index old data within the old fire share system.
  • Clean and migrate recent content only.
  • Customize how you combine these methods.

3. Initiate a communication plan to introduce SharePoint to your team and inform users about new developments. This is an essential step. Some possible channels include “town hall” meetings, executive memos, user surveys on topics like search functionality and training effectiveness, and ongoing communications such as newsletters.

Communicate in a phased manner. Message your launch in a way that you can circle back to, and be consistent. Touch on solution development and adoption momentum. Cheer on the awesome capabilities of this cutting-edge technology within your workplace.

4. Build a training plan, but keep in mind that your SharePoint solutions should be simple enough to require minimal training for the majority of users. And note that training should cover updated features of SharePoint 2010.

5. Help your team master core tasks, then add to training as confidence grows. Focus on mastering tasks that support your overall business goals verses expecting massive change overnight. When you concentrate on goals like reducing email traffic and creating more efficient business processes, you’re setting up for solid ROI over time.

Be patient. Operational change takes time. Mistakes happen, and you may need to make adjustments along the way. SharePoint can be overwhelming to the novice user. Roll out one or two features initially, and then roll out new features incrementally as user familiarity and confidence increase.

6. Establish user support resources. Some options include: a contact link on every page, Help Desk, custom SharePoint Help, an end user “cheat sheet,” a tip of the day, or enabling end-user feedback.

7. Provide incentives and rewards such as team-based rewards and recognition for sharing and using best practices.

Know that SharePoint adoption will be an ongoing process. The best way to ensure effective ramp-up and adoption by your team is to take steps now to create a solid plan for roll-out, training, communication and support.

Read about other organizations’ SharePoint successes. And get the full scoop on SharePoint adoption best practices.