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16 ways to get your users actually using SharePoint properly

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Categories:Adoption; General Knowledge; MOSS; WSS; 2007; 2010; 2013

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Editor's note: Contributor Andrew Gilleran is a SharePoint Power User, based in Dublin Ireland. Follow him @agilleran

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  1. Don’t call it SharePoint. Seriously. Most users don’t care. If you have an intranet or portal then that is the name to use and promote. Oh, don’t use ‘end user adoption’ either in anything you do.

  2. Get some SharePoint champions, train them, support them, love them. They will use it more than most and will be keen to learn and provide ideas and solutions. They will also help others.

  3. Pick some quick wins that users can do easily. Examples include alerts, document libraries, import spread sheets, etc. Focus on document management at the start and how they can share team documents easily without using email all the time.

  4. Regular short training sessions but don’t call them training sessions, 30 minutes at the most. Focus on teaching a max of 3 things at each session and keep it short.

  5. Get teams together for sessions on getting the most out of a team or project site. Ask them how they use information, how they work, how they create documents, etc. You will get ideas from the feedback and you should be able to show them solutions that are relevant to them. All teams are different, only by talking to them will you get some good insights.

  6. Show how lists can be used for tracking and managing activities/tasks especially with support type areas like IT helpdesks or other systems that support users.

  7. Ask what do they use Excel for now. Show how to import Excel files into lists and what these list can do then (sorting, filtering, etc.).

  8. Reporting: reports are like a rash in any business. They can spread like wildfire. Once they have gotten through the above, have a look at doing dashboards and connecting data and web parts. This builds on from using Excel in No.7.

  9. Show them what web parts can do, they are the windows of the site and are very valuable for presenting information within a site.

  10. Ask questions, talk to people. Don’t assume everyone is happy with it (highly unlikely). Don’t expect users to come to you with queries though they will. Talk to them about how they work. The most common one I’ve found is that large documents are emailed to a load of people clogging up mailboxes and no idea whether they are read or not.

  11. Show them the metrics (see my article on SharePoint Analytics). When I show the visitor numbers and who is looking at a the site it never fails to impress people. Sure it’s basic from a web analytics point of view but it does the job at team site level.

  12. Paper trail/audit: Show how there is a history and audit trail in using the platform. This is pretty critical for most businesses and is one of the key selling points of SharePoint.

  13. Build a non-business related site or process. For example I built a buy and sell classified market place site (think Craigslist for those in the USA) on our intranet that was very popular and got people using the platform. There were also many sports related sites that got plenty of traffic.

  14. Create one or two page quick guides on different things to do like permissions or document management. Users are more likely to read these. They will not wade through a large manual.

  15. You can also try online demo videos showing how something can be done. Screen capture software such as Camtasia or Wink are great for creating online demos. Your metrics and feedback will tell you if they are used or not.

  16. And don’t call it SharePoint.

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