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How to Motivate Information Workers to Use SharePoint

 
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Mark Miller - Founder and Editor of EndUserSharePoint.comAs much as it feels like it sometimes, motivation isn't just trying to get people to use SharePoint. I was having dinner with Natalie Jeremijenko and the discussion turned to how difficult it is to get people to break their existing habits. Her comment was so simple: "The incentive to use a new system has to be greater than the incentive to keep doing what you're doing." Not earth shattering, but a very crystalizing thought for me. What am I providing in my SharePoint site that will be so enticing, so useful, so exciting, that my potential audience HAS to use my site or they feel they are missing something. What is the incentive for them to use SharePoint? If you've got something like that on your site, I really want to hear about it. Why are people coming to your site? How did you break their existing work patterns? Here's a quick video to get the thoughts flowing. It's Dan Pink at this year's TED conference, talking about The Surprising Science of Motivation.

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Nancy

How to Motivate Information Workers to Use SharePoint

Well, here's something I did.

We're an insurance company and have a big file share storing read-only copies (Word docs) of every policy form we use.

Two people manage the forms. Many forms are "parents" meaning lots of other forms use them as a basis. If a form gets changed (due to insurance regulations or some other reason), our underwriters have to know. They also need to know if the changes affect any "child" forms that may have been created off a "parent" form.

One of the 2 administrators I mentioned kept a mammoth spreadsheet of data about each form- what line of business it was, what states it could be written in, any "child" forms associated with it, etc.- a set of metadata about each policy doc, along with a link to open the read-only doc from the file share.

There were 2300+ rows in this spreadsheet. Others could access it but first they had to find it, then they had to navigate the Excel filters and colored condtional formatting etc. to find what they needed.

We also had a separate file share folder of industry circulars that tied to specific policy forms, but no one knew it was there. Basically it all sat there, buried in the file share, full of useful data that no one could use.

I put the whole spreadsheet into SharePoint. We did not bring the documents in- just all the data about them. The docs have to stay on the file share since those permissions are tied to AD. I added 10+ views to click through, a Search function page using a Form Web part, and the ability to open the read-only doc from the file share. The home page has DVWPs featuring the most recently updated and most recently added content, and more.

Also, workflow sends people automatic emails every time the admin adds a new form or updates an existing form, including all the list data and a link to the List Item. Oh- and we also attached the key industry circulars (PDFs) to the list item for that specific policy form, so I use the "send email extended" Useful Workflow Action (Codeplex) to include that attached file in the workflow email when it's present.

Basically, everyone is now nuts over this "Policy Form Catalog" site (what they call it) and it's been a big success. The people managing the data have it much easier and the people using the data now can get to it in a fast, convenent manner. The workflow means no more copying/pasting out of Excel and into Outlook and manually sending emails to the user base.

Posted 05-Mar-2010 by Nancy
Xene

How to Motivate Information Workers to Use SharePoint

I read somewhere "Make it easier to use than not to use and it will get used." I live by it. Our Sharepoint deployment has been up to this point a failure, no Administrative buy-in, no end-user adoption, no one gets it, no one wants to, and the people that are forced to use it complain all the time because it has no structure. I didn't know all of this when I was introduced to it though. I immediately thought it was awesome, I saw that potential for collaboration with my coworkers and a way to standardize our work. I was oblivious to what other people were doing (or NOT doing) but I knew what we needed to make our jobs better. We increased efficiency in our department to such a degree that that Senior Director of our division took notice and promoted me to manage Sharepoint in all 9 departments under him. User adoption/acceptance/understanding is an every day struggle, but I do it one list, one library, one wiki training document at a time. The rest of the organization is still floundering with what to do with their sites, but we are leading the way in how to use Sharepoint to its potential and I have EUSP to thank for it! We are building user adoption from the bottom up, one information worker at a time.

Posted 07-Mar-2010 by Xene

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