1. Not Customising to Suit your Business
It’s frustrating when we see companies who implement SharePoint or Office 365 without any prior planning or preparation as to how it can best work to support their business because it’s in vogue. Team sites and document libraries get created in the initial rush after deployment. Often these document libraries contain duplicate materials and different versions which makes the SharePoint site essentially an online replacement for a network share and a dumping ground for just about any file users can find.
What is even more frustrating is when we see their SharePoint home page still looking like it did when it came out of the box because no one is really very sure what else can be achieved or how to make the site both engaging and appealing to end users. This is particularly true of IT Managers in smaller organisations who often haven’t had the opportunity to understand how a system such as SharePoint can really help their business.
# Newsflash. If you didn’t realise it already. Your implementation of SharePoint has now officially failed!
Rolling a site out in this way this signals to your users that you haven’t really thought about how or why you are using the technology. Lack of clear vision, inadequate support from management and insufficient resources such as training and support all lead to on thing; a poor first user experience which ultimately leads to low user adoption. A change programme such as this is all about helping people adapt to the new way of working and to minimise resistance.
When we work with our customers we use the waterfall model, i.e. we define all the SharePoint business requirements before starting the build. SharePoint should complement your business processes, the technology should not dictate them or be shoehorned around them. We also engage with the user community, get them involved to have their say so they will adopt and embrace the change.
2. Using out of the box built in SharePoint templates.
You have heard the saying one size does not fit all and it’s true. I’ve lost count of the times where people think they are going to be able to use all of the out-of-the-box web parts and are disappointed when they realise it’s simply not going to work.
Everything we do in life is customized according to our requirements from the way we take our tea or coffee, to the cars we drive even to the phones we buy, so why should SharePoint for your business be any different?
A word of caution, many developers will over customise your site to the point where it can become unusable and unstable. Think of SharePoint as an extension to MS Office, you don’t customize word, excel etc. There may however, be areas of your site where you extend access to your customers and therefore, it is important to brand these areas accordingly. We recommend that you utilize the minimum number of web parts you need, customize the metadata to your needs instead of using a folder structure which will greatly help search and retrieval of documentation, use term store for company specific terminology and create custom tiles to enable easier navigation.
3. Implementing a SharePoint site without addressing Governance, User Adoption and Training
SharePoint is a business driven tool not an IT owned tool. Without planning, rules and structure, a SharePoint site will become nothing more than a “glorified file structure”. Content becomes unsearchable and you will end up with a lightweight solution without the functionality to deliver benefits or add value to the organisation. A SharePoint project has three core parts; planning, implementation and on-going management. The project should also only go ahead if under closer examination clear well defined business benefits and drivers have been identified.
User Adoption is Key
One of the most critical components of a successful SharePoint rollout for return on investment is an effective user training programme. Most companies do not include training in their budgets; they don’t want to spend money on training believing it will cost more than it actually does, another reason is that some organizations don’t believe it is necessary. Unfortunately SharePoint isn’t very intuitive to most end users and once a user gets stuck they get frustrated, then they think it’s a poor system and resist using it from that point forward and your whole implementation is doomed.
We hope this helps. If we can be of any help our SharePoint solutions include: SharePoint/Office 365; Document Management, Change Management through to Training and Support.
Get in touch with us on 01224 824111.