If you’re like many organizations that have implemented SharePoint for your users, you have likely put lots of time, money, and resources into getting it up and running. But, are you getting the maximum return on investment (ROI) from SharePoint that you could be?
In our practice we work with a lot of companies that don’t understand all the features that are available to them, or how they can fully utilize SharePoint to maximize their return on investment. Many of them tell us that users aren’t using or adopting SharePoint like they thought they would.
The good news is that there are several things an organization can do to achieve their maximum SharePoint ROI:
1. Clearly define your vision and requirements
Many companies decide to deploy SharePoint and don’t put a lot of thought or planning into it. Sure, IT can install SharePoint in a couple hours and you’re up and running. However, people won’t necessarily know how to structure and organize their content in order for others to be able to find it later. Also if SharePoint isn’t being implemented in order to solve specific user problems, then users will have a hard time adopting something that doesn’t really help them do their jobs.
2. Utilize the features that will help your users solve problems
As mentioned above, many companies just use SharePoint as a glorified file share and don’t take advantage of metadata to better organize or classify their data. Or they don’t take advantage of other features, such as personalization, workflow, reporting services, and social features that can help users focus on the job at hand and increase productivity. If you don’t know all of the features that are available or fully understand SharePoint’s capabilities, you can hire a consultant to help you with that. A good consultant can also take your requirements and use cases and map them into the appropriate features in SharePoint to help you get full use of the platform.
3. Use metrics to gauge feature use and adoption
It’s important to define your goals for SharePoint usage and adoption, and then measure them to see if you’re getting the usage you desire. After you roll out SharePoint features to your users, how do you know if they are even using them? SharePoint has built-in analytics that you can use to see which features are being used and which ones aren’t. You can also see who is using the system and who isn’t, and whether they are leaving the site prematurely.
4. Staff properly to support the platform
SharePoint is much more than a single application; it is a huge platform. There are so many things you can do with it – it’s an Intranet, a content management system, a collaboration hub, a search center, a knowledge base, a blogging platform, a reports and KPI center, a workflow engine, and much more. Therefore it’s going to take lots of care and feeding in order to run at an optimal state, as well as to continually grow the platform to maximize your utilization.