Over the past several years I have been a part of numerous SharePoint projects and have been involved with the SharePoint community in a number of ways. Through these experiences I have noted several common factors that may lead to an unsuccessful deployment of SharePoint to an organization’s business users. I often hear the same questions, “how can I engage users and how do I gain user adaption?” Many users will continue to use network drives for document storage and will be resistant to the change. One main issue that effects user adaptation is a failure to understand SharePoint’s user-interface and features, such as: Libraries, Lists, Check-out/in, etc,. One possible solution to this issue would be to create content that will entice users, and generate interest in using SharePoint.
Nearly all business users have mounds of data they use to develop reports with on an annual, quarterly, monthly, weekly, or daily basis. So the question becomes, “what can a SharePoint project manager do to capture the attention of these users while fulfilling their needs?” Because business users spend a significant amount of time developing and viewing reports I would suggest providing them with a solution that will ultimately save them time. If your goal is to drive user adoption of SharePoint, then you must ensure users have the ability to develop and read data (reports or dashboards) within SharePoint. This will benefit both the user and the organization by driving efficiency, productivity, and providing insight into the KPIs that matter most to decision makers.
There are a lot of factors in determining which reporting or dashboard application is the right fit for your needs. The technical skill set of the developers is a very important consideration. Perhaps your goal is to find a solution that even users with soft technical skills can utilize to design and develop impressive dashboards. Another important factor to consider is whether the application will integrate seamlessly for developing and viewing this content within SharePoint.
The key to driving user adopting is not only to educate the business user on basic functionality of SharePoint document management, but to take that a step further and create content that will make them want to use SharePoint to view or develop reports and dashboards.
Zach Breimayer– Technical Consultant, iDashboards