SharePoint Adoption – What are the issues?

To improve SharePoint adoption, first lets try to identify the issues faced by the users.

One of the great difficulties with regard to adopting SharePoint is that, SharePoint can be very difficult to describe to users because it encompasses so many applications, uses, and functions. (SharePoint 2010 Adoption Best Practices Whitepaper by Microsoft).

Users often have many alternative ways to achieve the same outcomes as they do with SharePoint. For an example, there are several options users can choose for sharing a new document – posting it to a SharePoint site is one possibility, but so are emailing as an attachment and saving to a file share. So unless a user finds some real value, they will go for the most convenient option.

As we discussed SharePoint comes with a lot of different features. Of course these features give greater benefits to power users. But they make it a complicated environment for an average user who will not be using majority of these features. A good example is Microsoft Office. As we know Microsoft Office comes with lot of different features. But how many of these features are being used in our day to day work?

Another issue is that most of the SharePoint projects are driven by IT so there is less buy-in from business users. According to an AIIM survey, in 49% of organizations, the current driving force is the IT Department. One of the respondents comment was

“Biggest challenge at my organization is that our SharePoint plan is an IT driven initiative. Not much buy-in from other department, because they don’t know enough about what is going on and what you can do with SharePoint.”

Another issue in SharePoint deployments is the frequent upgrades. One of the respondents comment was

“Microsoft is pushing new versions of SharePoint too quickly. We can hardly get used to one before the next version is out.”

This clearly shows that business users need more time to learn and really adopt a platform rather than what the IT expects. This will be even more challenging for SharePoint online users as Microsoft keeps on pushing new features every 3 months.

Some users may face compatibility issues when using SharePoint. Obviously SharePoint is optimized for Internet Explorer, but it provides almost similar experience with other browsers as well. But you need to have the relevant browser version based on the SharePoint version deployed. Sometimes this could be a challenge for an organization with different OS and browser versions being used. As an example SharePoint 2013 supports Internet Explorer 8 and above however SharePoint online in Office 365 supports only Internet Explorer 9 and above. This becomes even worse for organizations having multiple SharePoint farms in different versions.

Another issue that most of the today’s mobile workers are facing, is the lack of a mobile app for SharePoint. Although there are many 3rd party apps, there is no SharePoint app from Microsoft.

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