As the headline suggests, this blog post has a few elements that normally doesn’t go in the same sentence. Driving SharePoint user adoption has traditionally been a long and hard battle, that certainly can be costly both in direct and indirect cost, if you dare to make that analysis. From a time consumption perspective, the effect of the SharePoint training normally develops very slowly and the department in charge of training must be patient and persistent. SharePoint training in enterprises never stops, since all users must participate in the on-going training program. Still, many organizations experience that it is very hard to drive SharePoint usage past the 20% mark in an environment consisting of 20% heavy IT-users and 80% light IT-users (some variations will occur).
The customer case described in this blogpost is a 5,000-user organization that had experienced the above scenario and was struggling wiht increasing Dropbox usage, in fact Dropbox contacted the head of IT numerous times to have him sign an enterprise agreement, since Dropbox had more than 1,000 registered users from the customers’ domain. In other words, the SharePoint user adoption was almost stagnating and shadow IT was booming in the organization.
An open discussion highlighted their issues, and an analysis of the user composition was performed in terms of IT-skill level, specific SharePoint needs and general change motivation. Their conclusion was that app. 20% of their users had a need for advanced SharePoint features, such as workflows, advanced project management etc. Those users were exactly the ones that were using SharePoint and were quite happy about it since SharePoint helped them perform their daily tasks in an efficient way.
Dealing with the light users
The remaining 80% only had a basic need for accessing their SharePoint content, consisting mostly of Office documents and PDF’s. Their work was mostly characterized by the fact that they were busy doing manually labor, selling or consulting. They only needed SharePoint to store, find and access their content. They found that SharePoint was like a spaceship, when all they needed was a bike, in terms of features and usability. Therefore, many of them stored their work content in Dropbox because of the simple user experience and the fact that they had an easy time sharing content with others regardless of device used. Despite loads of SharePoint training sessions, these users continued to use Dropbox for one reason, it was easy and simple and met their needs.
The IT department realized that more training was not the answer, and sanctioning 80% of the workforce would make no sense. They searched the market for “SharePoint user adoption” and contacted SimplySo to learn more about their simplified user interface for SharePoint. They decided to activate the SimplySo UI to their tenant which took 30 seconds, and within 2 weeks of intensive introduction of SimplySo to the 80% of the users with basic needs, they tracked an increase in SharePoint usage that had risen more than 300% (see inserted graph).
Two different UI’s on the same data
The conclusion was that the customer ended up using 2 very different UI’s for the same SharePoint tenant. The 20% specialist users are using native SharePoint as they have done all along and the remaining 80% light users are now accessing and working on the same set of data via the SimplySo UI. Worth noting is that 50% of the light users are mainly using the SimplySo UI via smartphone or tablet.
Needless to say, the IT department was relived, the users were as happy as users get and the SimplySo UI had documented its value, as a simplified UI for SharePoint Online.
Details for this case
Customer already had content organized in team sites on SharePoint Online SimplySo was activated to the entire tenant in 30 seconds, allowing the users to view, access and work with their SharePoint Online content via the SimplySo UI instantly.
Data stays in Office 365 / SharePoint Online at all times, making SimplySo perfect as a UI for all users in a small organization or as an additional UI for certain user groups in larger organizations. It’s simple.