Balancing the Numbers for the Best SharePoint Experience
In the world of internal communications platforms, Microsoft SharePoint reigns supreme.
In an estimated two-thirds of all enterprise organizations around the globe, SharePoint is the preferred platform for internal communications including information, content and resource collaboration. In fact, it’s seen as an essential tool in building and maintaining high levels of employee engagement and productivity.
With such widespread adoption, SharePoint is the go-to “Swiss Army knife” platform for just about anything related to optimizing internal information management and communications.
Yet, end user adoption rates for SharePoint can fail to impress, regardless of industry or location. And, since adoption gives life to a SharePoint environment, it’s critical to its success. Within an organization, those who chose to invest in it, who champion it and who continue to advocate for it are often pressured to prove that the expectations and promises set when justifying the initial investment are being met.
In order to determine the value of SharePoint, it’s vital to understand key performance indicators (KPIs) and be able to view a precision analysis of usage, trends and the impact of high or low adoption. This is why a purposefully designed and executed measurement strategy must be put into place.
Adoption Issues Ferment Across SharePoint
Across industries, SharePoint adoption and engagement strategies tend to suffer due to a myriad of reasons. The top five typically are:
1. Insufficient business case
The Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) has shown that half of all SharePoint implementations were pursued with no business case being made to justify the investment. And, only 23 percent of cases had financial justifications for the investment made at all.
2. No shared decision making
AIIM also showed that 68 percent of implementation decisions were made by IT teams while only 8 percent were made by business users. Too many teams go it alone and believe that “if you build it, they will come.”
3. No user buy-in
Ambiguity is a killer. If users feel like they weren’t consulted and didn’t ask for the change and become defiant about SharePoint, they may feel “if it isn’t broken, why fix it?” This defensive mentality tends to drive users back to existing solutions and processes and, as a result, away from new investments.
4. Culture, people and organizational norms
While SharePoint adoption and engagement issues may appear to be focused on the technology, that’s only a small part of the problem. Changing methodology, changing behavior and changing organizational culture can be a difficult and long-term project, not easily solved with a software deployment.
5. Executive disengagement
If company leadership didn’t adequately explain the reasons for making changes or demonstrating their own commitment to the new environment, problems can arise. And when executive and process-intensive functional areas like HR and Corporate Communications are not visibly on board with a SharePoint solution, others may not see the urgency of it.
A Shot in the Dark: The Wild West of SharePoint Adoption
According to SandHill Group and Neochange, 70 percent of enterprises consider effective user adoption as the most important factor for realizing value in terms of enterprise software. Further, nearly two-thirds of buyers report that enterprise software user levels at their organizations are below 50 percent. That is a huge disconnect.
Unfortunately, even after an organization has taken the time and effort to design and deploy a SharePoint solution, most don’t take the necessary next step to clearly measure how their users are embracing or rejecting the new platform, and exactly how they’re using it. It seems an obvious need, especially given the commonly low adoption and engagement rates seen in the marketplace, because if you’re going to invest in a serious solution, you ought to treat the evaluation of its impact seriously after deployment.
In too many scenarios, organizations either do not take care to assess the impact of their investment, then move on to another iteration or reinvest in it without the same level of due diligence used when initially acquiring it. In some cases, the HR team may complete a survey of users, or the IT team may report “the top ten documents are….” or “our servers were busy, so our usage rate must be high!” These are neither meaningful nor actionable metrics and should not be used to drive investment decisions – especially when considerations are being made to invest in the next version of SharePoint.
You Can’t Manage What You Don’t Measure
To really understand end user adoption, usage and ROI rates, you need specific metrics around individual users, documents and actions. With that level of deep analysis, user access and activity can be accurately shown and the quality of the adoption – its depth and contribution can be assessed beyond initial check-ins to how individuals add value to discussions – and their overall engagement levels and impact on the success of the organization can be ascertained. With that data, you are armed to be able to both drive productive engagement strategies and make the right decisions about migrating to a new environment.
Measurement is Sunlight to Grow Your SharePoint
We like to say that even though basic reporting can illuminate the highways, it takes a real analytics solution to shed light on every alley and street corner in your SharePoint landscape. With such illumination, you have the facts to make informed decisions. You can see without a doubt where your SharePoint is succeeding and where it needs improvement, and how to best define the right steps to drive further engagement and increase ROI at the user, team, division, location and organizational level.
A SharePoint analytics solution can help you:
- Prioritize tactics
- Set baselines
- Enact programs to drive engagement
- Assess impact and adapt along the way
- Calculate long-term impact
With an active measurement strategy, tactics can be defined for individual behaviors or content adoption, to improve search effectiveness and to activate programs to execute informed migration strategies. And with the ability to set a starting point, milestones and the finishing point, stakeholders can see exactly how migrations are succeeding or failing and where they’re reaching or not reaching targets. And with precision measurement, the right data-informed changes can be made along the way.
The Better the Data, the More Effective the Strategies
It’s important to understand that measurement is not a one-off program driven by a compelling event, like a launch or migration, but it is an ongoing endeavor meant to continuously deliver on the value of the solution. Beyond understanding the here and now, measurement strategies enable SharePoint to become more agile, more dynamic and more powerful – and more proactive – over time.
There is plenty of evidence that the better the data, and the better the analytics strategies built around it, the more effective the strategies can be to drive dynamism and excitement into your SharePoint environment.
Take these real-world scenarios:
- For HR managers who find that 40 percent of remote employees are unaware of changes to their benefits packages, knowing exactly who comprises that 40 percent is valuable.
- For the Corporate Communications manager who uses measurement and analytics to discover that virtually all of the company’s in-field operations managers have not seen the critical CEO message about changes in regulations that impact their company, the identification of that lapse is significant.
- For the IT team, understanding how users find and access content, which navigation paths are used, how onsite search is used and what content surfaces in activity over time enables reconfiguration and design optimization.
For most organizations, assurances about reaching all employees with important information, for allowing the company as a whole to not be fined by a federal regulatory agency and an ability to deliver an engaging and positive user experience through the company intranet are not small things. They may not be directly quantifiable, but they are critically important to a company’s ability to effectively compete and survive.
Measurement matters, accountability matters and the confidence an organization has that it is doing all it can to ensure employee, customer, partner and community engagement matters. Great companies have been brought down by small communications disasters.
Webtrends Analytics for SharePoint Saves the Day (Business)
The Webtrends SharePoint Analytics solution is the most complete and thorough measurement and analytics solution designed specifically for the SharePoint environment. Conceived to optimize the intricacies and breadth of your SharePoint deployment, Webtrends SharePoint Analytics is the critical piece of the puzzle that makes sense of your adoption and engagement strategies.
Developed by Webtrends in close cooperation with Microsoft engineering and product teams, Webtrends Analytics for SharePoint is Microsoft’s preferred analytics solution for all SharePoint environments, including 2010, 2013 and – uniquely – for Office 365. Further, Webtrends is a ten-year- Gold-certified Microsoft Collaboration & Content partner and a member of the Microsoft SharePoint Partner Advisory Council.
With unlimited data collection capabilities and criteria built specifically for SharePoint, Webtrends Analytics allows visibility into asset performance and user metrics otherwise inaccessible. With standard capabilities to report on new, returning and unique users and their behaviors and actions while in the SharePoint environment, you can easily track overall user adoption trends, content access and manipulation and other user-specific information. With reporting specific to individuals, teams, divisions and regions, data granularity provides a complete understanding of what’s connecting with whom and what’s not. With analysis on how users access search and navigate through pages, insight can be generated on how design and structure lead to positive and productive user experiences across SharePoint environments.
Building upon baseline metrics and looking for expected signs of improvement – and then being able to replicate it – is a big part of managing a measurement program in SharePoint. With Webtrends SharePoint Analytics, data collection and reporting can be manipulated as needed, with insights personalized to specific reporting criteria defined by the user. Or, leveraging powerful APIs, desired insights can be automatically updated into an Excel spreadsheet or BI scorecard. The flexibility of Webtrends SharePoint Analytics enables broad applicability and access, allowing users across an organization to see, understand and act on data and reporting.
Armed with quantitative proof of performance, more than 300 companies are already building effective strategies to align divisions’ objectives, enforce corporate compliance and build sustainable engagement strategies with Webtrends for SharePoint – including Microsoft. And with its inherent applicability and flexibility, Webtrends stands alone in the measurement and analytics marketplace.
With Webtrends SharePoint Analytics, customers get:
- Out-of-the-box usability without needing to reconfigure a solution built for a different measurement environment.
- Virtually plug-and-play integration with SharePoint.
- The confidence that data and reporting are accurate and real. There is no data sampling, no limit on the specificity in reporting.
- Validation of a SharePoint investment with specific user metrics.
- An ability to show the impact of SharePoint on specific use-cases and user processes.
- The specificity needed for building adoption, engagement and migration tactics and strategies and the ability to prove their effectiveness.
Nobody wants to invest in solutions that don’t work or can’t be improved to deliver upon their promise. SharePoint is the most widely used enterprise-scale communications platform in the world. Companies invest in it because they expect it to deliver.
If your SharePoint solution is not delivering as you need it to – or worse, if you don’t know how it’s impacting your performance – a quantifiable measurement strategy should be high on your list of considerations. Webtrends delivers the detailed metrics and reporting that you need to make the most of your SharePoint. Contact Fpweb.net to learn more or ask those who know in your industry and in the SharePoint community. We can help you make your SharePoint better with trusted partner solutions like Webtrends SharePoint Analytics.