In previous articles, we have covered the different solutions that can be built using SharePoint. But even the best of features are no good if they aren’t being fully utilized by the organization. 

As I spend time talking to various organizations I continually come back to a few clear points that seem to cause issues with adoption in the organization. Most of these issues are associated with how SharePoint has been implemented and really have very little to do with the actually toolset itself.

In this article we are going to cover one of the key issues that I have seen over and over again and then discuss some various techniques and methods that you can implement to avoid it within your organization. 

Empowering Your User Base

One of the best features of SharePoint is that with the right expectations, training and guidance your internal Information Workers can be empowered to build solutions without having to work with IT or have IT build it for them. There are endless possibilities for the potential solutions that can be implemented.

Using the tools available within SharePoint, within your organization you can build different types of composite solutions, including things like:

  • Help Desk Ticket Tracking
  • Training Registration
  • Blogging
  • Project Management

The best part of these solutions is that they access a collection of toolsets that are already familiar to your end users. A great example of this is when you are able to combine content from Visio, Excel and SharePoint and build it together in a single dashboard type solution. Since the users are already working with familiar toolsets they are able to quickly and easily build solutions.

Where Training Comes In

The key to really being able to take advantage of these things, however, is having a good game plan in place. Being able to look at where you are, where you want to go and then building a plan that helps you get there. One of the most important pieces to this plan is the training and guidance that you will provide to your users.

Will you offer a quick training course and send them on their way? Will you teach them how to translate business needs into technical solutions? Will you teach them all about the different options they have or just offer small classes focused on their specific needs?

The best part about all of this, is that any option is a good option. Your training plan should be as unique as your organization! You should be able to build a solution that is perfect for just what you need. The key to really doing that is to first get a high level understanding of all that you can do within SharePoint and then review where you are going as an organization and build a path that will get you there.

Getting up to speed on the product can be quite the task, but here is a resource to help you understand what can be done with SharePoint:

Once you are up to speed on all the product has to offer, then it’s time for you to start mapping out your own internal training plan. Here are some quick ideas on different things you could try. Remember though, it should be customized based on your organization’s needs:

  • Internal User Group: Have a regular meeting where you cover various training topics. The meeting would be open to all Site Admins and you could use it as a time to show off internal wins.
  • Required Classroom Training: Require that site admins attend classroom training. This can be training you develop or training that you work with a partner to access.
  • Open Office Hours: Develop a collection of open hours that you make experts available to answer questions from your users or site admins.
  • Create Solution Design Workshops: Develop a set workshops that can be conducted with users to help them identify ways to accurately gather requirements and how to map them out to functionality within SharePoint.

Remember, no matter how you choose to approach it, the most important thing is that you account for training and plan for it! The only bad plan is no plan!

Editor's Note: Jennifer writes frequently about SharePoint. To read more:

-- Customizing SharePoint: Start with the Solution or the Business Problem?