Why SharePoint and other technologies can fail and how to solve this problem

Perhaps you have rolled out Microsoft technologies, or other technologies in your organisation and haven’t had the outcome you wished for.  For example, SharePoint is used as an intranet and a file share, but not as a collaborative workplace that was first imagined.  Dynamics CRM, or another CRM product is necessary but is full of incorrect information and people resent using it. Yammer was meant to be the answer to too much email, but aside from a few areas of the business that are keen users, it does not really provide business benefits.

So why is this?  These products or platforms promise so much, and yet seem so difficult to get people to use and maximise business benefit from.  There are a number of reasons, and yes there are things like governance frameworks, design, usability and user adoption strategies that are very important.  Omitting one of these can leave you in peril.  However, even after all that, what is the most likely reason that your organisation can derive maximum business benefits from these technologies, the holy grail?

The answer is quite simple.  People are busy, super busy, busier than ever before.  So they resist doing things in a new way, they return to tried and trusted methods of emails, phone calls, meetings.  They have a long report to write, project deadlines to meet, do you think they will think ‘Oh I should really use that collaboration platform’ or will they just do what is most familiar, and quickest – call someone, email a bunch of people. After all, we do live in Outlook, that’s where you can get someone’s attention, even if there are a 100 others trying to vie for that attention also.

I believe the answer is in removing the daily grind.  Companies roll out platforms and technologies and want people to use them to accomplish their tasks. However, people just want to accomplish their tasks in the quickest way possible. 

What if – you make it faster for them to accomplish some of their daily grind tasks.  You made it easier, simpler, faster and better. So much better that there are no user adoption issues, no change management needed, no complaints, and no training required.  What if people then worked in a more efficient way, a more productive way, what do you think the benefits would be?

A few include: Getting more done, fewer mistakes, capitalising opportunities, and a happier workplace. Let’s face it, if you were given a task to chop some wood and you could use a blunt axe or a sharp one, which would you choose?  And how would you feel if your boss said ‘Sorry, we can’t afford a new one / We don’t have time to learn how to use the new one / What new axe’ etc.  I bet you would feel – disappointed, disrespected, taken for granted and more. 

I think it’s highly likely that a lot of people feel like this in corporates.  Perhaps it’s one of the reasons many people resent going to work.

by Marcus Dervin, Director, WebVine

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