Many companies that deploy digital tools find it hard to attain intended business outcomes. Often, the problem is not the tools but the low and incorrect usage of them. The problem is poor digital adoption.
To realize the maximum return on technological investments, employees need to know how to use the tools and actually use them. Digital tools become business assets only when they are used to their fullest extent as intended.
Making sure that SharePoint and Office 365 are fully exploited is an essential step. The task starts with understanding the applicable capabilities as well as the necessary organizational change that will lead employees not only to the adoption of better ways of getting things done but also to discoveries of more efficient workflows.
There is a simple way to achieve this.
Avoid shallow and narrow usage of the platforms
When SharePoint and Office 365 are deployed, many companies simply provide end users with a username, a password, a link to training materials, and expect employees to exploit the platforms and reap the business benefits, all on their own. This is a sure way to have the platforms underutilized, and ultimately, abandoned.
In addition to the waste of money, poor user adoption of the platforms has several disadvantages.
- Digital workplaces become inefficient due to chaotic clusters of unused tools.
- As employees use separate digital tools and can't converge on teamwork tasks, collaboration becomes a challenge.
- IT teams find it more and more difficult to streamline governance policies.
- Resistance to change becomes emboldened due to the failure of seeing the benefits of newly deployed digital tools. Etc.
Also, sadly, it's common to see employees surprised to discover a super useful feature after months of not being aware that it existed. This happens a lot, even with the more familiar applications such as Outlook and Skype for Business. Imagine what they could achieve only if they knew!
Extensive digital adoption has to be the goal. Here is a simple way to get there.
Pursue deep and wide usage of the platforms
Make sure that employees use SharePoint and Office 365 to their fullest extent. You may want to get external expert help if you can’t find in-house talents.
User adoption should not be internal only, it should be external as well: as you strive to get employees to use the platforms, concurrently, help customers, vendors, and suppliers do the same. Digital adoption on one side always influences that of the other side.
To kickstart the user adoption process, roll out training sessions that focus on the platform's features and capabilities. The overview will make end users aware of the many ways that SharePoint and Office 365 can be used for optimal business outcomes.
However, that's just to get things started. Training end users seldom leads to sustainable user adoption because people forget about 90% of what they learn within days. It's a bad strategy to simply rely on training programs.
This is made even worse by the fact that, in the long run, training end users is too inconvenient, too expensive, and too time-consuming.
And, it's almost impossible to get external users to attend training sessions.
A simple way to achieve both external and internal user adoption of SharePoint and Office 365 is to install a contextual help system.
Contextual help systems, like VisualSP, provide step-by-step guidance to end users when completing tasks. They help end users understand the platforms even if it is their first time using them.
As an add-on application to SharePoint and Office 365, VisualSP provides end-users with instant in-context help and guidance exactly at the moment of need. When stuck, end users don't have to request help from the IT team or search the web for tutorials; VisualSP avails applicable help items wherever end users go within the platforms. It only takes a click or two to view the help item and continue with the task at hand.
This is the kind of learning-on-the-job that helps end users master and exploit digital tools to the fullest.
The key to driving sustainable digital adoption and keep up with digital innovation is to remove the greatest barrier: unfamiliarity with the tools.
Using a contextual help system will remove the barrier. When end users get instant step-by-step guidance at the time of need, sustainable user adoption becomes easily attainable.Maximum return on your SharePoint and Office 365 investments is possible only when the tools are used to their fullest extent and as intended. And, using a contextual help system is the essential step toward that end.