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'Selling' SharePoint / collaboration to my users

By CharlieSpencer ·
This is a discussion about Microsoft SharePoint. I didn't pick the software, and it's already purchased, installed, and configured. Please don't waste your time discussing the virtues of other enterprise collaboration tools.

One of the company's two sites is project oriented, all salaried employees, most of whom have engineering or tech backgrounds, and also hosts corporate HQ. My site is manufacturing oriented, with few 'super users, 'tech heads', or 'geeks'. While the other site seems to be having success with SP, I have no idea how to get it off the ground here. I'm beginning to suspect it's a solution with no problem, at least as far as this site goes. Or maybe I'm just not familiar enough with it to know where to apply it.

I have no 'social networking' experience, and neither I nor any of my on-site co-workers have worked with any collaboration tools before. My few attempts at social tools (blogging, LinkedIn, Twitter) haven't resulted in anything I consider useful. I've send a couple of e-mails describing SP capabilities to my 150 users but received absolutely no reply. I suspect most of them wouldn't know a blog or wiki if they stepped in it, and I don't know how to get value from them anyway. I've run my concerns past my departmental superiors (all at the other site, some with extensive SP experience) but I've received no response. Maybe they can't believe I'm serious / that stupid.

How can I tell if there's a need for a collaboration tool? How can better solicit / involve my users?

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We never used Outlook Custom Forms

by CharlieSpencer In reply to We used it to replace cus ...

We use Public Folders for meeting rooms, dept. calendars, etc. I recall Public Folders were supposed to go away with Exchange Server 2007, but they're still here. Apparently MS couldn't push enough people to SP to make it happen. I could move the calendars into SP, but I don't know what the benefits would be. If we don't gain anything, why change?

Our performance reviews are already web based; I don't know of any plans to change or update them.

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We've used it for years

by GSG In reply to 'Selling' SharePoint / co ...

We have all of our policies on the site, which due to regulatory compliance is an outrageous number, we launch apps from the home page, each of our systems has a web that starts out as a project management web for the project, then after implementation morphs to a support web.

Our phone lists are there, shared calendars, forms, etc.. users can submit a tech support request, maintenance request, etc...

If I want to find everything on a specific subject, I just go to the home page and do a search. We have a selection where you can limit the search to policies only, or documents, which makes it easier.

I know that we had to send the person that manages Sharepoint to class. He also has to go everytime there's a significant upgrade so that he's an expert on the system.

If you're going to go in depth at all, then I'd recommend going to a class, and not trying to figure it out on your own.

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Training's not an issue.

by CharlieSpencer In reply to We've used it for years

We have a couple of IT people with SP experience they acquired before they joined our company. I'm confident I can get additional training as needed, but so far I haven't used the two-day 'Intro to SharePoint Services' I've already taken.

I don't think its a question of not finding ways to migrate some of our existing processes. It's more the questions of how hard I should push / force my users into switching to a tool that I can't see provides them any benefits over their existing tools (network shared directories, Exchange Public Folders, web-based access to existing non-SP document storage).

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Pilot something perhaps

by starryknight In reply to Training's not an issue.

From my experience, it's tough going unless the end-users voluntarily pick up on it. One way to help that along is to try doing a pilot with no long-term commitment to the product. If a team ever forms (of any size and for any purpose) see if they would agree to pilot SharePoint as a collaborative site. They might like the fact that only their group has the sharing permissions and calendar and other features. If they end up liking it, chances are good it will catch on with others eventually as people talk with associates.
We use SP for many (totally optional) biomedical research teams, and its popularity is rising fast. I think it could appeal to the engineering mindset, too, because of the inherent structure of orderliness and control. Many orgs, including mine, are now dealing with the opposite problem... how do we stay ahead of the rampant demand and growth of SP sites?
I've worked a 30 yr career with ITers, engineers of all sorts, and medical researchers - many of them truly world-class minds (and some of them absolute bozos, of course) - and most of them seem to share a strong tendency toward independence. So, basically it seems way better if they can sort of discover SP themselves without too much pushing. Tech minded people seem to be very independent and like to think they do their own thinking. Managers can also have collaborative sites, but that probably won't cause it to spread even if they like it.
One strong "selling point" here is the ease of working on projects with others spread around the country and the world. You may not have a lot of that, but anyone who wants to share things in a very controlled environment could make use of SP. We have hundreds of research projects going on all the time, and we find it to be (so far) a great way to structure and organize and control all aspects. It?s not the answer to everything, but once a group likes it, popularity seems to spread fast.

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