Encountering hundreds of Social Media discussions daily about how to increase portal user adoption seems almost banal to me some days. It’s about as common as breathing air for companies that are looking for ways in which they can revive their intranet usage and draw their users back in.
Identifying the Gap – User Adoption Versus SharePoint Acquisition
What’s happened or changed in the last decade or so that has caused users to go astray and made them think that their portals just weren’t the destination for knowledge, resources and assistance that they thought they were? If over 20,000 workers have joined the ranks of SharePoint users, and Microsoft’s market research tells us that 78 percent of Fortune 500 companies are SharePoint users, then where’s the gap?
Identify Your Business Goals, Analyze, and Create a Plan.
Understanding a user’s needs, investing in training and tools that help maximize portal usability and actively encouraging user adoption makes all the difference. For starters, employees need to understand that SharePoint is an integral tool that is and should be a part of their daily activities.
Providing users with a concrete user adoption program converts them from passive to active users and allows them to see the system as an all-encompassing tool, rather than merely for file sharing. Starting out with a training program, workshops, and reaching out to SharePoint evangelists can all drive user adoption. But after all that said and done which issues will commonly hold back user adoption?
Search No More! Making SP Search Your Friend, Not Foe.
If we want to identify commonly found issues that stump users we can begin with search fails as a logical starting point. Failed searches can easily jar and jade users from even the hope that there’s a chance their intranet will give them what they need.
Realistically, the only way you’ll ever know if you have repeated failed searches for the same information is with a documented record of analyzed portal activity; collecting one complaint after the other through word of mouth and delayed deadlines quickly becomes time consuming and decreases efficiency. How do I come about such a lovely gem, you may ask? Easy: Analytics.
Identifying Failed Search with Analytics – and Then Optimize!
Failed Search Reports from a web analytics tool can provide an indication of where user adoption dropout rates are coming from, pointing to how many times a word, document or idea were searched, by whom, during which periods of time, and how these statistics may have changed with identical searches from one period of time to the next.
In his article on “SharePoint 2013: Fast Search Features Drive Enterprise Productivity,” Himanshu Sharma discusses the importance of saving time with Sharepoint 2013’s Search Capabilities now leveraged, such that SP 2013 “builds a single repository of index which allows users to provide a single enterprise search center experience and avoid the need for going to different applications to search for the same type of information.”
When you have the tools to make an optimal search experience, being proactive and efficient is easy. With users now able to index content from multiple site collections and new features like query syntax, query suggestions and a results preview pane, the SharePoint 2013 system could mean an increase in productivity and the acquisition of faster and more accurate search results.
All that’s left is finding out how to fill in the gaps and when something has been missed that several people may be looking for. Ultimately, it’s knowing what your users are searching for that allows you to maximize the use of your tools to improve your portal. With crucial data that you collect from a powerful web analytics tool, Failed Search Reports, or search phrase reports, you can:
- Identify which pages are clicked on
- Learn what documents are actually used for which purposes and by who
- Pinpoint interrelated search usage
- People search usage
- Can present users with segmented, customized search results
Optimizing Your Portal – Then Increase User Adoption.
Find out what’s being searched, optimize portal design to improve search and content accessibility, and help your users feel that they’re an integral part of the organization’s portal community. If they feel their search is irrelevant, they might start to feel their task at hand is also seen that way, and that’s the opposite effect you want an intranet to have on its users. It’s intended to help, not discourage users. Making relevant changes to improve productivity will encourage their sense of relevancy and significance to the duty at hand. Your intranet then becomes a destination for users, not an overlooked tool collecting dust, avoided for its redundancy.