Although the idea of user adoption is not a new idea, we consistently find our clients asking for more ways or better ways to get users to “use the system.”  Depending on the scope of the project, we always recommend some level of governance and training for our clients to get the most from their implementation.  These are critical pieces of the overall solution that we feel play a significant role in whether or not the product is accepted or rejected by the users.

In addition, with the recent release of SharePoint 2010, this topic has once again become a priority for many of our clients looking to implement this new version.  While superior to the previous version in far too many ways to mention here, the user interface has been completely enhanced with the “Ribbon” interface first seen Office 2007.  For users of SharePoint 2007, this will be a slight learning curve to use the new interface, but as with Office 2007, once learned the productivity and efficiency will increase exponentially.

Whether using SharePoint 2003, 2007, or 2010, we always come back to a few core principles for increasing user adoption to provide the best opportunity for a successful deployment.  Below you will find a list of our top 10 ideas for enhancing user adoption.  We hope that these spark some ideas and provide some ways for your implementations to be successful as well.

  • Remember that SharePoint is a product for the end user and should be treated as such
    - Don’t let IT or Management dictate the “way it should be” without having the users involved
    - Select high-performing users from each department and let the users be part of the “planning committee”
    - Don’t try (or expect) to change corporate culture and habits overnight with SharePoint
  • Develop a Governance Plan outlining how the system should be used, roadmap, processes, etc.
  • Provide adequate training to the users 
    - Setup a “Training Library” and/or “Help Center” in SharePoint with links, videos, etc.
  • Provide a “Feedback” list to capture feedback from employees on improvements - AND LISTEN
  • When an improvement is made from employee feedback, give “front page” recognition to the employee that suggested the enhancement
  • Release new functionality slowly (2-3 new features at a time)
  • Remove (turn off) old systems and force users to use the new system
    - Assess the level of risk for this one – this is not possible for everyone


  • Require that everyone use the new system and have management lead by example
    - Refrain from sending emails with attachments and begin referencing items on SharePoint
  • Generate excitement for your portal
    - Marketing / Communication / PR
    - Weekly contest on the homepage of portal
    - Weekly profile of a different employee
    - Company calendar, holidays, etc.
  • Track user participation via SharePoint reports and understand WHY users are not using the new system.