Removing Barriers to a Social Workplace with SharePoint

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Recently, Senior Director of SharePoint Product Management, Jared Spataro, hosted a live chat on Facebook to share the vision of a social enterprise that SharePoint is designed to facilitate.  Many of the questions posed to him centered on demonstrating the value of a social workplace to business leaders who don’t see anything to gain and improving user adoption of social features.

Here is what he had to say about demonstrating the value of social features for an organization:

“People get the value of social in their personal lives, and have this feeling it probably will help them at work, too. But the notion of a big free-for-all doesn’t always make sense. We’re finding that people “get it” most when you talk in terms of “task completion” — getting things done. So rather than talk about Facebook or Twitter for the org, I’d suggest you try to help them envision how social tools could improve team and project interactions…Enterprise social tools should be connected to things like team sites, email, instant messaging, and other communication tools — and centered on specific processes or projects. When you think about the scenario of following a document or a team site you can start to imagine how feeds, likes, and follows can help you get things done.”

Even if the leadership of an organization has embraced the social vision and put the tools in the hands of their employees, if the employees aren’t using those tools to connect and actually get things done, they are worthless.  That is why user adoption of social tools is so critical.  Here he identifies what some of the biggest barriers to user adoption have been in the past and are currently:

“I think familiarity was a big constraint. When we introduced My Sites in 2003, people literally didn’t know what to do with them. But another is ensuring that your social solution isn’t just another place to go. Solving for a more connected experience will definitely help people understand how (and where) social can help them get their jobs done.”

Finally, he provided a couple of tips for getting people to use the social tools at their fingertips:

“Adoption often happens faster when you make a social network “by invitation only.” When you roll something out broadly and make it available to everyone, it kind of feels less interesting, exciting, and (frankly) cool.”

“Make sure you identify a few exec-level proponents and make sure they are active. Their participation will drive a whole host of people to jump in.”

Still looking for more reasons to get social with SharePoint?  Download this white paper:  “People Working Together Drive Business Results”

By Socius, an Ohio SharePoint Partner

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