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5 keys to implementing SharePoint in your business.

Implementing SharePoint in your business

As an IT partner helping SMBs move to Office 365, we've helped many SMB clients with SharePoint, sometimes implementing it from scratch, sometimes modifying an existing installation and sometimes helping with a failed implementation. Its clear that for many SMBs, implementing SharePoint is fraught with difficulty and often leads to disappointing results.

In our experience projects usually reach one of the following 3 outcomes


The usual reason for failure is lack of user adoption, users don't see the benefit of using it when they already have ways of doing things which they feel more comfortable with. It's a normal response for users to find SharePoint more complicated to use than what they're used too.

Partial success after a painful journey

The organisation has encountered lack of user adoption but have battled through it to achieve partial success and the system is used, sometimes because the users are shoehorned into it. Often this scenario is a sideways move where neither the business nor the users reap the rich rewards SharePoint has to offer.

Success and productivity

The hallmark of a successful SharePoint implementation is one where its embraced by users who are empowered by it and drive its evolution. When this happens SharePoint becomes a tremendously valuable asset to an organisation by continuously enabling new and betters ways for people to get things done together. This boosts productivity by saving time and improving performance.

Why is SharePoint difficult to implement.

For lots of reasons but if you had to boil it down to two:

  1. A failure to recognise that a SharePoint project is not just a technology project its fundamentally implementing a ‘new way of working together’ throughout the organisation.  
  2. A failure to recognise that SharePoint isn’t a product, it’s a platform that can do lots of different things.  SharePoint provides the nuts and bolts, but organisations needs to identify the problems they want to solve and design the solutions for solving them.

5 keys to a successful SharePoint implementation.

Based on our experience and Microsofts research the following are 5 characteristics shared by successful SharePoint implementations.

1.Define your vision.

Identify the key drivers for using SharePoint in your organisation and the problems it will solve, not just for the business as a whole but for the users themselves. Get the users involved and understand the issues they face in their work. Your vision should clearly set out the value SharePoint will bring to the organisation and specify how it will change the way you work together to achieve them.

When defining your vision always start by involving the key stake holders to ensure that your approach is aligned with the top priorities of the business, to get executive support, and to support the idea that SharePoint is a business critical solution.

"Think of SharePoint as the new way of working together"

2.Keep it simple

SharePoint can help people in so many ways: be it sharing content, discovering information, streamlining business processes, surfacing business intelligence, creating online forms. A key challenge, particularly from a users perspective, is that it can be difficult for people to get their heads around it. To be successful you need to get it right at the beginning. You need to keep it simple and start small so that SharePoint doesn't become overwhelming for users.

"Pay attention to ease of use, don't try to do everything at once"

3.Identify biggest wins

Adoption research has found that when starting its better to focus development on a handful of the biggest user pain points. This helps users get used to it and see value from it without being overwhelmed. When engaging with business users to identify how it can help them, be sure to approach it from their perspective. What pain points do they have to deal with? Do they have manual activities that can be automated? Are there ways of saving them time?

4.Engage Leadership

For any initiative to be successful, having executive support is essential. An effective way to engage leadership is by talking their language and demonstrating the business value of SharePoint to them in their roles and to the organisation as a whole. Ideally some monetary value should be tied to successful outcomes from implementing SharePoint. What does an automated process or improved collaboration mean in pounds, shillings and pence?

With tight budgets, expenditure in all organisations is put under the microscope which is why it's important for decision makers to be aware of the business benefits SharePoint brings to the organisation.

5.Empower People

Early adopters can be highly valuable to a SharePoint implementation. These users are champions that are not only passionate about what they do, they are also quick to share their enthusiasm with others. It’s important to identify these champions and empower them to help drive the project. Users will benefit from increased comfort levels with SharePoint. The key to increasing confidence is to combine a formal training program with less formal mentorship. Whilst it seems obvious that providing uses with training is a necessary part of an implementation only 1 out of 5 respondents in Microsofts adoption survey were formally trained on SharePoint and nearly 50% think others could learn from formal training internally.


Rob Leverton

Rob has worked as an IT technician and project manager with Connexion for 14 years before moving into his current role as head of the technical services team.

Although Rob comes from a technical background he’s very much a people person and he is exceptionally good at building excellent working relationships with our customers and his technical team to deliver service excellence to our clients.

Rob Leverton

James Stratton

James is passionate about technology and how it can transform business.  Having worked with hundreds of businesses in many different sectors over the last 25 years he has a huge amount of business IT knowledge that he enjoys imparting to Connexions customers.

James is responsible for Connexions strategic development and also still enjoys a role in consulting and sales and marketing