How to increase user engagement with SharePoint

By Mark Howarth

If you’re a CIO or senior IT manager then it’s likely you’re constantly addressing the organisational challenges of improving return-on-information, driving workforce collaboration, and making enterprise systems easier to use (or at least improving compliance in how they’re used). Like many, you may have settled on SharePoint as your preferred technology of choice to achieve those outcomes.

At a technical level, SharePoint is proven, well supported, and integrates with many different enterprise systems and environments. It makes sense that it’s become one of the most popular business applications in the world.

The problem is, a lot of staff don’t use it the way it was intended. In fact, a lot actively work around using it at all.

If your staff continue to create silos of information outside of SharePoint, rely on email as the primary program for information sharing, and don’t easily follow processes or procedures set up in SharePoint, then chances are you’re having the same problem as a lot of your peers.

Whats the problem?

There are two problems. First, SharePoint is not that easy to use. Its interface, while full-featured, is not immediately intuitive; not in the way that we all expect technology to be these days. For better or worse, the rise of smartphones and their apps has set the bar in terms of user experience.

Second, SharePoint mostly solves an organisational issue, not a user issue. According to a Harvard Business School study, a new product must deliver a 900 percent improvement over an existing solution before users will adopt it. (And that’s from the user’s perspective, not the company’s.)

SharePoint makes absolute technical sense. It brings disparate systems together, provides a single work environment for collaboration, and allows for better document control and more consistent and resilient taxonomies for storing information.

Unfortunately, if you’ve been using email and Windows folders or equivalent for most of your working career, there’s a fair amount of unlearning of habits and new learning of systems involved to fundamentally change how you work. It’s human nature to resist change: it requires effort and a high level of trust that the changes will be worth it.

So if SharePoint alone doesn’t work very well from a user perspective, but is critical from an organisational point of view, then what’s the answer?

Axient and LiveTiles

LiveTiles SharePoint is an all-in-one software solution that connects different business systems for a seamless experience across devices. It lets organisations create engaging sites on SharePoint and Office 365, putting everything staff need at their fingertips with tailored sites for specific roles and department-relevant views of the business.

Importantly, LiveTiles lets you integrate different apps, resources, files, and more on a single pane of glass, delivering the intuitive and easy-to-use experience that people expect.

It is rapidly being adopted as a way to drive real value out of SharePoint installations and overcome the user adoption issues that have dogged many organisations.

Further, when LiveTiles is combined with Axient’s smart form technology, it extends SharePoint from being a system of record (a place where information is stored and retrieved) to a transactional business tool.

What does that mean? It means that, if forms are important in your business (either for collecting or recording information in the field, or because they underpin critical business processes), then you can drive SharePoint adoption by making forms the ‘killer app’ that everyone immediately sees benefit in using.

Axient is the LiveTiles expert for automating form-based business processes

Most companies are awash with forms. Field service staff, business process managers, warehouse and logistics managers, financial controllers, and everyone in between rely on forms to capture transactional information.

It’s not a big surprise that forms (online or paper) are a source of major inefficiency and, often, risk.  They’re slow to fill in and process, sometimes filled in incorrectly, and can be hard to track or secure.

Using Axient’s smart form solutions combined with LiveTiles can completely change the experience.  It lets employees access all the forms they need, pre-populated with the right details, drawn from SharePoint or other systems, and can deliver dramatic time and cost savings.

It also offers additional benefits such as improved transaction cycle times, faster time to payment, and an overall increase in customer satisfaction, and, as you’d expect, much happier staff who can focus on doing valuable work, not completing forms.

The combination of Axient and LiveTiles drives a higher return on investment from SharePoint and drives much sought after adoption.

If you want to explore Axient smart forms and LiveTiles contact us on (02) 8338 3444 or click here

Mark Howarth is Managing Director of Australian solution provider Axient, a specialist in automating form-based business processes that connect directly to mobile, web, CRM and ERP systems.