Trusting SharePoint

The specific functionality SharePoint offers is interesting enough to pique interest, but full adoption, requires trust. Users need to know that the system is permanent and useful before they will spend the extra effort required to learn the system.

There are five important areas to consider in engendering this trust.

  • Stability – The site must be stable and dependable. If SharePoint is a tier one application just like Exchange or an ERP. Outages should be extraordinarily rare.
  • Design – The site must be attractive and intuitive. Professional design makes a site look well-maintained and worthy of trust.
  • Information Architecture – Finding content must be straightforward and obvious. Employees should be able to find what they need without any kind of explanation.
  • Search – When a user can’t find a document, the perception is that the system lost it. Properly configuring search greatly improves user experience and prevents this misperception.
  • Permissions – Users need to know who else can see/read/edit the content they save in SharePoint. They need to know that private documents will remain private, and that coworkers cannot damage the product of hard work. Clarity and training on permissions helps to ease this concern.

These five considerations support one another in creating the perception of trustworthiness. This perception is the foundation of adoption. When relaunching SharePoint, or recovering from a poor SharePoint deployment, building trust is always the first step.

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