I’ve talked to many clients about how to increase usage of collaboration and content tools and I always clarify upfront whether they want to drive usage or value. Those two things are very different. And the term “adoption” is usually a synonym for “usage” in these conversations.
Most of my time on this topic has been spent on SharePoint adoption. It has been quite common to find pockets of enthusiastic SharePoint usage in organizations. But when it was undertaken without any demand management processes, that usage is often low value: some random people eliminating hassles for themselves that don’t translate into a big win for the enterprise.
I had a chance to see this dynamic in action when helping devise the questions for our third Office 365 survey. For the previous two we have asked which components respondents are using. I found this helpful, but felt a followup question was missing: which parts have you just poked around in or dipped your toe into now and then because you have to, and which parts do you voluntarily use because you actually get something from it?
So I devised a question based on a dollar allocation question. But I twisted it around to allocate the value received rather than what you’d pay. Computerworld subsequently wrote an article on the usage vs. value survey results in “Office 365: Enterprise usage doesn’t translate into enterprise value“
As you read, keep in mind my comments are not a knock on the features in Office 365. Lack of value from the broader panoply of Office 365 options is due to a confluence of factors: the difficulty of changing the habits of information workers, an overabundance of ways to collaborate or share content, lack of funding to support change management efforts, and inability to understand how much time is lost or value could be gained for functions that are not well understood. A
And capabilities beyond email and Office certainly had value to some respondents, just not as many as I’d like. Objectively viewed, email has a set of uses that is no more valuable than collaboration, file sharing, or social networking. But it is the go-to tool for everything under the sun to workers weaned on it. Capabilities such as Teams, SharePoint, and Yammer can provide a lot of value and one day I hope our survey finds email’s bar to be brought down to size and the value of other elements of the suite to be better recognized.
For the full story, clients can check out my report “How to Work With (or Compete Against) Microsoft Office 365“.
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