15 Years is Too Long for SharePoint End User Adoption – Get Exec Buy-In First

“So how long should one run a SharePoint end user adoption campaign or how long have you run one?”  I ask my class. 


Then a hand from a lovely lady with short hair and glasses.  She smiles and says without missing a beat. 

“15 years” 

Everyone turns to her to look. 

We all laugh a little and say wow, well that’s a long time. 

She relates that she has been following all the checklist items of my end user adoption talk that I am giving at SPTech Con in Boston this week, over and over for a long time, but where things have fallen short are with having a true executive sponsor. 

“We’ve not really had that one piece and it’s made all our efforts difficult.” she said.  “And people change jobs, move on etc… getting them to understand over and over again is tough.” 

The SharePoint End User Adoption Campaign Checklist (that I use, is the following): 

  • Define Your Vision 
  • Recruit Executive Sponsors 
  • Define Key Stakeholders 
  • Define Use Cases/Business Scenarios  
  • Gather Your Champions 
  • Release in Phases 
  • Adoption Communication Plan 
  • End User Training 
  • Look to Experts 
  • Make it Fun – Gamification 
  • Measure, Share, Iterate 

She is missing the second step and I put that at the top for a reason.  

Without executive buy-in you run the risk of losing budget, having the rug pulled out from you after a lot of hard work if you wait until the end. 

Executive Support for End User Adoption: 

  • They serve as a role model 
  • Articulate value proposition  
  • Issue future company-wide announcements and updates  

How do you do it? 

You must ask, and ask in the beginning.   

You have to “sell” your ideas up.  And it shouldn’t be just one executive, you need all of them to know about what you are doing.  The C-suite as it were. 

Make it easy for your CIO or IT Director to take your pitch up to the CEO if they are the deciding factor.  Getting your CEO to be that integral part of your communications plan is paramount.  You will write the email communictions for them but they will send it from their email account. 

If the CEO is using, “adopting” SharePoint Best Practices and Governance, others will follow. 

The Microsoft Fast Track for Office 365 site has great slides that can help you with this selling up to the C-suite. I leverage these slides and evangelize this site when I’m speaking as it’s a great place to not recreate the wheel. (click on Office 365 and drill into one of the pillars for the good stuff).

I am of course biased and would suggest you show that same exec our Content Panda solution as the underpinning to a great end user adoption campaign.  Whether you are migrating between versions or standing-up a new Office 365 SharePoint Online instance… giving you a longer term solution to the issue of both training and long term help content for your end users… 

But, aside from that –  do work hard to get that exec buy-in, 15 years is a long time to struggle with this. 

I think you can cut that time by many many years and months by leveraging templates/fodder from Fast Track as well as considering implementing a contextualize help system like Content Panda. 

Always happy to chat about end user adoption questions & issues and also schedule demos and trials of our product. 

Feel free to say hello or hit me up on social media. @heddanewman on Twitter & Instagram.

Happy End User Campaign Planning! 

I’ll be back on the East Coast at the end of July for SharePoint Saturday NYC, come say hello if you are attending! 




Heather Newman

CMO, Co-Founder, Chief Evangelist, Travel Maven & Road Warrior


Written by Co-Founder and CMO, Heather Newman

Once a month we share expert opinions on end user adoption, Office 365 and SharePoint that we like from our community.  Receive our next issue by signing up here.


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