John Deere’s Tara Litzenberger Shows Users Why SharePoint Does NOT Suck

Let’s get this straight, SharePoint is not and does not have to be the bane of your existence…or so says Tara Litzenberger, Communications Manager and Operations Lead at John Deere. In her SharePoint for Corporate Communicators presentation, But SharePoint sucks! How to turn your employees’ attitudes around, Tara shared her tips and tricks for how to use SharePoint to solve common challenges, partner with IT to make everyone’s lives easier, and more.

So you think SharePoint sucks, huh? Well, tell me this, is it SharePoint that sucks, or are you just not used to using SharePoint? In the case of John Deere, more often than not, it was the latter part of that sentence that rang true. Based on this, it was up to Tara’s team to find a way to promote SharePoint across the organization and help employees to understand how SharePoint makes it easier to organize meetings, comply with budgeting policies, schedule editorial content, share ideas globally, and more.

The first and most important step to achieving this goal was to make the John Deere SharePoint site user-friendly. One of the ways in which Tara’s team did this was to put themselves in the beginner’s seat. As she found, “People want to know what they want to know when they need to know it.”  So what better way of accomplishing this than to build a site that is accessible and easy to navigate? When building their FAQs and “How Do I?” pages, Tara and her team meticulously included a full range of questions and answers from the seemingly obvious to the more advanced problems. Although some of the questions may have seemed
like no-brainers to SharePoint veterans, it was important to remember when implementing SharePoint that a large percentage of the users would be inexperienced in navigating the platform, and would need all the help that they could get.

Another thing that Tara and her team did to make SharePoint more adoptable in their organization was to pay close attention to governance. In particular, they wanted to make sure that the types of rules and policies that they implemented were relevant to their users. In the case of John Deere, they found that their audience greatly appreciated a high level of structure and organization, and shaped their governance policy accordingly.

One of Tara’s best tips was something that applies to more than just SharePoint: knowing when to ask for help. Whether it’s an internal resource or a third-party consultant, there are a wealth of SharePoint experts out there that are willing and able to help, regardless of the scale and scope of the issue. As Tara stressed, don’t be afraid to take advantage of the resources you have available to you! Similarly, Tara recommended you utilize the information you learn to help each other. By making knowledge-sharing part of your corporate culture, you contribute to transforming your organization’s knowledge into a robust, multi-functional resource for all employees.

With the above tips and tricks and more, Tara was able to easily drive home why it’s beneficial to adopt SharePoint. Simply stated, using SharePoint gets things done. Helping employees to understand this
through education, assistance, and advocacy, Tara and her team were able to change the attitudes of her employees and get them to *gasp* LIKE using SharePoint!