SharePointalooza Day Two Keynote by Steve Smith of Combined Knowledge

Day Two kicked off with a keynote from Steve Smith (@SteveSmithCK) of Combined Knowledge in the UK. Steve presented results – for the first time publicly – of a survey conducted during the SharePoint Evolution Roadshow in June 2014. The survey was a way to hopefully discover “what’s really going on in the real world”. Sue and I participated in the Roadshow this summer and were eager to learn about the survey results. As each question was presented, Steve polled the room to see how close the responses from SharePoint-palooza attendees matched those of the UK. Believe it or not, the US responses closely matched those from the UK. Here are some of the results we found interesting:

  • How far behind current technology would you say your company is? The available choices were <1 year, < 3 years, 3-5 years, and more than 5 years. The majority of the responses were that people felt their company was < 3 years behind current technology.
  • What is a major hurdle for moving to newer products or platforms? The available choices were (1) Lack of Skills and no investment in education or adoption, (2) Too expensive and still paying for the last technology upgrade, (3) Lack of understanding of the benefits of the new technology, and (4) Little desire to move, all is working fine. The majority of the respondents picked response #3 Lack of Understanding… with #1 Lack of Skills… a close second.
  • Which Microsoft technology is your company looking to purchase? The choices were SharePoint 2013 On-Prem, Office 365 with SharePoint Online/Exchange/Lync/CRM, Office 2013, Windows 8, and No Plans. Believe it or not, about the same number of respondents answered SP2013 On-Prem as answered Office 365. So it appears that maybe not everyone is planning on going to SharePoint Online. At least not quite yet.
  • How often should companies release product updates? The choices were Every 90 days, Every 6 months, Once a Year, Once every 2 years, and Once every 3 years or more. The majority of the respondents answered Once a Year or Once every Two years. Steve mentioned that he felt that probably the work experience and age of respondents impacted their response to this question. The more you experience the negative effects of product updates, the more likely you want updates less frequently.

Steve summarized the survey responses with his SharePoint Adoption-o-scope (…Patent Pending). Most of the survey questions fell into four categories: Training, Business Alignment, User Engagement, and Support. The SharePoint Adoption-o-scope illustrates how SharePoint user adoption is critically dependent on these things. Given the survey responses, it seems we are NOT adopting technology as quickly as some would have us believe. It sounds like it isn’t because the technology isn’t available, but due to the other activities centered around improving user adoption of the new technology.

Steve’s takeaway advice is simple – you need to sufficiently plan for technology updates. Spend more than a week figuring out the proper business alignment. Plan for multiple methods to support the new technology. Think out-of-the-box to increase user engagement. Finally, choose the right technology! “It’s a bad workman who always blames his tools.”