SP Fest NYC: Robert Bogue Wants You to Close Outlook and Start Using SharePoint Already!

My continuing mission at this conference is to explore what all SharePoint has to offer OTHER than Office 365 and social, I decided to take it back to basics. Robert Bogue was of great assistance in this expedition with his session Converting from an Email Culture to SharePoint Culture.  After all, it’s not like we could be having this conference without a SharePoint culture!

Robert began his presentation by talking about corporate culture and what culture means to the audience. While some attendees attributed culture to qualities such as dress and food (Bamboo Solutions, we’re talking to you!), most others associated corporate culture with negative things such as bureaucracy and red tape.

That being said, if you are living in an oppressive culture, how do you go about changing it?  In his presentation, Rob relied heavily on psychology and how to leverage mindset and apply different philosophies in order
to change opinions and end our reliance on email.

One of the inherent problems with email is the way in which it has shaped and changed our responsiveness expectations.  Whereas traditional postal mail had an expected response time of around a week, the average expected response time for emails is less than 24 hours.

Why is this important? According to Robert, this shift has caused a grave illness – email addiction. And just like any unhealthy addiction, it is something that has become deeply ingrained in our culture and needs to be remedied.

So how exactly do we go about causing the change? One of the easiest places to begin is to examine the barriers to transitioning from an email culture to a SharePoint culture. Hindrances that Rob identified include:

  • Lack of training;
  • Lack of resources;
  • Difficulty requesting and getting help;
  • Lack of licensing; and
  • Product limitations.

Once your challenges have been identified, Rob suggested some next steps to ensure that change happened. One of the most important things we need to do, when it comes to SharePoint, is to have a clear message and vision. Since most often, in the face of confusion, nothing happens, it is crucial to be clear about what goes in SharePoint and why people should be adopting it.

In addition, supplying users with the tools they need to make SharePoint happen can contribute greatly to a high adoption rate. Some of the things Rob suggested you do include:

  • Build It For Them – Create a place where users can go to get their needs met and that can be accessed from the home page.
  • Start in the Right Place – Set your corporate intranet/SharePoint as your user’s homepage in all browsers
  • Restrict “All User” Distribution Lists – Encourage the use of discussion boards and social tools creating barriers to using mass emails
  • Create Communication Guidelines – Establish a standard for how best to share communications
  • Maintain Small Mailbox Sizes – Reduce the size of user mailboxes as a way of discouraging sending large files as attachments

In closing, according to Rob, there are a number of things that we can do to effectively migrate our email-addicted users to a SharePoint culture. While breaking bad habits can be difficult, if we want to change, stay committed to change, and make a conscious habit to change, we can slow the barriers to SharePoint adoption and break the cycle of email addiction.