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

In my continuing mission at this conference to explore what
all SharePoint has to offer OTHER than Office
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 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 mind set 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

So how exactly do we go about causing change?  One of the easiest places to begin is to
examine what 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
  • Maintain
    Small Mailbox Sizes
    – Reduce the size of users 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 changing, and make a
conscious habit to change, we can slow the barriers to SharePoint adoption and
break the cycle of email addiction.   

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