Part 3 of our series, addressing cloud document management usability.
Over the past 5 years, nearly every Community IT infrastructure project has included some cloud document management component. As we have helped clients plan and migrate their platform for managing documents to the cloud, several trends have started to emerge.
In this series of posts we’re covering different aspects of a migration project and how to be successful. As you think more seriously about migrating to a cloud based document management solution please consider our tested and proven methodology:
- Outline your requirements to build your business case
- Define your project scope using research and due diligence
- Set expectations and educate users and management early with regards to what the system can and can’t do, and the extended investment of time required
- Focus on usability, usability, and usability – tips in this post
- Engage senior management as champions
- Expect your implementation to take time, and plan accordingly. This is a major investment you are undertaking, and needs planning and attention to succeed.
- Checklist of questions to ask your IT provider before migration
Focus on Usability, Usability, and Usability
Your users will help you with two major aspects of your migration. First, they should be the driving force behind the business case – what needs your project must fulfill.
Second, through their adoption of the new system, users demonstrate the value of your investment. The more efficiently and productively your users can work, the more work boxes your solution can check off for them, the more value you will demonstrate. Successful attention to user adoption is often the difference between success and failure.
These two aspects are inter-dependent and mutually reinforcing. Involving users in defining the specifics of your business case will increase the likelihood that your solution will address those specifics and have a positive impact on their work. The better the impact, the more users will embrace the change and champion the new system.
As you engage in this project, keep usability front and center in writing your requirements and planning your implementation. Make sure you understand your users, their use patterns and their needs. Use peers and influencers within your organization to set expectations for the new normal. Many users will fear change. Get them over this hurdle with empathy and support.
To begin building your user case and gathering user champions, you can start by conducting a pilot project.
- Identify at least 3 business use cases where gains are easy to see, workflow is critical to your organization, or where a natural internal champion exists. Three examples might be a committee that edits documents together, staff who must be able to work remotely, or an executive who’s been pushing for your project.
- Appoint a champion for each use case and give them advanced training
- Create complete organizational buy-in. Engage your executives. Demonstrate the results of the pilot project or advance training. An in-house peer-led demonstration is more convincing than a sales demo, and any consultant or sales rep worth their fee should be happy to enable this.
- Show your users the benefits of adopting this new system. Showcase efficiency gains found in the pilot users group.
As with all technology solutions, it does not matter how well you plan for your migration and how much it will benefit your users if they don’t know how to use it. Don’t forget to provide training to your users on the most common tasks. This may be most important to increase user adoption!
Microsoft and SharePoint Usability Notes
If your users are heavily reliant on Microsoft Office applications, take advantage of this! One of the key methods of gaining user adoption of SharePoint is leveraging the integration of SharePoint with Microsoft Office (2013 & 2016) and Microsoft Windows (7, 8 & 10).
You can leverage this integration by:
- Adding the SharePoint Site to their Office 2013 applications
- Adding SharePoint Site’s document libraries to their Office 2013 applications
- Adding SharePoint Sites to their browser favorite’s bar for easy access
Outlook integration can also help to ease the transition. Most Outlook users collaborate by sending files as attachments. By default, Outlook opens the local “My Documents” location when attaching a document. Users then need to go through the confusing and time consuming steps of manually enter the SharePoint document library to attach those documents.
Here are some tips to help:
Attaching a document from my SharePoint document library to Outlook
- Compose your message as usual
- Click on “attach a file”
- Enter your SharePoint Site address and click enter
- Navigate to your location
Another option is to send the attachment from within the document
- Go to the “file” tab in the document you want to send
- Click on “share” select “email” and send as attachment
It is also worth mentioning the other options available from the “Share” option are to share from Office365 itself, convert to a PDF and send as attachment, or simply send a direct link. You can also invite people within your organization to share documents, and you can set edit or read only permissions.
Part 4 in this series will cover recruiting executive champions and planning the timing of your implementation. If you missed the previous posts you’ll find links at the top.
If you’ve missed any of our past webinars or posts on cloud document storage platforms or planning, you can find more resources here.
You can download a pdf (1.2MB) or share this entire series online here.