In a new series of articles, I am going to explain a Social Computing Deployment Process. As the roll out of SharePoint My Sites and social computing tools progresses, a certain maturity needs to happen for the business and end user community to realize the benefits of social computing within the enterprise. This Social Computing Deployment Process includes the following phases:
- Rollout Phase
- Connection & Discovery Phase
- Business User Productivity Phase
- Product Innovation Phase
In this article, I will walk you through a potential rollout phase for moving an organization to a more social SharePoint.
Setting Goals for the Rollout
The project team, application owner and necessary stakeholders need to set the goals for the roll out of social computing within their enterprise. Goals for the rollout might include:
- Improved collaboration amongst project team members through microblogs, meeting workspaces and document workspace sites.
- Identification of technical and business subject matter expertise within an organization
- Creation of document workflows to route documents for approval.
- Provide corporate user with a single location to manage their documents and identity across an organization.
You should establish goals for the rollout in the early stages of the project
Employee awareness of a major deployment like My Sites is an important element in the maturity model. Raising employee awareness about social computing inside the enterprise and SharePoint My Site features takes place at each stage of the deployment.
Raising employee awareness can include:
- Brownbag lunches about My Sites and social computing
- Coverage of the deployment progress at management and team meetings
- Articles on the corporate intranet about the deployment and its benefits to the business and its employees
- Update emails sent corporate wide to raise awareness of the project, its goals, and the benefits it will offer the organization
The training delivery in this phase focuses of the features of My Sites and social computing in general. This initial training plays a key role in introducing the technology benefits of My Sites and how social computing can improve business process and the current working roles of the class participants.
Establishing the Core User Base
Establishing a core user base for My Sites should take place at an early stage of the project. Good candidates are project teams or small departments where the deployment team can launch My Sites and work with the end users.
This core user base can be invaluable to the deployment because they can become the best internal sales people for the technology and the ensuing changes and new options for communications and business processes
Establishing the core user base for My Site in this initial phase of the process enables you to use the user base’s adoption of My Site to:
- Demonstrate Success: When the core user base can demonstrate success with My Site in their business operations, the word always gets out to other teams and departments within the organization. Success can also mean taking away pain points and frustration that moving to My Site helped to resolve.
- Encourage Adoption: With any new technology deployment, not every member of the end user community is going to get onboard with it initially. Starting off with a core user base versus an all at once roll out to the entire enterprise
- Pilot Training Materials and Documentation. The core user base can serve as pilot testers for your training material and other user documentation prior to the full rollout.[WK1]
Microblogs are a great complement to SharePoint My Site because they help users to move internal communications out of their Outlook inboxes to collaboration via micro blogging.
Our deployment process includes capturing and reporting metrics back at each phase Metrics to capture in this phase include:
- User Profile Creation
- Searches against Profiles
- People Search as a referrer to My Sites
- User to user dialog (Microblogging activity)
- Total number of colleagues per user
- Employees Trained
Change activities at this stage of the process include both initial social computing and My Site Training to the core user base and other interested staff. An initial survey for end user feedback about the deployment and My Sites also takes place during this phase.
Social Computing Training
Social computing training at this phase serves as an introduction to social computing inside the corporate enterprise with a focus on using My Sites to collaborate with their team members, department, and other colleagues across the corporation.
The training includes a presentation slide deck and student course materials for attendees. Alternatively, depending on an organization’s requirements, the training can take place online via their existing online training platform.
My Site Training
My Site Training at this phase should cover what end users need to know to get online initially with My Site including the following features:
- Create Profile
- Add Photo
- Change Profile
- Add Colleagues
- Dialog with Colleagues
This hands-on training includes a presentation slide deck and student course materials for attendees. Alternatively, depending on an organization’s requirements, the training can take place online via their existing online training platform.
The 4 phases of the maturity model use surveys as a feedback loop from the end users to the project team. At this phase, our survey captures the following:
- Ease of use
- Value of training
- Usage stats
Go Live Communications Plan
The Go Live Communications Plan in the Rollout Phase encompasses communications to both the corporate leadership and employees. The communications plan communicates both the technology and business changes that are due to happen inside the organization with the launch of My Sites and social computing.
Documentation Made Available
Documentation is made available during this phase through an internal SharePoint site accessible to the project stakeholders and the organization’s end users.
Enter the Connection & Discovery Phase
At the conclusion of the Rollout Phase, it is time to enter the Connection & Discovery Phase where the My Site deployment takes a step forward in complexity and reach across the corporate enterprise.