Last month at the Association of Internal Management Consultants Conference, I had the opportunity to speak with people whose companies have implemented SharePoint, and they all had a similar issue… now that they have SharePoint, they’re not quite sure what to do with it. Common complaints were that it was “thrown over the fence” and acts as “not much more than a glorified, expensive share drive.” In many cases, the dictate to implement SharePoint seemed to take precedence over a thoughtful rollout that matches need with solution. This situation is ripe for a change management disaster… no clear “what’s in it for me,” insufficient stakeholder engagement to understand how best to apply this powerful tool, and little anticipation of how processes and behaviors need to change. The result is an expensive rollout that limps along for months, and a reputation for being another system that never quite lived up to expectations.

Of course there’s no quick fix, but applying sound change leadership principles is a must. Projects I’ve seen work well have a defined scope, a clear and compelling business case for change, and a sponsor who understands that he or she must commit resources to stakeholder engagement… in all phases of the effort. Sponsors who lead the change through reinforcement and holding the organization accountable have a much greater chance to succeed. And a few successes can turn the “push” of a corporate mandate into the “pull” of business demand, broader and faster adoption, and realized value.