It’s Way Bigger than Site Columns and Shoes


Technologies can mean so much more to the business than being just another “thing” put in by IT. Adoption will drive the return on the investment (ROI) — and we’ll get a far greater ROI by engaging everyone than we would by keeping it hushed up in Systems. So  it’s up to us (in Systems, as the implementors) to promote adoption across the enterprise by creating excitement and demand for the platform.  

This is true of K2 blackpearl, of SharePoint 2013, and every other technology that will touch lives across the enterprise.

Key to adoption is helping everybody understand what the technology can do for them.

In SharePoint 2013, a couple of features that I think will have an enormous effect on adoption are Site Columns and Site Content Types.  (In he discussion that follows, I’m going to only focus on Site Columns.)

Imagine a list or object that someone might create on a SharePoint site made for Department A. Let’s say the person creating that list adds a column called “Shoes.” Now let’s say someone from Department B also creates a list on a SharePoint site made for that department, which also has a column called “Shoes.”

Enter the Search Service App. It would be pretty amazing, from a site collection perspective, to be able to have search understand that the “Shoes” column in Department A’s list is really the same thing as the “Shoes” column in Department B’s list.

Through Site Columns, we can do exactly that: we can create common columns that would be available for use by all departments. We can create a group of Site Columns that could be attached to all lists and libraries. (Site Content Types work the same way.)

Now every department would be able to use the “Shoes” Site Column as a refiner in reporting. The impact this could have could be extremely powerful – particularly when pulling data from all departments.

Yes, we could simply look at common reporting and compile a series of common terms to use at the outset. OR we can use the feature as one way to engage the departments, describe the goal, show them what the feature could mean, and then let them contribute terms to create a list collaboratively.

This way, each comes away with some feature knowledge — and hopefully, a little excitement, too — which increases the likelihood of successful adoption when the time comes.  “Rinse and repeat” with other features over time until we arrive at implementation — with an enterprise of engaged users.