Vizit, maker of SharePoint collaboration and search tools, recently conducted a study: SharePoint Study: Insights into Content Use and Collaboration. There were 1100 participants who were responsible for SharePoint in their organizations. I thank my friend Marc Anderson for pointing it out. The key findings include the following.
Less than 50% of SharePoint content is actively used each month. Yet 41% of organizations store over 100,000 documents in SharePoint. At the same time many of these documents are not considered “corporate knowledge” as most organizations store 25% or less of this knowledge in SharePoint. Only 28% of SharePoint content is being authored or edited versus simply stored for reference.
Users are most often looking for specific content within a file and not an entire document. This makes the ability to access and share content via social tools critical for success. Over 60% of respondents said that users often email SharePoint files as attachments. Social tools would do a better job here and 71% say it is important to access SharePoint through social tools. However, few are offering this option as indicated below.
They also found that 31% of organizations have a social effort underway and 46% plan to deploy on with the next two years. Increased collaboration is a top goal for social initiatives and users frequently need to share content in social conversations. The majority of organizations deploying social initiatives use no success measures.
The key barriers to use include: lack of awareness that a document resides in SharePoint, search and navigation difficulties, and the time it takes to download and upload documents (see Overcoming the Potential Chaos in WAN SharePoint Deployments)
These findings are similar to other studies I have seen and make sense. It seems that SharePoint is often used as a dumping ground for documents of all types that are often not crucial to the organization. With the barriers to use mentioned above 41% of respondents said that content use is a disappointing number from an ROI perspective.
The study argues that to increase content use, administrators have to focus on these barriers they’ve identified—the first being simply making people aware that the content they need is in SharePoint. Administrators can use a combination of education and publicity. More importantly, they will need to change users habits so SharePoint becomes part of their work processes. However, only 21% of organizations currently integrate SharePoint into work processes. Much needs to be done here as this integration is critical for both SharePoint and for other social tools to provide real business value.
They also found that 45% of organizations will upgrade to SharePoint 2013 within a year and an additional 23% will do it within two years. The main goal of this deployment is to support collaboration and 65% of organization use SharePoint alone as their collaboration platform. The most widely used additional tools are Yammer at 19%, Newsgator at 10% and Jive at 4%. For those not planning to deployment SharePoint, lack of executive sponsorship and lack of perceived user demand are the top reasons.
This study shows that there is much work left to enable SharePoint to support the goal of the connected enterprise; the one that McKinsey has shown provides real value and predicts will provide even more value in the future if done right.