Increase intranet adoption by gamifying SharePoint!


Every time MRS works with a client to build out a new intranet, we spend a lot of time talking about adoption.

“If you build it, they will come” will never be said by an IT Manager. Enterprise software – and especially social software like an employee portal – requires a few different dynamics to drive adoption and usage. Beyond executive sponsorship and including users in the solution design process, there are tricks that can be done within the software itself to make it more fun to investigate. I’m talking about gamification. Gamification is all the rage these days; even Apple is using gamification to teach kids (and curious adults!) how to code with games on the iPhone and iPad.

I can give an example of how MRS has used these principles in our solutions.

One client had created a SharePoint intranet on the 2007 version years ago, and set up simple profiles and document sharing sites. After a short time, the only people using it were the IT employees who created it in the first place. The IT team was unhappy because they spent a lot of time, budget and effort to build a system that they believed could be useful. For the new intranet, they were determined to find creative ways to ensure adoption.

Our solution was to build a “scavenger hunt” within the system itself. Clues would give the user an idea of what it would take to progress, beginning with the very simple first one, “click five links”. The purpose isn’t just to have people on the intranet – the purpose is to have them explore the system and find out all the different functionality. We wanted to show them what the system could do and where they needed to go to do it. Progressively the clues get more subtle and the tasks more difficult, as we take the employee from a novice at navigating the intranet and using SharePoint to an active user of the system.

Hopefully, by the time they get to the end of the clues, they can navigate the portal fluidly and understand how it works. After working through the clues, our client supplied employees who reached the “treasure” with an internal reward.