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Perkins Eastman case study presented at the J. Boye Philadelphia 12 conference by Beth Baxendale.
Since our founding in 1981, Perkins Eastman has become a leading international architecture firm. As a knowledge-based firm of nearly 650 professionals in 13 offices worldwide, we rely heavily on our intranet to cultivate and share insights throughout our architectural practice.
We launched SharePoint in 2009, and like so many others we have struggled to get widespread user adoption of the new contributive online environment. Over the past year, taking our firm-wide Green Committee as a test group, we set out to make converts.
Our breakthrough moment was realizing that terminology, not technology, was what put users off. Making simple adjustments to our geeky technical language, adopting in its place vocabulary more friendly to the user group, helped them connect with their site. For the Green community—concerned with green design and environmentally sustainable architecture—what could be more appropriate than language that conveyed the organic nature of knowledge harvesting and sharing? No longer identified as end users, the group now sees themselves as developers of a profitable intellectual farm rather than the tenants of a restrictive information warehouse. SharePoint is no longer just another in a long line of applications with its own jargon to decipher; it is their acre of land in which to plant insights, lessons learned, and shared resources, yielding a bounty that can be harvested and shared by all.
With the language barrier cleared, the group has begun tilling, contributing openly to site development and planning. And some seeds are already going in the ground: they now exchange links, participate in forums, share documents and generally behave in a way that makes it clear this is finally their farm.
Want to really leverage the power of SharePoint? Know this: If they build it, they will come.