Your SharePoint intranet adoption success is 67% dependent on these 5 key phases

Summary: Intranet adoption is a continuous activity which starts it’s roots in change management, continuing beyond the launch day. This is a 2 part post, where we’ll take a look at 5 key phases and details to help you organize a successful intranet launch and build continuous intranet adoption.

For a successful SharePoint intranet launch and adoption, always include change management and engagement planning along with your design and launch activities.

Over the years of launching intranets, we’ve identified the following 5 phases as key to a successful intranet introduction:

Let’s take a look at the details of each; Since there is a lot of ideas and some may not apply in your scenario, feel free to cherry pick what sounds like a good fit for your organization’s culture and scale.

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Identify Change Resistance

This phase is one of the earliest on a launch timeline and often forgotten as intranet managers get caught up in an array of other exciting activities.

Most people dislike change, it’s the fear of unfamiliar and unknown. It’s in our human nature. Introducing new intranet is a change and you will have to deal with resistance, early on and later. Identifying resistance early on give you time to address it.

Here are the things you can do:

  • Understand Resistance

    • Identify groups or key influencers within the organizations who raise concerns

    • What are the common themes or concerns they’re raising. Most resistance is due to specific and legitimate concerns the group has.

      • It could be:

        • Lack of time to transition or the amount of perceived work required to move data

        • Data quality

        • Lack of training or experience

        • Past failures and the fear of the regret factor

    • Solicit ideas and build engagement around solving their concerns

      • Book a brainstorming session. In this post we illustrated how a brainstorming exercise can be used to plan move from fileshare to SharePoint. It’s a quick activity and builds a lot of engagement

  • Define Roadmap

    • Gather proposed solutions, plot them on a map, see what brings the most value to the business and what is the most feasible.

    • Focus on business value. We have an exercise around brainstorming and plotting proposed ideas and determining their feasibility. It only takes an hour to get a pretty good visual on what should be the next key targets

  • Gather Support

    • Convert key influencers who are concerned about the change. If you involve them in your design and empathize with their concerns, your initial resistance group will turn into supporters and champions, content authors, SME’s

    • Keep these individuals in a close loop as they will become pivotal in future phases

Plan Communication

You’ve got your back covered knowing what are the resistance issues and possible solutions, now it’s time to plan communication with the rest of the organization.

  • Build Awareness

    • Create an internal press release “new intranet is coming“. Why does your intranet exist, how do you navigate it on a high level, what’s the name of your new intranet. In a next post we’re talk about how you can use Intranet Naming Contest to build excitement and engagement.

    • Loop in your key contributors in a soft launch communication loop

    • Start building a contributor community

  • Build Engagement

    • Organize moderated Intranet Naming Contest

    • Communicate the timeline and major project updates

    • Involve content authors and champions in key activities such as launch day activities

  • Prepare for Launch

    • Plan activities for the launch day

    • Prepare a postcard teaser

      • Intranet Logo or Name

      • URL to navigate on the launch day

      • Login instructions

      • Helpdesk contact

    • Prepare launch info sessions and plan the initial overview sessions

    • Prepare 2 or 3 min launch video

      Here is a simple example of the intranet launch video. And don’t forget the humor is the best ice breaker!

    • Update key sections of the site, for example directory should have people profiles and department fields assigned if you’re using those to find people on a day of the launch

Plan Overview Training

From the timeline perspective, training is something you can start along with the communication planning depending on the effort involved.

Among many other activities such as preparing your training manuals and support, don’t forget the aspect of the overview training.

Here are the key activities to remember:

  • Create Standardized Content Templates

    • Identify what are key page templates and how to use them so that content authors are aware how to author content

  • Training references

    • We recommend One Pager Sheets for the most common tasks such as: log in, search for a project, search for a form, report a problem etc. For authors, those could be template names, how to edit pages, choosing a standard font etc

  • Peer support

    • Plan how to involve your champions in peer support and how they can escalate if more help is required

Continue Reading ->

Be sure to check out the next post in the series focusing on the intranet Launch and Building Engagement and further adoption.


As you read through this extensive list, remember that some of the activities are ongoing and don’t need to happen all at once! This guide gives you a summary of some of the best intranet launches looked like and feel free to tailor the activities to the culture and scale of your organization

Have a comment, we’d love to hear more!

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Yaroslav Pentsarskyy is the founder of OrigamiConnect, a rapidly growing service and product offering which enables organizations to get an intranet designed for them without starting from a blank page. He's also 8 time Microsoft MVP, speaker at many local and worldwide tech events, and a published author of several SharePoint related books.