SharePoint: the importance of metadata for the adoption
This good paper investigates the large-scale diffusion of SharePoint within a huge company (30,000 emloyees around the world, in the Oil business).
This company implemented SharePoint 1.1 in the end of 2004, “in order to overcome the problems associated with Lotus Notes” (no central indexing, various storage place, etc.).
The structure was based on simple document libraries and pre-defined Team sites, associated with a corporate-wide search engine, an archive system and MS Exchange.
Project leaders asked employees to fill metadata for each document, with the help of a controlled vocabulary (built on the Dublin Core).
Here below major findings:
- Attractiveness of large-scale technologies depends on integration within other existing technologies
- Diffusion of large-scale technology is not determined by gaining a critical mass of users but rather by the continual improvement of the technology by adding and improving individual components
- Diffusion is not accomplished by a single centralized IT department but requires a rather more distributed effort
- A similar technology can produce different outcomes within a same organization: different departments did not adopt SharePoint on the same way
- When users are not involved in the process of defining metadata values, dissatisfaction is higher and efficiency can be very low (people can not retrieve their information with imappropriate metadata)
The author concludes: “Technology does not diffuse as a whole: instead multiple components are continually modified and subsequently appropriated in a variety of ways. SharePoint, then, is not rigid and unchangeable technology, on the contrary, it is rather flexible and offers a spectrum of various configurations“.
Jarulaitis, Gasparas. The uneven diffusion of collaborative technology in a large organization. Human Benefit through the Diffusion of Information Systems Design Science Research (IFIP WG 8.2/8.6 International Working Conference, Perth, Australia, March 30 – April 1, 2010. Proceedings). pp. 209-224