Why we hate SharePoint but tolerate Teams
“I hate SharePoint!” were the words on everyone’s lips. It became so common that I stopped telling people what I did when they asked in the pub or, if pressed, mutter something vaguely about working in IT. Fast forward five years, and it’s a completely different conversation. Most people have heard of Teams and are quite happy to discuss how it has helped them work over the past two years. This fundamental need is one of the main reasons people are much more tolerant of Teams than of SharePoint.
Failed SharePoint Projects
Not many people choose to use SharePoint, although those who do tend to embrace it a little too enthusiastically. Instead, SharePoint has been too frequently implemented by technology specialists without much consideration for the user community. The historical problem with SharePoint has been that it was too flexible, giving implementation teams too much scope to build overly complex solutions. This led to complaints of it being too difficult to upload documents or of finding them again in the future. This negative implementation experience was so common that many people would be starting new roles or projects with an already defeatist attitude towards Sharepoint. It was therefore doomed to fail from the start.
Will Teams ever go the same way as SharePoint? I don’t think so. Firstly, Microsoft has simplified the user experience of Office 365, reducing the need for configuration and moving SharePoint technologies into the background (e.g. Microsoft Lists, OneDrive, Files in Teams). The result is many people are now using SharePoint without realising it.
Secondly, users are far more reliant on Teams than they ever were with SharePoint. Microsoft Teams enabled people to work through the last two years of the pandemic, even though the role out for many shattered countless IT project rules. Teams has created a whole new way of working. This is from how we manage meetings, communicate with colleagues, or share information with third parties. What’s more, our reliance on Teams will continue indefinitely, as it will enable organisations to support hybrid working into the future.
People are more tolerant of problems they experience with Teams, often joking about audio problems. However, it is important not to become complacent about the level of adoption. For many, finding the right file in Teams can be difficult. There are also security risks associated with the growth of external collaboration. By using a mixture of technology, process and guidance, organisations should aspire to get users to love working in Teams rather than just tolerating it.