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Structure SharePoint Capabilities to Provide Users with a Platform they can Adopt

SharePoint, one can argue, falls into the category of a feature-rich office automation computing platform. Perhaps feature-rich is an understatement when one considers the panoramic range of functionality SharePoint is capable of supporting. But this expansive range of capabilities can, and often does run counter to stakeholder efforts to hasten user adoption, and with good reason. The following example should provide some of the rationale behind this conclusion:

We recently had a series of conversations with one of our customers, a non profit organization with a group annual subscription to all of the content on SharePoint-Videos. Our customer expressed an interest in limiting the exposure of training content on “higher level” SharePoint functionality (SharePoint Designer, SharePoint Administration, even Workflows) to personnel using the group subscription. Their help desk had experienced a higher level of support requests from SharePoint users looking to learn more about how to use these tools to accomplish work in SharePoint. But these users are not authorized to undertake the work, and, therefore, both the user’s time, and the comparatively scant time of the support team expended in a discussion about these procedures amounted to a complete loss.

Our customer had, in fact, successfully implemented a highly structured iteration of SharePoint, but the very rich set of training content we offer, exclusively on SharePoint, on SharePoint-Videos opened up too much opportunity for end users to explore the boundaries of the structure, and beyond.

We ended up recommending our customer acquire a set of training content for local exposure on premises, namely our VisualSP Help System, which includes content appropriate for our client’s community of SharePoint users, and an in-context method of exposing it to users within their SharePoint computing environment.

Two of the broad benefits of this solution are worth a comment: 1) By implementing training content locally, an opportunity exists to provide users not only with simply the training content they need to be successful with tasks at hand, but also in-context, meaning within the SharePoint work space and 2) the demands on user support will migrate up to the type of “break/fix” call, and away from the “how to” call, which produced the time drain, and higher support costs in the first place.

Our customer did express an interest in retaining their Group Subscription, which offers precisely the rich set of training content their SharePoint Administrators, developers, designers and architects require.

Ira Michael Blonder

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