In this set of blog posts on VisualSP™ it makes sense to discuss the value of equipping SharePoint 2010 support teams with in-context access to technical training content on industry best practices as well as the organization-specific training content on governance, and specific technical procedures, generally required when SharePoint has been successfully implemented.
We have first hand familiarity with support procedures that call for support personnel and users to either share a desktop, or to configure the same view of computer procedures. This type of support procedure, when an in-context help system like ours is in place, can provide a highly valuable opportunity for users to learn how to use training content correctly, meaning, directly within a task-specific context like building a list, or a document library in SharePoint. We think that users benefit substantially not only from training content, but, more, from the actual process of how to successfully apply task-specific training content directly within a computing context like SharePoint 2010.
Further, equipping SharePoint 2010 with a help system that includes all of the approved training content that an enterprise organization has certified, ensures that the correct procedures are communicated by support personnel, as required. In other words, a help system provides a very important uniformity to a technical support function. Management can have greater confidence that certified procedures are actual communicated, implemented and supported when the same training content is utilized by all support personnel. This uniformity can be achieved by mandating how a help system like ours is to be implemented as needs arise for support.
Once remedial procedures, and even implementation methods, themselves, are rendered uniform then management can safely assume that assumptions about how SharePoint is to be implemented and used will, in fact, be followed. Further, uniformity can provide the basis for the collection of meaningful metrics about support; for example, the frequency at which particular pieces of training content are accessed by support personnel, vs. the same level of frequency for users, themselves.
Of course, collecting meaningful metrics about support procedures can support decisions about the adequacy of support personnel, the real utility of SharePoint features, and, finally, the capacity of users within a specific organization to grasp higher level techniques and support themselves. Of course, each of these results can be indicative of actual costs, which, of course, should be an essential component of calculating the true value of SharePoint for an organization. Therefore, it should be apparent that an in-context help system for SharePoint may make sense for a wide range of organizations.
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