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Are SharePoint Customizations Ever Really Transparent to the User?

At SPConf 2013 I spent a lot of time speaking to SharePoint Partners and Managed Partners about the value, if any, for them in a method of training SharePoint users to implement customizations, new features, etc. What I heard, in response, over and over again, was “our solution is transparent to the user”. In other words, everything happens behind the scene, without user involvement.

As we demonstrate on our website, SharePoint-Videos.com, SharePoint has a very rich set of features and capabilities, each of which typically requires some technical presentation to the user, if it is to be implemented correctly. Our site offers in excess of 800 video tutorials on SharePoint 2007 – 2013.

Therefore, I would argue, SharePoint partners in the business of producing custom implementations for their customers, or special features designed to afford customers an opportunity to replicate other, potentially costly, functionality with SharePoint, will likely benefit from a method of training customers to extract the best value they can from the finished product.

Any of our sets of video tutorials can be exposed to SharePoint users directly from either a SharePoint 2010 or 2013 ribbon with our VisualSP help system. SharePoint Partners can also use this Help System to expose training assets across a wide range of file types (including videos, documents, images, slide decks, etc) directly to users within the SharePoint computing environment with our system.

Users also benefit from examples of how customizations have been implemented by their peers. So our system can also be used, successfully, to provide users with examples of how to implement custom features, across a broad range of SharePoint activities. We ship our help system with a set of Scopes and offer users the option of adding custom scopes. This custom scope feature can be used to add the method of implementing custom features directly to our system.

I’m open for conversations on this topic. If you also feel “user transparency” is a questionable topic, please let me know.

Ira Michael Blonder

© Rehmani Consulting, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved