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After 13 years…Why do End Users Still Struggle with SharePoint?

Clark Buckner talks with Asif Rehmani to discuss a bit more about why people still struggle w/ understanding the SharePoint software since its inception in 2001.

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Listen to Full Interview

Rehmani explains that 13 years have passed since this product was first introduced, and even with the lack of adoption from end users…SharePoint still thrives. Why?  1. It’s a great platform that users can do so much with.  2. there’s nothing else like this in the world.

Why do End Users Struggle?

  • SharePoint is different that anything else Microsoft has introduced
  • it has a different interface (so it’s not intuitive)
  • it requires some understanding of navigation & processes

Once users get it, SharePoint will likely make their job easier and allow them to be more productive.
It’s the initial understanding that becomes the hurdle…once organizations can get the user to the next level of understanding, they can start really using it more effectively.

Overcoming that hurdle requires training. Asif & Clark discuss a bit about how training has evolved in the last 13 years.

How to Effectively Train
An important consideration, Rehmani explains, is the the end users are not SharePoint experts. They have their own “regular” job (i.e. dentist, para legal, etc.)
End users use SharePoint just as they would use Word, Excel, etc. It takes getting used to.  And, just like excel (i.e. learning how to use macros, pivot tables, and other advanced features) – users have to take initiative to learn “more”.

Trying to show end users how SharePoint works from beginning to end, does NOT work
The users will forget what they learned! What users tend to do instead is they “search” for help when they need it without overwhelming them with too much information!

What SPVideos has done is try to understand what end users need while they are working within each different areas of SharePoint. The next step was to provide support.
– SPVideos started out by offering short SharePoint training videos on the website, giving end users access to quick tutorials on the specific subject they are struggling with.
– Now there is also a solution which attaches directly w/in the environment that users working in. They don’t need to step-out of SharePoint to get the info they need.
This solution (called VisualSP) manifests as a help tab w/in the SharePoint ribbon. For example, if an end user is creating a document and is having trouble sharing that document, they will find a short video (or tip sheet) right there in the help tab of the ribbon.
The goal is to make them feel empowered…to have them say “i can do this” – rather than feeling frustrated when they can’t find the help they need.

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Learn More about the Different Versions of VisualSP


Thursday, Sept. 4th, 2014

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The Interview was conducted by Clark Buckner from TechnologyAdvice (they provide coverage content on loyalty management for businesses, business intelligence tools, gamification trends and much more). Also be sure to check out their Tech Conferences Calendar.
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Conquer the Chaos of SharePoint End User Support

It seems to be a common concern for SharePoint architects, managers and administrators–or any of the people who are constantly encouraging end users to actually USE the features available in SharePoint. After all, the organization has invested a good deal of money into SharePoint. The expectation is that SharePoint is widely used across the company. However, this isn’t always the case.

SharePoint adoption is something many companies struggle with. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with SharePoint…in fact, their are so many features and capabilities within SharePoint that people just are not even aware of. The problem is people’s lack of knowledge and understanding in how to use these features. And when this is wide-spread throughout the company, that results in “chaos”. What happens next is that your SharePoint support team is bogged down with so many requests, that they aren’t able to actually “do” much more than respond to support calls. Not only that, but they often answer the same questions over-and-over again…leading to frustrated support team members.

Furthermore, end users also get frustrated. If they encounter a problem and don’t have the know-how, they contact the support team. what’s worse is when the support team is too busy to answer…then what do they do, they move on. They find a different way to solve the problem which may often be an alternative to using SharePoint. This is exactly what management does NOT want to happen.

So, is there a solution to this?  Isn’t there a way to lighten the load of the support team by giving them a way to share support documents so that “Help” is accessible right there on end users’ desks?

Is there actually a way to conquer the chaos of end user support?

Last month, we hosted a Free Webinar presented by Asif Rehmani, SharePoint MVP, Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT), Consultant, book author…and “SharePoint Guy”.

The goal of the webinar was to provide some insight into this dilemma.

If you missed the webinar, no worries…it’s available for you to view HERE

Webinar Overview:

Wouldn’t you love to provide users the support they need when and where they need it? Stop the repetitive explanations by giving users the Help they need in-context and on-demand. We talk about the strategies needed to cut down on the support phone calls and emails freeing you to really build powerful solutions in SharePoint instead of just being the SharePoint help desk.

One solution we talk about in our webinar is VisualSPTM SharePoint Help System –  in-context and on-demand support for end users provided through the  SharePoint ribbon.  With VisualSP, you can empower end users by giving them HELP when and where they need it most. No more waiting for responses from support teams. In fact, you’ll hopefully cut down on support requests all together. This should result in more confident end users, and happier support team members.


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Train SharePoint Users within SharePoint sites

Training SharePoint Users within SharePoint sites

In my many years of training people, I realize that it’s much easier for users (especially end users, but others as well) to consume training when they are already within a familiar environment. SharePoint has become that familiar environment for many knowledge workers around the world now so why not provide the training they need directly within that environment.

Content of Training

Any training content that can be packaged up in video tutorials, documents and reference images can be served to users within a SharePoint site that they frequently visit. Example of these subjects areas are:

  • Onboarding new employees
  • Safety and regulation requirements
  • Vendor management process
  • Call center operation procedures
  • Branding guidelines

The above are just a few of many processes that companies often wish to train users in.


How do you expose the same training modules to your marketing department folks that the human resources department is using?

That’s a common problem. If you just simply copy and paste the links to resources, it’s not dynamic anymore. What if the main list of resources change? Now your lists are not dynamic anymore. Not cool.


How about having all variety of your training content defined in one location farm-wide and then just simply dropping a web part on a page where you wish to see some particular content?

So for example, you define the metadata for each piece of training content (title, description, location to where it’s located, etc.) all in one central location grouped by the type of training it is: Onboarding, Vendor Management, Branding, and so on. Now, when a site collection administrator or even a site owner wants to show any of these training modules, they can do so on any of the pages they want by simply inserting a web part on that page and defining one parameter which tells it which type of training to show. Just by doing that, the web part will now show the dynamic links to the relevant training content. Something like the following image shows –

This feature is part of the VisualSPTM Help System. The VisualSPTM web part can be placed on any page to accomplish this goal. All content is live and changes to it can be controlled at the farm, web application and site collection level as needed.

Check out the following short video to see what I mean.



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