Remember – They Have a Day Job

By Daniel Antion posted 09-28-2010 09:18


Today’s title is the most important bit of advice I can give you to consider about your users when deploying SharePoint. Seriously, your job is SharePoint, or something that caused you to select SharePoint as a solution, but their job is accounts payable, or engineering, or human resources, or… well, you get the point. Although I complained last week that out-of-the-box SharePoint isn’t intuitive, it can be configured to provide an intuitive solution. However, extending my title just a little bit more, you need to remember that “that is your job!”

One of the easiest ways to make SharePoint feel like the right solution to your end users is to take advantage of something I have blogged about on several occasions on my other SharePoint blog – proximity. If you look at your users’ desks, you will see that they have organized them to keep the things they use most often within easy reach; SharePoint needs to be set up the same way. I spent half an hour with one of our customers today and during that time, I had a chance to really learn about how his organization uses the resources we have for them on our Internet facing SharePoint server. I changed his current site to match the structure we are planning to roll out with SharePoint 2010. He was amazed! First, he was amazed at how quickly SharePoint can be modified. I take that for granted, but he uses several other “information repository” products and he told me stories about requests sitting in a queue forever. After he was convinced that he could find the documents we had uploaded for him he started telling me how he uses them. When he told me that he often has to provide copies of our policies to auditors, I showed him the add-on feature we have that lets you attach one or more documents to an email. When he told me that people frequently ask him for contact information within our company, I pointed to the “Your Account Team” Web part matching our employees to his insured locations.

The other resource his staff uses is the technical document libraries that we have for all our customers. When I showed him how he will be able to access these, from his personal site, or from the main page, he welcomed the change. I had given him one-stop shopping instead of a series of links and quick launch options. Keep in mind, I didn’t add any new content, I simply moved his content closer to his landing point. During our discussion, several other customers gathered around my laptop, and all of them added their approval. The consensus opinion seemed to be that I was now poised to make their job easier. It doesn’t get any better than that.

#sharepoint #SharePoint #Structure #organization #proximity #design