Back and Back and Back and Back and Back to Basics

By Daniel Antion posted 08-20-2013 17:13

  

Last week, two members of my small team were preparing a short Introduction to SharePoint training session for a few of our engineers. In a few weeks, one of my team members will be working with Steve Weissmanof the Holly Groupto prepare a training series on ECM Fundamentals which will be bent heavily by the weight of SharePoint. Wait, haven’t we been down this road before? Didn’t we already conduct these, or at least similar training sessions? The answer is “Yes – what’s your point?

There are many reasons why these fundamental training sessions need to be refreshed, renewed or simply held again like the endless reruns of M*A*S*H on TV Land. I don’t know why you need to repeat the training you previously crossed off your goals as “completed” but here are a few of mine:

  • Just-in-Time Learning– People don’t pay all that much attention in a training class that has no immediate bearing on their current circumstances. When somebody’s job requires them to start managing documents (instead of simply saving them) they tend to develop an appetite for understanding what “management” means. By de-energizing our shared-folders, we have stirred-up a lot of interest in document management.
  • I know I know, but I Forgot – Hey, that’s fair. Chances are good that you have people in your organization that attended training, learned the fundamentals but didn’t apply them and now they don’t remember all of them, or they don’t remember them the way you taught them. That’s OK. These are most likely people who didn’t even need to learn them in the first place when you held those classes (see above) but they made the effort – that’s a good thing.
  • Things Change – I prepared and presented several of our “Introduction to SharePoint” courses when SharePoint was just moving from 2003 to 2007 – I have the slides that say “MOSS” to prove it. SharePoint changed. Our expectations have changed. Our (IT) capabilities have changed. Heck, I have staff members who care about the “user experience” now. In addition, we have tools like the Lightning Conductor Web Parts, HarePoint Workflow Extensions, Muhimbi PDF Converter, MetaVis Architect Suiteand Harmon.ieIn short, we can do things today that we couldn’t dream of doing 5 years ago, and that makes it easier to sell SharePoint as a solution today.
  • People Change – In the 6-7 years that we’ve been using SharePoint, numerous people have retired and slightly more than that amount have joined the company.  We are still small, but we are a different small than we were back then. We’ve also had a bit of a generational shift, and we’ve benefited from the consumerization of technology. People have less fear of technology today, they are more willing to try something new today and they are more likely to be able to relate what we can do in SharePoint with other things that they routinely do at home or on their phone.
  • More Power – Remember the Godzilla movies when the reactor operators were electrifying the net “more power…more power” OK, maybe it was Rodan and maybe I was the only kid watching those movies, but we do have more power today. Even without the add-on tools mentioned above, we can do more with SharePoint workflows today than we could when we were just learning what workflows did. Some of us have attended AIIM Training, and we have learned ways in which to better integrate Document Management into Business Processes and to use workflows to drive those document-centric processes.  We can extend the reach of these systems onto tablets and phones and onto the desktops of remote workers and we can do all of this reliably.

It’s time to reintroduce the concepts of ECM to the masses, as it were, and it’s time to tie those concepts to the reality of the SharePoint we have today. 1, 3, and likely 5 years from now, it will be time to do that all again. That’s good news for AIIM Training and for folks like Steve, and it’s good news for us (ECM practitioners) too!



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