It might come the day when the IT department decides to provide the SharePoint platform for other departments or parts of the company cause they found out that it is a good tool to work with. So many posts, articles, presentations have been written and kept but they all talked about governance, how to define processes, building teams for service, for helpdesk, for development, for doing all kind of stuff and let them work together (hopefully with SharePoint:-) ). That is something which is really useful and should be followed by IT departments and the business units. But i would like to share small things which can be done practically from the IT to bring up a good service for your endusers.
A Rollout out of SharePoint is a big step, it is important that the platform is available, stable and fast. But another important fact is, that the user needs trainings, the UI should be easy, the features should support the daily work, the processes should be supported and so on. That’ often closer to be a wish and not a fact. So i would like to share and collect some ideas on
- how to improve the UI
- how to improve the overview for users
- how to support the important features (using more metadata than folders)
- how to start with small steps
- how to make anything easier for starters
So if you have an idea please leave a comment.
A first idea is the topic about templates. Site templates or list templates can make it easier for the acceptance of your users. Not because you create new shiny list templates, but by the fact that SharePoint offers a wide range of lists which the user might not know for what to use. So you could offer him some simple easy to use templates and make the decision process much smaller. It’s similiar if you want to buy some candy: Look into your shop where you would buy it, and try to find a decision: You’ll realize that the choices are too many. So cut them down.
The same is for the site templates. There is a wide range of templates and nobody of the endusers know which to use when. Why not provide an easy site template? Your departments can come up with some ideas for improving the template or with ideas for new ones.
A site template defines the default values for a new site collection or a new subsite. You can define
- what features will be activated
- what lists and libraries will be instantiated
- how the default start page looks like
Why should this help? Well at first it won’t help. But you can configure your site template in order to provide some general information and links. So what do you think about providing
- a linklist with some internal help wikis, videos or faqs to start with SharePoint
- a linklist with often used links to intranet, or some other applications within your company
- a list with contacts to your internal IT Department or your User help desk
- A small instruction on what to do next (invite users, create lists or anything)
As you can see, there are a few things which can help your end users and which shows them: you’re not alone.
Ok, well, while you can create your own categories for site templates you cannot define custom categories for list templates. So i don’t know why but it would be really great if. But another option is to add a menu item template in your master page, so that at the site actions a new menu item appears to choose often used list templates or just your own list templates for your company. Of course you have to develop this page to select one of your custom list templates.
But the big question: what kind of list templates might be interesting for my company?
- document library with some extra columns or document sets, document ids by default
- all lists with predefined versioning, views, columns
- special lists you need in your company for reviewing project requests or vacation requests, etc.
Wether you need such list template depends on how your departments are working.
What else can be done in order to improve the work for endusers and of course for your internal IT?
- Provide a custom branding of your company style
- Make use of content types and content type hub
- provide face-2-face training and of course E-Learning. It could make sense to use blended learning which means to combine the face-2-face training with process based electronic learning nuggets. They should be integrated into the platform and therefore available at all working steps.
- Collect feedback to improve the platform
- Provide a shiny and easy search. Only if your customers find the relevant information quick and easily the user will return.
- Provide relevant information on your IT teamsite for your users and provide a site as reference – how could a internal site look like. Make examples what can be done with SharePoint.
- Delegate the control. If your departments define one of them as the site collection administrator, then provide him training to do things right with permissions. Give him a contact if he does not know what to do.
As you can see there are lots of ideas what can be relevant to a rollout and this list is still not ready yet. I will try to update it as soon as i can. But if you think i might forgot something, let me know it.
All posts about this topic you’ll find in this link.
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