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Leading Your SharePoint Customers To Water, *and* Teaching Them How To Drink

  1. 1 Leading Your SharePoint Customers To Water… *and* Teaching Them How To Drink Thomas Duff (aka “Duffbert”) October 21, 2015 Portland SharePoint User Group
  2. 2 • 35+ years in IT, 20 years working with collaborative application development • Works for a large health insurance company with locations in Oregon, Idaho, Washington and Utah • Specialize in SharePoint development and business analysis • Speaker, writer, blogger Who Am I?
  3. 3 Pretty much anyone who works with SharePoint and deals with a customer base that never stops asking this basic question… “How do I learn SharePoint? I need help!” Who Are You?
  4. 4 What We’ll Cover •Where We Started •Internal SharePoint User Group meetings •Spark University •Spark Connect •SparkOne •What’s Next
  5. 5 Where We Started •Migrated from Notes to Exchange in 2009 •SharePoint installed as our company intranet Call it anything but SharePoint
  6. 6 Spark and Governance •Navigation aligned with divisions/departments •Communications owned Spark and managed the site owners •We had the makings of a governance group •Organizational Development provided training for SharePoint Life was relatively good…
  7. 7 Things Begin to Change •Site owners changed jobs, left the company, or handed over responsibilities to others •Budgets and reorganizations changed. Organizational Development… no more training •Communications had cutbacks •Governance started to fade into the background… important but not urgent (More on governance later…) But nothing lasts forever...
  8. 8 Meanwhile, Back On The SharePoint Team •Desperately trying to keep the platform up and running •Team of 4 people for 7,000 SharePoint users •No one has time for end user training or budget •Productivity Hub… not so hot Thus, the age-old question…
  9. 9 “How do I learn SharePoint? I need help!”
  10. 10 A Significant Change in 2013 A change in staffing led to a new lead for our team… • Sandra Mahan • Move from HR Power User to SharePoint Team Lead • Excellent reputation in the business area • Great customer service skills and the ability to train others Our team finally started to gel, and we started looking at important things… like training our customers!
  11. 11 Internal SharePoint User Group Meetings •Once a month •Lync dial-in meeting •200 on our DL list, ~75 on each call •Agenda: • Strategic Communications Updates • SharePoint team Updates • 20-40 minute presentation on a SharePoint topic… lists, views, forms, workflows, etc. One of us presents, the other monitors the chat window for questions/comments
  12. 12 Internal SharePoint User Group Meetings The presentation part is recorded and stored on our SPUG team site, as are the slides and notes
  13. 13 Why Does This Work? •We’ve made it a priority •We keep things lively and humorous •We’re able to play off of each other in terms of leading questions or letting the other person interject points •The SharePoint team becomes more accessible and gives us a “face” to the business •It’s OK to say “we don’t know… we’ll get back to you” •Also a great way to tell others about things like SPS, SPBiz, and other free training opportunities
  14. 14 But Wait… There’s More! •The User Group was our primary mode of “training” others (aside from one-on-one calls with business customers) •While it is effective, it doesn’t address the “I need help now on topic X” need •2-4 SharePoint support people don’t scale well to 5000+ employees We still heard a lot of… “How do I learn SharePoint? I need help!”
  15. 15 Cocktails Because no good story ever started with eating a salad…
  16. 16 Airplanes (and cocktails) Because there’s nothing else to do for hours except to think…
  17. 17 “I have a great idea I need to tell you before I forget it!”
  18. 18 Spark University •Let’s create our own training videos… •An hour video for users, and an hour video for site owners! •An hour is too long… let’s do six to eight videos that run 15 to 20 minutes long! •That’s too long… Let’s do videos that are three to seven minutes, focused on a specific topic or feature! Any questions we get can become a Spark University video!
  19. 19 Spark University
  20. 20 Spark University •The main appeal – videos •Glossary of terms •Guided Learning Paths •Links to suggest new videos and glossary terms •Book downloads
  21. 21 Spark University •Use SnagIt to record the video •Add our branded lead-in header and exit trailer •Even got a “professional voice” for them
  22. 22 Spark University Various ways to view and categorize the videos
  23. 23 Spark University Various ways to view and categorize the videos
  24. 24 Spark University Glossary of Terms
  25. 25 Spark University
  26. 26 Spark University
  27. 27 Spark University
  28. 28 Spark University •Results – VERY well received by staff and management •Some people are in the habit of checking SparkU first before calling us •Our help desk will often create Knowledgebase entries in Remedy and link to our videos
  29. 29 Spark Connect Conferences and Hotel Pubs Because great ideas show up when you’re having fun!
  30. 30 Spark Connect •“Open Office Hour” •Lync call-in meeting every two weeks •25 – 35 people attend •No agenda, no restrictions… you ask, we help. When people call us for help, we try to get them to wait until Spark Connect if we can.
  31. 31 Spark Connect •Send reminders for every meeting •Come prepared with a few “pre-canned” topics in case everyone is in a “listen-only” mode •We use the Lync chat windows to queue up questions, but people can speak up too •The interaction between Sandra and I, as well as us and the attendees is critical here •Our “no live demos” motto goes by the wayside here… and yes, things fail and we screw up!
  32. 32 Spark Connect
  33. 33 Because I did do some cool things in Notes!
  34. 34 SparkOne •Tips and tricks for SharePoint, Outlook, and Office products •Target publishing twice a week •Uses the SharePoint blog template, and we publish via OneNote & Word •The goal is to provide a tip or trick that someone can read and try out in a minute or less… •Currently we have over 500 people signed up to receive the newsletter
  35. 35 SparkOne Kudos Great tip!! Thank you! Love your tips!
  36. 36 SparkOne Post to Blog from Word
  37. 37 SparkOne Build content in OneNote, then “Send to Blog”
  38. 38 SparkOne Launches Word and you can set categories and publish
  39. 39 SparkOne Appearance in SharePoint for the SparkOne blog site.
  40. 40 SparkOne SharePoint Designer workflow sends out the tip to everyone on the SparkOne distribution list
  41. 41 SparkOne
  42. 42 What Else? •We held a “Biggest Loser” contest •Goal was to get people to remove obsolete and outdated information and sites •Fits into our governance plans •Makes search more relevant (remove clutter) •Will help our migration in 2016 •We plan on running this again at the end of this year, possibly with a “Hoarders” theme
  43. 43 What’s Next? •Improve our governance Definitely… •Discussion Forum? Probably not… •Yammer Groups? Possibly…
  44. 44 Summing it up… • Training your customer base is important, but there’s no “one size fits all” • It’s possible to put together customer training that doesn’t require a full-time commitment • You can also have a lot of fun with it – for Sandra and I, it’s the excitement and joy of sharing what we know with others? What do *you* do for training, or has this inspired any ideas for your efforts?
  45. 45 Questions or comments? How to reach me: • Email: • Twitter: @duffbert • Blog: Thanks for your time!