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What exactly is SharePoint?

Written by Toonimo | Jul 27, 2017


SharePoint-TrainingSource: Microsoft


Describing SharePoint in a short summary is difficult because of the whole lot of features it hosts. In essence, SharePoint is an online platform that offers enterprise content management, document management, and can be used as an intranet. Typically SharePoint is used as a groupware platform as it allows group collaboration on documents, file sharing & hosting, access to enterprise content and applications, and much more.

The platform is available in server-form with SharePoint 2016 being the latest version or in online form in either a cloud-based version or bundled with Microsoft Office 365. Despite this, SharePoint 2013 seems to be the most used edition with the aging SharePoint 2010 coming in a close second. SharePoint is so ‘relevant’ that there are currently over 160 million users. Although like all great products, SharePoint also has its share of flaws.

SharePoint Flaws


Noticed how relevant was written in quotation marks? This is because although SharePoint is certainly relevant in today’s world of online platforms, it is not very popular with users. 58% of survey respondents in this AIMM Market Research claim that user adoption in SharePoint remains an issue due to poor or inadequate training and lack of management support. Because of SharePoint’s extensive support features, there is a steep learning curve to understanding and utilizing the product properly. Without proper training, SharePoint remains underutilized and a bad return on investment. In fact, the same research cited that 40% of organizations studied say that their implementation of SharePoint was unsuccessful due to poor user training (67%) and difficulty of use (65%).

Because of poor implementation and adoption, companies are struggling to use SharePoint to their maximum benefit. As mentioned previously, many companies are using outdated versions of SharePoint and a solid 29% aren’t even aware of what SharePoint 2016 offers. Not only this, but many companies also implement SharePoint as a separate platform, without integration to other repositories or applications. Again, as companies are not remaining updated on SharePoint, they are minimizing their investment. VP and Chief Analyst of AIMM Bob Larrivee said, “If people do not know what it [SharePoint] offers, they may be slow to adopt. Additionally, SharePoint implementations have seen stalls, delays, and even stops in projects due to user reluctance and resistance.” But not all hope is lost for users as companies are now looking to implement SharePoint better with outside assistance.

Implementation with Online Training Tools (Web-based Training Tools)


The number of enterprises that are using SharePoint slightly increase with every coming year and a select portion use it as their only ECM or DM system. The AIMM survey shows that 32 percent of the respondents indicated that they planned to increase spending on SharePoint third party add-on products. SharePoint add-on products, such as online training tools, can help companies further realize the platform and maximize their ROI. These tools, also known as “digital walkthrough software”, can replace traditional training methods or work alongside them by providing personalized web page guidance in the form of step-by-step walkthroughs.

Some Examples of Features Provided:


  • With the guidance of a Real Human Voice, users are easily onboarded through audio-visual walkthroughs that interactively guides users and can address them personally.

  • Visual Guidance is a powerful feature that helps explain and guide users or employees through a complex funnel with visual cues and CSS effects.

  • Step-by-Step Guidance not only guides the user by telling them what to do next but will also wait until the user completes that specific task in order to continue to the next step.

  • The Search Menu Widget grants users the ability to browse through different walkthroughs and select the walkthrough they want to initiate. The search menu can be divided into subsections for a large amount of walkthroughs.

  • The Reporting and Analytics Dashboard shows aggregated analytics for each individual training session and tracks conversion rates, number of conversions, bounce rate, time on page, CTR, completion rate, and more.

These solutions can provide many benefits to SharePoint users as for example, companies can create different walkthroughs to guide users to learn new features. Key differences in the various training tools are in the features they provide, such as adding a real human voice along with annotations. These tools not only encourage self-service and improve user engagement, but also reduce costs associated with traditional onboarding methods if replaced. These next generation of online training tools can easily be integrated with SharePoint to give access to users a plethora of on-demand, guided walkthroughs to properly teach and retain the software.

An example of Toonimo's innovative online training features working on Sharepoint:




Conclusion


Microsoft’s all-inclusive collaborative platform offers more features than one can count. While this has its obvious advantages, more features also require more adoption and training to properly be utilized. Microsoft’s own training & certification is known to be lackluster which is what leads to the confusion with SharePoint. In addition, other outside resources can be costly and ineffective. “Digital walkthrough software” can help reduce costs and increase user understanding by providing on-demand, guided walkthroughs that help teach the software without the need for any outside assistance.


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