SharePoint has evolved dramatically over the last decade. This entry looks at ways the platform and our approaches to it have developed over time. Perhaps more pressing than any other question, however, is whether or not you have fully evolved in your own approach to SharePoint.
An Incredibly Brief History of SharePoint
When SharePoint 2010 was released, it did more than improve the design. It enabled and empowered employees at all levels by providing business connectivity services, improve business intelligence, and improved automation throughout the workflow process.
Then, with SharePoint 2013, we saw dramatic improvement in the social offerings. The ability to collectively store, source, and share information resources within the content management system allows SharePoint to work as the spine of your enterprise social efforts.
Where Did You Get Stuck?
SharePoint expert Marc Anderson, in a November presentation at the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) conference, showed some of his research into how users were adopting the various functionalities of the platform. Even amongst users who were fully upgraded to SharePoint 2013 or SharePoint Online, there were notable omissions in the types of tasks completed.
Veteran users were more comfortable customizing the interface, training users on the platform, improving the infrastructure, and gaining improved insights on their business operations. However, these same veterans were less likely than new users to take advantage of internal applications and search features.
The research didn't merely point to a group of "dinosaurs" who failed to adopt the new bells and whistles. In all groups, limited use of new collaborative options, social features, and advanced integrations shows a saddening trend. Many stop their evolutionary journey short of its maximum potential when it comes to the use of SharePoint.
Anderson jokingly talked about the stages of SharePoint acceptance, likening them to the stages of grief. For many, there are stages of denial and frustration as it becomes more clear that the out-of-the-gate version of SharePoint will not magically do everything for you. This eventually becomes an acceptance of the effort required to take advantage of the tool. Indeed, such effort is vital for a full SharePoint evolution.
So where are you stuck? How expansively do you use the various resources that SharePoint has to offer? And how can we at SharePoint Engine help?
Looking for Sharepoint Consultant. We are here ready to help you!
Well, let's not beat around the issue: Hiring SharePoint consultants comes with a cost. Yes, companies like SharePoint Engine do provide a free consultation that can be of significant value on its own. However, most initial consultations can do little more than review your current strategy and point you in the general direction of improvement.
Why bother with a SharePoint consultant? In many ways, working with a certified expert in the field of enterprise content management is the same as working with a personal trainer as you try to improve your overall health. While it's true that consultants won't be "working out for you," they have three other major purposes: First, to educate you on the best areas and strategies for improvement; second, to make sure you don't injure yourself unintentionally while trying to improve matters; and third, to keep you on target.
Your content management system, workflows, business intelligence, and system security are vital—but they're not urgent. It's easy to be swept into new tasks while dismissing any potential work on SharePoint as a less crucial task. Eventually, you reach a point where you've left the system unattended for months or even years. This opens potential security gaps and, when given an honest analysis, drains a great deal of potential earnings by decreasing your operating efficiency.
There's a lot you can do to educate yourself on SharePoint, complete tasks independently, or even make sweeping customizations with no educational background outside of your access to free informational resources. This isn't just acceptable: It's a great idea! However, being able to educate yourself doesn't give you the same vantage point as a SharePoint experts.
Years of practice and education give consultants a big-picture view of the situation, allowing them to help you understand your options, evaluate potential improvements, and prioritize effectively. The amount of time saved by working with a consultant often amounts to a higher value than the cost of the SharePoint consultant's services.
If you're still feeling hesitant, we encourage you to try out a free consultation from SharePoint Engine today. We'd love to discuss ways in which a partnership between our companies can benefit all parties involved.
For more information about Sharepoint implementation and customization contact our sharepoint consulting firms experts here.
SharePoint is a powerful tool, but using it right is key to unlocking its full potential. If you're looking to gain a lot more from your enterprise content management by investing a little bit of time, this entry is for you. We provide four keys to maximizing the value of your SharePoint deployment.
Key #1: The Conceptual ShiftThe first key was hidden in the paragraph that begins this entry. SharePoint is often conceived of as a "product." In reality, the out-of-the-box product you receive is only the most insignificant piece of SharePoint's value. The true value is in SharePoint's nature: It is a tool and is also a platform.
As you approach the platform, it's wise to recall what a platform is: It's something you build on top of. SharePoint is a strong platform that will support your efforts in a variety of ways, but you remain responsible for building an architecture of your own. Similarly, SharePoint functions as a tool. It is limited by how skillfully you use it, but in the right hands, SharePoint can create amazing results.
Key #2: The Building BlocksViewing SharePoint (especially SP 2010 or 2013) as a platform leads us to the next key: Finding the right building blocks. While you can custom-build just about anything you can imagine on this versatile platform, you can also take advantage of the parts and pieces built by others.
"Web parts" are the most useful piece to build with. You can find free or premium web parts, including several use-oriented developments from SharePoint Engine. The SharePoint 2013 marketplace allows you to find a variety of tested web parts that integrate seamlessly with your interface.
Key #3: The Power SourceYou can use SharePoint to polish up any number of your company's facets, but the best use is in empowering your intelligence workers. Communication and business intelligence are the keys to improving the quality of work your staff gives while simultaneously improving the sense of reward they receive.
Regardless of your industry, automated workflow communications and business intelligence are integral to a successful SharePoint strategy.
Key #4: Continued RenovationsOnce you've built a powerful structure for your company, it's important to continue expanding the resources, upgrading the architecture over time, listening for and responding to employee feedback, and otherwise renovating your SharePoint structure.
Microsoft hasn't stood still on this product line over the last decade. Rather, new iterations have dramatically expanded the resources you can take advantage of. Learn about new features and deploy them whenever they seem fitting for your company.
These four keys may seem simple, but they'll help you to unlock the full potential of your enterprise content management system. For more information on how we at SharePoint Engine can help, get in touch with us for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Topic and Attendee Tracks
The conference topics will include a number of different categories with different levels of sessions. Sessions will be labeled with a number from 100 to 400, with the higher numbers representing "deep dive" sessions meant to help even the most experienced of professionals while 100-level "overview" courses are meant to accelerate basic learning and familiarity.
As to the categories themselves, the usual suspects can be found (architecture, business intelligence, governance, etc.). However, the topics go well beyond those standards too. Every SharePoint topic you could want to learn about will be represented, including far-reaching topic tracks such as "related technologies," "social," "office development," and "hybrid topologies."
There are enough topic tracks that it would be a waste to try and skim over all of them here. If you're ready to find out more, you can read the full list on this official page, which goes into detail on what each track includes.
When SharePoint Conference 2014 was announced, there were a great many names suggested as likely speakers. While Microsoft has given themselves room to expand the list of speakers, a core lineup has been confirmed. Without a doubt, the lineup includes a range of "MVPs and certified masters."
Microsoft is bringing in many of their own elite, including Jared Spataro, Jeff Teper, Bill Baer, and Adam Pisoni, but many recognized experts from outside of Microsoft will also be in the spotlight. This includes Laura Rogers of Rackspace, Sam Hassani of BrightStarr, and Rita Zhang of GE. In total, there are more than 60 confirmed presenters.
Even if nothing is added to the lineup we've received so far, SharePoint Conference 2014 will be the biggest event that we've ever seen for professionals in the field. Stay tuned to this blog for more updates on the conference, our analysis of some of the Microsoft announcements, and more. We look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas this coming March.
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SharePoint haters seem to be disappearing. Possibly they aren’t as vocal as before, or perhaps they don’t complain as much. Whatever the reason, ‘hater’ rhetoric is quieting down…and that is a wonderful thing.
In this blog post, I want to look at why users didn’t or don’t like SharePoint; why a design flaw here or coding problem there would be so magnified by unhappy end-users that they felt compelled to write about their pain. I’d also like to propose the idea that end-users are becoming happier with each passing day as SharePoint evolves and SharePoint developers evolve with it.
Let me say right up front, the reason most users didn’t like SharePoint was because the developers that designed and built the user applications were untrained, inexperienced, or lacked vision…or all three. I’m laying the whole SharePoint ‘hater’ thing at the doorstep of developers…sorry.
Microsoft Got the Ball RollingSo, why did so many end users decide to blame SharePoint rather than the developer or his lack of SharePoint knowledge? The whole thing started with problems with Microsoft and the vast array of products that people everywhere were exposed to and learned to hate. We might consider some discontinued products like Microsoft Bob, OneCare, Microsoft Chart and Picture Manager…to name just a few of their flops. These products were all discontinued because they weren’t any good. Microsoft marketing hyped them up, people purchased them, and people hated them. At the very least, you have to give Microsoft credit for trying new things. It just would have worked out better if those new things would have worked.
If a software product is not stable, secure, or capable of performing as expected, then that the product is destined for the trash bin along with the company that built it. Given that so many of their products failed, the amazing thing about Microsoft is the brand is still incredibly strong. Microsoft certainly had its share of unstable, insecure and clunky products, but it also had a few magnificent triumphs. That said, the Microsoft brand has been stained enough times that people are skeptical of their products and quick to tell the world when something goes ‘bump in the night.’
SharePoint and the inaugural version called Microsoft SharePoint Services or MOSS, was misunderstood from the very beginning. Here is how Microsoft described SharePoint Services back in 2006 with Version 1.0:
Windows SharePoint Services is a versatile technology that organizations and business units of all sizes can use to increase the efficiency of business processes and improve team productivity. With tools for collaboration that help people stay connected across organizational and geographic boundaries, Windows SharePoint Services gives people access to the information they need.
Built on Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Windows SharePoint Services also provides a foundation platform for building Web-based business applications that can flex and scale easily to meet the changing and growing needs of your business
Things are ChangingThat was then, this is now. SharePoint 2010 and the recently released Version 2013 have evolved as a solid ‘foundation platform.’ People now have a better understanding of what SharePoint can do, and people are a bit more tolerant of Microsoft since that the company regained the confidence of the masses. SharePoint earned a new lease on life, and Microsoft intends to take full advantage of the opportunity. However, developers still do the design and coding of SharePoint, which keeps the end user tethered to the skills of the developer. Will SharePoint ever meet the users’ needs? The answer to that question depends on the designer and developer.
The SharePoint haters are still out there. As I’ve tried to illustrate in this blog post, their discontent should be with the developer more so than with the product. By way of example, what if Honda automobile company put a lawn mower engine in their new Civics? If you bought one and found the car was a wee bit underpowered, whose fault is it? Should you blame the motor, the car body, the gasoline, or the builder? Obviously, the builder. The same holds true for SharePoint.
SharePoint haters are disappearing because a big part of the reason for the hater’s discontent has been resolved; the product itself is stable and it is much better understood by end users. This still leaves room for improvement, and that will come as the developers get more experience and are able to help the end users perform their jobs better.
SharePoint EngineIf SharePoint experience is one of the keys to end user satisfaction, then SharePoint Engine will get a gold star. As a SharePoint Consulting company in business for the past 7 years, they have successfully completed more than 100 projects. Many of the SharePoint Engine developers have been working with the platform since it was launched in 2001. The depth of their knowledge is substantial and can be used to design and build an exceptional SharePoint solution.
If you would like to talk to a premier SharePoint Consulting firm with the experience and vision to design your ideas and business objectives into SharePoint, please send us an email at Info@SharePointEngine.com or call 678-956-1780.
Document Migration by Type
Keeping the Dates in Order
Special Characters and Quirky File Names
Bulk Migration of Files
These are just a few of the items to look out for during SharePoint migration. What are some issues you've run into during this process? And have you had the opportunity to work with certified SharePoint experts during past migrations? Let us know in the comments, below.
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What is the "growth mindset"?
Carol Dweck, a psychologist and researcher, introduced the term "growth mindset" as part of her studies. These studies took place over several decades and aimed to discover how a "growth" versus a "fixed" mindset influenced learning capabilities.
Simply put, the "fixed" mindset is the belief that each person is born with innate attributes that cannot be changed over time: We have a set degree of intelligence, potential for happiness, and talent. The "growth" mindset is the belief that change and growth are possible when time and energy are invested into learning itself.
Dweck's studies had phenomenal outcomes: Those with the fixed mindset were found to make counterproductive choices and to learn slowly, if at all. Those with the growth mindset were found to grow more quickly and maintain a higher level of motivation when faced with stress or failure. More importantly, it was found that simple interventions could be used to instill students with a growth mindset.
Teaching SharePoint with the Growth Mindset
SharePoint is a complicated system that can be intimidating for those in a fixed mindset. This is especially true for those coming from the baby boomer generation—and, to a lesser extent, any time before the "millenials" (those born in the 1990s). The new software, hardware, and patterns of work can feel like they're impossible to master; those with a fixed mindset quickly believe that "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" or, even worse, that they're simply not smart enough to learn SharePoint.
By showing that effort and continued training are the processes that result in skill, you can help immerse your employees in the software in a growth-oriented way. Be careful about your approach, however. Even beyond the interventions you use in your training program, it's possible to sabotage the growth mindset by making statements that establish a fixed mindset for your staff.
The growth and fixed mindset are just one part of an effective SharePoint training program for your company. To learn more about how you can develop the best training program possible, contact SharePoint Engine today.
The First Key: Communication
The Second Key: Appropriate Administration
The Third Key: Appropriate Maintenance
The Fourth Key: Regular Training
The Fifth Key: Continuous Development
These five approaches are important keys to unlocking SharePoint's potential. Ultimately, however, they're just the beginning. Check out our other entries, guides, and informational articles to learn more about how you can use SharePoint and SharePoint consultants to benefit your company.
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