• Many business people today do their work on the go. If this is you, you may find yourself getting frustrated by the inability to easily find information on your SharePoint website. Luckily, there are now a number of great apps for your Apple or Android based device to help you.

    Newly available through the iPhone and iPad, DocExplore will help you view the documents on your SharePoint site. Other apps may allow you to navigate the information on the site, but none has made it quite so easy to see your files as DocExplore. This app can remember your log in information for a variety of sites, as well as authenticate for sites such as Office 365. View your documents in normal view or tree view – it’s up to you. You can even find your documents and send them as email attachments straight from your phone.

    Do you need touchscreen optimization for SharePoint? Filimente can help. This versatile app also allows you to upload documents from you iPad or iPhone. If you need to work offline, you won’t have a problem when you use the Filimente app.

    With Moshare for iOS, you can share and view your files. From Word documents to PowerPoint presentations, and more, this app allows you to see what’s on your SharePoint site. Have you ever looked up a contact through SharePoint, just to realize you don’t have a pen handy? This is no longer a problem, since with Moshare, you can call your contacts from the app.

    If you are on an Android device, there are not quite as many SharePoint apps available. However, SharePlus has everything you need. You can sync your lists and libraries straight to your phone, collaborate with others, and browse and edit the site. You don’t need any server side components, and the app works with your SharePoint credentials, so you never need to worry about extra permissions. Whether you are working in SharePoint 2007, 2010, or even on Office 365, this app will help you go mobile.

    Freelance writer and self-publishing author Rob D Young notes that his work was greatly simplified due to the opportunities provided by these mobile applications, but larger groups---including major corporations across the globe---are turning toward iOS and Android apps to access their SharePoint resources.

    When you need information, you need it now. Being able to quickly access your SharePoint website, documents, and contacts has never been easier. With the ability to see, edit, and add documents to SharePoint while on a business trip or in a cab helps you keep on top of what is going on. If you are looking to boost your productivity, or that of your team, look no further than the SharePoint apps you can find for your smart phone.

  • We're spent plenty of time emphasizing the importance of SharePoint training, even taking plenty of time to tell you about effective SharePoint training techniques. (For more on that, check out the SharePoint Engine monthly newsletter.) Despite all our advice, though, there's still a chance that your training just won't hit home with your audience.

    What causes this dissonance?

    What can you do to prevent it?

    And what can you do to fix it once it's already happened?

    While we've covered the first two topics in some measure previously, the third one has yet to be discussed and it's often the most challenging. So let's dive into it now. Here's a brief guide on how to cope with failed SharePoint training.

    Step One: Re-examine the training.

    Ask yourself these questions: What approach were you using? What portion, if any, of your trained staff are now capable of the target tasks? Did you hold to an expert-approved set of concepts and strategies as you went into the training?

    Don't hesitate to get actual staff feedback to see what can be improved. It's their approval – as displayed by their competency – that you're after. Ask them what stuck, what didn't, and what they think could be improved.

    Step Two: Re-focus the training.

    What were your objectives? In other words, what tasks should users have been capable of by the end of the day? Far too often, companies train their users on a variety of "do this, go there" concepts without teaching the users the why or how of the procedures.

    Decide what exact tasks and what conceptual competencies your trainees should be able to demonstrate, and examine why your previous strategy didn't work.

    Step Three: Re-formulate the training.

    Go through the portions of the training that were ineffective and revamp them. Make sure you're teaching your trainees why it is that certain elements work; this avoids the temptation to have users memorize a sequence of steps. That sequence, if altered or disrupted, becomes useless – whereas conceptual knowledge can both adapt and expand on the required competencies.

    Step Four: Re-apply the training.

    Consider testing on a smaller group before you train a large group again. As you approach re-training, also be sure to 1) admit fault in creating ineffective training curriculum, 2) give advance warning that specifies both the reasons and the timetable for the training, and 3) provide incentives for completion (whether that's something as simple as a casual Friday or something as heavy as a small guaranteed pay raise during the next evaluation).

    Step Five: Re-re-examine the training.

    Did it work this time? If so, what made it work? What can be re-applied to future training? If not, might the problem be architectural rather than within the training itself? What gaps or areas for improvement remain?

    These five steps (re-examine, re-focus, re-formulate, re-apply, and re-re-examine) are a strong approach to training your employees effectively when your first attempt didn't stick. In the end, though, the problem can sometimes boil down to a lack of foundational knowledge or background experience. In these cases, the wise choice is often to hire out to the experts or seek the advice of a consultant. In either case, SharePoint Engine can help.

  • SharePoint: Where Servers and Staff Come Together

    You liked the first 14 tips in our SharePoint Success series, we thought we'd bring you 7 more. Keep in mind, though – these 21 tips, even when you add in the one-shot entries and other compilations we've provided, are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to SharePoint. Be sure to keep your eyes on this blog for more updates here and, for the greatest level of success possible, contact SharePoint Engine for a free consultation on how we can help your organization.

    Now, onto the 7 tips!:

    1: Create a hub where you can share documents, projects, and information with your potential and current clients. Just be sure you lock it in a password-protected site! 
    2: Be sure that all individuals who work with the interface know how to add custom fields. It's incredibly easy to do, it takes only a couple minutes, and it allows each staff-member to get all the information they need for each project. 
    3:  Put all your company, team, and other interpersonal announcements in a single place. Once you have, use the dashboard to either quickly link users to that location or – with a little Web Part magic – pull those announcements directly onto their dash. 
    4: For non-collaborative projects, tasks, documents, and discussions, encourage your workforce to work on the projects offline and then upload and update the data later on. This will improve the speed your SharePoint runs at by preventing server communication every time a minor change is made. 
    5: Use SharePoint to establish brainstorming sessions. Not only does the collaborative environment work well, it leaves a paper-trail that's easy to look back on – and it gives everyone an equal voice, since no actual yelling is required. 
    6: Use email notifications to ensure that all your team members stay up-to-date on the latest project additions, changes, and completions. 
    7: Encourage your staff to sync their Outlook or other company email address with their mobile device and home office. This ensures that everyone stays at full speed, and it's fairly easy to stop the flow of information to your staff should that individual leave your company.

    Want to learn more tactics to bolster the impact of SharePoint on your organization? Look through previous posts in our SharePoint tips series and stay tuned on Twitter and Facebook for updates in the coming weeks.


    The SharePoint Engine Team

  • Effecitve SharePoint Use Means Impressive Growth
    Following up on our popular post "7 Ways to Use SharePoint Effectively," we're happy to bring you 7 more tips today. No need to gild the lily that is SharePoint! On to simple ways you can become more effective.
    1: Open up document to collaborators, and train your staff on doing likewise. This will improve the sense of teamwork, get the ideas stirring, and allow for swifter communication. 
    2: Use the "check-in / check-out" system to manage documents if you're uncertain of how collaboration would work or how changes will interact. 
    3: Train your staff on how to restore previous versions of documents. Far too much time is wasted re-writing or re-constructing content that's already been built! Simple reversions to old iterations is often the best path. 
    4: Use a single site to store, archive, and organize your emails. This also makes migration to a new/upgraded system far easier. 
    5: Use a task-based project system. Give each team-member tasks related to the project, notify them that they have a task, and have them make notes and complete the task within the SharePoint system. 
    6: If your company has issues with ineffective documents spreading, documents being bloated, or docs otherwise needing some care and attention, implement the "content approval" feature. This lets you give quick tips and pointers in addition to an opportunity for weeding out useless or inaccurate content. 
    7: Allow for telecommuting for specific tasks, such as training. It's easy to set up documents and other training materials that can be pulled from anywhere that gives you access to the web. This lets those who are sick at home stay up on work, cuts cost during training, and gives you an additional incentive by which to retain your top talent.

    Hungry for more pointers on how to get every last drop out of SharePoint? Be sure you check out our previous SharePoint tips and stay tuned on Twitter and Facebook for updates in the near future.


    The SharePoint Engine Team

  • Digitize Your Growth with SharePoint
    The immense landscape that is SharePoint functionality is easy to lose track of. As a result, even those who don't make major mistakes can still fall well short of taking full advantage of the platform. To help you as you try to milk this magnificent Microsoft system for all it's worth, here are 7 simple ways you can use SharePoint to better your business.
    1: Post all of your event-related tasks, documents, notes, and other files to the event itself. You can even sync this up with Outlook!
    2: Centralize your task locations. This lets team members find their tasks more quickly, allows for easier synchronization, and lets management check in more quickly.
    3: Use a company blog (set to private!) instead of time in your meetings to communicate advances, ideas, and updates. This prevents time-wasting while giving you a visible, hard-copy rendition of current company news.

    4: Keep all your project management inside SharePoint itself. This gives you additional filtering and social options while minimizing your overhead; project management software can be pricey.

    5: Set up your road-warrior SharePoint experts with mobile access through tablets and smartphones. For more on this process, check out our SharePoint for tablets series.

    6: Use a "help ticket" resolution system for your company. This lets you organize and prioritize any issues, see what problems are common, and keep a written trail of the issue's history.

    7: Create project dashboard that allows you to filter projects by the elements they contain. This will let you see projects with similar or identical documents, tasks, details, events, and more, and lets you easily track down and replicate projects in the future.
    These are just a few of the literally thousands of ways you can use SharePoint to make your organization stronger, faster, and more effective. Keep up-to-date on further tips by subscribing to SharePoint Engine on Twitter and Facebook.


    The SharePoint Engine Team

  • SharePoint is a wonderfully open-ended system, and that means you have plenty of room to mess yourself up, trip yourself over, and otherwise fail. While there are hundreds of ways to make mistakes in SharePoint, there are a few pitfalls that are both devastating and shockingly common.

    So, without further adieu, here are 5 SharePoint mistakes you're probably making:

    1: Not clearing your recycling bin.

    It may not seem like it matters, but the recycling bin can easily get out of hand. If you leave too many items, it's almost impossible to keep them straight – and they can be a huge sink on your total site quota for storage. No one wants a gigabyte of their quota to go to trash, so be sure to keep these files trimmed down and tossed out. A once-a-week or once-a-month clearance is advisable.

    2: Not putting quotas on collections.

    Site collections do a great job of tallying the inventory for your various SharePoint-based projects, but it's easy for site collections to become graveyards for long-since-dead projects. If you put some simple quotas on the size of site collections, you can easily prompt all responsible parties to keep their web-space clean.

    3: Not taking advantage of business intelligence.

    The reporting capabilities of SharePoint are some of the most impressive we've ever seen, but somehow C-level employees seem to think the reports are only helpful to them. The reality is that employees at every level can receive immense benefit from business intelligence reports – so throw some basic visuals on performance / key metric on the dash of every staff-member.

    4: Not planning effectively.

    Any SharePoint expert can tell you that Microsoft didn't build us the most simple, straightforward project. For every bit of helpful complexity, though, there's an additional way your project can tie in around itself. Make sure you plan in advance to avoid messing with the internals of your project halfway through. You don't want to break your own progress.

    5: Not using effective capacity need calculations.

    How much space do you really need for content? Unless you've done the critical thinking necessary to find your totals, you probably don't know. As you go through the calculations for necessary storage, be sure to set aside a few gigs for external applications (5 to 6gb is typically enough) for every gig of content you plan on having.

    Be sure to watch out for these easy-to-make foibles, and you'll be that much further ahead of the game. Want to learn more simple tips and tricky mistakes? Stay tuned on Twitter and Facebook.
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