ViewPoint: Who cares about the SharePoint end user?

Let’s look at who that SharePoint End User is, what they do and do they need some love.

To me and End User is the person who uses SharePoint on a daily basis to do their job. But it’s not that simple. No, it never is with SharePoint. End User Adoption is one of the main issues facing any SharePoint implementation. In other words, how do we get people to use it properly especially on intranets?

Bear in mind that these ‘people’ are just your average worker doing their job and they don’t have much time to figure out the ins and outs of the ribbon.

This article: SharePoint 2010: Why after 2 years is it still so hard? says it all really. SharePoint is not easy to use for the average worker. Not by a long shot.

In our company I would categorise the users of our SharePoint intranet as:

  • Experts (developers and admin – they manage and control the intranet)
  • Web Content Management (WCM) Publishers (Communications people for news, updates, etc. using WCM)
  • IT Support (local and global support on SharePoint issues)
  • Power users (one or more per country that manage and support SharePoint)
  • Team site owners (maintain a site on the intranet)
  • Average users (mostly of the WCM section and team sites).

Now that will vary quite a bit in different organisations. To me, the last 3 are the main End Users and are the ones that are neglected a little in terms of love and support for SharePoint. Look around the web and you have many sites and blogs all aimed at the experts. Which is fine and there are many great ones. But a lot of what they write is just too darned complicated for the average user even if they were going looking for assistance. JQuery is not for everyone.

But what am I? I am a Power User. I don’t do admin or development. I do advanced team site work and web content management and publishing but that’s it. I dabble a bit in SharePoint Designer and just started using InfoPath. In other words, I use it. A lot. I also train and support people in using SharePoint especially in team sites. I like to show people the practical ways that SharePoint can help them with their jobs. A great reaction can be when they say ‘I didn’t know you could do that’.

Now, we do provide a lot of support internally (specific help team site, wiki, forum, etc.) and we have lots of training materials. But all that has been created internally and took quite some time (and money) to develop. And not every organisation has those resources.

So what’s my point?

The SharePoint community (and Microsoft) needs to focus a bit more on that final user. To provide information, guides and materials that are simply written and presented in a business friendly manner.

To be fair to Microsoft, they have developed this good site (I use SharePoint) for end users with useful guides and materials to download. And the Get the Point blog is more accessible than many of the techie blogs out there. But we need to do more.


SharePoint 2010: Why after 2 years is it still so hard?

I use SharePoint

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