My experience with SharePoint has shown me that users are often introduced to the platform without any training or formal communication process to drive internal adoption. For medium and large enterprises, early adoption without training protocols or in-context help is a problem. For small businesses, without the time, resources and budget to facilitate such training, the issue is even more problematic. Making the investment in Office 365 without fully deploying the SharePoint Online environment means underutilization of a critical productivity tool.
Challenges for Small Biz Productivity
Small businesses are faced with four primary challenges when it comes to optimizing productivity.
Maximizing workflow – with fewer employees, there is likely the chance that workflows are disrupted when people must respond to critical issues.
Centralized file storage – financial records, sales and marketing collateral, training materials, operations forms, and other documents need to be accessed from centralized libraries.
Task management – owners or managers must have the ability to monitor and evaluate each employee's work performance.
Work review – once tasks are completed, management has to be able to review productivity.
While SharePoint enables small business owners and managers to facilitate workflow, challenges to onboarding and full deployment of the Office 365 platform inhibit their ability to address these issues. Office 365 was released to enhance small business management capabilities, but without proper end user support for SharePoint Online, the investment will not return dividends.
VisualSP App for Small Businesses
Now comes the solution: a fully integrated VisualSP add-on tailored for the small business organization. The VisualSP App provides context-sensitive help, guidance and training to users of SharePoint Online within their own SharePoint environment. Just like the standard version of VisualSP, the flexible app provides inline help through informational icons displayed within the user interface. Once clicked, the icons reveal context-sensitive help for a specific SharePoint feature or function.
Platform administrators can easily tailor content to suit the needs of their small business. For instance, adjustments can be made to content specific to SharePoint functionality and new topics can be added that are specific to the company's own business functions. Administrators can also modify the existing configuration and add their own customized training modules.
The "just-in-time" learning environment helps end users in small businesses learn on their own – while they are working – in a manner that makes quickly understanding how to complete task a routine habit for workers. There is no need to hire expensive training consultants.Office 365 Administrators now have a seamless, flexible and streamlined solution they can roll out with no need for coding or a complex onboarding regimen.
The VisualSP app for Office 365 benefits include:
Accelerated employee onboarding and increases adoption
Step-by-step guidance and training within interface
In-work performance support
Access to hundreds of video tutorials, reference documents and tip cards
Customization for company-specific help and training content
I will be discussing the VisualSP app for small businesses with my colleagues at the upcoming Microsoft MVP Summit, and also with the broader SharePoint Community at the European SharePoint Conference. I hope to see you there!