In the 2015 AIIM SharePoint Industry Watch Report only 11% of SharePoint projects were deemed successful by respondents. When those surveyed were asked what they would do to get their projects back on track, the number one answer offered was more training to make sure people understand how to use SharePoint “properly” – Simplify SharePoint.
This mindset underlies what I see as a fundamental disconnect between SharePoint’s champions and the people we expect to use the system to accomplish basic business tasks. Namely, why does the use of a business application require extensive training in order to ensure tasks are completed successfully?
Imagine when Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone, if he talked about the training programs Apple would be offering to owners of the phone to ensure they use it “properly.” None of us would accept this line of thought as consumers, so why are we enabling it in our work with SharePoint?
Alright. So what should we do? The answer is simplify SharePoint with a focus on the user experience for the key people interacting with the system. To illustrate let’s consider three common SharePoint document management problems.
Documents unexpectedly checked-out -Today we expect end users to learn and remember to properly tag their documents with required metadata. When an end-user does not add this metadata, SharePoint allows them to think they have added their documents successfully. They remain checked out and completely unfindable by the rest of the business.
No way to bulk upload and tag documents- Drag and Drop document uploading is a core feature of any SharePoint library. The functionality breaks down when any additional metadata tagging is required in the library. There is no way to bulk upload documents into the document library interface that does not require an end user work around SharePoint’s default, web-based experience.
Mobile document access is Impossible- Business today is increasingly mobile, yet the AIIMIndustry Watch Report found that only 2% of SharePoint sites provide meaningful mobile access. This leads your business users to take documents out of SharePoint and add them to cloud services like Dropbox simply to ensure they can access them on any device they chose.
All three of these problems require that SharePoint professionals rethink our approach to guaranteeing the success of our SharePoint projects. We need to stop expecting our end users to learn how to “properly” use the poor document tagging, bulk upload and mobile experiences offered by SharePoint out of the box.
If the solution we are delivering requires extensive training than it is time to go back to the drawing board and rethink our approach. We need to stop waiting for Microsoft to fix every poor experience on the platform and start to work on these solutions ourselves.
For example, it took Akumina 2,200 man hours to develop our document management web parts to address all the problems discussed above. We are giving this functionality and the benefit of a great DMS user experience away for free, because it is our mission to deliver a better user experience on SharePoint. A fully functional, no cost, no limits download of these web parts is available right now on our site. Download them today, drop them into your TeamSite or Corporate Intranet and see for yourself how easy it should be for your line of business users to work with SharePoint.
Download the Interchange Document Management Web Parts by Akumina here.
About the Author
Eric Darbe is vice president of marketing at Akumina. Akumina boasts an executive team with better than 50 years of combined experience successfully delivering web software solutions to companies that range from small & medium businesses to fortune100 heavy-weights. Akumina’s customer base includes Roper Technologies, the Realty Operations Group and The University of California.