Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Olympic SharePoint

Apologies for the lack of posts lately but the SharePoint world has suddenly gone crazy. It seems that every company is moving to or wanting to find out more about Microsoft SharePoint. So the SharePoint consultants at Office Talk have been extra busy. Maybe it is a sign that the recession is finally coming to an end or maybe more likely that companies are seeing SharePoint as a way to save their business money in the long term. Any costs that can be reduced are always good. Which brings me onto the Olympic Games, but lets forget all the money and the issues with security and just enjoy the amazing spectacle that is going to hit Great Britain for the next two weeks.

I really am excited and can still clearly remember how excited I was seven years ago as I ate my lunch in a car lay-by waiting for the announcement of who would host the 2012 games. It seems a long time ago now and certainly a lot has happened in my life since that day in 2005. I wasn't even a SharePoint Consultant back then. In fact I was in the middle of leading a SharePoint 2003 project as an IT Manager. Now we have seen version 2007 come and go and then the all ribbony SharePoint 2010 version being such a massive success. Now we are about to see the beta version of 2013 launched. SharePoint has just gone from strength to strength and really is Microsoft's Gold medal winner. But if SharePoint was in the Olympics (I mean entering as I know it has a key roll to play in the organising and managing of the Olympics) what event would it enter? I think it would be a classy runner, a long javelin thrower, a very good pole vaulter and a successful long jumper (as in jumping a long way not a jumper that has been stretched in the washing machine. Although my jumpers are more likely to shrink in our washing machine). But perhaps in each of these events SharePoint would make the podium but not take the gold. Because although SharePoint is an excellent Document Management System, superb Electronic Forms System, terrific Reporting System and wonderful Intranet it probably isn't the best at any of these. You could, with enough pennies, go out and buy a better system for each of these individual operations. But where SharePoint does take the gold is it does all of these operations really well. So if it was in the Olympics it would romp away to Olympic gold and smash all World Records in the Decathlon. It would be like a supercharged Daley Thompson completely unbeatable.

So if I am saying that SharePoint is 'A jack of all trades, master of none', why is it such a vital business tool? The reason I believe is because of it's simple to use common platform. It uses the standard familiar Microsoft Office applications and all parts, be it Lists, Libraries, Picture Libraries, all work the same way. Employees don't need to attend several different training courses because every part works the same way. Once you have mastered creating a view and setting up a custom list you are on your way to becoming a SharePoint expert. With only having one system your IT support and maintenance costs will quickly shrink.

At Office Talk we encourage all our SharePoint clients to offer training to all their End Users as part of rolling out SharePoint. Just a two hour course and get them quickly using some of the more advanced SharePoint features, but as we all know we quickly forget what we have learnt. Olympic athletes train for hours each day. I don't expect you would find Tom Daley getting on to the Olympic diving-board having not trained for three months. So Office Talk are currently promoting a set of short SharePoint 'How to Do' videos that can be there for a permanent reference for your SharePoint End Users whenever they are trying to remember how exactly they managed to do something they tried in the Training Course. Obviously I wouldn't recommend this for Tom Daley on his diving-board as I am not sure performing a tucked reverse two-and-a-half somersault would be achievable whilst carrying a laptop. But for SharePoint short videos (CBT Clips) are ideal.

To find out more about purchasing this award winning set of short SharePoint videos (available for 2007 and 2010) please email or visit our website

Now I will close this week by being totally bias and wishing the very best luck to everyone representing Great Britain during the Olympics and Paralympics (even if you are a so called Plastic Britons). Let's keep hearing the Queen's favourite song and see plenty of gold medals dangling on Stella McCartney vests.

Rule Britannia !!