Don’t be discouraged by SharePoint

End users’ attitude towards SharePoint seems a bit cynical at times. A few weeks ago I held a SharePoint training and one trainee ironically stated “pretty stable system” when the cloud-based training environment presented an error page every now and then. General atmosphere seems to be that computers don’t make life easier, but maybe even more difficult. Some were distressed about the error messages, but others had already learned to be relaxed about different oddities and errors: “You can’t do anything about those anyway”. Systems seem to live their own random lives and users’ trust is hard to gain.

Yet at the same time as users are agonized by SharePoint, cloud environment and other systems, they have given in and think that this is the best that “computer people” can do. Even though SharePoint sometimes causes stress it is according to my experience the best and most stable system in the market.

It is awkward for a trainer when the system that is being trained doesn’t work and gives a variety of errors. And then all of the sudden works again. One can put their verbal talents to the test trying to keep the trainees calm and maybe even laugh at the situation a little. Occasionally faulty networks get the blame and sometimes system suppliers.

The best and worst feature about cloud environment is that when things don’t work you can’t do anything about it. For the technical administrator it is perhaps a disadvantage as for a trainer it causes less stress. At least I feel more comfortable cursing something massive and anonymous rather than that “John” at the IT support. Luckily all the malfunctions of the cloud are fixed fast and one doesn’t have to worry if “John” is on vacation or just ill. Nearly all cloud environments are promised a 99,9 % up-time.

Surely one can always find those enthusiastic individuals who praise SharePoint. If one of those people happen to exist in your organization, you just might want to harness that enthusiasm. The problem experienced by many organizations – how to make the personnel use the new system? – is more likely to resolve when that operation is led by one that is truly excited. Enthusiasm is contagious.

One is thrilled about managed metadata and the other about SharePoint lists that enable easy making of forms. Some find all the integrated Office features most important: how to save directly to SharePoint, how to access SharePoint calendar from Outlook.

Over the decades users are so used to computers’ and systems’ malfunctions that the general attitude is quite cynical. If something works as it should, it is more of a happy surprise than a supposition as you might like it to be. Glimpse of light can however be found. Because SharePoint is a comprehensive system, can everyone find a feature they can honestly say they like. The best way to get to know and to fall for SharePoint is to attend a training!