Brave New World of Capture

clip_image002Hopefully the salesmen who have tried to sell me Capture solutions over the years aren’t reading this blog; if any are, I’m sorry. I have been telling those guys for years that:

We don’t use forms and we really don’t have a need for hardware or software to scan into SharePoint.”

I lied. OK, I really didn’t lie, I just couldn’t properly imagine the truth – we do have a need for a scan-to-SharePoint. Well, actually we don’t but we will for a while.

Sorry for the confusing lead-up to this post, but it has been very confusing for us as well. Despite the fact that we are an insurance company, we really don’t use hardly any forms in our business process. What we do need a scanning solution for is backfilling some important document libraries. We could simply take the approach of having a network scanner, or even desktop scanners  (since we have so few insureds) but I don’t think that will work. What makes me say that? Well we’ve had desktop scanners and high-speed Multi-function copies on our network for the entire time that we’ve had SharePoint but very little content has been added to SharePoint via those devices. The reason for that result is something that Marc Anderson mentioned recently and Steve Weissman has been saying forever – simply having the technology scanners or SharePoint) in place is not enough.

If technology is not the answer, then why am I excited about the arrival of these MFC’s and the configuration of the scan-to-SharePoint options next week? The answer is technology is only part of the answer this time. This time, we are going to attempt to address the business process side of the equation and the human side of the business process.

The copiers that we just replaced were “capable” of scanning to SharePoint, but only if you gave the copier Full Control the SharePoint sites that you wanted to scan to. That meant that people could scan documents into libraries that they couldn’t actually reach from their desktop. We trust our employees, but that’s dumb. The dumbest part of that would occur when someone accidentally scanned a document to the wrong library – then they couldn’t even delete it. In addition, the copiers needed to be on the Internet so the vendor could access the copier for maintenance and meter readings. Call me silly, but that sounds like a potential security risk. With that feature never activated, we were left scanning to a network drive and getting documents in the form of “Scan_20080616121254.PDF” – very helpful. Of course, there were better capture options around when we bought those MFC’s but we didn’t need them; remember? We also couldn’t afford them – we still can’t.

What we can afford is the following combination of hardware, software, workflows, training and administrivia:

The MFC’s communicate with server-based software that can map user rights and privileges back to the menu system of the copier.

The MFC’s are capable of rendering the scanned documents as PDF or PDF/A into the desired library and they are capable of producing metadata from barcodes or other scanned artifacts.

We are capable of creating SharePoint Designer workflows to process the scanned documents upon arrival in the library. In some cases, we may have the scanner deliver documents to a staging library so that the workflow can perform other operations first. For example: our policies are what are known as “continuous form” policies, meaning that we renew by endorsement. In non-insurance speak, that means that each year, we have to add 10-12 pages to an existing document / PDF. These MFC’s in conjunction with software from HarePoint and Muhimbi can stitch the incoming PDFs onto the back or front of an existing PDF.

Once we can demonstrate these capabilities, we can ask department managers to accept the assignment, on behalf of their staff, to make backfilling a requirement during the lease-term of these copiers. If our Policy Management software can be made to print to PDF in those libraries, we can eliminate the need for the scan-to-SharePoint option with the next generation MFC’s (see, I didn’t lie).

By the way, just to prove that “we get it,” rather than make people login at the copier using an on-screen keyboard, we paid extra for a reader that can accept the proximity badges we use for our security system as input – how cool is that?

The copiers just arrived. The software has not been configured. The workflows haven’t been written and the people haven’t been trained. But we have engaged a training partner to help us get our coworkers up-to-speed and we are starting with “Content Management Fundamentals” – We are going to start at the beginning, cover all the bases and build solutions that will help us treat “Backfilling” like the important business process that it is in real life.

Will This Be On the Exam

clip_image002Earlier this week, I took a CIP Exam Preparation class conducted by Steve Weissman of The Holly Group. At some point, I’ll swing around to the Certified Information Professional and my reason for pursuing this certification, but today I am busy being reminded of something Steve said during our class:

What problem are you trying to solve and who are you trying to solve it for?

I don’t think this will be a question on the exam, but Steve circled back to this concept about 50 times as he wove Content Management best practices into the exam preparation class. I was reminded of this notion as soon as I returned to work, where I had a SharePoint related request waiting for me. The request was a simple one; I was being asked to create a document tracking site for one of our claims. In the past, this request might have made me sigh a little, but upon reflecting on Steve’s wisdom, I actually smiled.

The reason I might have sighed in the past, is that we have gone to great lengths to make these sites easy to build. The sites are created from a template, and there are a few easy-to-create list entries that also have to be made. Once the lists are updated, time can be charged (this is a site for lawyers), reports can be produced (when you have lawyers, can accountants be far behind?) and events can be scheduled. Once the site is created, documents can be stored in about 13 different libraries. While not self-provisioning, we have long thought that this was a task our claims people could do themselves. On the other hand, as I have pointed out several times on this and other blogs, I have to remember that “they have a day job” and that it isn’t to administer SharePoint.

I’m not sure if Steve meant for his mantra to be used in this manner, but I see it as containing a feedback mechanism. The first part of the question “what problem are you trying to solve?” is modified by the act of answering the second part. In fact, depending on who you identify as the solution-seeking party, the problem can take on a radically different form. In my case, if I were the person I was trying to solve the problem for; the goal would be to make the claim and site creation process more intuitive, more automated and to put it on rails for the end users. However, since the person in that position is one of our attorneys, he just wants the site to be created. The solution to that problem is much easier to provide, assuming that I am the one providing it. Since we work for the same company, the real question is “what is the most efficient way to create a new claim site?” For a variety of reasons, the answer is “…have someone in Information Services create the site.”

One of the other things that Steve emphasized in his class is that “none of this is technology!” This isn’t a SharePoint problem. This is a case management problem, an accounting problem, a scheduling problem and a compliance problem. SharePoint is the underlying technology on which we (information services) decided to build the solution(s) to these problems. SharePoint was a good choice, because it actually is capable of supporting all the collection, storage, management and distribution tasks (finally, something that will be on the exam) required to solve the business problem. Solving the business problem is the goal; we are solving the problem by using SharePoint so life is good. The fact that the SharePoint solution could be different, and that the tasks could be completed by other people is irrelevant – in this case.

If we were creating 10-15 sites a day, and if the availability of information service personnel to create those sites was in short supply, we might need to invest in making the provisioning process easier. If we did that, and 50% of the sites were being created incorrectly, we might need to make the process more exact. On the other hand, if no two claims were ever alike, we might have wasted our time building a template. In fact, since 2006, when we started building these sites, we have created six different templates. It’s not as bad as it sounds; each new template incorporated a simple modification to the site created by the previous template. The moral of the story is: “once you answer your questions, check to see that the answers are still correct.

On the Air

clip_image002Last week’s post in which I mentioned making life easier for remote workers, generated a few questions about the technology that we use. So, I decided to share the lessons I’ve learned about these tools in the hope that it might help someone avoid the mistakes I have made. Unfortunately, that means that this post is not about SharePoint, and (perhaps worse) I threw away my normal 800-word limit.

We have had the technology to conduct online meetings for many years, and it seemed like such a simple concept. Some of it is simple; sharing slide decks, voice, and even video is pretty easy. Delivering an in-the-room experience to several remote attendees however, is not always simple. If you’re thinking of inviting remote attendees to join your in-person event, you might want to keep reading.

The service you use might matter – In the past 12 months, I have used Microsoft Lync, GotoMeeting, WebEx and Skype. There are benefits and drawbacks to each service, but none are significant enough to make one my favorite choice. What makes one service better than the other for any event is the audience. How many people are you going to have on the receiving end, and with what service are they most comfortable? For example, although Lync is my normal communication service, it doesn’t work well with Macs, and it has a complicated choice of clients for Windows users. I tend to use Lync only when everyone in the meeting already uses Lync.

Depending on what version has just been released, WebEx and GotoMeeting are functionally equivalent. We used GoToMeeting for years, but their entry level plan only supported 15 users. WebEx was supporting 25 users at the same price point, so we switched. I also think WebEx has a more intuitive control panel for the host. Skype is great if everyone has a Skype account, but I wouldn’t ask anyone to create an account just to attend my meeting. Also, if you’re like me, make sure that “Skype or Lync” is an exclusive OR condition. They don’t play well together. Hopefully this will change, but as of March 2013, you still might want to read this post.

There are other products, like UStream and Google, but I have no experience with those. Keep in mind that some companies limit the ability of their employees to download and install software like the runtime clients required by these services. Make your remote arrangements ahead of time.

The event – There are big differences between a video conference call, delivering a webinar style presentation and extending a live event to a remote audience. Conference calls are easy because everyone is responsible for their own “production” as it were. Also, most of the people on a conference call are familiar with the technology. Webinars, or broadcasting yourself to a remote audience are more difficult than a conference call, but they are still relatively easy to produce. A second monitor that you can use to share the slides is helpful, but even without one, you control the presentation, you can stay in the field of view of the camera and you can monitor the flow of comments that might be arriving over voice or instant messaging channels. Control, camera and communication all become problems when you are broadcasting a live event:

  • The speaker needs control of the slides. – The person giving the presentation is going to want to control the slide deck. You either need to give him/her a remote, or you need to let them use their own computer and bring them into the remote session. The first option, giving them the remote works well, but you need to have a copy of their presentation (including sound and video files) on your computer and you need to keep your operating system’s ‘focus’ on their presentation. That makes it difficult to control or even to interact with the remote attendees. If you think about sneaking away to respond to a comment while the speaker covers the current slide, remember that you are likely to advance their slide when you click back on their content. If you don’t do that, you will get to see that “what the heck?” face when the remote doesn’t work.

    The second option, making them part of the remote session and letting them share their screen works well, but requires that they also have Internet access and they you give them one of your remote slots. Also, if you split the feed like that, make sure you keep control of the audio and video and that you know how to get it back when they accidentally take control.

  • What does the video look like? – If you are sending live video, you need to pay attention to the camera, the speaker and little things like lighting and motion. Some video cameras let you pan and zoom during the event. Some let you choose zoom and level settings, but require that you disconnect and reconnect to your feed before those changes are applied. Of course, you can always move the camera on the tripod, or move the tripod.

    Talk to your speaker(s) ahead of time. Define a range of movement for them; ask them if they will be using the white board, or if they are planning to walk to the screen and point at stuff or if they are planning to use a laser pointer. If they are going to use other visual aids, make sure you know how to focus or where to move the camera so the remote audience can see them. Also, don’t be surprised if your speaker is less comfortable with the requirements of being on a virtual stage than they are with being in the room.

  • One Big Happy – Before you introduce the first speaker, mention the remote attendees. You don’t have to go down the list of names, but something like “…and I want to welcome the 10 people joining us over WebEx today” will serve to remind the speaker that those people are there. It will also help to explain the tripod, camera and microphone. You might also want to take a minute to explain how the remote attendees should ask questions (group chat, private chat, etc.).

It’s Showtime – After your first event, you will appreciate the next time they roll the credits at the end of a movie. Staging an event that includes a remote audience is not something you should attempt alone. You need at least a second person to help you, and our best events have had three people involved with the production tasks. One person needs to be the broadcast point. That person has the slide deck (or controls who is presenting) and that person has the connection to the remote audience. That person controls when the event is being recorded, when the audio is muted, when the video is being shared and physically adjusts the camera and the microphone.

A second person should be part of the remote audience while also in the room. The best example of this was our last AIIM Chapter event, where one of the Chapter board members was in the back of the room, watching the live feed on her iPad. She was our liaison with the other remote attendees, she could ask their questions, and she could type out the audience questions for them to read, since the mic only worked well for the speaker. If you have a third person, they can focus on the people in the room. Neither audience should be made to feel less important than the other.

Support – Things will go wrong, but you can reduce your problem count if you can do two things. First, communicate with your remote attendees ahead of time. Make sure they are comfortable with the service you are using – offer to arrange a test of the service. Second, give everyone information about the service you are using, as if they’ve never used it. If they are familiar with the program, they are free to ignore your advice the way frequent fliers might ignore the safety card in the seat pocket, but if they are new to WebEx, or it’s been a while since they attended a WebEx meeting, they will appreciate the information. As I mentioned with handling comments, if you hope to be able to use private chat during the event, you need a second person or at least a second device on which to have that exchange. Remember, that helper and / or that second device of yours counts toward your limit with the service you are using. That’s important if you are selling tickets for the event. If I am using WebEx, I cap the number of Live Stream tickets at 20 in Eventbrite. That way, I have a couple extra slots for helpers and I have one or two to give away to a person who paid to attend in person but had to cancel at the last minute.

Also, make sure that the remote attendees understand the finer points of the agenda. For example, our event started at 8:30 but it started with breakfast, so maybe remote attendees didn’t want to log on until 8:50, when our Chapter President started speaking

Rules – Make sure your speakers are aware of your broadcast plans. This can be a simple courtesy, just to inform the speaker that their content is being broadcast and / or recorded, or it could present a real problem. Our most recent AIIM Chapter event was about security, and one of our speakers was an FBI Agent. The agent could not be photographed, and she could not be on video. Even the venue may not want certain things recorded. These things may not present a problem, but a conservative approach will ensure that there are no surprises.

I have now been involved with about six events that included a local and a remote audience. I am clearly still learning how best to handle the nuances of AV production. I hope you find this helpful, if you have any questions, I would be happy to try and answer them and if you have anything to add, I would really appreciate your comments.

We Interrupt SharePoint Stories

clip_image002Unless you’re new to this blog, you know that in addition to managing technical things at a small insurance company, I am a member of AIIM. What you might not know is that for the Chapter year that began July 1, 2012, I am responsible the events that the New England chapter of AIIM will produce. Most of our events are in the greater Boston area, but we will be stepping into CT and perhaps western MA. We will be holding a variety of events, some social, some educational and we could use some help. Our event schedule is almost complete, and we are planning events around the following topics:

  • Social Media use inside the organization
  • SharePoint’s content management, and process improvement features
  • AIIM and AIIM New England
  • Security
  • Records Management
  • Training for AIIM’s Certified Information Professional Certificate

Some of these events will involve seminar style presentations by people with expertise in the topic area. Some will involve panel discussions and some will mix the two styles. We are currently looking for speakers/panelists, sponsors and of course, attendees. What can you expect in exchange for filling one of these roles? I’m glad you asked:

Speakers – AIIM Chapter events are fun, and you’re the star. In many cases, we can adapt our program to fit your message; if you need more time, you got it. If you prefer something less formal than talking off a slide deck, talk to us. If you have a product you want to feature – AND you have a customer who will talk about it – we want to hear from you. Once you agree to participate, we will talk about you in our marketing, on our website, in our blogs, in Twitter, on Facebook and we will continue talking about you as long as you continue to be interesting.

Sponsors – In addition to the blogging, Twitter chatter, Facebook liking and marketing material that you will be featured in and on, we will plaster your message across our website in a banner ad. We will also give you a few minutes during the event(s) you sponsor to speak directly to the audience. Our events also feature adequate time for networking. You can sponsor an individual event, a series of events or the entire Chapter program.

Attendees – AIIM Chapter events are a great way to explore and learn about topics of interest to you. Nobody is in a hurry to move to the next session, so there is adequate time to answer questions, have discussions, and dig into the details. Some of our 2011 events were characterized by 50% or more of audience interaction! In addition, since you are in your own backyard, the people you meet are more likely to be people you can connect with again face-to-face, as well as virtually.

Everybody at an AIIM Chapter event becomes part of the Chapter community. Not a virtual community, a real community, the kind where you might stop by to share a cup of coffee or a couple of beers after work. In fact, we will provide at least two events at which you can do just that. We will kick-off our program year with a social event in nearby Waltham, MA, and we also hold an Annual Holiday Social event. Last year, the Holiday Social was held at the Marriott in Newton, MA.

The New England Chapter is one of the oldest AIIM Chapters. We have numerous AIIM fellows, Distinguished Achievement Award holders and several of our members have served on the AIIM Board; in fact, at least one of our current members is a previous Chairman of the Association. AIIM NE is a storied Chapter and we are looking to continue writing history as we move through our 5th decade! Join us for an event; share your expertise with your neighbors, support a great program or come, listen and learn. You can reach me through this blog, ping me on Twitter, email through LinkedIn, or reach out to me through the Chapter contact points listed above. I hope to see you at an event in New England this year.

Taking the Next Step

imageIf you follow this blog, or even if you drop in from time to time, you know two things about our SharePoint implementation – we have had some success, and much work remains. Given that situation, this might not seem like the time to be more aggressive with our SharePoint goals, but I think it is. I want to build on the success we have had; I want to extend our reach into other areas of our business, while also expanding the number of ways that we can take advantage of SharePoint.

Lately, we have been working to find something in between the boring out-of-the-box look and feel of SharePoint and a totally custom solution. We want to avoid recreating, as Owen Baern said: “The Problem SharePoint Solved”, but we are trying to give our users the experience they deserve. I am also trying to save time and money by extending SharePoint into the realm previously dominated by fat-client desktop applications. During the past 10 months, we have had some good success building off the lessons we learned during a training session last year with Marc D. Anderson, but as the title suggests, it was time to move the bar. Last year, we learned a lot about working with Data View Web Parts and script, and we used that knowledge to build a couple of very cool summary analysis pages (dashboards if you prefer buzzwords). This year, we wanted to get started with Marc’s SPServices library, so we had him take us to school again.

I have seen a large number of shout-out’s and thank you’s to Marc on Twitter about SPServices, but we really hadn’t come up with a reason to use it, until a couple of months ago. Having split our Internet-facing server into several site collections, we wanted a way to intelligently share items from a master list at the root level of the farm. The list contains employee contact information, including relational items so we can assign them to the sites we insure, the committees of our Board of Directors, and the business partners we deal with. All of these assignments are made by role, so an insured knows who the underwriter is, who the engineer(s) are and who to call for technical support. We have done this in the past with a separate master list in each site collection, using views or DVWPs, but we wanted a single list, so the people who maintain the contact information didn’t have to bounce around between sites. We also wanted the list to be easy to load on each/any page, and we wanted it to look good.

Marc quickly put us on the road to success, with a simple extract of data from the master list, displayed in a Content Editor Webpart that had that familiar SharePoint look and feel. We were impressed, but then Marc put us on the highway, making the list look a little better and driving its contents dynamically from the page it was on. I dropped that link on a test page, in a different site collection, and it sprang to life with the appropriate data. Next, Marc put us on a Trans-AM course, when he used his library’s feature to return a JSON array, so that we could group the results in a way that made sense to our customers, as opposed to the way they were returned by the query. image

Some of our insureds operate multiple reactor sites and there may be numerous underwriters and/or engineers assigned to the account. In those cases, we wanted the account staff to be grouped by insured site, but we wanted the technical staff only listed once. For single unit locations, we wanted the team listed without any grouping or at least with the single group opening in an expanded state.

As Marc worked his middle-tier magic, we got the clear impression that he could put us on a Formula-1 course if we wanted to go that far – we didn’t. We want a good user experience, but we still wanted our users to know they were in SharePoint. This is the point when I am glad we teamed up with Marc. He didn’t come here with a solution in search of a problem; he didn’t walk in trying to sell us the same approach he used at his last client, or his favorite approach, in fact, he ended up trying something new. He came to teach, and he taught us how to do what we wanted to be able to do. If we ever need help building a solution, he’s the first person I would call. This time around it was a learning event, and it was a total success.

Saying No

clip_image002What do your users have in common with your children and your pets? Sometimes, they have to be told “no” in an effort to help them learn to be more self-sufficient. OK, if your pets include cats, telling them “no” and expecting them to learn is a fool’s errand, but I think you understand my point. In addition to the need to be told no, users, children and (some) pets have ways of making it difficult for us to say that word. There are lots of reasons we don’t want to say no, but the big three are:

  1. We want to be liked.
  2. We genuinely want to do what they ask, or let them do what makes them happy.
  3. It’s often easier to do something for them than it is to teach them how to do that thing for themselves.

If you were to ask the users in our company, they would probably tell you that my approach to technical support would indicate that I don’t care about being liked. That’s not entirely true, being liked is nice, but I get paid for being effective. In order for IT to be effective, we have to strike a balance between providing technical support and helping people grow in their understanding, adoption and their own effective use of the technology we provide. This has always been the case; there has always been a fine line between support and coddling on the one hand and encouragement and indifference on the other; walking those lines has never been easy. SharePoint, at least our SharePoint installation makes walking those lines even harder, because the lines are moving. Maybe that’s the whole point of the SharePoint Maturity Model, but I’ll leave that discussion for others. The simple observation is that the further we extend SharePoint beyond the ability of our users to understand it, the more it becomes an IT product.

In trying halt the progression described in the last sentence, I can honestly say that I’m not prone to coddling my users. I might not actually say “no” to people asking for help, but I am becoming a fan of saying: “…here, let me show you how to do that.” The distinction is a finer line than you might imagine. Someone who simply wants a problem to be solved considers that approach to be the equivalent of my saying “no.” But even if we (IT) did everything for them, our SharePoint implementation would ultimately fail. SharePoint growth is fed by the dual inputs of response and insinuation. Most of the progress we have made to this point has been the later; people have asked for help, and we have declared that “that would be a good use of SharePoint.” Far less progress has come in response to people asking if we could change, extend or create a new SharePoint solution. That we do get some of those requests is heartening, but we have to work to keep them in the mix. As our SharePoint solutions become more complex, more aggressive, more dynamic and more useful, people have to understand more about what is going on behind the scenes.

A recent example surfaced as we were demonstrating the management dashboard that I wrote about here. The dashboard highlights individual items and aggregate results that are necessary for managing a process. Most of the results on display are linked to a detail view that better illustrates that aspect of the process – Reports by Engineer for example. As we were demonstrating some of these views, people started suggesting changes. Many of their suggestions just involved altering the sort or filter parameters of the view. We took the opportunity to remind them (demonstrate) that they can dynamically introduce those changes in ANY view, at ANY time. It is very important to remind people that even once a solution has been “developed”, that the results are still in SharePoint and all of SharePoint’s inherent functionality remains available to them. We (practitioners) know this, but people who are not as familiar with SharePoint as we are, may not recognize that a view is a view is a view. In addition, many of them are not adventurous enough to take the approach of saying “let me just try this…” Our history of building and delivering “systems” has conditioned people to thinking that what they get from IT is what they have to work with. This perception will change as we incorporate personalization features into our next generation desktop systems, but right now, SharePoint is leading the way toward the consumerization of IT at our company. I also recognize that they have their own job to do, and that I am asking them to extend their domain to include parts of ours. Like I said, it’s a fine line.

Great Ideas Come From Customers

clip_image002We spend a lot of time and considerable effort managing an Internet-facing server for our members, customers and business partners. Usually, this is a “build it and they will come” type effort. We build out what we think is an effective site, we track a certain amount of usage that tells us it’s working, we pat ourselves on the back and move onto the next task. In the course of normal business, we don’t actually have contact with these important users. Recently, I attended our company policyholder meeting, and I got to spend some time in one-on-one meetings with a few of our customers. It’s one thing to send someone their user credentials and receive a “Thanks, this looks good…” email. It’s a whole ‘nother thing to sit next to that person and walk them through their site.

I always get a little nervous before these meetings, and I always come away realizing that the nervousness was unnecessary. We are providing a service to our customers, and they appreciate it. If they have problems, suggestions or questions, they really appreciate the fact that we are willing to solve, consider or answer them. We had a few of each to deal with this time, and I learned a lot in the process.

One of the things that I learned is how important it is to consider SharePoint from the point of view of the user. We look at this site as a multi-use portal; it serves our members, our policyholders, many of our important business partners and our employees. One of the things we did when we upgraded to SP 2010 was to create separate content databases along these various groups. That we had to do this is a good thing, it means people are using the site. Of course, it also means that the URLs changed. Navigation from the top level site didn’t change, and the main URL didn’t change, but these people want to start at a place that makes sense to them; they don’t want to enter the front door and then walk down to “Men’s Wear.” Fortunately, we anticipated this problem, and we secured a domain name that will link them to the front page of the policyholder site – forever!

One of the things that we didn’t anticipate is how our site can be both important and trivial, and how that dichotomy influences what our users want. Our site is important, because it is a source of information that our policyholders need. Our site is trivial, because they have a thousand other things to keep track of. They rely on our content always being up to date; they want to know when our content changes but they don’t want dealing with that content or those changes to be a big drill. They want us to improve notification.

We thought that notification was easy – users can set up alerts and get notified of everything that changes, and they can have as many users as they like. Well, some of their users don’t remember to set up alerts, and they want some people to be notified without having them be credentialed users on the site. They want to have a contact list that can include users and non-users, and they want a “more descriptive email notification” to go out when content changes, not simply the SharePoint alert. I know that we can handle that request for one policyholder sub-site, and I think we can handle it for all of them with a roll-up list, but suffice it to say, we have some work ahead of us.

Another challenge that lies ahead of us is training. One of the changes we made during the upgrade process was to eliminate folders in the various document libraries. Face-to-face, I was able to show the benefit of having all the content in one place, and being able to sort and filter on the metadata. Apparently, “face-to-face” was the important part of that sentence. I was asked if I could provide remote video training. The answer is “yes I can,” but now that task is on my plate; I don’t think anyone from my awesome staff is going to volunteer to be the trainer. At least this will give us a chance to put Lync to the test.

I am famous for looking for the bright side to every situation (and there always is a bright side). When I look at this situation, I think about how lucky I am to be able to meet with these folks and get their honest feedback. Of course great food, open bars and a hike through a San Diego canyon helped set the stage for a comfortable exchange, but the important thing is that the dialog will help us turn a good site into an awesome site.