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Is SharePoint Training really necessary?

With this post, I would like to answer the question that I get quite often from my clients and loyal blog followers:

Is SharePoint Training really necessary?

This is a valid question and not without merit. So let’s dive into this and answer it together. Full disclosure first, I provide SharePoint Training for a living.  So I will try to be as objective and transparent as possible here with my opinion and explanation.

Arguments against SharePoint Training

Below are the arguments I typically hear from those opposing SharePoint Training.

Modern SharePoint

“Modern SharePoint is much more intuitive and easier to use than “old” SharePoint.” True, I totally agree with this statement. But just because the user interface is simpler and more intuitive does not mean that no training is required. Look, the cars with all the driver assistance technology are simpler to drive now than 50 years ago but that does not mean that one no longer needs to learn how to drive.

MS Teams

“Our users are already using MS Teams and did not need any training.” Another frequent argument. Yes, your users did not need any training for using Teams. Just like they did not need any training on how to use LinkedIn or Facebook. It does not take high IQ to send text messages and smiley faces to your coworkers. But MS Teams and SharePoint, are two different platforms (though integrated via Office 365 Groups). Comparing Teams to SharePoint is like comparing Facebook to learning how to fly an airplane. Teams is a no-brainer with its chat capability and Teams (formerly Skype) calls. But SharePoint is quite different. SharePoint document library sync, metadata, content types, permissions, data retention – each of the above have unique to SharePoint quirks that I do not expect an average user to learn “just by using” it.

The arguments for SharePoint Training

Going beyond basic file storage

What makes SharePoint different from other cloud storage applications is its versatility in how it can be set up for document management. Sure, if you just use the same folder hierarchy as you did in your file shares all these years, you might not need much in terms of training. But where SharePoint excels in is advanced document management via metadata, Content Types, Document Sets.

Other SharePoint web parts

Forget about file storage for a second. Hopefully, you chose SharePoint because you can do so much more than store files and folders. With SharePoint, you can create sites, pages, add web parts. Do your users know how to create a custom list? What about restoring a previous version of the pages in case users messed up?

Integration with Flow and PowerApps

Another area that is getting momentum lately is the business process automation. Document approvals, vacation requests, business apps – even for the basic stuff you kind of need to know how it all works.

Governance

Training is not just about “how to” questions in SharePoint. The SharePoint Training session is a great time to remind everyone about Governance aspects, such as company policies and regulations related to data storage and sharing.

Return on Investment

I personally never took any MS Office training. So just like many, I learned Word and Excel and PowerPoint just by using the tools. As a result, I probably use 5% if at all of all the wonderful features these apps have. I did, however, take MS Project Training at one point in my career (I am a PMP certified Project Manager), because, being a project manager, I did not want to use just 5% of the features. I wanted to be more productive and more successful with my projects and project team members. The point I am trying to make here – you acquired a very capable and versatile application – take advantage of it and make yourself and your employees more productive!

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