As a SharePoint consultant, I see lots of different ways the SharePoint implementations are taking place. In some cases, I work with a client who already knows what SharePoint can do and, in that case, just does not have time to configure SharePoint themselves. In other cases, the client is completely new to SharePoint and wants to take advantage of it one way or another “because they are already paying for Microsoft 365 licenses”. That second scenario is what I would like to focus on today.
What I find quite helpful and beneficial with that second group of users is doing a SharePoint demo early in the implementation process. The truth of the matter is that you can’t just implement SharePoint Intranet or a Document Management solution in SharePoint without the users understanding what SharePoint is and what it can do. The necessary first step in the process becomes a 1-2 hour SharePoint demo that serves as an educational foundation on which users base their requirements and wish lists. Without it, it is almost impossible to implement SharePoint successfully.
Why is SharePoint Demo necessary?
SharePoint Demo is necessary in the following situations:
- The users have never seen or used SharePoint in the past
- The users have used SharePoint previously, but it was a classic version back then
- The users worked for a company where SharePoint implementation did not go well and have reservations about the potential of SharePoint in their new organization
- The users primarily used Teams and OneDrive over the last few years and were never formally introduced to SharePoint
- The users never had any formal training or education about SharePoint
What are the topics to be covered during the SharePoint Demo?
My philosophy with any demos or training is that it should never take an entire day. All my training sessions, for example, are limited to 2 hours. Why waste the whole day, when I can cover the same material in just a few hours? Same with the Demo. 1-2 hours at most. This should allow time for a demo, and some Q&A. Below are some sample topics I cover when I deliver demo’s/training to my potential clients:
- The communication aspect of SharePoint (i.e., Intranet examples)
- Page editing capabilities and selection of web parts
- Basic Document Management capabilities (version history, check-in/check-out, co-authoring)
- Benefits of metadata (compared to folders)
- Main Limitations of SharePoint
- Integration with other Microsoft 365 applications (Teams, Lists, etc.)
- Integration with Power Automate (workflow/automation)
When should the SharePoint demo be delivered?
Very early in the project. Like literally, as the first step in the project. You can’t expect users to assist you with requirements gathering before they understand what modern SharePoint Online is all about and its limitations. By the way, if you are looking for a demo of SharePoint yourself, I will be happy to assist you.