ATOI365D#Office365Challenge – 5 Days to Go – The magic of SharePoint lies in the ability to take ordinary OTB Apps, and build extraordinary solutions with them. Solutions that help people, improves process, saves time, are easy to use, quick to deploy and effortless to update or improve. That’s the magic – right there. Today I’ll pass on a 7 great ideas that you can use as Quick Wins, to boost your user adoption (and your self esteem).

Day:  360 of 365, 5 left
Tools:  Office 365, SharePoint 2016
Description: It’s the simple things that matter in SharePoint
Audience:  All


Only those who have patience to do simple things perfectly ever acquire the skill to do difficult things easily. James J. Corbett

Truer words could not have been spoken. Take the time and REALLY learn the SharePoint Apps inside out. Before you grab the next best thing and complicate things. I’ve seen people spend a lot of money on totally unnecessary customizations, which SharePoint / Microsoft would have done OTB – if they had just configured it right.

Let me give you a crazy example (this is super important to me – and I really need to bring this point across).

A certain company has received an audit finding regarding forms that are printed for copies. In factory environments we see this often. Master copies will be placed in a file, and then copies are made of those – all good. The audit finding was that the auditor could not confirm – when the original master copy was printed. It could have been 10 years old. Another company then customized a solution (very expensive) for them, to date stamp any document printed from SharePoint. Problem solved.

I think not. You know what I would have done? Trained my document owners to add footers on their Excel / Word Templates with the formula for Printed = [Today]. See what I did there?

We are complicating our own lives and that of our customers, because we don’t know our product well enough.

Temporary unique landing pages:

It’s not possible to build SharePoint to suit everyone. Teach users how to create their own unique landing page in PowerPoint (or Excel) using SmartArt or Images + hyperlinks on objects. Save this page as a pdf, load it on SharePoint and put the link on their landing page behind a button or promoted link. For example “Dispatch Navigation”. The pdf will open fully in the browser and present them with all the areas that are important to them, as well as the links for navigation. Users love the creativity and they take ownership as they feel they’ve had input to their system. This also works GREAT for audits, when users need to quickly find all the relevant content in one place (that might be scattered all over their site).

And more: (Yes, these two images were created in Excel)

Use Wiki Pages for processes:

Wiki pages are great for processes. Add images and text, and hyperlink areas to navigate to other pages / processes. Users would rather navigate and search wiki pages, than open 10 to 20 page documents. Draw the process in PowerPoint – add hyperlinks (to the different wiki pages or apps), save as PDF and load on SharePoint as the Process Entry:


Another example below, of course you can automate this with cool forms and workflows – but you can’t do everything for everyone right? I’d rather have 100’s of simple solutions in place than wait for months for that one big thing. (Below image was done with SharePoint Designer an Images Maps, you can still achieve this by creating a PDF as explained above, or:


Add Meeting type categories to Calendars:

  • Use the category in your calendar to add different meeting types
  • Use the same calendar for all you meetings
  • Write a filtered view for each meeting type
  • You can also add colours for each category

Use Calendars to manage Expiry dates:

Use the Calendar App to manage Expiry dates. Add all the certificates, ID’s, Passports, VISA’s, Vehicle License etc. and their expiry dates. This will give you a monthly view in a calendar (or Gantt chart), of the things you need to manage. You can always workflow it later.

Document Libraries as Document Registers

As you know you can export any list or library on SharePoint to Excel. For audits we normally require an up to date document register. Add all the relevant data in your library and when needed for auditors, export the list:


Filtered views for Filtered Alerts

Want to build a solution where different people have to respond based on different selections made. No workflow and fancy form editing needed? Custom List > Filtered Views > Filtered Alerts.

Use Promoted Links for Unique Themes

I LOVE Promoted Links. You might work in an environment where the branding and themes for the site is locked down. Promoted links allows you to have some fun, create a unique look and feel, get a message across whilst still sticking to the rules:


I hope these will inspire you to do more with less. It’s called iterative change. Small baby steps with simple solutions which grow into bigger solutions over time (while the user maturity grows with them).

Overview of my challenge: As an absolute lover of all things Microsoft, I’ve decided to undertake the challenge, of writing a blog every single day, for the 365 days. Crazy, I know. And I’ll try my best, but if I cannot find something good to say about Office 365 and the Tools it includes for 365 days, I’m changing my profession. So let’s write this epic tale of “Around the Office in 365 Days”. My ode to Microsoft Office 365.
Keep in mind that these tips and tricks do not only apply to Office 365 – but where applicable, to the overall Microsoft Office Suite and SharePoint.