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Jen McCarty

Jen McCarty

Discussion boards and online forums are intended to be reflective, forcing people to read other perspectives and thoughtfully consider a response in back-and-forth interaction and engagement. Anyone who has seen a comment section with a troll, spambot, or griefer disrupting the conversation knows that’s not always the case. However, a company SharePoint discussion board is a safe haven for timely and topical collaboration, and a great opportunity to share ideas.

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And the (SharePoint) Survey Says...

It’s a pretty safe bet that no one gets excited to see a survey from their management in their inbox, if only because we’ve been trained to dread surveys by constant exposure to bad ones. I think surveys can be very useful – what other options do you have, to get employee feedback, short of mind-reading? – but there is an epidemic of badly planned and formatted surveys making the rounds in corporate America.

Long ago, I spent some time at a global bank helping to manage the technology support desk’s knowledge base (KB) in a software system called ServiceNow. Our KB was full of technical guides, FAQs, process manuals, and outage alerts. Most of my time was spent going through old, obsolete articles and flagging them for clean-up, trying to track down metadata (e.g., who owns this? Who should maintain this? Who can tell me if this is still accurate, when it hasn’t been updated in years?) or straight up deleting documents that didn’t apply anymore (think Windows XP support, or an outage warning for a system update that happened years ago).

It was a nightmare. It’s also why I prefer SharePoint for my KBs.

I can personally deploy SharePoint enterprise-wide, from installation and design to administration and training, because I’m incredible. I’m like a bona fide superhero.

Just kidding.

With a Master’s degree in teaching and a background in designing global corporate training initiatives, I’m sometimes asked how I approach training roll-outs for new products and services. My reply is generally, “It depends on your training goals, and how much time you’re willing to devote to getting them accomplished.” I also usually ask “Do you have learning management systems in place to help with the nitty-gritty of the training administration?”

First, a disclaimer: I love Google. I’ve used Gmail since it was invitation-only, I’m in Google Calendar several times a day, I have several Hangout chats going at any given time, and it’s my search engine of choice.

However, I don’t like Google for professional and enterprise support. I prefer Microsoft, and Office 365, and I love SharePoint – which is why I’m the SharePoint specialist at MindActive. Before you grab the torches and pitchforks, hear me out!

Here at MindActive, I’m the lone Microsoft / Windows person in an office of Mac users, so I catch some good-natured grief for being one of “those people.” With my extensive background in SharePoint administration, it makes sense for me to be more Windows focused, since Microsoft and Windows are built to work effortlessly together. However, convincing my team – a group of Mac using, Safari loving, website image and video manipulating experts - to give SharePoint a try required some major research.

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The MP3 is dead?

When I read this week that the MP3 is dead, I had a moment of panic. As the SharePoint design expert for MindActive, my experience with audio files has been limited almost exclusively to personal use. I have an MP3 player in a drawer at home somewhere, but I rarely use it (just like my mother and a host of friends and relatives – I imagine many people are in the same boat as me). When I listen to music or audio files, I go old-school with a radio or CD, stream it from my phone, or load up a podcast on my tablet. With minimal knowledge of audio file formats, my immediate reaction was “what does this mean for me?”

For all sorts of internet usage, from binge-watching Netflix to remotely accessing a business SharePoint site, there’s nothing worse than low bandwidth and intermittent network connections. The buffering, the error messages, or the dreaded “you’ve used all of your data” notification can ruin your plans for being productive.

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