Productivity Hub for SharePoint 2010 – Update

Back in June 2010, Microsoft released what was known as the Productivity Hub for SharePoint 2010. It was a site collection that Microsoft provided that could be extended out for end users to visit to acquire knowledge on how to use SharePoint.  Great resource if you were short on training components and looking for assistance but weren’t able to find their IT Pro (who was probably hiding somewhere no doubt, fearing for their lives). Further for those that are looking to engage and foster adoption of the Information Worker’s in your business, the productivity hub is key to gaining their buy in and helping them to truly dive into the SharePoint platform to make it their tool set.

The best part of the hub in my opinion is the ability to customize it and add additional modules that meet your organization or business unit’s needs to ensure that your implementation is actually serving them from a business perspective rather than just humming away as another file share replacement.

Well, like most technology solutions, there are updates and enhancements.  On 17 January 2011, Microsoft released such an update for the Productivity Hub for SharePoint 2010. So, if you’re looking to just download and implement with the content packs – fear not, it’s simply and easy by just heading over to the Microsoft Download Center at:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=4aaa9862-e420-4331-8bc3-469d7bae0ff1

However, if you’re feeling crafty and are looking to customize this product, it’s available on CodePlex from the team that created it (thanks RedTech!) at:

http://productivityhub.codeplex.com/

The key enhancement to the Productivity hub in this case is that of the customization documentation to provide guidance when crafting the Hub for your implementation’s UX.

I just wish someone would adopt me…

Have you spent hours upon hours building the Mecca of SharePoint 2010 deployments? Honing and refining the BCS code that ties into your sales backend system to pull data across the wire that allows your business users to leverage PowerPivot to rotate their data around and find out things about their sales and marketing efforts? User adoption rates are soaring and you find yourself with brown bag sessions led by power users that are redefining the way you do work because of the SharePoint platform. You have? Well friends that’s amazing considering the product has only been RTM’d for about six months now 🙂

Seriously all kidding aside though, it seems more and more often, the technology departments of organizations see SharePoint 2010 and they see it as a godsend. Expeditiously they create a task force and press forth upon performing data calls, developing requirements and formulating the technical business case for a SharePoint system only. Before you know it you’ve got servers arriving on palettes to supplement your VMWare Hosting Center that you’ve slowly been building out, Software licenses pouring in and integrators salivating to begin implementing solutions to solve business users problems.

Wait, did someone say business user? I thought that the technology group just had its own purposes in mind when they were developing this solution. Yikes, end user 0, technology user 1.

It’s common habit for techies to fall in love with a software product or platform and forget that unlike the rest of the organization their feelings toward it may be a little different than those of the average user. Further while there definitely may be a need for SharePoint 2010, more often than not, the end user’s requirements get lost somewhere along the way or generalized. So the system gets built, the interface refined, and the door hangers to announce the system going live are printed and hung, but the end users are a little perplexed how to use this system or what it’s there for.

So how do we fix that? How do we as techies turn around and develop a solution that’s worthwhile to the end user, helping augment their already busy and stressful schedules with a real tool suite that enhances their productivity? Easy, we work on adoption strategies.

Okay, so that was a lot easier said than done. 🙂

Fear not though, Scott Jamison and Susan Hanley have partnered up to produce a fantastic whitepaper entitled “SharePoint 2010 Adoption Best Practices”. It’s available through the ‘Soft’s Download Center at:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=94ee6518-75f7-47be-b4c1-0d6ec1248486

Definitely worth the time to read and refine your business approach for adoption of SharePoint 2010. It’s more than just the technology that will truly show the value of the platform by enabling the users to develop solutions that will enhance their work life quality. As you’ll come to find, the technology, while powerful becomes indispensible once the end user is empowered.