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Webinar | System Admin Essentials: Communicating with End Users (July 26, 2023)

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Employee

When we ask System admins how they are communicating with their end users, there really isn’t a “one size fits all” answer. Some Admins talk regularly with their end users, some only communicate when there are major changes. Some engage directly with people, while others go through Group Admins or SMEs.

Join us on July 26, 2023, where a panel of current and former Admins - Lyndsy Denk (@Lyndsy-Denk), Marketing Training and Enablement Manager at IDEXX, Rachelle Dilley (@RachelleDilley), Enterprise Group Admin at Adobe, and Cynthia Boon (@CynthiaBoon), Customer Success Manager at Workfront – will share their strategies for communicating with users and what they think all Admins should know.

Together they’ll share:

  • Common types of communications sent to users
  • Tips for deciding which channels to use for your communications
  • How to think of your communications strategy in an iterative way, starting from where you are and maturing as you go

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UPDATE: This session is now available on-demand. You can access the recording here and a copy of the slides is attached. Here is also a link to the End User Communications Cookbook that we shared in the session. Thanks for all who joined us!

 

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6 Replies

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Level 7

How to create a SharePoint content library

Several folks asked for more detail, so buckle up! This is a deeper dive into something I mention in the first item in the End User Communications Cookbook: Tagging pages to help you build a library of content.

  1. In your Site Pages, create a new column that is a Choice type. Populate your choices as needed. My standard Tags for any site include: Landing page, Resource page, Resource sub-page, Archive. For a dedicated library you'll need a special tag, for example "Tip" or "Release notes." When it comes to my tips, I have a second Choice column for a subtag, which helps me further break down my tips by audience.
  2. Tag your Site Pages accordingly.
  3. Create a page where you will build your library.
  4. Insert the Highlighted Content web part to pull in the pages based on the tag. In the Source dropdown, select This page library on this site. This is what enables you to use the information in your custom columns; other sources aren't so helpful.

Check out the screenshots attached for what my Site Pages tags look like and an example of how I set up one of the Highlighted Content web parts. You can use this approach for documents, too, which a little nuance.

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Level 7

Microsoft Power Automate flow: Push an adaptive card to a Teams channel

Ultimately I built this flow after studying this blog article. The bugaboo is that the flow requires your Site Pages Library ID, which isn't easily accessible. 

  1. Navigate to your Site Pages. 
  2. Click Automate > Power Automate > Create a flow. Microsoft suggests some templates, so look for a flow that connects SharePoint and Teams. The specific one that gives me what I need is currently titled "Post a message to Microsoft Teams for a selected file." This starts the process for setting up the flow, but we're not actually going to use this flow template. Follow the buttons until you get to the flow itself. From here you can copy the Library Name because it's automatically populated. Or you can keep using this template, but make some changes based on below.
  3. Build the flow. There are three flow steps you need (see screenshot):
    1. For a selected file
    2. Get file properties
    3. Post adaptive car in a chat or channel
  4. Save, turn on your flow, and test it. I created a private Team where I do all my SharePoint testing, so it might be wise to grab the Site Pages Library ID for a place like that to push your first few adaptive cards.
  5. Copy your flow as many time as you need to push to different channels or Teams.

For a selected file

Choose the site where you will be pushing pages from and paste in the Library ID you copied from step 2.

Get file properties

Choose the same site and enter the same Library ID as above. Additionally this stage asks for an Id. Choose entity.FileId.

Post adaptive card in a chat or channel

This is where you can play. It's also where I found it most challenging. Microsoft offers samples here and a place to play around here. However, here are my settings:

  • Post as: Flow bot
  • Post in: Channel
  • Team: [select the destination Team that you have access to]
  • Channel: [select the channel]
  • Adaptive card: [paste in the JSON payload from the designer] I gave you my code below, but you'll need to futz a bit. Refer back to the blog article I mentioned above because it explains how you need to use dynamic content fields. My design pulls in Topic Header, Title, First Published Date, Banner Image URL, Description, and Link to Item.

 

{
    "$schema": "http://adaptivecards.io/schemas/adaptive-card.json",
    "type": "AdaptiveCard",
    "version": "1.3",
    "body": [
        {
            "type": "ColumnSet",
            "columns": [
                {
                    "type": "Column",
                    "items": [
                        {
                            "type": "TextBlock",
                            "text": "@{body('Get_file_properties')?['OData__TopicHeader']}",
                            "wrap": true,
                            "fontType": "Default",
                            "size": "Medium",
                            "color": "Accent",
                            "weight": "Default"
                        },
                        {
                            "type": "TextBlock",
                            "text": "@{body('Get_file_properties')?['Title']}",
                            "weight": "Bolder",
                            "size": "ExtraLarge",
                            "spacing": "None",
                            "wrap": true,
                            "color": "Default",
                            "fontType": "Default"
                        },
                        {
                            "type": "TextBlock",
                            "text": "@{body('Get_file_properties')?['FirstPublishedDate']}",
                            "spacing": "None",
                            "wrap": true,
                            "fontType": "Default",
                            "size": "Medium",
                            "weight": "Default",
                            "color": "Default",
                            "isSubtle": true
                        }
                    ],
                    "width": 3
                },
                {
                    "type": "Column",
                    "width": 1,
                    "items": [
                        {
                            "type": "Image",
                            "url": "@{body('Get_file_properties')?['BannerImageUrl']}",
                            "altText": "decorative banner image"
                        }
                    ]
                }
            ]
        },
        {
            "type": "ColumnSet",
            "columns": [
                {
                    "type": "Column",
                    "width": "stretch",
                    "items": [
                        {
                            "type": "TextBlock",
                            "text": "@{body('Get_file_properties')?['Description']}",
                            "wrap": true,
                            "maxLines": 4,
                            "spacing": "None",
                            "fontType": "Default",
                            "size": "Medium",
                            "weight": "Default",
                            "color": "Default"
                        }
                    ]
                }
            ],
            "spacing": "Large",
            "separator": true
        }
    ],
    "actions": [
        {
            "type": "Action.OpenUrl",
            "title": "Read more",
            "url": "@{body('Get_file_properties')?['{Link}']}"
        }
    ]
}

 

 

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Level 7

Communicating with requestors

Someone asked for tips on communicating with requestors and helping them track requests. I have a couple thoughts there:

Offer self-serve resources to learn more about requesting

Project owners approached me with woes about how requestors were consistently "submitting wrong" and I could I train them? Holding sessions can be labor intensive so I started smaller with bite-sized tips. The attachment below shows the topics. Even just reading the titles can give these users an idea of what they could do in the system. If they can't figure it out from there, the articles walk them through it.

Curate your requestor forms with a user experience mindset

Whenever we build a request form, we first map out what the team needs in order to get the work done. But then we reimagine everything from the requestor's perspective. This might mean we rewrite questions so they're more accessible to the requestor. We might even break down a prompt into more than one question. Consider:

  • Is the requestor equipped with the right information to answer your question? If not, what information can they give you?
  • Will this question almost always result in you having to follow up with the requestor to gather more information? If we can't map what those follow-up questions should be, then another format might be more efficient, like an intake meeting or a creative brief.

Design governance and best practices around managing requests

I have had intake managers fret about rejecting requests. "My requestors won't be happy," they say. And yet we must reject sometimes. I recommend three approaches here:

  1. Draft governance around what types of requests should be rejected (or redirected). Having this documentation on hand can help explain to requestors and leaders why you make these decisions.
  2. Collect best practices and standard language to soften the blow. Train your intake managers or decision makers on how to respond to a requestor when they choose to not move forward with a request. Start with empathy and quickly follow up with a business reason and be as helpful as possible. Here's an example when someone uses my Help Desk request queue thinking they're asking for work from our Creative team: "Whoops! You submitted your request to the Workfront Help Desk. We're here to help you with technical support for this platform. However, it looks like you need help from Creative. If that's the case, would you please resubmit your request to [link to form]?"
  3. If you find that you're rejecting too many requests, dig deeper into why and revisit the concepts above about providing guidance and designing forms carefully.

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Employee

Using JumpSeat for communicating with end users

 

Someone in the session asked if any of us have used this tool or recommend using it. Within the Adobe instance, we have investigated the use of this software mainly for on-boarding and training. It seems to have a great foundation of basic Workfront knowledge and can also be customized to cover customized workflows. I think with any tool, it's usefulness depends on your specific instance including number of users supported, number of unique and customized workflows, etc. But it did seem to have some great features. I would love to hear from anyone who has implemented its use.

Hi Rachelle. Thanks for raising this!

I work at LeapPoint and we implement JumpSeat with Workfront, as well as other Adobe solutions.

This is a great use case for JumpSeat as it engages with people where they are (in Workfront) rather than adding noise to the email inbox. JumpSeat has features that our clients use to send messages, updates, alerts, and the like. What I personally like is that it also has analytics on the backend that enables our clients to track how many people (even seeing who) are actually interacting with the pop-up, something that an OOTB Workfront announcement doesn't offer right now.

I'd encourage anyone who wants to learn more to check out their website and reach out for a demo!

https://jumpseat.io/

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Employee

Redirecting users from Slack, Teams, etc. back into Workfront

I'm a firm believer that you have to meet your users where they are while also consistently pushing your change management plan. My team supports a marketing Slack channel whose main purpose is to build community while sharing fun, helpful Workfront Tips. We inevitably get LOTS of people reaching out on that channel. My approach is if I can resolve it in under 3-5 minutes, then I'll help them there. If it's more than that, I provide the link to our queue and ask them to open a support ticket so "it doesn't get lost in the shuffle." We have the queue pinned to the top of the channel as well for easy access. I think they appreciate the flexibility and also understand when we redirect them as well.