Top 25 Office 365 Influencers

Continuing our “Top Office 365 Influencers Speak Out” series, we present our next interview with Asif Rehmani, Founder and CEO of VisualSP and a SharePoint MVP.

In this interview, Asif talks about his product VisualSP Help System, no-code solutions for SharePoint users, the benefits of ‘just-in-time training videos’, how Office 365 has changed his workstyle and much more.

The full video can be viewed below.

Asif Rehmani
@asifrehmani
 

 

Many customers are still on SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013. Why don’t they take the opportunity to use the new tools?

You’re right. A lot of our customers are in 2010 and 2013 right now and they can use those immediately to make their team-based or region-based solutions. Having said that, if you are looking for an enterprise solution for the long term then you might want to think about using something else. But honestly, these days when you are trying to build, especially a team-based solution, you are not looking for long term. You are looking to solve the problem right now. Things will change and processes will change, so you must think about the current lifecycle of your solution. If the current tools give you what you need for your lifecycle, use them. Definitely still plan for the future, which is a hybrid cloud world. Some customers feel the need to stay on premise and some will take workloads and distribute them. Others will say they are ready to go to the cloud, and Microsoft is committed to honoring these customers, which is a great story for all of us.

You were one of the first to do screen recordings and created a “How to” website where you distributed videos on how to use SharePoint Designer to do workflows. Tell us a little about that.

It all came out of necessity actually. We had a lot of people asking, “can you show me what you just showed again?” So we started recording it. Eventually we monetized it and started creating a subscription model, but in the beginning it was all free for the community. We still do that right now, by the way, but now we do it with the latest and greatest topics.

Video as a medium for businesses has been getting more and more attention, and you use it for end-user training?

We discovered that end-users are not very motivated to go watch videos or do any kind of training outside of their SharePoint environment. So what we started doing is providing ‘just-in-time’ training for the users wherever and whenever they need it. We have found that a thorough training for SharePoint users is a waste of time. You cannot open up a user’s head and say I am going to put all this information in and you are going to remember all of this information when the time comes; it is just not going to happen. I have failed at doing that many times already. When someone is working on their tablet or desktop and they have a need, provide them help at that time directly in the interface where they need it and when they need it.

Are you and your company completely moved to Office 365?

We are hybrid right now, so we do a lot of stuff on premise and we do a lot of stuff online. The reality is some of the stuff will never go online depending on how sensitive it is and other stuff just makes sense to be online.

How has Office 365 changed your work style?

Bigtime. I remember a time when we used to have blade servers that we would have to set up for training and you would have servers that you would physically take from place to place. That was your server environment back in the SharePoint 2003 world. From then to what I do right now, you can spin it up in a matter of seconds sometimes, which is amazing. It used to be a day set up and now it is literally seconds or minutes.

Catch the full interview here:

 

David Lavenda
Vice President of Product Strategy