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SharePoint 2010 Real-World Projects: Building a Basic FAQ Solution

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This chapter from Microsoft SharePoint 2010: Creating and Implementing Real World Projects steps through the process of creating a basic FAQ solution using SharePoint Foundation. This solution relies on some of the basic features in SharePoint Foundation and will highlight simple things you can implement in any solution to provide large benefits.

As in the other chapters in this book, you will start by reviewing the business problems. You’ll then work through the solution’s design and then build the solution.

Identifying the Business Problems

The business need driving an FAQ solution is common across many organizations and is focused on helping users quickly find the data they need when they run into questions. For example, the following sections describe the key areas of concern at Tailspin Toys.

Self-Service Access to Common Information

One of the biggest issues within the organization is that users do not know where to go to find information. Since the data within the organization is so spread out, it is a common occurrence for users to quickly become frustrated and open support tickets if their initial search fails. Since the help desk is available only during certain working hours, this means that users who work after hours or who try to gain assistance during peak working hours have a hard time getting access to the data that they need. If a self-service solution was implemented, users would be able to access the needed data and submit help desk claims only when they were unable to find the data they need in the solution.

Extended Time on Help Desk Calls

Currently, with the added volume of calls to the help desk, the completion time for many calls is above the average threshold. Users have become frustrated because it is difficult to reach the help desk. Help desk staff have become frustrated because they are answering the same questions over and over again and are not able to focus more on the higher-level support requests.

Support for Third-Party Vendors and Partners

Recently, Tailspin Toys has entered into a partnership with several small toy companies. The partnership requires that the companies work together on several initiatives. As a result, many internal users are now responsible for working with internal systems as well as with several external environments. In addition, a collection of vendors now has access to Tailspin Toys’ systems. The vendors have requested that each environment include a standardized FAQ solution that allows users to quickly search for and find information that they need.

Summarizing the Business Problems

We have briefly covered three problems that are affecting the working environment for three user groups:

  • Difficulty finding answers to common questions
  • Lack of quick turnaround on support questions
  • Desire to use similar systems in multiple environments

Looking at these issues, it is clear that a centralized FAQ solution would address them and would improve the general working environment for employees, vendors, and the help desk support team.