This time, I would like to take a look at the settings – what can you decide about your survey as a whole?
Which settings can you apply to your survey?
Permissions to create and manage a survey – can anyone do it or do you need special permissions? Can you hand a survey over to someone else?
Look and feel – can you use colours and add branding to the survey?
Who can respond and details about the responses.
How to start and stop collecting responses.
Custom thank-you message.
Whether you can easily copy your survey.
Where can you find the settings?
The settings in Forms can be found in the top right. The palette is for the theme, the … will lead you to the other settings.
For the SharePoint survey/list you have some options in the Advanced Settings:
For SurveyMonkey, you can find most of the settings in the “Design Survey” phase, with different options in the buttons on the left:
For Google Forms you look at the top right, where the palette will allow you to determine the look-and-feel and the gear wheel will show other settings to select:
I have captured the results in the picture below. You can also view/download this as Excel. I have added this info as a separate tab in the same document as in my earlier post. You can use and edit it, but I would appreciate if you would mention my name if you share it outside of your organization.
Green/Yes: Available by default, although it may have different names
Orange: Available with a workaround
Red/No: Not available
Again, all surveys have different options but the differences are relatively small between Microsoft Forms, Google Forms and SurveyMonkey.
SurveyMonkey has some interesting options, such as a limit on the number of responses, suggestions for questions, and the SurveyMonkey Genius which gives an estimated time to complete and suggestions for the setup of the survey. (Under “Preview and Score”)
The SharePoint options appear to be a different animal altogether. They have their uses though, as mentioned in my earlier post.
During the writing of this post some more info about Forms was made available:
You can still check out and complete the surveys below, to have an idea of their look-and-feel. Please do not use real data, as I will use the inputs only for demonstrating how results will be displayed:
With the introduction of Forms in Office365 I was curious how the various survey tools compare. As a SharePoint List can also be used to collect information, I have added that as well. It has some special characteristics that could make it a good choice in some scenarios.
I have some personal experience with Google Forms, and Forms is rumoured to be based on that, so I have added that to the mix as well.
So these are the 5 options compared:
SurveyMonkey (free version)
What did I do?
I have created a 10-question survey based on the 8 basic Q&A options of Forms.
Then I recreated the same survey in the other tools. In cases where there was not a straightforward solution, I tried to find a workaround.
I have not applied branching logic, as I already have a lot of information to share.
In a next post I will look at the general settings per survey. Can you change the colour scheme, can you add a logo, how do you start or stop a survey, etc.
Finally, and this will also be another post, I will compare the ways you can see and manage results. How are results displayed, can you export them to a spreadsheet, is there any way you can filter results or have different options to display them?
Questions and Answers
Forms has 8 Q and A types, but some of them can be used in different ways – e.g. a Choice question can be a one choice only (radio button) or a multiple choice (check boxes), and the Text can be a short text, a long text, and a number.
The Net Promoter Score has recently been added but I personally think it is superfluous (it can be replaced with a Rating scale) and also annoying to receive. However, there is something special about it which I will share later. 😉
Experience them yourself! (and help me)
Please check out and complete the surveys below, to have an idea of their look-and-feel. Please do not use real data, as I will use the inputs only for demonstrating how results will be displayed:
I have captured the results in the picture below. You can also view/download this as Excel. You can use and edit it, but I would appreciate if you would mention my name if you share it outside of your organization.
Green/Yes: Available by default, although it may have different names
Orange: Available with a workaround
Red/No: Not available
No two Survey tools are alike. Duh!
In general, the SharePoint options appear to be most different and the most limited, but they can be useful, especially when used within an organization, for which they have been developed:
They have more Q and A types (e.g. currency, People and Groups lookup, a lookup from an existing list, Managed Metadata) which may be needed now and then. The List also has Calculations and Site Columns to select from.
They can detect unique values, which is essential in case you are collecting unique numbers, such as machine, procedure or invoice numbers.
SurveyMonkey has a few annoying limitations in the free version, such as max. 10 questions, the lack of a “number” option or the absence of a description field for each question. But it also has some very nice things:
Add answer options in bulk to Choice questions – nice when you have many answer options
Display a large number of answer options in columns rather than a long list
Ask to “tick at least x options” in a multiple-choice question
There are some differences between Forms, SurveyMonkey and Google Forms. But in general, you can create decent survey questions with all of them.
What are your thoughts? Or do you prefer to wait until I have completed the comparison?
Recently we introduced a new intranet (Publishing and team sites) to the organization.
We went from a SharePoint 2007 environment on-prem, to SharePoint Online in the cloud. That alone was a big change.
Our old platform was created 10 years before, when the organization was still very decentralized, and people could do on the platform whatever they wanted (which they did) as long as they did not break it (which they did…sometimes 🙂 ).
The new intranet is strictly governed, as there is now a strong central Security and Compliance team, strong Enterprise Architecture, many Governance Boards and Steering Committees and of course our new landlord Microsoft, and they all tell us what people can do and what not.
Additionally, we went from being one large company to two companies and we reorganized as well.
We knew we were going to make a big change, so we secured the help of our “usual suspects”, a small group of people active on Yammer, and a small group of active content owners. They kindly agreed to be our Champions, helping us launch the new intranet to their circles of influence.
However, many of them left the organization during the project, or moved to another job, due to the reorganizations. So we were left with an even smaller group of “usual suspects”.
We tried to make up for it by increasing the communications:
People do not always read or act upon communications
People only learn when they have a need, so many people left the learning until they had their new intranet and their new site(s).
So despite our efforts, this is more or less how people reacted when they saw their new tools for the first time:
People were confused, did not know where to find their content, how to manage their sites, how to navigate, etc.
Well, if you want to implement a new effective digital workplace, this may not be the best response. So we introduced a new role into the organization: the Adoption Consultant. It is their role to make sure that employees
know what the DW is,
can use it to their advantage
and like it, so they will promote it and help others use it
Within this organization, the DW consists of the Office 365 suite plus a few other tools available for all employees.
So we are currently embedding this process into the organization:
There is a UX manager who runs a survey with 1/12 of employees every month, asking for user feedback about all IT tools and services.
There are other sources for feedback (Yammer, support tickets, etc.) but the survey is the most formal one.
He turns the responses into usable data and insights.
If something relates to the Digital Workplace, he asks the Adoption Consultants to help with it. They determine which remediation actions need to be taken.
New functionality will also be handled by the Adoption Consultants, as some projects have the objective to “get the software installed on people’s machines” without thinking beyond that point…
So they think about whether extensive communication and training sessions are needed, or if a link to the help materials of the vendor is sufficient, or anything in between.
By implementing those actions it is expected that the complaints and remarks about this topic will be reduced.
Yeah, interesting picture, but what does that mean in practice?
Users: “I can not find anything on the intranet”
UX Manager: “We have found that “I can not find anything on the intranet” is in the Top 3 of complaints for the past months. Adoption Consultants, would you please look into this”?
Adoption Consultants: “What does it mean exactly, “I can not find information on the intranet”? Do people not know how to search? Are they looking for information that is not there? Do they not know how to navigate?”
* arrange interviews with a selection of complainers*
Adoption Consultant: After some discussions I think
We will need to create a campaign to inform people about the options available in Search.
We need to suggest to this department that they properly archive their outdated procedures and provide more meaningful and descriptive titles and tagging for their current content.
We need to discuss federating SharePoint Search, as some people appear to be looking for content which lives in our IT service system.
What else have we done so far?
We have given “Digital Workplace roadshows” in various locations across the world, explaining what the Digital Workplace is and how people can best use it. These have been received really well.
We have started a campaign about the different options of Search, update your profile, etc.
We manage a “Digital Workplace” group on Yammer as THE place for discussion. This is really well-used and popular.
We have created procedures to communicate consistently about projects that bring new functionality to the organization, using consistent channels (such as that Yammer group).
We are working with local focal points as they know more about their specific situation.
What are the results?
As we have only started this role last July, we have not accomplished a reduction in unfavourable feedback from the employee survey. But we have achieved a few things:
Through the roadshows, we have met a number of new enthusiastic content owners, willing to help their circle of influence with the new Digital Workplace
Interviews with colleagues who responded in the survey have revealed unexpected and useful feedback.
And that survey…we will do our best to improve the results over time!
On October 5 I participated in IntranetNow, and a wonderful conference it was!
There were plenty of interesting and enjoyable presentations but below are the ones that resonated most with me:
1. An excellent Yammer use case
Baxter Willis of WM Reply shared a great Yammer use case from one of his clients, drinks business Diageo.
Apparently they have an archive of all bottle types, advertising materials, recipes etc. Nobody was really aware of that department, until recently. They are digitizing their content and the archivist posts something interesting on Yammer every day, e.g.
“Did you know that Pimm’s has been associated with Wimbledon from the 1930’s?” accompanying a picture of a nice old newspaper ad proving her point.
This lady is now the toast of the company and her Yammer group is very popular.
I like this because it is another easy way to share knowledge, which would otherwise be hidden in the archive. Posting it on Yammer costs nothing more than 5 or 10 mins a day. It helps the Marketing and Social Media people in their current work by giving them new insights to the company and its history.
The new Smirnoff label is now based on earlier labels throughout time, and this is also caused by this work!
What I liked about this is that they used a simple but effective approach of lunch sessions, and shared their learnings.
The “let them rant” or “whine and dine” idea resonated with me, as I have also found that sometimes people just want to vent, sometimes not about the intranet itself, but about related things.
In my situation I have heard from several annoyed people who had been handed over a team site due to reorganizations – either because they had a new role and the team site came with it, or because the previous owner had moved on. Someone else’s team site can be quite hard to handle as the setup and especially the permissions are not always documented or intuitive.
I have learned that the best way to help them is to go through their site together, trying to make sense of it (looking at site contents, checking permissions), rather than trying to defend something or taking it personally. 🙂
We tend to think of Yammer as an optional communication and collaboration channel, where you can discuss topics and share information with and ask questions to all your colleagues, independent of where they are in the organization or on the globe.
But Yammer can also be used as part of a business process.
I recently talked to a Retail Sales organization that has been using Yammer for several years for a number of business processes.
1. Sharing information about customers.
A Yammer group has been created for each major customer.
Sales people visit shops, shop managers and customer head offices.
If they see empty shelves where their product should have been, incorrectly priced products, packaging with peeling labels, a nice display idea from a competitor, or anything else they find remarkable, they take a picture and upload that to the Yammer group with their comments.
This way they share it immediately with colleagues and the back-office, and the back-office can take instant action if necessary.
(For long-time readers, this is very similar to the process we had to facilitate with a Team Site as Yammer was at that time not an approved tool within that company)
2. Flagging opportunities for improvement.
A dedicated Yammer group facilitates this process.
Whenever something could be done better, this is mentioned in this group, such as:
“I notice that the company flag at the Customer Center looks a bit worse for wear – can we have a new one?” or “Can we please agree on a standard update interval for prices as I now have to find the latest prices in my own files rather than in the system?”
The Sales Managers discuss these suggestions and take the necessary action.
3. Sharing winning strategies and achievements.
Another group has been created to share wins and winning strategies, as well as losses. Of course the Sales people are eager to share their wins, or show how they have added value or made a customer happy! Losses can also be a source for learning of course.
That information helps colleagues in two ways: they know what is happening with that customer, and they may learn different tactics to increase their negotiation repertoire.
Is this perfect as a business system?
No. Yammer is not a CRM or Task Management system and conversations are easily lost without a process in place to capture and follow-up on them. Management and back office need to capture all posts manually and turn them into action lists and reports.
Posts are sometimes shared in the AllCompany group instead of in the group. (But you know you can move Yammer posts to different groups, right?)
But it works for them – the mobile Yammer app saves time for the Sales people, who are the face of the organization. They are on the road a lot and taking a picture with their phone and explaining in a few words at which branch of which customer they are and what they see, is quick, easy and useful.
As the Sales force does not often meet at the office, general improvements or the sharing of sales tactics might be forgotten without the Yammer group – but with the app they can share details immediately from any location.
The scenarios above may not work for you. But I have found that sharing examples help people to imagine what they can do with Yammer.
The other day I showed a rather skeptical audience these, and some other examples, of using Yammer. I also explained that, contrary to email chains, Yammer conversations are visible for people who get added to the group, e.g. new employees in the team.
All of a sudden one person said: “Aha! I am a Subject Matter Expert and I get a lot of emails from different people, asking me the same questions over and over again. If we use a Yammer group, we can share the questions and answers with everyone. That will save us all time. ”
We created that group there and then – it was also a good demo for the audience 🙂
Can you share some examples of how you have used Yammer for business processes?
“I am officially the owner of the site, but I can not manage the site”, the user had written in the description field of the incident.
I asked her what exactly she was trying to do that was impossible, and she said she had wanted to make changes to the homepage of the site.
“But the menu in the gear wheel does not look like the training materials”, she said. “Please see attached screenshot”.
Now that was an interesting screenshot!
I could have asked her if she was able to go to the homepage from the Site Pages or Pages library and if she would have been able to conjure up the Page tab and do it from there, but I was so intrigued by the screenshot that I decided to do some investigation. After all, the “Edit page” option needs to be there and I could better fix that once and for all than waste her time with workarounds. Her problem was not so urgent that she needed the workaround.
And to be frank, I hoped it would turn out to be another SharePoint Holmes topic 🙂
Of course, I checked the permissions first. They looked OK. (You know the Dutch words by now, right? 🙂 )
Yes, she was in the Owners group with Full Control.
I checked the items with unique permissions. The Site Pages library was one of them.
Aha, the Site Pages library had very limited permissions – only Visitors had Read access and that was it. As the Visitors group contained a company-wide AD group, I knew she had access – but only with Read permissions.
I checked the Homepage permissions to be on the safe side, and that inherited permissions from the library. So she could see the homepage but not edit it.
I added the Owners group back to the Site Pages library with the proper permissions. I informed the Site Owner that she had removed the permissions of everyone except the Visitors.
She informed me that “Edit Page” was now in her Gear Wheel menu and she could edit the page again. Problem solved!
I suggested to think about what she wanted to do with this library – keep it like it was with only Owner and Visitor groups (to avoid unwanted edits) or to inherit the permissions from the site.
I wish I had something more deep and interesting to conclude than: “SharePoint permissions are difficult to understand and manage”. 😦
But if you ever come across a screenshot like that, you know what to do!
About SharePoint Holmes:
Part of my role is solving user issues. Sometimes they are so common that I have a standard response, but sometimes I need to do some sleuthing to understand and solve it. As many of my readers are in a similar position, I thought I’d introduce SharePoint Holmes, SharePoint investigator, who will go through a few cases while working out loud.
Many thanks for enclosing the complete email chain with all your colleagues. Apart from a good permissions puzzle, there is nothing I like more than going through a 40-message email chain, and find the hidden clues between the “FYI” and “Can you help” forwards. I am really pleased that you have tried to get help from so many people before logging a call in our incident system, and it is heartwarming to see your colleagues’ empathy and desire to help.
From this wonderful meandering narrative I understand that “editing the Monthly Forecast in the Marketing site does not work”. That narrows down the possibilities, because only 938 of our approximately 15.000 sites have Marketing in the title, so it will save me going through 14.062 sites which are definitely not called Marketing.
Now of course I assume the Marketing site has “Marketing” in its title 🙂
From the company address book I see that you work in the Dairy division, which has 297 Marketing sites, so I can increase the odds even further.
Then it is only a matter of finding a Monthly Forecast document in one of these sites and checking which one does not work. That should not be too difficult: I did a Search and found 6274 hits on Monthly Forecast – it is matter of checking URL’s against the Marketing sites to see which are eligible.
I assume you wanted to edit a recent document so will start from the most recent.
In conclusion, I will check the cross of Dairy Marketing sites and Monthly Forecast docs from the last 2 months, and see which one of them “does not work”. Now of course there are many ways of “does not work”, but do not worry, I will check them all, from permissions to document library opening behavior, checkout, and workflows to corrupted documents.
I have planned about two weeks to go through this and I am quite looking forward to this challenging quest!
However, should you be in a sort of hurry, or have a deadline, please let me know. After all it is the 21st already and I can imagine you will need to update this document before the end of the month. Sending me the URL of the site, the name of the document and the document library/folder it lives in, as well as a description of what you were trying to do and what happened, possibly even with a screenshot of the error message, will reduce the quest to an hour or so. Of course this will rob me of the fun of exploring this all by myself, but I know that this is business-critical content so I can not be selfish.
Looking forward to your information,
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net