Category Archives: Feature

Don’t let old slides derail your customer meeting

An old slide can kill the momentum of a meeting, confusing your team and the intended audience. From sales professionals and marketers to coaches and trainers, we are often asked about our ability to automatically update old slides. They consistently share stories about meetings that were derailed by stale content

SharePoint and other online repositories enable team members to access the latest presentation, typically through a web portal. Access, however, to such repositories is cumbersome, and employees end up keeping a copy of the presentation on their own hard drive or personal cloud storage service (e.g. Box, Dropbox). They keep referring to their version of the presentation even while the primary source gets updated. Over time, these differences grow, and the employee’s slide ends up with stark differences from the latest version available on the online repository. The differences can range from small branding inconsistencies to glaring content errors.

We recently connected with a marketer who noticed that her sales team had old specifications on their product overview slides. As a result, potential customers perceived that their products were inferior to the competition, costing them the sale! One trainer recently told us that his curriculum constantly changes, and at recent session his presentation slide and handout slides were mismatched. This understandably confused the audience, taking valuable time to correct.

At TeamSlide, we built a tool and method to automatically ensure you always have the latest content.

  1. Build an online slide library
    We start by allowing you to build a slide library.  You can manually upload presentations that are split into individual slides or connect to an online repository, including Box, SharePoint, or Google Drive.
  1. Assign a unique ID
    With some help from PowerPoint, TeamSlide automatically assigns a unique ID for each slide. As you download slides from the library, the ID is attached to the slides in a hidden manner.
  1. Check the library
    Now, when you open a presentation or run the content check, TeamSlide reads each slide and look for the ID to identify slides that are connected to the slide library. It then compares the date the slide you downloaded slide with the date of the last update to the library, checking if a new version of the slide exists.
  1. Review and apply
    If updates are found, you can review the changes and accept. If multiple slides are stale, they all can be updated with a single click.

Since developing this method, we’ve even applied the check to portions of a slide. Now teams can store individual charts, collections of shapes, and text boxes and these objects can be updated on a slide (without having to update the entire slide).

The seamless process ensures that you are effectively notified and given the opportunity to review and update old slides in a matter of seconds. Across multiple industry verticals, teams are deploying a TeamSlide slide library to provide easy access to PowerPoint content and ensure that their users never walk into a meeting with an old slide.

Integrate your slide library and CMS to manage your content in one place

Integrate your slide library and CMS to manage your content in one place

Most marketing and knowledge teams understand that managing a large number of PowerPoint files is a complex, time consuming task. The complexity grows significantly when managing individual slides. Slide library solutions greatly simplify the task by providing a central repository and allowing users to quickly find the slide or other PowerPoint asset they need. However, even the most robust slide library can’t replace a broader content management system (CMS) like SharePoint or Box. CMSs offer a broad range of capabilities that are helpful to diverse data sets; however, they lack the interface and in-depth PowerPoint features that a slide library or slide management solution provides. As a result, many organizations require both a CMS and a slide library.

For teams with a large PowerPoint repository, managing content across a CMS and slide library can be cumbersome. Typically, content is duplicated, and updating both sets requires manual steps that lead to errors. Further, access rights and other settings need to be aligned, creating inefficiencies. As a result, slide libraries that integrate or connect with CMSs and ensure they are automatically synced can unlock additional benefits.

What does the integration look like?

  • Slide library solutions can typically connect with a content repository using a standard protocol like CMIS
  • The slide library actively monitors the CMS for PowerPoint files, replicating the content along with the necessary metadata
  • Upon the first connection, the replication may take a while depending on the size of the repository
  • After the initial replication, only changes are captured
  • A tight connection ensures that both systems are consistently aligned

How does the integration help?

  • With the integration in place, only files in the CMS require management. All changes will automatically flow to the slide library, helping reduce the likelihood of introducing an error while saving manual effort
  • All the metadata defined in the CMS will also be passed to the slide library, thereby allowing for better search results
  • In some cases, access rights may also replicate, helping ensure tight control of content across the organization

Considerations during the integration

  • Check that any business rules that apply to your CMS can also be applied the slide library. For example, if you monitor file downloads to protect against data theft by employees, check that your slide library can send download data back to the CMS
  • Carefully select the content you want to make available through the slide library. While it may be tempting to make all your PowerPoint content available, applying a few filters will reduce the clutter and improve productivity
  • Ensure that the slide library can gracefully handle any errors that may occur during the replication. Errors should be logged and an appropriate team member contacted without impacting performance

TeamSlide’s slide management system integrates with a number of CMSs including SharePoint, Box, Dropbox, and Alfresco. Users can quickly connect their CMS to TeamSlide, making large repositories searchable on a slide level.

Slide library: Browser vs. Add-ins

PowerPoint slide libraries are an effective way for organizations to centrally store and manage their slides, presentations and other PowerPoint assets. The content can be delivered to the end user through two primary channels:

Browser

The user switches from PowerPoint to their browser to search and find content. Typically, multiple pieces of content are found, arranged and exported into a new presentation.

Pros Cons
  • Doesn’t require installation of any software on the user’s computer
  • The large browser window allows for easy access to large number of functions/features
  • Ability to convert to PDF to lock content
  • Typically breaks the user’s workflow as they have to switch from PowerPoint to the browser and back
  • Difficult to naturally build and edit a deck
  • Can’t insert content in line with the active presentation
  • Limited ability for users to share new content

Bottom line
For heavy PowerPoint content creators, the browser method can be very cumbersome and adoption is typically poor. However, for users that only need occasional access to content that doesn’t require significant changes or shuffling the browser can be effective. In addition, browser access can be quickly rolled out as no additional software is required on the end user’s computer.

Add-in

The user can search, insert, and share content directly from within PowerPoint. The add-in is typically launched from the existing PowerPoint menu and exists only within the PowerPoint frame.

Pros Cons
  • In line with the user’s workflow causing no disruption; easy to search, add, delete, share content on the fly
  • Very easily insert into and share content from the active presentation
  • Great to naturally build and edit presentation
  • Can be augmented by a browser for less-used features
  • Requires installation of software on the user’s computer

Bottom line
A PowerPoint add-in makes most use-cases remarkably simple and is especially useful for PowerPoint content creators. The add-in does require installation but for large organizations this can typically be done silently (in the background) with some help from IT.

At TeamSlide, the add-in is a critical part of our offering as for most use-cases it offers a simple, easy workflow. We use the browser to augment our add-in with more administrative-focused features (e.g. batch edit slides, change access rights). However, we believe that search, insert, and share are better implemented through an add-in that delivers a seamless experience to users.

The case for slide history in slide library or presentation management solutions

Presentations and the slides that compose them are rarely static but instead evolve over time. They change as the presenter’s thinking becomes more clear, as the project moves forward, as the underlying topic shifts, or as the audience differs. With each evolution, text might improve, data updated, or diagrams modified. For organizations that depend on slides on a regular basis, pushing slide updates to all the presentation end users becomes an important task. At TeamSlide, we built this push mechanism into our slide library solution early last year. And now, we have a variety of customers including sales organizations that benefit from this streamlined way of ensuring everybody has the latest content.

Often, however, the end user may not have the context around why the slide changed and what it represents. Or perhaps an older version of the slide is more suitable for long standing customer conversation. In these cases, finding the older version of the slide can be daunting and time consuming. Without a solution in place, you typical have to sift through old presentations and emails and hope that you can find the specific version you need. The result is lowered productivity and poor presentation quality.

Working with and listening to our customers, we recently added a history feature to our slide library offering.  The feature allows users (as long as they have permission) to go back and grab an older version of a slide. Organizations can even add a change log allowing the slide creator to share a few notes with end-users on what changed on the slide. If a mistake is found, you can even revert back to the last accurate version. Now users can understand how a slide has changed over time giving them better context and enabling better presentations.