Category Archives: Content Management

Considerations for replacing SharePoint’s slide library

As selling has become more content driven, sales organizations are relying more heavily on a large repository of PowerPoint slides and presentations. As they prepare for a customer meeting, a large chunk of productivity is driven by efficiently finding the appropriate content. Productivity is measured by not only the time required to build the presentation but also by the outcome of the meeting – was the presentation compelling enough to push the customer to the next step in the sales funnel?

Slide libraries are an effective way to manage your PowerPoint content and surface the right slide at the right time. They provide a single shared location to store content, a search engine to find and preview individual slides, and access control to ensure your information is protected.

SharePoint’s slide library feature was discontinued with SharePoint 2013 due to a design consideration. As a result, many organizations are now faced with either finding a new provider or stop using slide libraries.  While it may be easy to just stop using the feature, the benefits are hard to replace by a general content management system (CMS) and can lead to significant inefficiencies:

  • Sales collateral is often built on a slide or sub-slide level which is not the focus of a general CMS – your sales teams will have to dig through presentations to find the pieces they need wasting time and risking that they won’t be able to find what they need
  • Often, sales teams may use small variations of a slide based on the customer industry or size. If these variations are not easily accessible they will be continually recreated resulting in potentially poor output quality and lost time

When selecting a slide library provider for your sales team, consider these requirements:

  • Will the provider help throughout the life-cycle from setup to deployment and adoption? Will they be a strong business partner?
  • Can the slide library integrate with your content management systems (e.g. SharePoint)? Does the provider have the ability to fit within your IT architecture?
  • Does your company allow you to use cloud solutions or will you need an on-premise offering?
  • What are the storage limits?
  • Can you appropriately define the access control rules you need?
  • Does it integrate with PowerPoint allowing your staff to access slides without ever leaving PowerPoint?

5 reasons to replace your SharePoint slide library with TeamSlide

1. Microsoft discontinued the slide library feature starting with SharePoint 2013

Due to a design limitation, Microsoft deprecated SharePoint’s slide library feature. If you are running on an older version of SharePoint with a working slide library, note that you might suddenly lose access to it if your organization’s IT team decides to update SharePoint. Further, Microsoft will eventually stop providing user and technical support for the slide library.

2. TeamSlide can seamlessly integrate with SharePoint and PowerPoint

With TeamSlide you won’t have to start all over again. TeamSlide can integrate with SharePoint to access all your content and also connects with Active Directory to replicate your user permissions. In addition, TeamSlide allows users to search, find, insert, and share content without ever leaving PowerPoint.

3. Our intuitive UI makes it easier to use

All the core functions, including sharing slides and searching for slides, require fewer steps with TeamSlide compared to SharePoint.  From the ground-up our UI was designed to quickly give users the information and slides they need without disrupting their typical workflows. For example, users can easily adjust the size of slide thumbnails or access the slide meta data with just a click or two.

4. TeamSlide’s search technology and features drives productivity

Whether you have a 100 slides or 1 million slides, TeamSlide’s advanced search technology can quickly sort through your content to give you the most relevant slides. New features including the ability to connect to Wikipedia or email slides to colleagues can help save precious time as you build your next presentation.

5. We’ll support your technical and business needs

From the moment you get a free TeamSlide trial, we’ll work with you to understand your needs, drive TeamSlide adoption, and look for opportunities to optimize your use of slide libraries.  We’ll share best practices and actively collaborate to ensure that your business runs more efficiently.

6 tips to manage a large number of PowerPoint presentations and slides

If your organization works in PowerPoint, you’ve likely accumulated hundreds or thousands of PowerPoint presentations. As presentations typically start with existing content, efficiently searching your repository to find specific slides can drive significant productivity gains.

Here are 6 tips to manually manage your repository or slide library:

  • Assign a shared location to store your presentations: Often presentations are stored across server locations and personal computers. Set a shared and secure location where your team can store their presentation. Check to ensure all members can seamlessly access the location and that your team is actively using it. This will consolidate all your content and prevent users from having to unnecessarily email presentations to each other.
  • Define a file naming convention: Setting a standard file naming convention will allow users to quickly sort through presentations. Some best practices for file names include:
    • Start file names with a date that starts with the year. For example: 20160501 Strategy Review. This ensures that files will allows appear in chronological older. If two versions are created on the same date indicate a version number: 20150501-02 Strategy Review. Note that ‘02’ was used instead of ‘2’ to allows double digit versions.
    • For large teams include the initials of the person who created the presentation: 20160501 Strategy Review KS.
  • Build a folder structure that reflects the business: If you support numerous business units in a large company, create folders for each business. Or if your projects are more functional use the project type as the folder names.
  • Create a best hits presentation: If you have a set of slides that are used on a regular basis, collate them into one presentation. This can include templates, visual elements, charts, and even important pieces of text.
  • Assign somebody to continually manage the repository: For manual repositories, you can’t just ‘set it and forget it’. Consistently clean and keep your library up-to-date to maximize its benefits. Give your library manager the authority to ensure team members are compliant with the established rules.
  • Manage versions: During the course of a project, several iterations for a presentation maybe created. Ensure that at the end of the project the final version is clearly marked and that older versions are saved in a related but separate folder.

 

How slide libraries helped investment banks build better proposals more efficiently

Slide libraries used by investment banks

Over the last few months we’ve worked with several boutique investment banks that were looking for better ways to manage their critical PowerPoint collateral. Specifically, they wanted a way to efficiently build proposals that, while still customized to the specific client or project, could leverage their prior work.

Investment banks compose several types of proposals, all of which have a combination of common elements and client- or project-specific pieces. For example, prior transactions, market overview, and regulations would typically be standard, while company financials, projections, and capabilities are tailored to the client and contain only certain reusable components. As such, investment banks should be able to efficiently find relevant content from prior proposals and either reuse or adapt it based on client requirements.

Prior to using a slide library solution, investment banks were relying on a manual approach that was both time consuming and prone to errors. First, the proposal author would dig through a shared hard drive to find relevant presentations and then flip through them to find the key slides that he/she wanted. If a slide was missing or seemed old, the author would have to email colleagues and describe the slide needed. At times, slides would be recreated if colleagues took too long to respond or if content couldn’t be found. For example, if the proposal author found a market overview slide from 2013 but couldn’t find the latest version, they may re-do the analysis and update it for 2016. Beyond slides, the process would generally be repeated for visuals like company logos, industry diagrams, and charts. This process was inefficient and often led to poor output quality when out-of-date content was used, pieces were missing, and slides were hastily assembled.

After implementing a slide management or library solution, these firms were able to drastically improve efficiency and the quality of their proposals. First, they were able to easily build a secure shared repository of PowerPoint content where they could control exactly who within the firm had access to each specific slide. Then when putting a proposal together, authors could search the repository, get slide image previews, and quickly select the slides they needed. If they had a question about a slide, they could use the slide library solution to check who last uploaded the slide and instantly email them to ask any questions. Further, the slide library could be extended to visuals, allowing authors to find the very specific pieces of content they needed. Slide libraries also allowed authors to check their proposal to verify they had the latest content. And so, if that market overview slide was updated by a colleague since the author last downloaded it, he/she could be notified before sharing the proposal with others.

As exemplified by the implementation of a content management solution by the investment banking industry, a structured approach to managing PowerPoint content can yield significant gains.  As your knowledge repository grows and/or if you have employee turnover, consider using a slide library so that you have the content you need at your fingertips.

 

Importance of visuals in marketing and sales presentations

Importance of visuals in content marketing

The Internet is crawling with facts on the benefits of using visuals in social media marketing efforts:

  • Humans are able to process images more quickly and efficiently than text (source)
  • Engagement rate of social media posts with visuals is higher than those without (source)
  • Quality of visuals play a more important role in the customer purchase decision process than product descriptions and ratings (source)

Marketers are quickly realizing these benefits and we are now exposed to a variety of visuals (charts, info-graphics, pictures) on a regular basis. Mainstream media is also increasing their use of visuals (e.g. NY Times, Bloomberg) and we are becoming more and more accustomed to consuming information in this manner.

In conjunction with our content marketing efforts, our sales presentations (and other types of presentations) also need to consistently use visuals to improve customer engagement. Many times, however, these presentations tend to be a little stale with out-of-date templates and a lot of text. Here are a few suggestions on how to effectively use visuals in your presentations:

  • Between all your marketing teams build shared repository of visuals to ensure consistency across all your customer touch points
  • Invest in high-quality visuals that are relevant to your messaging
  • Keep an eye on image sizes especially if the presentations will be consumed on a mobile device

We’ve had the opportunity to speak with a few in-house expert presentation builders and they confirmed that their companies are making significant investments to improve their visuals. From their website to PowerPoint files, visuals and templates are being carefully redesigned to better improve customer interactions.


At TeamSlide we help PowerPoint users better manage their visuals and ensure that they have seamless access to them. Quickly build a shared repository of images, diagrams, templates, and charts. Save time by accessing them directly through PowerPoint – you won’t have to hunt for slides or visuals ever again.

Determining the ROI of a content management solution – Part 2

Calculating ROI for a content management system

In our previous post, we discussed how to measure the return (R) on a content management system (CMS). In this entry, we complete the return-on-investment (ROI) calculation and examine the investment portion (I).

As we discussed, CMS can have significant benefits to your organization helping employees work more efficiently and improving knowledge sharing. However, implementing a CMS does have its costs and understanding the drivers is helpful in the selection process:

Operations – If the CMS is being installed you will need to consider the time, hardware, and software required to set it up and run it.

  • Setup – During the setup phase your IT and Knowledge management teams may need to work with the vendor to understand system requirements and develop a roll-out plan. You should consider the time they put into the process as an investment.
  • Run – What software or hardware do you need to run the solution? Is it a cloud offering (in this case there may be a saving over your current CMS)? The software licenses and hardware costs to support the CMS should be included. Will maintenance be required? If so, the IT personnel cost should also be included. These numbers need be discounted by the cost of running your current system.

Migration – The costs for migrating to a new CMS comprise all efforts of moving existing data from the existing platform to the new system. You may need to build tools or take the time to migrate your content between old and new systems manually. Often a middle ground is chosen in terms of some steps being executed automatically by tools with some manuals steps left for content experts. The tasks could include exporting, converting, importing, reorganizing, and correcting content. This time and resources required to build any custom tools or simply even monitor the migration needs to considered as part of the investment.

During the migration phase will you have to run your old and new CMS concurrently? If so, you may not be able to switch your resources over immediately and the cost of running both systems for a few weeks or months needs be considered.

Training and communication – Once the new CMS is ready, your team will have to build communication and training collateral. In addition, you may have to hold live training sessions. The time it takes your staff to complete these tasks and the time it takes all users to learn the new system should also be included.

CMS license cost – And lastly, the cost of the actual CMS license is a critical component of the investment cost. Be sure to understand how this might change over time if you are ramping up or will be adding more users in the future. You can, of course, deduct the license cost of your current CMS.

Determining the ROI of a content management solution – Part 1

Calculating ROI for a content management system

When considering new content management systems (CMS) one of the primary decision factors is the return-on-investment (ROI). However, calculating the ROI is not typically straightforward and can require a combination of judgement and strict data. In this blog entry, we will focus our attention on the return (R) or the benefits side of the equation. In Part 2 we will explore the investment (I) or the cost side of the equation.

Measuring the benefits of a CMS requires a number of assumptions and therefore can be quite subjective. We think it make senses to try and capture the assumptions that have the largest impacts and where possible quantify the return:

Time savings – Will the CMS help your staff find content more quickly than your current solution? To calculate this benefit, you would:

  • Count the staff using the CMS and determine their weighted average salary
  • Estimate the time savings the employee saves each time they use the CMS
    – The CMS may enable them to find content faster
    – If the CMS allows them to find content that wouldn’t have been founded otherwise, you can count the savings from recreating content
  • Multiply the average salary by the amount of time the CMS will save

For example, let’s say you have 1000 employees with an average salary $100/hour using the CMS an estimated 10 times a month saving 6 minutes each time they use it. So each month they save 1 hour for a total of 12 hours a year. In addition, they save about an hour each month because the CMS exposes more content and reducing content recreation. This is an additional 12 hours a year for a total of 24. Therefore, the savings per employee ($100/hour * 24) is $2,400 and the savings across all employees is $240,000.

Now you may want to discount this because all your employees may not use all the saved time valuably. However, having your employees work less may also have benefits in terms of job satisfaction and productivity. Typically, these factors are hard to measure and you have to make a rough judgement.

Productivity, knowledge capture, and sales – A good CMS will also provide a long list of the softer benefits that may be hard to explicitly measure:

  • Are you capturing more knowledge? Is it easier to deal with employee turn-over?
  • Is your output and operations going to improve because your employees have better access to content?
  • Are you able to close more deals because your pitches have improved?

You could calculate the sales benefit by estimating the percent increase in winning a deal and the average size of a deal. However, these numbers tend to be hard to defend. Instead, you could ask your vendor to speak with other customers to understand subjectively what benefits they are seeing on a consistent basis. This should give you a rough sense of the value of the subjective, softer benefits.

 

You can then combine the value of all the benefits to estimate to the total return on the investment.

5 slide library management best practices

As enterprises become more data driven, knowledge management has become a competitive differentiator. Some firms have even created knowledge management groups including a Chief Knowledge Officer role. As knowledge is often distilled into PowerPoint presentations, a clear slide management solution is required to maximize the value of product summaries, financial analysis, workflow outlines or even templates and graphics. As you think through your slide management solution, here’s a set of 5 best practices you should consider:

  1. Easy access to slides is imperative – If retrieving slides takes too many clicks or too long your team just won’t do it. As a result, they’ll be recreating slides, using old slides, and losing productivity. Consider a solution that integrates with PowerPoint so users don’t have to open an Internet browser just to find slides.
  2. Manage slide updates – Over time slides evolve as the messaging becomes more refined or data is updated. As a result, users need access to the latest material without having to manually search and retrieve each slide. Effective slide management solutions need to be able to automatically find and retrieve slide updates. Ideally, it should warn users if they’ve made local edits to the original slide allowing them to transfer the edits to updated slide if needed.
  3. Control who exactly has access to each slide – While companies are typically focused on protecting their content from outside threats, they should equally consider who within the company needs access. Otherwise, even harmless mistakes can lead to inaccurate knowledge sharing or content loss. Your slide management solution should allow you to set detailed access rights allowing some users full access, some just download access, and others with no access at all.
  4. Metadata helps but your search engine needs to be powerful – While it is important to try and accurately catalog all your slides this is not always feasible. As deadlines hit, users will inevitably not add strong metadata. As such, your slide management solution needs a powerful search engine capable of full-text search and incorporating different elements including the slide title and author.
  5. Continuously measure usage – What slides are used by your teams most often? Which users are actively using the slide library solution? Tracking usage helps identify opportunities for optimizing content and helps find users that are likely not using compliant slides. It also helps justify they ROI of the slide library solution itself.

Adding the slide library back to SharePoint

With SharePoint 2013, Microsoft unfortunately discontinued the slide library feature due to an unspecified design limitation.  As result, PowerPoint users are losing this time-saving feature as their IT departments upgrade to SharePoint 2013 or newer versions.

While there are many web-based slide management solutions the lack of PowerPoint integration is not ideal as switching back and forth between PowerPoint and a web-browser is extremely inconvenient. For many, even SharePoint’s slide library feature had significant room to improve.

At TeamSlide, we’ve developed a solution that can integrate with your SharePoint installation and provides powerful slide library features. When we first set out to build TeamSlide we spoke with a variety of power users and experts which fueled a set of 3 primary principles:

  • Easy to use: As a large variety of employees use slides, TeamSlide would have to provide features in a highly intuitive manner
  • Tightly integrated: TeamSlide would need to integrate with PowerPoint and with any existing content repositories
  • Powerful search: As the number of slides grow, TeamSlide would have to keep up and ensure users can quickly find what they are looking for

As we built TeamSlide we took these principles to heart and ensured that we could easily work with customers that had SharePoint implementations. Now users can search for slides from within PowerPoint and insert them into their active presentation with a simple click. Those used to SharePoint’s old slide library function will find TeamSlide easy to use and full of new features including the ability to quickly update slides. Users new to slide libraries will be able quickly get up to speed and start benefiting from TeamSlide in a few minutes.

Whether you are looking to augment your SharePoint capabilities or looking for a slide library solution that works without SharePoint take a moment to try TeamSlide!

At TeamSlide, we are consistently improving our slide library solution.  If you have any questions or feedback, please contact us and we’d be happy to help or learn from your perspective.