SPCOrg: Build a Knowledge Base in 10 Minutes?

The first day of SharePoint Conference .ORG in Baltimore wrapped up with Bamboo’s session titled Accelerating Application Development in SharePoint.  As promised in the title, we discussed how quickly a customizable application framework can be built through the use of components, accelerators, workflow and best practices for SharePoint.  To demonstrate, we set out to build a corporate Knowledge Base on the spot, in 10 minutes.

But sometimes demos don’t work out exactly as planned.  We did it in 8 minutes. With Julia Auletta at the helm of plain, vanilla SharePoint, she quickly set to work on creating  a corporate Knowledge Base.  When users can’t find information they need, that same site allows them to submit a question to corporate staff.  Utilizing Bamboo’s Knowledge Base Solution Accelerator, Julie had the front-end of the application set up in about 3 minutes.  I know.  I timed it.  Then she created the administrator view – the back-end of the knowledge base – that enabled questions to be categorized, assigned to corporate staff and tracked for resolution.  That took up another 5 minutes.  Done.

Well, she didn’t stop there.  Sure the knowledge base was up and running, but without additional components it would be a miracle if any questions would ever get answered.  Here’s where more components, best practices and workflow fit in.  Utilizing Bamboo’s Alert Plus Web Part, Julie set up customized emails that would alert corporate staff that a new question had been posted.  The email itself would provide enough information to make it meaningful to staff members and allow them to link directly to the site for quick resolution.  As the Knowledge Base manager, you might want all questions answered within 3 days.  She quickly set that up as well.

Now she moved onto the workflow – the process part that allows the knowledge base to run like a well-oiled machine.  Utilizing Bamboo’s Workflow Conductor, Julie created a simple process that assigned questions based on categorization to the responsible staff member for resolution.  Utilizing the drag and drop interface made it easy to visualize.  Then she saved it, so she (or someone else) could reuse it later, saving valuable time and effort.

Finally, she put in place a dashboard view of the entire knowledge base, allowing management to see the number of questions asked, what kind of questions are most asked, and the disposition of questions.  Bamboo’s Chart Plus Web Part made it easy to create colorful and illustrative pie charts.  All in all, she developed  a fully functional Knowledge Base from scratch with customized alerts and workflow, plus the dashboard views necessary to keep management happy, all in just under an hour.

First question from the audience?

“I know where I can get all the tools, but tell me where can I get Julie?”

Read our complete coverage of SharePointConrerence.Org 2011:

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