Why your Salesforce Customers Can't use a Word or PowerPoint file

Posted by Greg DeVore

Blog_Post_Image_for_Word_and_PPTIn November we spent a lot of time talking to Salesforce customers and consultants at Dreamforce '13.

Here is what we found:

  1. The majority of consultants deliver some form of documentation to their customers.
  2. Word or PowerPoint files are the most common format for the documentation.

There are two benefits to Word and PowerPoint files: Consultants are comfortable using them and everyone knows how to open them.

But those are the only benefits - the downsides to using Word and PowerPoint to deliver your Salesforce documentation are HUGE!

1. People can't find it

When you deliver your docs as a Word or PowerPoint file, where does it get stored?

  • Do you put them in Salesforce?
  • Do you put them on a shared service like Box or Dropbox?
  • Do you always keep those files in the same place?
  • Are you able to communicate to your client how they should deliver these files to their users or are they just going to be searching through old emails looking for an attachment?

If the end users can't find the documentation they can't use it.

2. It's not where they need it

Even if you figure out a centralized place where you will store your Word/PowerPoint files, they probably aren't going to show up in Salesforce which is where your Salesforce users need them. Remember, people aren't going to read documentation - they are going to reference it. They need to be able to quickly access it when they get stuck.

3. People have to "open a file"

It may not seem like a big deal, but requiring a user to open a Word or PowerPoint file to get access to your documentation will dramatically decrease the number of people who will actually use it.

4. People can't tell if it is up to date

A PowerPoint or Word file is snapshot of a document in time. How many times have you opened a Word or PowerPoint file only to find that you had an outdated version? I spoke with one consultant who had a major problem with a client because the client was using an outdated version of their Word documentation and didn't know it.

5. It's hard for you to keep it up to date

How long does it take you to replace screenshots in your Word/PowerPoint files? Many consultants told us it takes them hours and hours of time. This is the worst type of work - work that needs to be done but which is mind-numbingly boring to perform. Since it is so tedious to do it often gets neglected.

ScreenSteps solves each of these problems

We created ScreenSteps because these were the exact problems we were running into.

1. ScreenSteps creates a searchable knowledge base

All of the documentation is in a central location, right where your users can search or browse it.

2. ScreenSteps shows up in Salesforce

The help search and contextual help shows up right inside of Salesforce - where your users need it. This dramatically increases the usage of your documentation.

3. No files to open

Your users just click on a link and they see a visual step-by-step guide. No files to download or open.

4. It is always the "latest version"

Because people are referencing an online knowledge base they will always be referencing the latest version of the documentation.

5. It's easy to update

Updating screenshots and content in ScreenSteps is simple. Just click a button and you can quickly replace images inline without having to redo annotations from scratch. ScreenSteps' tools for updating your documentation can reduce the time it takes to update your docs by days, not just hours.

It's time to ditch the Word and PowerPoint files

Word and PowerPoint have their use - but it isn't as a documentation delivery tool.

Remember what you told your clients when they were considering Salesforce? They needed to get their data out of Excel files and into the cloud.

It's time that documentation made the same transition - out of Word and PowerPoint and into the cloud. ScreenSteps helps you get there.

As an added bonus, if you do still need to deliver Word files, ScreenSteps lets you export PDF, Word and HTML files as well. You then have a single source for your documentation that lets you deliver in multiple formats.

See an example ScreenSteps/Salesforce  documentation site

Or, just try ScreenSteps for yourself with a free trial.

Topics: Salesforce documentation tips