When Windows 10 launched, influential tech writer Mary Jo Foley got her hands on a key Windows 10 shortcut list and tweeted it. Her tweet was retweeted 103 times, liked 99 times and drove record traffic to the guide, which was created by the Microsoft IT WorkSmart@Microsoft program.
“That was a real hit for our program, but a big part of it was also because Windows 10 had just come out and people wanted to know what the new shortcuts were,” says Mark Antone, the program manager in Microsoft IT who manages the WorkSmart@Microsoft program.
Microsoft IT created WorkSmart@Microsoft to bridge the gap between technology and users, meaning users sometimes need a little helping hand to get around once Microsoft releases or updates its technology.
“We pull together scenario-based guides that are for everyone, Microsoft customers and our employees,” Antone says. “The whole idea is to help people move as quickly as possible past the ‘how do I use this’ stage – that way they can start getting value out of the new products or features right away.”
There’s a method to the madness, Antone says, explaining that WorkSmart@Microsoft guides are specifically targeted at early adopters because once they start using a new product, they are good at spreading the word and advocating for it.
Originally started in 2007, the program currently has about 200 guides that are in circulation and used extensively. WorkSmart@Microsoft guides get 2.3 million visits per year externally and the internal website gets about 50,000 views per year, numbers that continue to grow. The product guides focus mainly on consumer scenarios but include some enterprise products as well. They are mostly level 100 but can go up to 200. Go here to visit the WorkSmart@Microsoft landing page.
One of the most popular guides is the one on Microsoft Edge. It shows you how to take notes on the web, make friends with Cortana, make a reading list, manage your favorites, download and upload, and of course, how to browse the Internet. Another popular guide shows you how to get the most out of OneNote, including how to run meetings and events. Others tell you how to use OneDrive, PowerPoint, and SharePoint. Another suite of guides focus on the growing Microsoft presence on competitive platforms like iOS and Android.
As you might expect, most people who find the WorkSmart@Microsoft program do so when something isn’t working. “People find us by searching on a topic when they don’t know how to do something,” Antone says. “Or if they just want to get started with something new.”
External companies are invited to use the WorkSmart@Microsoft content for their internal readiness efforts. If you have a question, reach Antone at email@example.com.