since starting to work with SMS 2.0 back in 1998 I’ve been keen to capture and share my experience with the product. Since then I’ve tried through FAQShop to write regular, high quality ConfigMgr-related content to make all of our lives easier. Unfortunately this has proved difficult due to limits in technology (trying to do things the way I want to do it), and financial backing to pay for my time to write content.
A year ago I had a eureka moment and since then I’ve be working on project “OneFAQ” which I’ve officially released today that currently contains over 2,000 new, never published before FAQs. The initial focus has been on Troubleshooting and some of the design stuff but my ultimate goal is to cover everything.
In a nutshell, the existing page structure on FAQShop will remain i.e. organising content by product version and then into categories (“What’s New”, “Design and Planning”, “Installation and Configuration”, “Administration”, and “Troubleshooting”). Each page then contains the relevant related FAQs.
However, rather than publishing the content on FAQShop, effective from today each page will contain a list of links that link out to corresponding OneNote Notebooks hosted on my OneDrive. This provides a multitude of benefits not least it allows me to better structure, organise and manage the content rather than trying to do it on the FAQShop website which was a right pain (I could end up spending longer organising content than actually writing it).
The other benefit to me is that I can control access to my content. Several people have commented FAQShop is like a book and I must be crazy to be literally giving it away for free and I’ve come to realise that if I want to fulfil my passion of fulltime writing, the only way I’m going to be able to do this is to charge for my work.
Sure there are plenty of ConfigMgr resources “out there” like books, the Microsoft website and a host of other resources where you can find a lot of ConfigMgr-related information, but these each have their limitations such as:
- Lack of screenshots/ “real world” troubleshooting experience.
- In the case of physical books the content either being out of date by the time you get the book, or there being a delay whilst the book is written and even then the content soon becomes out of date.
- Everyone writing/ blogging about the same content with whole parts of the product not being covered.
- How can you trust the content you find in the search engines is going to work/ isn’t going to break something else/ put you in an unsupported position unless you know the author?
- Having to wade through the list of results from search engines to determine whether what you found matches your issue.
The list goes on.
With Microsoft releasing the new version of ConfigMgr earlier this week and their plans to update it quarterly, the need to be able to keep up with this rapid pace of change has just become a lot more challenging, but I believe my strategy allows me to just that.
With OneFAQ you can browse FAQShop for free to see if your FAQ is covered and then pay for an Access Pass (24 hour or Annual), to get access to the content you require. I’ve based the pricing on £0.01 per FAQ which I think is fair given the content that’s in there currently and by signing up to an Annual Pass you not only get access to the 2,000+ FAQs in there today you also get access to all updates coming over the next year which includes me continuing to expand the ConfigMgr 2012 content, and starting new Notebooks for ConfigMgr 1511 (and later as the product evolves).
This is just the start. With the content being hosted centrally in OneNote (which is free), I can centrally update the content ensuring you always have access to the latest content. Basing the solution on OneNote also provides you with flexibility in deciding:
- Which Notebooks you open
- The order you wish to have the Notebooks displayed in
- Flexible searching allowing you to search the current page, section, Notebook or all Notebooks.
I’m also not just covering ConfigMgr but everything associated with it. So far example rather than just saying “Load ADSI Edit” I’ve created a bunch of Windows FAQs that tell you how to do it as not everyone knows how to do such operations – my goal is that an Alien could land from outer space and by following OneFAQ they’d be able to Design, Install, Configure, Administer, and Troubleshoot on ConfigMgr.
Many thanks to everyone that has helped me over the years and I hope that by adopting this strategy it will allow me to spend more time doing what I do best and that’s writing high quality, regular content for everyone’s benefit.
I am under no illusion that trying to create a ConfigMgr/ Intune hybrid Knowledgebase covering everything is no easy feat but I’m up to the challenge if you are willing to support me financially.
The bottom line is I need everyone’s support to make this happen. I’m willing to put in the hours to write the content, but putting it bluntly I need your money to make it a reality without having to do other jobs that detract from me writing to allow me to provide for my family.
I have great faith in you all and wish all of you and your families a Very Merry Christmas and Happy, Healthy, Prosperous 2016.
If you have any questions feel free to email me.