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Webinar: Hybrid Analytics in Healthcare with O365 & Power BI

The healthcare industry has experienced significant change in recent years, with reform efforts, increased competition and evolving patient demands all top-of-mind for many healthcare executives. Because of this, the ability to access and analyze data in real-time as a means to improving the quality of patient care and managing costs has gone from a “nice to have” to crucial. The use of IT and big data to gain insights and awarenesspower-bi not previously possible is a definite industry trend.

Another trend taking healthcare by storm is cloud computing. According to a recent survey on cloud computing adoption in healthcare from HIMMS Analytics, 83% of IT executives from healthcare provider organizations report they are using cloud services today, and SaaS-based applications were reported as being the most popular. In that same survey, the top three reasons for this move to the cloud are less cost than current IT maintenance, speed of deployment, and the lack of internal resources or expertise to support on-premises alternatives.

And then there are hybrid environments, which offer many organizations the best of both worlds. As companies have started to realize the cost savings and scalability benefits of hybrid environments, they are now looking to implement an analytics platforms in these new environments.

It’s often helpful to hear from others who have done just what you are looking to do. And you can do that during a complimentary webinar on Wednesday, November 12, at 1 p.m. CT as Heidi Rozmiarek, Assistant Director of Development at UnityPoint Health explains how her organization leverages its hybrid environment of Power BI, Excel-enabled dashboards and SharePoint 2013. During the session, Hybrid Analytics in Healthcare: Leveraging Power BI and Office 365 to Make Smarter Business Decisions, experts from Perficient’s Microsoft Business Intelligence practice will also demonstrate the capabilities of Office 365 and Power BI. Read the rest of this post »

Clustered Column Chart – WinForms Chart Control

A Clustered column chart is used to compare values across a few categories. Follow the steps below to do this.

Step 1: Create a sample Excel sheet that has data based on group.

Example: Stud.xlsx

clust_chart_excel_data Read the rest of this post »

Posted in .NET, News and Events

Office 365 and Salesforce: Integration Case Study





Given the central role that Office 365 occupies for more and more businesses, integration of the resources managed by Office 365 with other services is a challenge that Perficient often addresses for clients. The good news is that the Office 365 platform and the architecture of many other, key platforms provide countless integration possibilities, many of which can be leveraged without the need for custom coding.

Recently, I was asked to tackle an integration of Office 365 and Salesforce that serves as a good illustration of the possibilities.


The Problem

In this particular case, the client wished to make SharePoint Online files available within Salesforce without the need to manually copy/download/upload files.














Solution Elements

  • SharePoint Online File – SharePoint native files and metadata
  • Salesforce File – the Salesforce system both provides a native file store and, via an “External Data Source”, allows other file stores to emulate native file stores
  • External Data Source – Salesforce provides for connections to files stored in Office 365 (“Files Connect – SharePoint Office 365”). The  “External Data Source” is how the existence of an Office 365 tenant and appropriate properties are made known to Salesforce
  • Authentication Providers  – provide a mechanism for mapping a Salesforce user to an Office 365 user with appropriate access. OAuth 2.0 is leveraged via a SharePoint Remote Hosted Application which supports the External Data Source
  • SharePoint Remote Hosted Application – from the SharePoint perspective, the “External Data Source” service application IS a remote, hosted application. Remote hosted applications are one of the mechanisms which allows external services to be accessed in SharePoint while remaining independent of SharePoint. A key component of the remote hosted application is support for setup of the Authentication Provider via OAuth 2.0

Listed below are the steps you can follow to expose SharePoint Online files within Salesforce Read the rest of this post »

SharePoint Online – Document Sharing Made Even Better

One of the compelling SharePoint Online features has been external and internal sharing. This feature provided a way to share a particular document or folder while respecting the security of the document. Whether its the anonymous access via guest links or it’s view access to your team members, this is a key component to “A Day in the life” of the end-user.

Sharing 2

Imagine this becoming even more interesting! Microsoft just introduced a subtle yet important update to this feature – now giving you the option to provide “Edit” access to the document while sharing.

Sharing 1


Here is what Microsoft had to say in one of my Office 365 tenants:


We updated an existing feature to enhance your Office 365 experience. The default permissions on the Shared with Everyone folder, in OneDrive for Business, has been updated to grant View + Edit permission to everyone in your company, instead of just View permission. This change aligns the behavior of placing a file in this folder with the behavior of using the sharing dialog to share a file with everyone, using the default sharing settings.

This change will not affect OneDrive for Business libraries that were provisioned before this change. It only affects new OneDrive for Business libraries going forward. Users who want to revert to the old behavior can change the sharing settings for the folder.


How Microsoft is embracing open source


When I recently researched different caching options in Microsoft Azure, I ran across the following article on MSDN: Which Azure Cache offering is right for me? This article almost shocked me because it was unapologetically advising all new developments to use Redis cache over other Microsoft-developed Azure caching services. Just think about that for a moment: Microsoft invested plenty of time and money to develop two separate Azure caching services: Managed Cache Service and In-Role Cache… and then to abandon both in favor of an open source alternative (Redis)?!

This signals a no less than a seismic shift in regards to how Microsoft is treating open source. It’s no secret that Microsoft used to not exactly be friendly to the open source movement, preferring in-house development (which they have a full control of) over community-developed code. However, over years, Microsoft developed a much friendlier attitude towards open source software by opening its own products (like ASP.NET MVC framework), integrating with open source products (like the addition of Git support to Visual Studio) and supporting open source products and frameworks in its Azure cloud offering.

So, why is Microsoft doing this? In the case of Azure caching services, it looks like Redis is simply providing more features than Microsoft’s own caching solution and it’s robust enough to keep up with any load. Plus, it’s supported by a thriving development community. It seems like it’s a no-brainer for Microsoft to embrace Redis, because they are essentially getting a great product and support for free!

Another example of the growing open source support at Microsoft is Linux. For years Microsoft was looking at Linux as a direct Windows competitor. Now, as Microsoft is becoming more of a product and services company, it’s happily embracing Linux support in Azure. It’s as easy to create a Linux VM in Azure as launching a new Windows VM. Now, they are letting it be a customer’s choice to decide which operating system to use, as Microsoft will provide cloud infrastructure for both OSs.

I thinks this growing open-source support inside Microsoft is a very positive development, and a win-win situation for everybody.

Office 365 – You’ve Migrated to Exchange Online, So Now What?

Congratulations! You’ve just wrapped up what may be your last email migration project by migrating from your legacy on-premises email platform to Exchange Online. So now what?

Office 365 - You've Migrated to Exchange Online, So Now What?Skeptics might think that as an Exchange administrator, if there is no on-premises Exchange, you just migrated yourself out of a job; the reality is that this couldn’t be further from the truth. The role of an Exchange administrator is still very much necessary, it’s just a different set of responsibilities and tasks.

While the mundane tasks of applying service packs and monitoring disk space have mostly vanished into the clouds, there’s a whole new set of responsibilities and technologies to focus on.
Read the rest of this post »

Yammer Governance: Working Like a (Safer) Network – Webinar Recap

Each and every time my colleague, Rich Wood, speaks on a webinar or presents at an event, I know it’s going to be good. Whether his audience is more business or technically oriented, or a healthy mix, he has a knack for presenting content in an engaging manner and a way that’s easy to digest (even for this marketer). And just as expected, during last week’s webinar, “Planning for Governance in Yammer While Working Like a Network,” Rich did not disappoint.

Enterprise social networks are, by default, a more informal, natural means of communication and collaboration, whether it be with internal employees, customers and/or partners. Many companies with an enterprise social network in place are benefiting from improved knowledge transfer, empowering employees and breaking down organizational barriers. But, because of concerns around privacy and governance, the majority of companies have yet to take advantage of an ESN such as Yammer.

During the session, Rich, who heads up our Modern Applications practice at Perficient, began with a discussion around the philosophy behind Yammer. He emphasized that Yammer is not SharePoint. We are all so used to thinking of “governance” in a SharePoint context, it can be difficult to wrap your mind around how to govern a Yammer network properly and encourage user engagement. While SharePoint focuses on document collaboration, with Yammer, it’s all about social collaboration. With that different purpose comes a different philosophy.  In SharePoint, the greater user population has the least rights in common areas, and with Yammer, it’s the reverse. Those same users have the most rights in common areas. Read the rest of this post »

Unlimited OneDrive Storage for Office 365 Subscribers

Your Office 365 subscription just got way better.

Microsoft announced today that all Office 365 customers (Home/Personal/University) will be receiving unlimited OneDrive storage as part of their Office 365 subscription. OneDrive for Business users will also be beneficiaries of this announcement as unlimited OneDrive for Business storage will be rolling out beginning with First Release customers in 2015.

Read the rest of this post »

Pros and Cons of Cross Site Publishing

Confused when to use cross site publishing? When does it bring you the most value? Or how does it fit in your content strategy and information architecture?sharepoint-logo

Cross site publishing has been around since the launch of SharePoint 2013. I’ve seen various implementations and variations of it over the years but never surprised when I see the reasons behind those implementations. Many a times it’s the coolness factor of utilizing this framework. I have had the honors (ha) of being an early adopter of this framework and during last few years have been exposed with the nuts and bolts of this feature. In this article, I’ll share my thoughts on why and when to use or not use cross site publishing with real world scenarios. Before we being let’s see what cross site publishing really is and how it works. According to TechNet, It lets you create and maintain content in one or more authoring site collections, and publish this content across one or more publishing site collections, by using Search Web Parts. Cross-site publishing (XSP) lets you store and maintain content in one or more authoring site collections, and display this content in one or more publishing site collections

Do you know what your problem is?

Understand your content authors and understand the process which brings the most value to your corporate publishing. This and the next two sections will help you decide if XSP is for you.

What scenarios does it fit?XSP

  • It makes a great candidate when you have articles which are tagged and categorized with topics. It allows you to separate content authoring from the display templates and page layouts used in the article presentation. So instead of ending up with hundreds of exponentially growing  unique pages in a Pages library, the publishing site will contain only two dynamic pages: the CatalogCategory page and the CatalogItem page.
  • If you are in a situation where your content authors need an environment to get a head start while you develop and construct the publishing portal, then XSP is a great candidate for you.

What scenarios are NOT a good fit?

This is where it gets interesting.

  • If you can’t double or even triple your upfront design, architecture, and setup time in your build phase, then it is not for you.
  • If you don’t love managed navigation and term sets, this is not for you. It adds extra complexity to your design by not allowing you to have one term for multiple categories. You will need to define a new term for each new product/article category.
  • If you have multiple content authors in multiple geographical locations and no time for training, this approach is not for you.  The tendency to look for content in libraries is hard to overcome. Also, when managed navigation is in play, vanity URLs can make it difficult to track down source content.
  • Moving from DEV to TEST to PROD is extra effort. You’ll need to recreate all your catalogs or create a PowerShell script to do that.
  • If you use a analytics product and wish to track unique visitors, and track page visits, it can get tricky and the product may not support this architecture. Check with your analytics vendor before implementing cross site publishing or possibly do a proof of concept.

O365 & Azure: PIH’s New Tools in the Fight for Global Health

Partners in Health’s mission is to provide a preferential option for the poor in healthcare. By establishing long-term relationships with sister organizations based in settings of poverty, Partners In Health (PIH) strives to achieve two overarching goals: to bring the benefits of modern medical science to those most in need and to serve as an antidote to despair.

PIH draws on the resources of the world’s leading medical and academic institutions to expand access to high-quality care for poor and marginalized patients throughout the world. The root of their mission is both medical and moral, based on solidarity rather than charity alone.

Chris Sweeney / Partners In Health

Chris Sweeney / Partners In Health

Perficient is assisting PIH with their migration to Microsoft’s Office 365 (O365) solution. O365 will allow users to access their email from anywhere in the world on any computer or mobile device with access to the Internet. OneDrive for O365 will enhance collaboration between all PIH users, both domestically and internationally. The platform will provide PIH with a reliable and secure communication toolbox, including storage and collaboration tools. Deployment of O365 across PIH sites in Africa, Haiti, Russia, and the U.S. will enable PIH’s mission to provide a preferential option for the poor in healthcare  and will be an important tool to enhance communication as they respond to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

The current Ebola outbreak is a global challenge and will require collaboration from many players. PIH, which has said it is “radically invitational” and is seeking partners to help respond, recently explained in a blog post that it is

working alongside two outstanding grassroots organizations—Last Mile Health in Liberia and Wellbody Alliance in Sierra Leone. These longtime PIH partners are already working to train health workers, identify sick patients, and deliver quality care. As the epidemic advances, these groups need support to provide comprehensive prevention, care, and treatment.”

Why will Office 365 have an impact?

Enabling a global collaboration and communication platform will allow PIH to share information seamlessly with colleagues, partners and all involved in the fight against disease in developing countries while helping to further PIH’s ability to deliver community based care.  Cloud based storage means that documents can be accessed at any time from any device in any setting, including those where bandwidth is limited.

Identity Management using Microsoft AzureAzure Diagram

Perficient has architected PIH’s cloud identity management by deploying several components in Azure including the following:

• O365 Directory Synchronization Server: to synchronize PIH user information with O365
• End User and O365 Management Server: to provide remote technical leads around the world with the capability to manage end users in their respective countries
• Domain Controllers: to provide geographic resiliency for Active Directory

The use of Azure will take PIH out of the server management business and allow them to focus on delivering healthcare.

Global Rollout of Office 365

Perficient and PIH have completed a rollout of Office 365 Exchange Online to the PIH domestic users and are in the process of initiating an international pilot with Haiti and Rwanda. In future blog posts we’ll showcase the impact Office 365 is having on PIH’s capability to collaborate globally and the positive effects this is providing to PIH’s most remote locations.