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Webinar: Big Data & Microsoft, Key to Your Digital Transformation

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Companies undergoing digital transformation are creating organizational change through technologies and systems that enable them to work in ways that are in sync with the evolution of consumer demands and the state of today’s marketplace. In addition, more companies are relying on more and more data to help make business decisions.

And when it comes to consumer data – one challenge is the abundance of it. How can you turn complex data into business insight? The socially integrated world, the rise of mobile, IoT – this explosion of data can be directed and used, rather than simply managed. That’s why Big Data and advanced analytics are key components of most digital transformation strategies and serve as revolutionary ways of advancing your digital ecosystem.

Where does Microsoft fit into all of this? Recently, Microsoft has extended its data platform into this realm. SQL Server and Excel join up with new PaaS offerings to make up a dynamic and powerful Big Data/advanced analytics tool set. What’s nice about this is that you can leverage tools you already own for your digital transformation.

Join us next week, on Thursday, April 2 at 1 p.m. CT for a webinar, Transforming Business in a Digital Era with Big Data and Microsoft, to learn why you should be including Big Data and advanced analytics as components of your digital transformation and what options you have when it comes to Microsoft technology. Read the rest of this post »

Sitecore XML Sitemap Module Gotcha

When creating any modern website, sitemaps are an important consideration. A sitemap is a xml file that tells search engines and other crawlers all about your site’s content and structure. According to Google’s documentation, “Google doesn’t guarantee that we’ll crawl or index all of your URLs. However, we use the data in your Sitemap to learn about your site’s structure, which will allow us to improve our crawler schedule and do a better job crawling your site in the future. In most cases, webmasters will benefit from Sitemap submission”. In short, sitemaps are a good idea for any size website.

What does a sitemap look like? The schema is defined on sitemaps.org. An example file is embedded below.

For Sitecore, there is a fantastic module for serving sitemaps called Sitemap XML. Sitemap XML “creates a sitemap that is compliant with the schema defined on sitemaps.org for your site.”. Like most modules in the Sitecore Marketplace, installation is accomplished via a package and some configuration edits. Follow the rest of the setup instructions on the module page – which will only take a few minutes for most sites. Pay special attention to which templates to include as you do not want crawlers trying to index data items that have no presentation specified.

Sounds great. So what is the gotcha? Read the rest of this post »

A Day in the Life of a Office 365 User

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Office 365 comprises of a lot of services and features which can be overwhelming for an end user. More often than not we hear concerns from organizations and individual users of how roll out of new products and technologies fail. I do not see this as a technology problem, rather a communication and change management issue. At Perficient, we deal with this day in and day out and understand the importance of a successful roll out. Any big technology implementation requires a significant investment (time & effort) towards creating and utilizing process, training, and governance. It’s not just big talk, but an extremely important undertaking when moving your platform to the cloud (Office 365).

When we look at a typical day in life of an end user from the time they start their day to the time they shut down their devices (and brains), they go through their emails, work on documents, involve in conversations (phone or messaging), search for content, and much more. Office 365 connects all of these tasks and make it seamless so it’s tightly interwoven. In this post I will take the opportunity to showcase few of these scenarios and demonstrate how a day would look like for an office 365 user. Read the rest of this post »

Office 365 – The Magic Behind The Hybrid Config Wizard (2013)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a previous article, I extracted the changes made by the Exchange 2010 Hybrid Configuration Wizard (HCW) to get a better idea of what is going on behind the scenes when you run the HCW.

The same questions apply to Exchange 2013:

So what does the wizard do?

What does it change?

What is the impact?

If you submitted a change control request stating that you’re going to “run the hybrid wizard”, you’re probably being asked these same questions.

For those that are implementing Exchange hybrid on a regular basis, what the wizard does should not be a mystery at this point. If you’re new to Exchange hybrid, I’ve outlined below the individual commands run by the wizard and areas where there might be potential risk.
Read the rest of this post »

Web.config Transformation and XPath to update bindingRedirect

You can use Web.config transformations to update the bindingRedirect element in the web.config of an asp.net website.  This is more complex than other xdt transforms because the only identifying information is in a sibling assemblyIdentity element.  For example, the configuration for the default Sitecore System.Web.MVC dependentAssembly element looks like the following:

<configuration>
  <runtime>
    <assemblyBinding xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:asm.v1">
      <dependentAssembly>
        <assemblyIdentity name="System.Web.Mvc" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:asm.v1" />
        <bindingRedirect oldVersion="1.0.0.0-5.0.0.0" newVersion="5.1.0.0" xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:asm.v1" />
      </dependentAssembly>
    </assemblyBinding>
  </runtime>
</configuration>

To change the bindingRedirect so we can use ASP.Net MVC version 5.2 in our Sitecore project, we have added the following to the Web.Debug.config:

<configuration xmlns:xdt="http://schemas.microsoft.com/XML-Document-Transform" xmlns:asmv1="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:asm.v1">
  <runtime>
    <assemblyBinding xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:asm.v1">
      <dependentAssembly xdt:Transform="Replace" xdt:Locator="Condition(asmv1:assemblyIdentity/@name='System.Web.Mvc')">
        <assemblyIdentity name="System.Web.Mvc" publicKeyToken="31bf3856ad364e35" xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:asm.v1" />
        <bindingRedirect oldVersion="1.0.0.0-5.2.2.0" newVersion="5.2.2.0" xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:asm.v1" />
      </dependentAssembly>
    </assemblyBinding>
  </runtime>
</configuration>

In the configuration above, the xdt:Locator finds a dependentAssembly element with a child, assemblyIdentity, whose name attribute equals System.Web.Mvc.  If found, the element’s contents are replaced with the new System.Web.Mvc version above.

Notice that the namespace for assemblyIdentity had to be added to the configuration node in the Web.Debug.config.  This namespace is then used in the condition statement.

This same technique can be used anytime you need to transform a node based on the value of a sibling’s attribute.

You may not need to use this technique often but it helps to keep custom modifications outside of the Sitecore configuration files when you are upgrading your site.  This way you can just replace your Sitecore configs with the new versions and check that the transforms are still needed.

How (Microsoft) Mobile Apps Could Kill The Corporate Intranet

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In my latest post over at CMSWire, I’ve outlined a (very plausible) scenario whereby the groundswell of user preference for mobile form factors could– and perhaps, should– spell doom for the concept of the enterprise intranet.  This is “digital transformation” writ large for employee productivity.

Sound a bit loony, coming from someone who loves to envision, plan and build SharePoint intranets?  Possibly.  But in the scenario I’m discussing, SharePoint hardly goes away.  In fact, it serves as a back-end for many of the services users will be accessing via mobile apps on their iOS and Android– and yes, even Windows– tablets and phones.

It’s a heady mix of mobile’s engaging (even addictive) UX, service-oriented architecture, software as a service (cloud/SaaS), and forward-thinking embrace of technology and consumer trends.  And you can just about pull it off with today’s technology.

Curious?  Go check it out.

Yammer Webinar: Encourage Adoption with Smart Social Governance

colored_stick_figures_shutterstock_wordpress As a Yammer end user, I can certainly appreciate the value enterprise social brings to our organization, as well as my ability to collaborate more effectively with my team, other practice areas, and even partners. It’s easy to use and intuitive.

Given that, I can understand and appreciate that Gartner selected Microsoft as the leader in its most recent Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Social.

There is one thing Yammer’s not – and that’s SharePoint. Many administrators and IT stakeholders who are quite familiar with Microsoft tools and SharePoint aren’t entirely sure of the best way to govern an enterprise social network.

Our Yammer webinars are always a hit – and next week will be no different. On Wednesday, March 25 at 1 p.m. CT, join Rich Wood and Joe Crabtree, two of our enterprise social experts for Succeed with Yammer: Encouraging Adoption with Smart Social Governance to understand how to properly maintain security and compliance while fostering open conversation in an enterprise social context.

They’ll begin by covering the difference between SharePoint and Yammer – from a planning and governance perspective – and they will then move on to real world best practices and #YamTips to move your organization ahead socially and sensibly. Read the rest of this post »

Skype for Business Updates from Enterprise Connect

connected_network_shutterstock_wordpressIt is official – new Skype for Business Server, Client, and Online Service coming in April 2015! The announcement for the new Skype for Business products happened today during the Microsoft Keynote at Enterprise Connect.

Items covered during the Keynote:

  • Office 365 – Skype4B Online Enterprise Voice, Audio Conferencing, and PSTN Calling features being added  –  coming later this year
  • Office 365 – Azure Express Route Partners – AT&T, BT, Colt, Equinix, Level 3 Communications, Orange Business Services, TATA Communications, Telstra, Verizon and Vodafone
  • Skype User Search integration into the Skype4B client
  • Skype Room System Partners – Crestron, Polycom and Smart
  • Polycom RoundTable 100 – coming in early Summer, the price expected to be ~$1,000 and able to control via mobile phone. picture1picture2
  • Microsoft Surface Hub – coming later this year – http://www.microsoft.com/microsoft-surface-hub/en-us
  • WebRTC coming soon

Here is the latest Microsoft Office Blog on Skype4B for more info – http://blogs.office.com/2015/03/18/skype-for-business-is-here-and-this-is-only-the-beginning/

We have known that the rebranding of Lync to Skype For Business has been planned since November 2014 – but now we will start seeing the changes come to life. Microsoft has launched the Skype For Business web site – http://next.skypeforbusiness.com/ and a new YouTube video for their Vision for the Future.

Also, if you want to get your hands on the new  client – the Technical Preview for the Skype For Business client is available now to try until it expires on May 1st, 2015 – http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/evaluate-skype-for-business

To get a hands on preview of the new features of the new Skype4B client, check out Matt Landis’s blog post and YouTube video.

 

Goodbye, Internet Explorer! Hello, Project Spartan

spartanEarlier this year, I blogged about the 7 Reasons You Should Be Fired Up For Windows 10!  Number 5 on the list was Project Spartan.

Today, Microsoft announced they will officially discontinue the Internet Explorer brand. (Cue to every web developer in the modern world jumping up with excitement.)

Project Spartan, the product has yet to be fully-named, will be a brand new browser rolled out with Windows 10. According to the release, the new browser will not be associated with the Internet Explorer brand.

We don’t know anything about the new functionality or how it works under the hood, Read the rest of this post »

Office 365 – How to Request a SHA-2 Certificate in AD FS 3.0

Just a quick post today on something that should be more simple than it is…

AD FS on Windows Server 2012 R2 (often referred to as “AD FS 3.0″) no longer has a dependency on IIS. One of the common methods used to generate a “Certificate Signing Request” (CSR) is to use IIS on the server you need the certificate on or by using another IIS server in the organization. Without access to IIS, your options for generating the CSR are to use the MMC snap-in, one of the native command line utilities or some third-party tools.

While there are a number of ways to generate your CSR, the method below is the one I find the easiest while also meeting current security requirements.
Read the rest of this post »

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