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SharePoint 2013 On-Premises Search Improvements – Nov 2014 CU

SharePoint2013,pngOne of our ace lead consultants, RGB or Roydon Gyles-Bedford, alerted our team of some great improvements made to Enterprise Search in SharePoint 2013 on-premises. These 2 important new updates can be found in the November 2014 CU –

#1 – Search can now index office documents embedded in other office documents!

Example – you have a Word doc (.docx) embedded in a PowerPoint slide (.pptx). That word document has text. SharePoint Search will now index that text. You can use the Enterprise Search Center to search for a word in that document and your PowerPoint presentation will be listed in the search results. Awesome! For more information, visit the MSDN Blog here.

#2 – Search stays online even when one or more partition(s) is unavailable! 

Read the rest of this post »

Set up Document ID prefix in SharePoint 2013 programmatically

While it is simple to set the prefix of Document ID Service in SharePoint 2013 manually, it’s less straightforward if you are looking to set it up programmatically (but still fairly simple once you know how). If you’ve been wondering how to do this correctly, last week, Perficient’s Peng Zhao wrote a blog post that walks through the necessary steps.

This post introduces you to a correct way to set up Document ID Prefix in SharePoint 2013. Immediately after you kick off the timer jobs for Document ID service in this approach, all of your documents under the new site will show up with correct prefix.

We have recently rolled out a web template based on our team site template. It requires you to set the prefix of Document ID service when the user is creating a site with the web template. It is simple if you can do it manually in the “site settings>>Document Id Settings” like this:

SharePoint2013 Document ID Settings

If you plan to do it programmatically, it is a different story. The articles or blogs I searched on the Internet demonstrate that the following will do the trick:

SharePoint2013 Document ID Settings by web properties

It sets the root web property “docid_settings_ui”. It also sets the prefix value on the Document ID Settings page as if it were set manually. If you go to the settings page, the prefix string shows up there; nothing seems wrong. But after you kick off your timer jobs for Document ID service, you will find all your documents never get the new prefix.

The CORRECT way to set the document id prefix should be like this:

SharePoint2013 Document ID Settings by server side model

Neat and simple, right?

In this way, right after you kick off the timer jobs for Document ID service, all your documents under the new site will show up with correct prefix.


Thanks Peng Zhao and Matt Connolly for sharing this tip!

Perficient’s Top 5 SharePoint Blog Posts of 2014

As 2014 comes to a close, we’re taking a look at our most popular blog posts of the year. Here are the top five SharePoint related posts, in no particular order:top-5

SPC 2014 Roadmap Updates – SharePoint 2015 Announced!
While attending SharePoint Conference 2014, Joe Crabtree summarized Microsoft’s goals for Office, which Jared Spataro shared during his keynote speech. With the cloud being king, Joe goes on to explain what these changes mean for on-premises customers, and assures folks who plan to stay on premises – it’s okay.

SharePoint 2013 Search: JavaScript CSOM Primer
With the rise of SharePoint Online, custom search solutions through JavaScript have become a staple of the development work done for clients. While a lot of your search basics can be handled through simple modification of Display Templates, the opportunity still arises when you need to do something truly custom with your search code. In this post, Will Tseng reviews the basics, and then takes it a little deeper to give you more control over your queries and results returned.

 SharePoint Hybrid Architectures Introduction
Hybrid SharePoint environments combine deployments of SharePoint on premises with SharePoint Online. The hybrid environments enable organizations to realize a higher degree of flexibility than forcing a choice between either an on-premises or cloud model. The goal of any hybridization is to leverage the strengths of both parts, while minimizing the components’ weaknesses. Here, Joe Crabtree walks through some of the terminology and explains the different options. Read the rest of this post »

Video How-To’s in Office 365

Video Portal was announced back in November with initial push to “first release” customers and a global deployment available by early 2015. This portal powered by Azure Media Services provides adaptive streaming optimized for video playback for the device it’s being viewed on. Leveraging Office Graph, simple drag and drop interface, discover ability across enterprise search and Delve, integration with yammer conversations, and sharing capabilities on mobile makes this an intuitive and engaging knowledge management add in.

Below is a summary of Video Q&A with Microsoft team, MVPs, and community members:

Why does Office 365 Video need Flash installed?

Microsoft is working to add HTML5 video playback support in a future update. This will remove the current Flash dependency. For the initial release, we prioritized security of the videos’ playback stream. We are working with Azure Media Services on new player and detection tech that can get the right player (native, HTML5, or flash) and the right stream from Azure media services, so that we offer both adaptive streaming and security on latest mobile devices and browsers. For native iPhone app, we are using Azure Media Service SDK to support HLS. Browser playback doesn’t work currently for mobile devices because of flash. Read the rest of this post »

Upcoming Webinar: 10 Steps To Optimize SharePoint: with Metalogix

Is your SharePoint environment painfully slow? Are you experiencing long page load times? Does your search results take forever to load? If so, you may be interested in my upcoming webinar – 10 Steps to Optimize SharePoint.

This comprehensive webinar, put on jointly with our partners at Metalogix, will cover:

  • Identifying the common problem areas affecting SharePoint performance
  • Discovering and diagnosing SharePoint performance and availability
  • Monitoring critical areas of your SharePoint servers, including CPU
  • Search Performance Tuning
  • Distributed Cache Best Practices
  • Setting performance thresholds

10 Steps to Optimize SharePoint metalogix logo

Tuesday, Dec 09, 2014 at 2:00pm EST

Click Here to Register

All registrants will also receive a video recording.


Join us and get a $5 Starbucks card!

What’s one of the biggest hurdles to increasing user adoption of SharePoint?

Reliable access and performance. Many admins operate in reaction mode as their environments increase in size and complexity. And users who rely on SharePoint take a hit on productivity—or worse—get frustrated and go outside the system to get their work done. Learn how to identify issues before they become problems.

Presented by:


Larry Wolter

Director of Product Marketing, Metalogix



headshot 4   Joe Crabtree

Senior Solutions Architect, Perficient




Mac Solution for OneDrive For Business

I was recently involved in a discussion about the capabilities of OneDrive for Business for Mac, with my co-worker, Michael Toole. One of his customers was in the process of migrating network shares over to SharePoint. Majority of their user base was on Mac, and had very little experience with the web UI’s, so OneDrive sounded like a default choice for syncing their files to local machine.

In this post, I share our experience and findings for a quick and easy way to address the sync problems on Mac (I’ll share the credit for this post with Michael).

Currently OneDrive for Business does not have a sync client for Mac. It’s on the roadmap for later this year or early 2015 although expect it to be released with limited functionality such as only personal site sync (no team site). In the meantime there are few third party apps which does the same. There is an app currently available in the iTunes app store but only works if you have a SharePoint Online or qualifying Office 365 business subscription. Else, look at using Microsoft Document Connection for Mac.


This allows you to connect the libraries to your Mac in a very similar way as the windows explorer view on Windows. Although document connection does not support offline access.


To get around that limitation, download files to the local device. When the Mac OS is offline, you’ll be able to make any changes using the local Office applications. Once the Mac has a network connection, saving the updated documents to the Document Connection is available. It’ll also respect your check in and check out (read as exclusive check out). So, check out your document while you are online. Make changes while offline, and then check in back to the library when connected. Items also cannot be saved directly to OneDrive for Business through Document Connection. Newly created files on the Mac need to be stored locally and then uploaded to the system.

Spread out your files across multiple document libraries instead of folders in the same location. OneDrive for Business does not allow specific folder sync, but do allow sync across multiple libraries. In short try to go for flat structure across multiple libraries rather than the traditional folder structure.

It’s not the most convenient way when compared to windows, but might be the best way until the public beta for OneDrive for Mac releases next year.

Yammer Sign-in Now Tied with Office 365

Keeping up with the roll out momentum, Microsoft released a significant feature last week which allows you to use your existing Office 365 credentials to access Yammer. It essentially provides the same experience as when using OneDrive for Business, Outlook, and SharePoint.

yammer signin


Here are some facts which will help you understand what’s covered in this release:

  • The easiest way to know when this is coming to your tenant is to check the announcement in the Office 365 message center (if your tenant fulfills the requirements). Expected rollout is slated to start in December. The global menu will change and Yammer will be included and styled as the other Office 365 services. e.g. Outlook or SharePoint.
  • This feature will support many of the scenarios previously covered with Yammer SSO, but it doesn’t cover DirSync. Yammer DirSync will still be required. Microsoft is continuing to invest in Azure AD integration and have plans that cover Dirsync in the future. Note that some of the Yammer SSO scenarios are not yet covered with Office 365 login. These scenarios are covered in the documentation here.
  • When you connect to Yammer, you’ll be routed to the Microsoft login screen, enter your credentials there and then you would be redirected to your company’s ADFS server for authentication. You will be then redirected back to Yammer after ADFS authentication.
  • If the email address used to create a Yammer account is not part of your Office 365/AAD account, then the account won’t be mapped and you will continue to login using Yammer login.
  • Longer term as Microsoft continue to deepen the Yammer, Office 365, and Azure Active Directory integration, expect Office 365 active directory sync, Yammer DirSync and O365 DirSync be combined in the future.
  • A new option to synchronize from Azure AD (rather than on-premises AD) is on the backlog.


Hopefully you are as excited as I am with this announcement; Happy Yammering!!


Troubleshooting Search in SharePoint Online (O365)

SharePoint-logoSharePoint makes great use of its Search engine and it is pervasive throughout most SharePoint solutions today. Whether you are building Content Search WebParts leveraging Display Templates or creating a custom Search center you will be making use of SharePoint’s powerful and mature Search engine. However, what happens when things behave unexpectedly? How can you troubleshoot Search? This article will focus mainly on SharePoint Online (O365) but could also be applied to Search on premises.

Search is not magic!

When supporting others in their troubleshooting of Search issues I usually start by explaining that Search is not a black art. I would agree there are nuances but, for the most part, figuring out issues can follow simple scientific process. After all, SharePoint Search is just a collection of properties stored for query and retrieval by the Search engine.

The perception that Search is a black art often extends to users and their expectations. When search does not yield the results a user expects we should always investigate what they expect and why they expect it. Work directly with end users and try to help them understand why they are not getting what they expect.

Approach to Troubleshooting

Generally speaking it is advisable to try and make small but smart moves when changing configuration. It can sometimes take days or weeks to test the results of your configuration changes if long re-crawls are required. Above all, be scientific! Use the same test cases before and after changes and measure your results by tracking search results before and after.

The two sides of Search

There are two sides to Search, Crawl and Query. Potentially either side could be failing or not working as expected so it is important to investigate both.

SharePoint Online in O365 does not currently offer too much control nor insight into the Crawl side (this may change in future). SharePoint 2013 on premises offers lots of opportunity to troubleshoot the crawl. On premises we can:

  • Inspect the crawl log
  • Turn on verbose logging during crawls
  • Attach crawls to Fiddler

The Query side can be inspected almost equally online as it can be on premises. It’s important to understand that Search queries are transformed as they are passed to the search engine. The user can type a query into a search box but there are number of places the query could be transformed or results influenced by search configuration:

  • Search Results WebPart e.g. in a Search Center
  • Content by Search WebPart
  • Results Source
  • Query Rules
  • Synonyms

Inspect the Query using the Query Builder

There are at least two great ways to inspect the Query side of Search.

One, use the OOTB Query Builder to help you. From a Content by Search or Search Results WebPart you can open the Query Builder. Switch to Advanced Mode (you are most definitely Advanced now!) and then head over to the TEST tab. Once on the TEST tab click ‘Show more’ to see the full transformation of the query in the bottom text box (highlighted).


Seeing the full transformation of the query is important because there may well be transformations impacting results you had not thought of. In addition if any part of the query is using dynamic property values based upon the Page or User (e.g. {User.ProfileProperty}) these values will be expanded and displayed for inspection.

Inspect the Query using the 2013 Search Tool

The SharePoint 2013 Search Query Tool is now an essential part of my day-to-day work with SharePoint Search. It uses the REST API to retrieve results from SharePoint Search and can be used with SharePoint Online (O365) and On Premises SharePoint 2013.

The tool provides a fast, convenient and repeatable way to inspect Search results. A few tips for using this tool most effectively:

  • Be scientific! Use fixed queries, analyze results before and after configuration changes.
  • Turn off Trim Duplicates, it will be ON by default. Trimming duplicates can be really confusing when analyzing results, especially when you have repetitive test data in a system.
  • Ensure you are using the correct Results Source. By default this will be set to Local SharePoint Results. However, if custom Result Sources are in play be sure to set them in the tool. You will need the GUID identifying the Results Source, this can be obtained easily by browsing to the Results Source in SharePoint and grabbing the ID from the querystring.
  • Inspect the Rank values returned. The rank values will determine which results appear first. If any parts of the transformation use XRANK to boost results then this should be evident in the Rank value.

Check the basics

Are you writing valid Keyword Query Language (KQL)? SharePoint Search can only understand KQL and not syntax from other search engines such as Google, Solr, Westlaw, Lexis etc.

If the user is expecting a specific document to be returned has that document actually been indexed? This can be verified by performing a Path search e.g.:


On Premises you could also check the crawl log to see if the item hit an error during indexing.

If the search query is expecting to hit document body content you should also check that the source text is readable by the search engine. In the case of PDF documents, they will need to be OCR’d.

Managed Properties

It’s likely that Search is not behaving the way users expect due to Managed Property configuration. Managed Properties are really the backbone of the search engine and our greatest opportunity for customization. They are also our greatest opportunity to make mistakes in configuration. We need to check the Managed Property settings. This article does not fully explore Managed Property configuration but here are the basic settings we should consider when troubleshooting:

  • Searchable – Enables us to query against the content of the property, the content is stored in the full-text index. On premises we can also set the ‘Context’ of the property which will allow different weighting to be applied.
  • Queryable – Enables us to query directly against the property e.g. Title:Hines . Note that this is different to simply being included in the full text index.
  • Retrieveable – Enables us to retrieve the value of the property in search results. If a property is not retrievable it can sometimes be confusing when trying to inspect it using the search tool. The value may be Queryable and used in queries but not retrieveable so that we can inspect it.
  • Refinable – Means that it can be used in a search by refinement. Note that this is different to querying properties.
  • Sortable – Means that results could be sorted by this property.
  • Mappings – Managed Properties will be mapped to one or more Crawled Properties. This relationship is worth reading more about and the necessity to re-crawl after changing these values in important to consider. When more than one Crawled Property is selected be sure that the configuration is resulting

It’s really important during any Search project to have consistent and well-understood Managed Property configuration. At Perficient we often build a Managed Properties Specification which allows us to collaborate on how properties will be configured. In addition it is highly recommended to script Managed Property configuration so that Development, QA and Production environments are the same. It’s very easy to let this slip and have misconfigurations confuse you when testing across multiple environments. More on script deployment to O365:

OOTB Title Managed Property

The ‘Title’ Managed Property is probably the single greatest point of confusion I see in SharePoint Search projects. Looking at the Mapping configuration it is already apparent that it’s complicated.


Unfortunately the MetadataExtractorTitle has, in my opinion, only added to this confusion. If your users are relaxed about seeing an interpreted Title in search results then you will most likely not get feedback. However, it appears most users get confused about this and require us to troubleshoot exactly why their Title is not displaying as expected in Search results. In response to this, you can of course look at the Crawled Property ordering and try to determine exactly why the Title Managed Property is populated as such. However, if it transpires this is a major problem for users I would look into creating your own separate Managed Property for handling Title.

Low level Debugging

Detailed debugging during a crawl or query is reserved for SharePoint on premises. During a crawl we can turn on VerboseEx logging and analyze the detail of what’s happening during acquisition. This could point to a number of problems including communication with the source during a crawl or an issue with security trimming when querying.

If you need to pursue a Search support incidents with Microsoft it is most likely Microsoft will ask for VerboseEx log. The only caution with this is that VerboseEx will grow the logs very quickly so it’s recommended you ensure it is only enabled for a short period of time.

Good luck!

SharePoint Search does have its challenges but it is also extremely powerful and offers great patterns for surfacing content. We see it making its way into new areas and services in Office 365 all the time. Embrace it! I think it’s here to stay.

Expanding Data Loss Prevention Across Office 365

Continuing from my previous post on Information Rights Management (IRM), today we will focus our discussion at yet another security feature which is essentially part of customer controls, known as Data Loss Prevention aka DLP.

DLP provides users with policy tips and detects sensitive information in the context of communication. DLP was first rolled out in Exchange and Outlook and then expanded into Outlook Web App (OWA). The only problem was that email is not the only way to share information. A ton of information in this digital age is shared via documents and keeping that in mind, DLP was expanded into SharePoint Online (SPO) and OneDrive for Business (ODFB). Until now eDiscovery allowed us to search sensitive content across SharePoint and OneDrive and now policy actions (restrict and block access) and email notifications are also being introduced.



With the advent of Office 365, the Microsoft community has become increasingly collaborative in nature, and product teams are now more agile and communicative in their approach than ever before. Building on that approach, recently Microsoft conducted a yamjam around DLP features. Some great scenarios, concerns, and solutions were exchanged. Here is my attempt to capture and summarize that for you.


Q: Will DLP be a supplement or replacement to IRM and auditing mechanisms in SharePoint? And in what way will it supplement to IRM and or auditing.

A: DLP is a great supplement for IRM today. Both of these functionalities work seamlessly in Exchange and we are extending that same experience for SPO/ODFB

Q: Will DLP have effect on the content that is shown, or not shown, in Delve

A: That is absolutely our vision. Delve adheres to the user permissions set by your admins and end users, and we will respect the same when it comes to DLP.

Q: Will DLP be a part of the announced Dropbox partnership? Extending to Dropbox for business

A: Currently DLP functionalities are planned only for ODFB/SPO and not Dropbox.

Q: Will DLP be able to enforce IRM on documents that match a policy? 

A: That is definitely in our plans and you can expect us to release that in the service in early 2015

Q: If I want to make sure my policy is enforced on all content all users should have a sufficient license?

A: Yes, you need as many DLP licenses as the number of users. DLP is licensed on per user basis.

Q: How can we protect documents that contain trade secrets or company plans from being uploaded to OneDrive and then downloaded to home computers? These are random documents that may not have specific information to search for. What is to keep users from uploading a mass amount of documents and then downloading them at home?

A: The next level is to apply Rights Management Service (RMS) policies for all content that lands in that area. You can further protect using IRM from within the client and establish a further depth of what can/can’t be done, and possibly further restrict who. Next up is setting policy rules with #dlp that again help to inform and enforce actions that are and are not allowed. In the future we’ll have additional tools via MDM to help protect and reclaim/delete content that can no longer be on devices. Additionally, we’re planning auditing and reporting capabilities so admins can run reports to understand better how content is being used (shared, modified, viewed, etc.).

Q: Is OneDrive for Business a supported application by Azure RMS?

A:  IRM works today for documents on ODFBso yes, Azure RMS works for OneDrive for business. There are some fixes we are making for IRM protected libraries so that it syncs seamlessly just like any other library

Q: ODFB Management : For ODFB and IRM, it seems to be cumbersome to turn on IRM and with certain policy settings like “Allow users to print”. Plus, it does not seem to reference centralized IRM policies like you would expect with Azure RMS because you just name your own policy and do not select from a dropdown list. Is this because IRM on ODFB is not really supported by Azure RMS yet? And is this expected to change sometime soon?

A: ODFB is certainly covered, and is a manual process today from the scope of an audit or configuration of IRM. The concern you have is valid and is something the teams are aware of for auditing, eDiscovery, DLP scenarios. We don’t have timing to share, but we do want to treat ODFB as included by default, not something you have to configure for broader application

Q: If we have 10 users on E3 and 40 users on Business Essentials, do the messages created by the 40 Business Essentials users get evaluated by DLP? What about the server-side processing? If a non-E3 user sent a message that violates a DLP rule, would it be blocked, or would it be sent to the recipient?

A: DLP does require E3, so the non-E3 users would not get a DLP experience, aka the tool tips coming early next year. No, you need to have DLP licensing to enable server side and client side processing for sensitive content. So for eg, in exchange today, every time you use the “the message contains sensitive information” predicate, you need DLP license.

Q: We have a system that generates PDF reports and emails them via SMTP. We use DLP to block the messages from being forwarded but we would like to apply document level IRM as it enters the system via SMTP?

A: Look at adding a document library into your solution. You could then add additional capabilities if above needs a little more.

Q: Can you please elaborate on the phrase “with additional policy controls and actions like Information Rights Management, coming in the first quarter of 2015″ from the 10/28 blog post on DLP? What might this mean in terms of capabilities?

A: In our initial release for SPO policies, you will have actions such as block or request access when someone uploads a document. With RMS action, you will be able to automatically apply IRM action to the uploaded document if the document contains sensitive information.

Q: What will happen if a document is accessed through an API using custom coding? Will DLP apply?

A: If the content is stored in a location that is subject to a DLP policy, such as SharePoint – then yes the changes will be scanned and subject to the DLP requirements in the policy.

Q: Will Microsoft provide a way to automatically add ODFB sites (as they are provisioned) to DLP scope?

A: Yes, you can configure a DLP policy to apply to “all” OneDrive for Business sites, which will automatically include new sites as they are provisioned.

Q: <em?Will the fact that IRM is applied to a document be able to overwrite DLP actions? For instance if IRM is applied with ‘lower’ restrictions, van DLP apply more restrictieve restrictions? Consider this example: IRM can be configured by Site Admins, so a site admin makes a library for contracts. He configures very little restrictions. At company (DLP) level we have a very strict policy and want to override what the site admin on lower level set up.

A: We currently do not allow IRM policy override. This is an interesting feature request. will be available when our policy actions are available in early 2015.

Q: We found the mobility use case to be painful as iOS and Android devices cannot open IRM protected documents minus a few exceptions like PDFs with a purchased app. When is this targeted to change to where the Office Mobile apps will support IRM protected documents?

A: It works great today for email across OWA for devices, Outlook, Outlook for MAC, OWA etc and you can expect us to add the same functionality across Office documents. IRM works today for documents on ODFB so yes Azure RMS works for OneDrive for business.

Q: With an increasing number of non-technical small business users, what is the plan to give true user account management to Global Admins in O365? This weekend we had to terminate a long time employee who lives in a different state. I checked every source for clear guidelines and documentation surrounding this is nearly non-existent. There is no simple way to prevent loss of information other than resetting the user password. If “blocked” then we could not go into Exchange Online or ODFB to back up information. If we remove licenses, we lose all data. If we turn mailbox into shared, we lose auto archive folder/ability. We cannot backup to a PST due to auto archive as well. Four days after the fact, we learned that resetting the password means they can still have access to any sessions of mail, CRM, SharePoint that have not expired. How are we supposed to manage security under these conditions? Please advise when your 100% “cloud first/mobile first” O365 Online small business customers can expect to have the right tools to terminate an employee while preventing any data loss.

A: The scenario you describe is well covered in the enterprise, where we have additional value in the E1-E4 plans. And I’m guessing you know this, but want to be clear that all the compliance tools like RMS, DLP, eDiscovery … they are only offered to enterprise. It is very common to find smaller businesses using the enterprise plans when their needs require the more robust compliance capabilities. Consider upgrading your plan to enterprise. This article should get you started: I can tell you that you can recover documents. You would need to assign a secondary user who can then go into users’ ODFB. You can do this today here: SPO admin center > user profiles > Set up MySites > My Site Cleanup – and then add a secondary owner.

Here’s the text from in-product once you get to this admin setting, “My Site Cleanup”. When a user’s profile has been deleted, that user’s My Site will be flagged for deletion after fourteen days. To prevent data loss, access to the former user’s My Site can be granted to the user’s manager or, in the absence of a manager, a secondary My Site owner. This gives the manager or the secondary owner an opportunity to retrieve content from the My Site before it is deleted. Select whether or not ownership of the Site should be transferred to a manager or secondary owner before the site is deleted. Set a secondary owner to receive access in situations in which a user’s manager cannot be determined.

Q: Any plans to add DLP to Yammer? For instance if a user decides to share his credit card number on Yammer he will get a policy tip; Such as not allowing videos to be downloaded (but only to be viewed), to making sure that PII is not being shared inadvertently in healthcare or insurance companies. You can overcome these things with peer governance but it would be great to have some tech in place too.

A: Definitively something that we are thinking about. What kind of scenarios would you like to see if/when this would happen?

Q: When or will Data Loss Prevention (DLP) become available in the On-Premise version of SharePoint?

A: We’re not ready to discuss any portion of SharePoint Server vNext (on-premises) and what will be included. That said, there are a number of 3rd party solutions today that can be integrated with SharePoint already.

Customer Engagement: Harnessing Disruption

This week I’m attending Customer Engagement World in New York. “The Customer is the New Boss” is Lawrence Dvorchik’s theme for Customer Engagement World. But hasn’t the customer always been the boss? We always say customer is the boss, but our engagements methods rarely reflect this. Too often companies are trying to engage in a one-way stream of communications to customers and potential customers without having a great way to make that a two-way stream.

Ryan Craver, senior vice president of strategy at Hudson’s Bay Company, opened CEW with his keynote “Harnessing Disruption.” First Ryan talked about what he means by disruption. Companies typically talk about how to cause disruption, buy usually come up with marketing programs that don’t engage customers directly.

Ryan Craver

There are 3 key enablers to disruption today:

  1. Connectivity – by 2020 80% of adults will have smartphones.  Think about disruption caused by connected devices and applications – Uber, OpenTable, etc.
  2. Scalability – infinite computing resources are becoming available.
  3. Distribution – limitless touch points and borderless commerce via Amazon, Etsy, etc.

All of these enablers have created customers who demand instant access, instant service and instant deliver.

Ryan identified 3 main disrupting trends:

  • Channel Irrelevance
    • Retail foot traffic has dropped, yet retail sales have remained strong and exceeded inflation.
    • Ecommerce is not dictated by age – every one does it.
    • Mobile Commerce is driving eCommerce.  mCommerce is expected to increase by 157% by 2018.
    • Eye share has dramatically shifted: In four years, TV has decreased 11% and Online has increased 59%.
    • Customer preference for channel varies by department, so you need to cover all channels.  (See A.T. Kearney Omnichannel Shopping Preferences Study July 2014.)
    • The net: Each customer has adopted disruption in a different way.
  • Social Media has become Social Commerce
    • Social commerce is finally here after 7-8 years of growth.
    • We now spend 37 minutes per day on social networks, eclipsing email and all other forms
    • Everyone is bullish on many social networks
  • Mobile with Location

    Mobile Beacon

    • Mobile has arrived – in 2014 mobile growth has grown over 500% for accessing digital content
    • Apps vs Sites. Time spent on mobile apps is high, but most of that time is spent on gaming, messaging and social media.
    • Commerce and Shopping get about 1.5 hours per month and has only grown 12% YOY.
    • App selection is overwhelming making it difficult for apps to gain scale.  Apple’s store has over 1.5m apps and games and over 80% maybe “zombie” apps.
    • Not a question of one or other, retailers must have both.  Mobile apps and mobile sites are used for different purposes.
    • Mobile empowers customers in-store. Customers are willing to share location if provided offers, deals or points. However if you ask them to share their phone number, most will balk at it.
    • Using mobile location drives more purposed feet.  Banners conversion is very low. Geo Push based on customer proximity is marginally better, but still low.  Beacons provide much better conversion.
    • Net: beacons are driving highly personalized, intent based content and advertisements.

Here are Ryan’s key takeaways on how to harness disruption:

  1. Unapologetic pursuit of understanding and satisfying the customer
  2. Adopt innovation as a corporate wide virus
  3. Relentless understanding of market and technology trends impacting the customer.

Read the rest of this post »