Microsoft

Blog Categories

Subscribe to RSS feed

Archives

Follow our Microsoft Technologies board on Pinterest

Archive for the ‘SharePoint’ Category

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.

————————————————————————————————

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.

Microsoft-Salesforce Integrations as Cloud Giants Shake Hands

Microsoft and Salesforce has made significant progress to their strategic partnership announced in May. They unveiled new joint solutions—including Salesforce1 for Windows, Salesforce for Office, and Power BI for Office 365 and Excel integrations with Salesforce—at Dreamforce 2014. salesforce1microsoft1

The companies disclosed that in early 2015, they will release a Salesforce1 app for Windows Phone. Alongside, OneDrive will be linked to the Salesforce solutions. In addition, Office will also be incorporated with the Salesforce suite. Through the alliance, Microsoft will gain an opportunity to provide its user-friendly products to Salesforce users. Salesforce, on the other hand, will be able to sell its SaaS product in the more conservative enterprise channels, currently controlled by Microsoft.

The companies plan to integrate Salesforce into Office, SharePoint and OneDrive for Business on the Android and iOS platforms in the first half of 2015. Also, in the first half of 2015, the companies plan to ship a Salesforce app for Outlook. The second half of 2015 will also see a Salesforce1 app for Windows Phone along with a Salesforce app for Excel. Power BI for Office 365 and Excel integrations with Salesforce. With these new integrations, customers will be able to bi-directionally load data to Salesforce and Excel to build reports, visualize information and discover new insights.  Power BI integration with Salesforce is anticipated for the first half of 2015. A Salesforce app for Excel is anticipated for the second half of 2015.

Some key things to note for existing features (live and preview): Read the rest of this post »

How many Personal sites do I have in my O365 tenant?

Cloud UserPersonal sites (formerly known as My Sites) are provisioned on demand in Office 365. Only when the user first clicks e.g. their OneDrive link in the suite bar is their personal site actually provisioned. This was a prudent architectural decision on Microsoft’s part to not provision space until it is actually needed. Anybody who managed pre-provisioned personal sites on premises will know that this can be unnecessarily expensive, especially when you have a very large number of users.

With this approach it is sometimes useful to know how many users have already provisioned their personal site, so as to get a measure of adoption.

Individually by User Profile

We can navigate to the ‘Manage User Profiles’ link and find this out individually for each user. When the user has a personal site we can click the drop down option to ‘Manage Personal Site’ and we are taken to the site settings.

Mange Personal Site

When the user does not have a personal site, a message is displayed saying they don’t have one.

PersonalSiteNotYetCreated

 O365 Reports 

For gathering a total count, there is a report under:

Admin > Office 365 > Reports > OneDrive for Business sites deployed

OneDriveSitesDeployed

 

Use Search to report on Personal Sites

We can also use Search to find all the personal sites e.g.

Path:https://chrishines-my.sharepoint.com AND contentclass:STS_Site

This will get all the personal sites under the My Site application (chrishines-my.sharepoint.com). The query will naturally return only one page of results at a time. However, we can use the search REST API to get creative and return large pages (maximum 500) and iterate through all pages to get a count. The REST API call would look like something like this:

http://chrishines.sharepoint.com/_api/search/query?querytext=’Path:https:%2f%2fchrishines-my.sharepoint.com+AND+contentclass:STS_Site’&trimduplicates=false&startrow=4500&rowlimit=500

This particular request will get all the personal sites from count 4,500 – 5,000. In my case this returned 239 results telling me that 4,739 personal sites had been created thus far.

You may be comfortable writing REST API calls to achieve this. Alternatively, I would highly recommend using the SharePoint 2013 Search tool to help out.

https://sp2013searchtool.codeplex.com

Remember to set trimduplicates=false as identification of duplicates can cause a lot of confusion with this type of query.

Meet Yammer, Your Answer to Project Collaboration!

Yammer has a full range of features to help you communicate openly and expedite decision making, open new collaboration channels and breakdown email silos. Let’s start looking at our current ways of communicating with our team. A typical project is slated to begin and end with a vision and goal. In order to achieve these, it’s essential to have transparent and effective communication. Throughout the project lifecycle, we engage in numerous communication channels whether they are phone calls, emails, video calls, messenger chats etc. We are so engaged in making the project a success that we end up overseeing the numerous hours spent communicating with internal team or external customers. This is where Yammer steps in. The idea is not to replace each and every channel but to reduce the time spent and make it more effective so you can reach maximum throughput.

Three main reasons why would you consider using Yammer for internal and external collaboration are ease of use, mobile app, and collaborating with external users. Yammer can move your team beyond the hierarchical and glacial-paced decision making that can hobble a project’s progress. You can set up a private Yammer group where your team can conduct online conversations around important project elements; this allows each team member to be part of the decision-making process. To keep things in perspective, I will share a use case from one of my recent customer engagements. Delivery success is measured by how well the deliverables and activities match the agreed upon vision and goal objectives. One of the first sessions in these engagements is the project kick off. This meeting involves all the stakeholders of the project and establishes a sense of common goals and allows us to start understanding each individual. This is where all communication channels are discussed and confirmed and ultimately where Yammer can be introduced.

Today, I’ll share my firsthand experience of using Yammer as a project collaboration platform and showcase its value with a real world use case.

One of the biggest frustrations I face at the start of every project is the ton of emails exchanged, many times with attachments and their different versions end up choking my inbox. This is where Yammer comes to rescue. Follow these three basic steps and you will never go back to traditional ways of project management.

  1. Create an Internal Yammer Group
  2. Create an External Network
  3. Invite Members and Start Sharing

 

1. Your Internal GroupInternalGroup1

This will enable daily communication within our team. Drafts of documents, questions, clarification everything can be posted in the internal group.

  • Tagging People – Helps notify the right individuals and keep the noise from others inbox. All our posts were targeted to the group and at least one team member. This generates a notification for the tagged individual.
  • Tagging Content – Helps to find information when needed most. You’ve got to love the subscription model, and this is where it is most powerful. Subscribe to any topic and you are then fed all conversations around that topic on your home screen.
  • Ask a Question – Every project has issues and gaps and Yammer is your best bet to get those straightened out quickly. We made sure any question that involved more than two individuals is posted in the internal group. You will be amazed at how quick and effective this approach can be.
  • Upload Deliverables for Review – I have yet to meet someone who enjoys receiving multiple versions of documents (and sometimes huge slide decks) in their inbox followed by performing a clean-up activity. We used Yammer to share all project related documents which helped us unclog our inbox and tag the content with topics and people for appropriate notification.

Now, when you are ready with your deliverables, move them over to the external group for sharing. This keeps separation between internal team and customer communications.

2. Create an External NetworkExternalNetwork1

Creating an external network will allow you to have an dedicated collaboration space with the customer.

  • Allows Yammer groups to collaborate on individual project and social needs.
  • Advantage of transparency and a quick communication channel.

 

 

 

ExternalGroup2

When you have an external network setup, go ahead and create a project group. This will enable you to focus all project related conversations inside a group. Add all team members to this group and mark it as “Public” or “Private” based on your needs.

 

3. Don’t forget to add team members and post your first message

Remember there might be few folks on your team who are not familiar or not comfortable with the concept of using Yammer for this purpose. Sharing documents, deliverables and posting questions will all act as an ice breaker. Start with some water cooler talk if nothing else (keep it relevant to your team or project though). Upload files directly to Yammer for sharing across the group. You can upload new versions of documents and let Yammer maintain control over previous versions.

Suggestions:

  • Mark your uploaded content as “official and read only” if you are working on projects in which documents are changed often. The “official and read only” designation is also an effective way to get team members past sticking to their own versions of project documents.
  • Equip your team members with one of Yammer’s mobile apps and they will have always-on channel to team discussions and files. Social collaboration does take a little extra convincing and showcasing but once you get people on board it’s a breeze. Reducing those chunky emails, not having to clear your inbox every now and then, quick response, level of engagement, and ability to search topics and documents makes it a sure shot winner.
  • Use groups to receive feedback and approval on project deliverables by including your stakeholders/sponsors in the “cc” while sharing the posts.

* If you are concerned about compliance and security when uploading documents, no need to worry, you can still use Yammer effectively. In circumstances like those, utilize SharePoint as the document repository and Yammer as the front end for all communications, post links to SharePoint document libraries and start a conversation. Even better, if you are on Office 365, all the group conversations are now integrated with the documents and sites.

Here at Perficient we have utilized Yammer in various scenarios.  Along with our certified customer success managers and admins, we continue to help our customers adopt and roll out  successful social networks. Please add your feedback and share your experience here if you have used this approach.

Why Agile is the only methodology for SharePoint Online (O365)

I was recently preparing a presentation for a Chicago SharePoint Saturday. As I built out my slides explaining some O365 DevOps best practice it struck me that an Agile methodology could be the only viable methodology to deliver and maintain SharePoint Online projects. Here’s why…

At Perficient we have embraced SCRUM for many SharePoint projects and it has proven to be very successful. I took the SCRUM Master Course and certification to solidify my understanding of SCRUM. I recall the tutor saying that the largest part of adopting Agile is to think in an agile way. Quite simply I have modified the way I think about projects and I think this has helped me lead projects in the cloud.

To contrast, I began to think about how hard it would be to deliver SharePoint Online projects using a more traditional waterfall methodology. When you consider the ‘Evergreen’ service and how quickly we are seeing new features appear it’s a paradigm shift in my field of work as a SharePoint Architect.

I have made it part of my weekly routine to check the Office 365 public roadmap to assess features being rolled out as well as those on the horizon. This helps me understand, from a feature perspective, what I need to keep a close eye on in coming weeks.

O365 Public Roadmap

O365 Public Roadmap

In conjunction I also ensure that our development and QA tenants are signed up for ‘First Release’ (under O365 Service Settings). This enables me to see the features being rolled out at least two weeks prior to general availability and the change hitting our production tenants. This gives first sight of potential issues as well as identifying new feature opportunities.

O365 First Release

O365 First Release

Whether it’s the desire to work with a new feature or the need to respond to a change you’ll have a minimum of two weeks to respond. There is no longer the option to hold off a service pack or ‘hang five’ on that security update as we may have done on-premises.

How would your project handle the need to change, test and deploy within a two week period? Most likely, if you are following a traditional waterfall approach, this will be very difficult. If the service changes during a Build phase, how would you change direction and redesign? If you are a consultant, how would this affect scope and budget? What about your release cycle? Is it frequent enough to keep pace?

Our SharePoint Online SCRUM projects are typically running on a 1-2 week Sprint cycle. We usually start out with a 2 week cycle but then accelerate to a 1 week during a stabilization phase, when we do less new development and enter early support and maintenance. This enables us to achieve 1-2 releases during this critical window and keep pace with the service.

Is your methodology agile enough to keep pace in the cloud?

SharePoint Online Retires Tags and Notes

As Microsoft continues to blend and expand Yammer capabilities across the platform, they have retired Tags and Notes in SharePoint Online.

Key factor to note is that users can no longer create create or access existing tags or notes. The only option is for SharePoint Online admins to export all existing tags and notes via an archived csv files, from the SharePoint admin center. Also, for those using this feature, the webparts will start showing up blank.

Tags-Notes

Tags and Note UX in SharePoint 2013

Below is the table of  how this will affect users :

Item
Change
Tags & Notes button on ribbonStill visible but disabled.
Note Board and Tag Cloud web parts in the web part galleryStill visible and enabled. The web parts will show up as blank when added to a page.
Note Board and Tag Cloud web parts embedded in a pagePage will display a blank space in the area previously occupied by the web parts. Edit the page to remove the web parts.
Social tagsSocial tags will no longer appear in the tags refiner. The refiner will still display hashtags.
Tags and notes listed on personal sitesThe area that previously listed tags and notes will be blank.

Delve Has Arrived

How long have you been patiently waiting for this amazing new search powered app called “Delve”? Days, weeks, months?
The wait is finally over with Microsoft announcing today that it is releasing Delve to office 365 subscribers!

What is Delve?
Delve is a new way to search and discover content with Office graph in the background doing all the heavy lifting.
I talk about it in detail here or Watch the video here.

Release ScheduleFinally Here
The Office blog says, “Delve will roll out to Office 365 customers in phases, first to customers that have elected to receive significant Office 365 service updates at first release, an opt-in program. Following that, Delve will roll out to all Office 365 customers over several months in standard release, the default option for Office 365 customers. We expect Delve to roll out to all eligible Office 365 customers by early 2015. For the Office 365 Business Essentials, Business Premium, Small Business, Small Business Premium, and Midsize Business customers, first release rollout will begin in January 2015.”

Admin Get Started
If you are wondering how to avail this feature, check out the Delve for Admins here.

SharePoint Online (O365) adds security and compliance services

In the past month, Microsoft has added two key new service capabilities to SharePoint Online and Rights Management that provide a more robust secure computing experience.  The first is the introduction of data loss prevention and the second is the improvements in protecting content across all platforms including OS X Support.

Data Loss Prevention

DLPSharePoint Online now provides the ability to perform a legal audit to determine the amount of risk posed by data stored on SharePoint sites and OneDrive, commonly known as data loss prevention or DLP. This capability provides the ability to identifying 51 built-in sensitive information types such as credit cards, passport numbers, and Social Security numbers. Once discovered there is the ability to perform an audit and export a report with suspect content.

There is future capabilities for policy creation that automatically detects sensitive content and applies protection, such as deletion or quarantine for review.

For more information about Using DLP in SharePoint Online, review this TechNet article
For more information about the Using 51 DLP Information Types, review this TechNet article.

Read the rest of this post »

Partner Spotlight – K2 Appit for SharePoint

Perficient has many great partners that support our development and deployment of the best of breed solutions we provide for our clients. This post is one of them in a series that will highlight some of the products available from our partners. Today, I’ll be presenting K2 and and their Workflow and Forms Apps for SharePoint in the Cloud.

SharePoint apps that bridge the cloud and your people k2_appit

K2 Appit for SharePoint is a cloud-based platform that allows you to easily deliver workflow and forms apps for SharePoint 2013 and SharePoint Online, without code. Use it to help your people get more work done, at any time and from anywhere, with real-time information that enables smarter, faster decisions.

K2 APPIT FOR SHAREPOINT DELIVERS:

  • NO INSTALLATION: The Appit cloud service doesn’t require any software installation and integrates with your SharePoint environment within minutes. You’ll be ready to focus on building great solutions before you know it.
  • EASY-TO-USE TOOLS: Intuitive, browser-based designers allow even non-technical users to quickly build workflows and forms directly in SharePoint.
  • SYSTEMS INTEGRATION: Appit apps can span line-of-business systems that reside on premises and in the cloud.
  • UNIVERSAL ACCESS: An enterprise-class workflow engine allows you to provide apps wherever your people work

A SMARTER WAY TO WORK WITH SHAREPOINT

With Appit, you can deliver SharePoint-based workflows and forms that link on-premises and cloud-based systems, to give your users the information they need. No code required.

Build workflow apps for SharePoint documents and lists.

  • Drag-and-drop design tools help you develop common workflow scenarios and allow you to easily share your designs for real-time collaboration with colleagues.
  • Flexible workflows integrate with SharePoint lists and libraries across multiple sites — even spanning SharePoint 2013 and SharePoint Online.
  • Mobile applications allow your team to take action, delegate, check status or find information, all from their phones or tablets.
  • A custom logic and rules engine gives you the power to build SharePoint workflow applications that fit your business needs precisely.

Build forms and workflows that combine SharePoint and line-of-business data.

  • Quickly create intuitive, easy-to-use forms from within a browser. Forms can be customized, and they are reusable to save time and ensure consistency.
  • Easily pull LOB data into SharePoint workflows and forms. Appit integrates with Microsoft CRM, Exchange, SQL Server and any other system that is available via Web services.
  • Provide a better user experience and help your team make smarter decisions with integrated forms, data and reporting.

 

To learn more about how K2 Appit for SharePoint can help you deliver workflow apps in all the places your people work, contact us. We’ll arrange a free demo.