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After the Governance Plan: SharePoint Governance in Action

SharePoint Governance is a topic everyone talks about, yet very few actually understand.  The confusion surrounding SharePoint Governance is well-rooted; for one, it’s an incredibly large set of policies, roles, responsibilities, and processes that detail, literally, every aspect of how the SharePoint platform should be used.  For another, successful SharePoint Governance is only achieved when it is tailored for your organization.  SharePoint Governance is not cookie-cutter – it is specific to each organization’s culture, preferences, tendencies, and current processes.

At Perficient, we often participate in Governance Planning engagements for the SharePoint platform.  A typical Governance Planning engagement includes hosting collaborative workshops with stakeholders of all levels within the organization to determine both the current state of collaboration, as well as the desired future state of collaboration.  It is essential that representatives from all parts of the organization are included, as they will all be impacted by the Governance Policy decisions.   A good governance model will not only emphasize ensuring management and control of the platform, but also in driving adoption and maximizing the return on investment. Read the rest of this post »

Nintex acquisition means tighter Salesforce integration with O365


With the acquisition of Drawloop, we should expect to see additional capabilities added to Salesforce and Office 365 / SharePoint. In terms of Office 365 and SharePoint, Nintex is planning to add document generation (docGen) to the platform. And with SalesForce, we should see tighter coupling to the O365 space, and workflow and form automation capabilities. As a Top 10 paid app on the Salesforce AppExchange, Drawloop has consistent 5 star ratings and is a leader in the document generation category. More than 1,000 customers use Drawloop to streamline document creation and drive productivity.

From the news release:

Businesses rely on Drawloop to automate and standardize their document generation processes. Its LOOP Document Services solution,, utilizes existing structured and unstructured data to deliver the most commonly used sales and service documents, like Word, Excel, PowerPoint or PDF, and merges them with Salesforce data. This helps sales operations and sales and service professionals close deals, serve customers, and convert renewals more efficiently. As a result, companies achieve higher returns on their CRM investment by increasing adoption, improving data compliance and forecasting, and increasing deal visibility.

The company’s newly combined development team will immediately begin working to integrate Nintex’s platform which includes Nintex Workflow, Nintex Mobile, and Nintex Forms for SharePoint and Office 365, with Drawloop’s automated document generation capabilities. These combined offerings will be made available to SharePoint, Office 365, and Salesforce users in the future.

Aside from Perficient’s Microsoft team working closely with Nintex, we are also a Salesforce Platinum Cloud Alliance partner. The teams are excited to see how this acquisition plays out for both Salesforce and Office 365 / SharePoint.

You can review all the details of the announcement here.

Guest Post: Extend Business Processes to the Cloud with Nintex

VadimNote: Today’s blog post comes from Vadim Tabakman, Technical Evangelist for Nintex with over 8 years of experience in SharePoint and Nintex technologies. He understands how SharePoint, business process automation and forms can join forces successfully in numerous industries and business scenarios to drive business adoption and succeed in SharePoint projects. Vadim brings an excellent technical perspective to the discussion of how to use SharePoint workflow and forms to solve business needs.

As businesses grow, the need for the automation of business processes grows with it.  With that need, the inevitable discussion of  hardware support and scalability comes up.  Can your current hardware and software environment support your ever growing need?  How much of an investment will you need to make, in order to accomplish your automation needs and will there be future investments or upgrades needed as requirements grow even more?

Those are the types of questions that come up and Microsoft and Nintex have expanded their product offerings to help answer those questions.


Firstly, living in a SharePoint world, companies need to consider the investment required for the different types of SharePoint servers.  You have Web Front End servers, Application server, Index servers and Database servers.  Over time, the user base grows and adoption grows with it.  This results in additional servers required in the on-prem environment to cater for that growth.

In comes the world of the cloud and Office 365.  Office 365 takes away the worry of growth and scalability as it is hosted on Azure and that handles all of that for you.  But really, what is SharePoint without Nintex Workflow and Forms?  Nintex Workflow and Forms have been available in the Office 365 SharePoint Store since the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in 2013 and are fundamental tools for companies to help with automating business processes and driving user adoption. Read the rest of this post »

New features for Office 365 SSO and RMS – Ignite 2015

Some very exciting new capabilities were announced here (Ignite conference) as part of the Office 365 suite powered by Azure AD and rights management service. I will share two of these here
• Cloud App Discovery
• Document Tracking

Cloud App Discovery

With 365 you’re already setup for SSO but if you require some advanced functionality like adding your third party or on-premises apps to this single sign on experience then this section of the Office 365 portal will be very valuable

Once you have synchronized users with Office 365
• In the Office 365 Admin portal go to azure AD. Go to Cloud App Discovery if you wish to add your apps to single sing on experience (Upgrade to Azure AD premium if u want self service)
• With cloud app discovery you can see how many users using which SAAS apps.
• You can view which users were denied access
• You can assign multi factor authentication (even if the app like twitter comes with single factor OOB)
Password rollover- Every week or two users passwords for SAAS apps is randomly changed. So admins also won’t be privy of user password. Initial password is changed instantaneously
Users can see log reports and incident report.

Document Tracking with Azure RMS

• Recipients can download a mobile RMS sharing app to view shared protected RMS document
• Allows doc owners to track activity on docs they sent
○ Who was denied or accessed
○ Various views – timeline view, category view, chart view, map view with geographically location where files were accessed
• Sender gets Notification email with link to tracking site and it will list all docs he shared externally or internally
• Sender can revoke access from document tracking site. Recipients get notification
There were many other features announced at the Ignite but I think these two at the very least deserve a round of applause !!

HUGE Improvements Announced for SharePoint 2016 – Ignite 2015

Bill Baer today shared and announced some significant changes coming up in SharePoint 2016.

To quote him:

“SharePoint 2016 is the most durable version shipped till date.” (tweet this)

These announcements are very welcoming, not only from a IT admin perspective but also for the end user (file size, list threshold etc.) This might be the best SharePoint version to date.

• Management
• Reliability, performance, scale
• Insights and data
• Cloud accelerated experiences

Code base – took a cloud snapshot of SPO. Brought a lot of SPO investments back to on-premises (the one which couldn’t be brought will be covered by cloud accelerators.) Cloud down codebase based on SPO. Backported capabilities for on-premises differentiators

Hardware Reqs
Single – 16-24 memory; x64 processor; 80 GB disk
Farm – 12-16 GB RAM

Pre Requisites
Windows Server 2012 R2, WS 2010

.NET Framework 4.5.2
Windows Server App Fabric
Provides in memory distributed caching
MS Information Protection and Control Client
WCF Data Services – enables creation and consumption of services

Database– 64 bit of SQL 2014
Deployment – unchanged from SP 2013

NOTE: Standalone installations will no longer be supported (Single Server Farm does not include SQL Server Express)

Upgrade – Attach SP 2013 DB to SP 2016. (For SP 2010 scenarios -Upgrade 14.5 mode (SP 2010 mode) site collections to 15 mode)
Migration – Migrate content to SP 2016

NOTE: The services that don’t exist in SPO will be backported to SP 2016 like PerformancePoint

SAML authentication becomes a first class citizen (default). Normalizes on OAuth and JWT/SAML with WSFED
(Apps will trust Azure AD) (Moving away from windows identity and moving towards cloud based)

SMTP Connection Encryption
Supports sending mail to SMTP servers using STARTTLS connection encryption
No fallback support for unencrypted connections
SMTP can use non-default ports (no more relying on port 25 for mails)

Performance and Reliability

MinRole (Roles and services)
Four discrete roles –
• User services – Any requests coming from the end user will be handled here like sync client; onenote; user profile; page rendering; excel services; sandbox. code; project; subscription settings. These are optimized for low latency
• Robot Services (Application Services) – not end user initiated like provisioning; timer jobs; search. Optimized for high throughput
• Specialized Load – reserved for services that needed to be isolated from other services like 3rd party
• Caching Services – supports for distributed cache (load balances request from end user)

New Role Screen -Specify Server Role (in config wizard) like special load role (third party solutions); web front load role; search; application; distributed cache

NOTE: For automated deployments – use -IsLocalServerRole <RoleName> from PSConfig commandlets to assign role to a server
NOTE: Chose specialty load role for assigning multiple roles to a server

Role Enforcement and Health
Health rule will scan each server in the farm daily (except special load)

Central Administration
New columns in the “servers in farm”- Role; In Compliance (yes or no) with fix button (in cases where one server is assigned multiple roles

Zero downtime patching – 2 MSI’s per service and 1 MSI’s per language pack. Smaller update footprint.
You can install patches middle of day online w/o stopping services.

Boundaries (HUGE HUGE)
Content DB – probably sizing into TB’s
Site Collection per Content DB – 100,000 site collections per content DB
List threshold – well beyond 5000
File Size -10 GB and removed character restrictions
Indexed items – 2x increase in search scale to 500 million items

Download – byte range HTTP Gets
Upload – BITS specific block-based upload protocol
*Moving away from file sync
Fast site creation – simply copies site collections with SPSite. Copy from already created templated site collections. Mitigation of feature activation.

User profile service
Removed built in FIM service and supports external FIM service.

Durable Links (BIG)
Renaming or moving files in earlier versions broke the link. With SP 2016 links will use Resource ID based URL’s. URL remains intact with rename and move. Enables discrete Url on visibility. Moving between site collections or sites will not change the URL

Insights and Data
Real time telemetry – real user monitoring for Services, Actions, Usage, Engagement, Diagnostics

Classification ID – complex query based on complex predicate. 51 classification ID’s OOB provided for SSN, license #, etc.
You can now use Azure RMS and eDiscovery for on-premises SharePoint.

Search Service Application
New application will provide support for Office Graph/Delve. Unifies on-premises and cloud indexes.

Site publishing – leverages Office 365 Identity federation services

Team Sites
Hybrid scenarios – Be inclusive of both online and on-premises. e.g. when you follow documents online you should be able to see the same on-premises too.

I am sure you are as excited as I am to get your hands on this new, improved and well-designed version.

New SharePoint Online Migration API Announcement – Ignite 2015

The single biggest benefit of this new Migration PowerShell API is speed. Close to 5 times faster than CSOM calls. The new API was released today and is available for public consumption.

An Overview

  • Source – file share, SharePoint on-prem, potentially any other data source
  • Package – create package for the API to be able to accept it
  • Azure temporary holding storage – use power of Azure to bring content faster in MSFT network
  • SharePoint /OD4b final destination – timer job based import in a scalable way that will not hurt the service using back-end resources

Who is it for?
IT admin and developers Read the rest of this post »

Office 365 Groups Roadmap Announcement – Ignite 2015

ignite main

You will find some exciting announcements and investments, but before we discuss the future roadmap, let’s dive in to background and benefits of Groups.

The world has changed

Earlier – Information moves slowly. Fixed workforces; siloed teams. Believed in command and control
Now – information travels fast. Leverage the on demand; global talent pool. Always mobile, always moving. Collaborate easily, often and always. Grow up on social networks. They believe in Learn and adopt

The rise of dynamic teams
• Modern collaboration
• Intelligent fabric (office graph and Office 365 groups)
• Personalized insight

Benefits of Groups
1. Single Definition – Groups is definition of team.
2. Public by Default – Enable quick discovery of information in a simple way.
3. Sharing to Non Members –
4. Self Service – It works on demand.
5. Context & History – e.g. New member joining the team
6. Simple to manage

Groups works on Azure AD and works across Outlook, OD4B, OneNote, Calendar, Skype, Dynamics CRM, Delve, Yammer (future ~ 2016) Read the rest of this post »

SharePoint 2016 Roadmap Announced – Ignite 2015

SharePoint always had focus on key trends:

  • Modern collaboration
  • Content Management
  • Personalized insights
  • Security compliance 

SharePoint Evolution


Delve people profile will be part of SharePoint sites. (replaces the mysite profile and org chart scenarios). This UI allows for authoring capability (blog). Office graph is future for powering all of these experiences.

On Premise Investment – SharePoint 2016


Evolution Of Portals

UX: custom navigation and design (2016 adds video, people exp (nextgen portal) in delve from o365)

Management – Content re use and publishing (2016 adds ready to go simplified admin, configurable, customizable)

Extensibility – SP master pages, css (2016 adds standard apps and office 365 APIs)

Evolution of Files –

UX – doc lib (2016 adds store and share personal files across devices, mobile and social)

Management- admin controls for security and compliance (2016 adds MDM/DLP/Auditing & reporting/sync controls)

Extensibility – SharePoint APIs (2016 adds common set of APIs, apps, experience in delve)

Evolution of Enterprise Search

UX – enterprise search center

Management- search driven experiences

Extensibility – content and connector framework

SP – The Road Ahead

Renewed focus on our core – files, content, mgmt., sites and portals

Continued innovation across cloud, on-prem and hybrid

Strongest dev ecosystem – for partners and extended solutions

“Seth Patton” We will continue to evolve on cloud, on on-prem, and with hybrid

Release cadence

SharePoint 2016 – first major SP release where cloud will define how we deliver on-prem software.

Vision – deliver UX, improve, speed, scale better. And people centric compliance
Continue to maintain hybrid model. Continue to use existing customization on prem. Subscribe to cloud innovation, on your terms to enrich customer scenarios.

Search page and Delve page will now consolidate everything in a single result set. Filter content at one place. Blended results displayed from online or on prem.

SP config wizard – will now give a new screen to configure specific role for that server.

  1. Multiple server farm – special load , WFE, search, App, Distributed Cache
  2. Single server farm – single server farm

Patched/Updates – Zero downtime patching. All upgrades will run online.

Delve will now be available for 2013 on-prem by end of this year.

OOB SharePoint 2016 will now be responsive across mobile devices

Beta candidate will come out end of 2015. Release candidate by 2016 Q2

Read the rest of this post »

Protect Against Data Loss in Transit in Office 365 – Ignite 2015

Office 365 Data loss protection (DLP) comes with 6 to 7 predefined templates, MS is adding 20-30 every month

One central place to manage all workloads (SP, OD4B, Exchange) .

Admin Action

Block access to content for SME. They shouldn’t be able to see end user content.
Send email notification
Policy tip (like outlook) across all workloads
Target policies by group (change scope anytime)
Everything is audited. Incident report is available per each hit, per user.

End User UX

Scenario – User places the file in OD4B.
Owner gets email notification that access was restricted. Probably because the person it was shared with added sensitive data. That user has the file blocked in Outlook.
Sees policy tip even inside the office client (e.g. Excel)

Admin UX

Incident mgmt system – integration with dynamics (if u have license). Admin can go to single dashboard to see a case and shows a view for compliance and dlp cases. Office 365 activity report also shows some incident reporting (not detailed). Export to csv or anything else.

Key Announcements at Microsoft Ignite Keynote – Satya Nadella


It’s absolutely stunning atmosphere here in Chicago. What a breathtaking use of technology and level of energy with 23,000 technology folks here at Microsoft Ignite. It took two full days just to arrange chairs for the keynote!

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella spoke about how businesses are being transformed and will be the focus of Microsoft along with end customers. This is the very same opportunity that is driving Microsoft’s transformation. In the past 12 months, Microsoft had significant momentum and that comes from all users. Every business out there is a digital or software company and that creates amazing opportunity for Microsoft. Some of the announcements coming up include: Read the rest of this post »