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Takeaways from SharePoint TechFest Houston

I had the opportunity to attend SharePoint TechFest Houston last week and was duly impressed with the level of continued interest in SharePoint as a platform and the future of the product. Here are a few takeaways from the conference:


To kick things off, Synxi CTO Naomi Moneypenny delivered the keynote address focusing on the future of SharePoint as the SP2016 release is just over the horizon. Microsoft’s Cloud first approach has led to some interesting new solutions coming with the release of SP 2016 and Naomi did a great job of hitting the highlights by giving a mention to: Azure Rights Management, Azure AD, SSO, SQL full text search in the cloud, Delve and Office Graph. A quick demo of Delve gave some insight as to what one of these changes would look like for end users.

Next up, I attended a breakout session presented by Perficient Senior Solution Architect Joe Crabtree: “Optimize Your Hybrid Cloud Solution with Azure Powered SharePoint Site Provisioning.” This was a great deep dive in to an automated site provisioning solution based on Joe’s blog post found here.

Read the rest of this post »

Meet with Perficient next week at SharePoint TechFest


Perficient is proud to be a sponsor at this year’s SharePoint TechFest Houston, the regional innovation and technology conference that showcases products and services to business executives.

Visit us on October 27th at booth 26 and learn about our experience with developing SharePoint collaboration solutions, as well as custom business optimization and digital experience solutions leveraging Office 365 and Azure.

We’re excited to lead one presentation that will show attendees how to leverage self-service site creation in a hybrid environment, meeting requirements to keep some workloads on-premises and migrating other workloads to SharePoint Online.

“Optimize Your Hybrid Cloud Solution with Azure Powered SharePoint Site Provisioning”

Speaker: Joe Crabtree, Senior Solutions Architect, Microsoft Modern Apps Consulting

When: 9:10-10 a.m.

Where: Room 606

Beyond this informative session, Perficient has completed many successful implementations of SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure, including our work with Partners In Health, and we’re happy to share our lessons learned and implementation best practices with attendees at SharePoint TechFest Houston.

Joe Crabtree, a senior solutions architect and custom development practice lead on Perficient’s Microsoft team,  posted a blog article on Business Optimization: Azure Powered SharePoint Site Provisioning.

Stop by booth 26 to hear more and in the process, enter for a chance to win $250.

Business Optimization: Azure Powered SharePoint Site Provisioning

DevLogoDo you have a Hybrid SharePoint environment, utilizing both SharePoint Online and SharePoint on-premises? Do you have a process for self-service site provisioning? Are you looking to optimize your SharePoint administration? Have you heard of Office PnP?

Hopefully the answer to most of those questions is yes. Office PnP is community driven open source project where Microsoft and external community members are sharing their learning’s around implementation practices for Office 365 and SharePoint on-premises (add-in model). This is work done by the community for the community without any actual full time people. Currently, the program is facilitated by Microsoft, but they already have a number of contributors from the community – including us here at Perficient.

One of those patterns is for self-service site provisioning in a hybrid SharePoint environment. Full disclosure here, we did not develop this pattern. Vesa Juvonen is the primary author of this solution and you can find his blog here. If you’ve been to any of the recent conferences or have seen PnP in action, you’ve likely seen Vesa’s name – he’s one of the primary contributors.

Our team has worked on a number of variations of the provisioning framework. There is a pattern for PowerShell deployment, one for console applications, and others using CSOM and workflow. Each organization is different and therefore may require a different pattern. For purposes of this blog post, I am going to specifically talk about the Azure model. Read the rest of this post »

Azure Powered Rights Management and Document Tracking

Moving your data to the cloud is not a trivial task, not only from technical standpoint but even from user adoption and business justification. Every organization deal with their challenges in different ways, some take the route of implementing least disruptive workload like exchange (mail) and some go with higher business impact workload like SharePoint Online. Which ever route you take one of the fundamental concerns and asks are always around data security and controls. You would always want your team to have a strong control of security while keeping their day to day tasks minimal. This is where Azure and Office 365 can help you pave the right path while you embark on the cloud journey. Office 365 provides various security controls empowering your administrators to keep their data secure at rest and in transit. One of the services protecting your information while your users are focusing on productivity, is Azure Rights Management Services (RMS).

RMS is a complete end to end information protection solution for documents, email, and any unstructured data that is sensitive for your organization. Highly integrated into Office, O365, Windows Server, and 3rd party applications for broad reach and consistent user experience. It covers a broad range of scenarios like

  1. Sensitive information – What (DLP)?
  2. Control Access – Devices
  3. Tracking
  4. Compliance and Governance

Based on whether you are committing fully to cloud or looking for a hybrid solution below are few deployment options Read the rest of this post »

Perficient buys Rise Foundation for SharePoint from Blue Rooster

Rise Foundation SharePoint

We have some exciting news to share! Perficient announced today that we have closed an asset purchase agreement with Blue Rooster to acquire the intellectual property Rise Foundation, a UX-as-a-service offering designed to help enterprises and teams offer a consumer-style experience for their SharePoint-based intranet, enabling them to enhance employee engagement and communication, while achieving a higher return on their SharePoint investment.

Rise Foundation is responsive and mobile-friendly, and boasts a rich user experience with the sort of consumer-style image and headline treatment for featured news. It also features easy, consistent navigation, and company-wide social engagement and collaboration. As Rich Wood, director at Perficient, described in a CMSWire article several months ago:

This warmth and commonality of [the Rise Foundation] experience is grounded in concepts and features most users will immediately recognize and understand. That approach minimizes the user disconnect that is anathema to good UX architects, and will allow this product to find an audience just about anywhere.

“In an increasingly competitive and cost-conscious world, we are doing everything we can to provide ready-built intranet solutions for our customers, leveraging SharePoint in the cloud,” said Mike Gersten, vice president of Perficient’s Microsoft group. “We are excited to provide our customers with a packaged intranet product that makes the robust features of SharePoint friendly and accessible for all employees, enabling them to achieve a higher return on their SharePoint investment.” Read the rest of this post »

Boosting Cloud Security in Office 365

Microsoft has been spearheading the security campaign across cloud services. This week has been in focus with announcements of new capabilities affecting SharePoint Online (SPO), Email, and customer controls. I’ve been involved in numerous customer strategy sessions where similar concerns were raised. It is becoming increasingly clear that customers are expecting higher level of security controls across all Office 365 workloads. The vision has always been to extend these controls to services beyond email.

ExtendDLP1Data Loss Prevention (DLP) has been part of Exchange since 2013. In this post I explain how DLP feature extends within SPO and OneDrive for Business (OD4B). Last year DLP was added to SPO, where it provided capability to find sensitive information by searching and querying the data. This helped organizations to surface sensitive content, put them on hold for legal benefits, and take manual actions (like export). In Exchange, it provided with policy tips and notification emails. It is this capability that is now being extended to SPO and OD4B which in turn means greater proactive control over sensitive data.

These policies include simple “if-else-then conditions” and actions. It also provides preconfigured templates to start from. Users get real time notification if working within the context of SPO and OneDrive for Business


Within SPO and OD4B it will detect if the user is sharing content externally and provide the user with policy tips. Furthermore it’ll go one level deeper by scanning for document metadata.


Admins will get built in reports for incident and tracking


If until now you were on the edge, concerned with the SPO security capabilities then hang on just a bit more until second quarter of 2015 when it rolls out as public preview.

Image source: Office blogs

New Additions to Delve

This post goes one level further in showcasing features within Office 365 which makes day in life more productive (Read the previous post in this series)

In order to get more background on Delve, read my previous articles here

1. Delve

2. Everything about Delve

3. How Delve makes life easier

4. Global Rollout

“Check out your personalized feed of relevant documents. What you see is based on what you and your colleagues are working on. You can easily find colleagues to learn more about them and what they’re working on. Type your name now to see your own page”

This is what it says when you first sign in to Delve. The focus here is around the most important assets for any organization, “People”. Delve is more than just search. It brings over the content and people you have been working with, content and people trending around you, and it does so by learning your behavior over time. I bring here few quick nuggets of information which can help with your everyday work.

Can’t seem to remember the document(s) you’ve been working on or worked on in the past month or so? Go to Delve and select “Me” on the left panel.



Do you miss the organization chart from MySite in the past? Select “Profile” and you see their contact information, organization chart, OneDrive, blog information etc.





Want to find what your coworker is working on? Get to someone’s profile from Delve screen by searching with their name



Note: Security is still very much respected and others won’t see the content if permissions don’t allow. Here is a message on your Delve home screen to confirm


All this is fine but you are a mobile worker and this alone does make the cut for you. Looking for similar experience on mobile devices? Look no further

Note: mobile app only available on android and iPhone

Delve1  Delve2Delve3Delve4

Advanced Content Targeting in SharePoint – Part 3

This is the third post in this series. In the last two posts (here and here), we implemented a custom token for the logged in user which filters incoming content in the search index based on the user’s profile attributes, and then creating display templates to render custom result URLs. Today we will dive into
extending this concept to the search results hover panel.

An internal portal accessed by employees and contractors in three dozen locations comprising of countries and/or regions. Authoring takes place in a separate content site and content is rendered on the publishing site. All content is targeted with three important profile attributes –
a. Location (comprises of country and it’s region)
b. Role
c. Business Unit

Each piece of content/link takes the user to the publishing site keeping authoring unexposed to the end user. What this means for search results is
1. The results should be targeted based on user profile properties (mentioned above)
2. Customizing search results URL to point to publishing site
3. Customizing hover preview to display publishing pages (instead of the authoring site content pages)
4. Customizing Control template to implement custom paging

The focus of today’s article will be #3. When SharePoint 2013 came out, the focus was primarily on making sure each result is quick and easy to find and read, while still displaying as much relevant information as possible to the end user.
When the user wants to learn more about a result, they hover their cursor over that result to see the hover panel dialog box.  The hover panel contains rich metadata that enables users to investigate a result more thoroughly, without having to click through and load the document. Hover Panel is broken into three sections
a. Header
b. Body
c. Footer Actions
The files which provide these sections are *HoverPanel.js , *HoverPanel.html, and then html and JS file for each of the following: *HoverPanel_Body, *HoverPanel_Actions, *HoverPanel_Header. These files could be found in the /search center site Master Page gallery.

In order to display the publishing site page in the hover preview we’ll need to make few changes to the OOB hover panel. Let’s start with making a copy of the “Item_DefaultHoverPanel_Actions.html”. This ensures keeping our customization separate.

Step 1
Update the managed property mapping section with our custom properties. In this case RefinableString00 and RefinableString01



Step 2
Snippet to build the linkURL. This linkURL points to the publishing site (instead of authoring)


Step 3
Render the hover panel header


Step 4
Render the body section



Step 5


Towards the end of the above DIV block, add this snippet to enable rendering of your custom preview




A Day in the Life of an Office 365 User


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 and 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 »

Global Rollout for Office Delve

colored_paper_shutterstock_wordpressFor quite some time I have been sharing my experiences and knowledge around the new Office Graph app (utilizing machine learning) called Delve. It’s great to know that this feature is now public for all Office 365 business subscribers globally. Until now it was only available for “First Release” customers and but everyone who wishes to take benefit of this intelligent new feature can now do so.

I’ll give a quick recap of what Delve encompasses. Delve is always proactively surfacing content from across Office 365. It assists you to discover content from various Office 365 streams including SharePoint Online team sites and OneDrive for Business, Office 365 video portal, and Yammer shared links, and most importantly, email.

Here are some articles which will help you gain more understanding around this cool feature.

  1. Delve
  2. Everything you need to know
  3. Make your life easier
  4. Office announcement


Happy Delving!!