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Posts Tagged ‘SharePoint’

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.

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?

Everything You Need to Know About Delve & Office Graph

Ok, I’ve got to admit I really meant to say “Almost everything you need to know in first Release.”

The more you share, the more you get. Believe in that? Office 365 community does and as a result , this week Microsoft hosted “Delve Yamjam” to coincide with the launch of the new Office 365 product called “Delve”. (If you are new to I highly recommend reading earlier articles here and here to get to know your new friend Delve). Look at a screenshot of Delve from my demo tenant, looks pretty cool, huh?

Delve Img1

Some great questions asked some great thoughts shared. I summarize here for the larger community. Microsoft responses were from Christophe Fiessinger, Kady Dundas, Josh Stickler, Mark Kashman, Cem Aykan and on the phone Ashok Kuppusamy, Stefan Debald, Fredrik Holm, John Toews, and Robin Miller.

  • Which Office 365 business plans includes Delve?
    • Delve is included in the Office 365 E1 – E4 subscription plans (and the corresponding A2 – A4 and G1 – G4 plans for Academic and Government customers respectively)
  • Can I protect data from ever being shown in others Delve results?
    • Yes, Delve only shows documents based on permissions set and inherit those from OneDrive and SharePoint online. Also each card will have a sharing control and “who can see this” option
    • If your folder and contents are not shared with anyone, they will not appear in Delve for anyone. It always respect the permissions set on the items.
  • Which kinds of data is considered “private data”?
    • There’s both the concept of private data (e.g. files that only you or you and a select few colleagues can see) and private signals (e.g. the fact that you have viewed a particular document, even if it’s public). Delve respects SharePoint and Search permissions, so only users who have access to read a document can see that document appear as a result in Delve. Furthermore, details like the documents you view or documents others view are private.
  • Any Android / iOS apps in the pipeline for Delve?
    • Yes but no timeline could be provided yet
  • Not all content (file types) is included in Delve. Any plans for extending the list of file types, and/or list of content sources?
    • PDF, excel, and word file types are included but there is absence of image files and Visio files.
    • Yep, we are planning to add more content sources and signals to the Office Graph on ongoing basis
    • We are working on increasing the content types supported by Delve. We started with an initial list of Office doc types, but we will expand this over time.
  • Delve site has default branding and does not incorporate our corporate branding that is available on Yammer, OneDrive and Sites menu options in top navigation bar?
    • The top Office 365 navigation is now theme able and your theme should be available in Delve as well. Broader theming is something we’ll be looking at in the future.
  • Delve was rolled out to our business tenant yesterday. So far it is showing us trending documents that our co-workers are viewing on SharePoint. Is there a way to block certain areas so we don’t see our co-workers trends in HR searches?
    • You can make those documents not shared using the SharePoint permissions UI, but right now, there’s no feature to exclude documents from Delve but still available to everyone.  read here for more details.
  • Will Outlook be leverage into Delve
    • Outlook as part of Office 365 is already leveraged in Delve.
    • We are considering adding email attachments to Delve.
    • Office Graph is driving scenario for OWA. So appointments and attendee information are only leveraged in delve if it’s in OWA. You can imagine Office Graph providing insights multiple scenarios in the future…if you haven’t already done so check the Office Graph on the blog post from Monday.
  • Does ‘signals from exchange’ refer to email relationships (i.e. who the recipients and senders are)?
    • Yes, and to elaborate, it analyzes the set of people with whom you correspond via email and use this data as a factor to weight your working relationships with your colleagues.
    • The org structure is another factor taken into consideration
  • The 5 people to the left – seems to be right for most people (in terms of the ones with most interactions), but I have seen colleagues, with strange people presented as top 5 people.
    • have a bug where it is showing groups/crawler accounts instead of just people
    • The people on the left aren’t related to them in any way. Known issues MSFT working with no ETA
  • Will Delve work in a hybrid scenario using my On-Premise systems?
    • This is place for partner opportunities! But MSFT is working on a solution to feed on-premises (like exchange on premise) content into Delve, but no timeline can be announced.
    • Plans to release hybrid connector capabilities so that the Office Graph can integrate signals and content from on prem.
  • Any federation plans across multiple tenants?
    • No plans today
  • Delve supports the most common screen readers, high-contrast mode etc aligned with Microsoft policies in this area.
  • Is there a way to limit #delve deployment to some user groups in the company? Just to help company to graduate deploy it
    • An individual user can turn off Delve. This will also control Office Graph as-well.
  • Are you adding Delve results to the search page, or can we see this as an UI opportunity
    • Not to SharePoint enterprise search center but we look at that as an opportunity
  • Item limit for Delve
    • Delve shows up to 36 items in a view. This is the same when you search in the search box.
  • Details to the API Roadmap?
    • Right now you can do graph queries through the SharePoint Search Rest API using “Graph Query Language” as described here: GQL
  • If a user has permission to access a document/list item but the library/list is excluded from search in list settings will the content still display in Delve?
    • Nope, Delve uses the same permissions for search..
  • Do you have plan to return Yammer conversations in any form as Delve results ?
    • It’s something MSFT is actively working on showing the Yammer conversations tied to documents in Delve.
  • Is Delve going to work with Office 365 Pro Plus client or only Office online, and the other question, is it only working based on files saved only in ODFB and SharePoint online?
    • Yes if the document is stored in OneDrive for Business or SharePoint Online then yes the Office Graph will index it
  • What is the best way to introduce Delve within an organization? Are there best practices and change management recommendations?
    • We are working on an email template that Office 365 admins can then send to their users that helps address exactly what you’re asking. It would have info about What, How, Why with links and first steps. This template will be made available to admins via the message center to raise awareness.
    • We, too, plan to incorporate Delve info and insight into the adoption website we currently maintain here: Discover SharePoint  (with near-term plans to focus on broader Office 365 scenarios).

Hope this provides some insights around how Office Graph captures and renders signals. Check back for more details as I dive more into Delve.

Office 365 pushes Microsoft atop Gartner’s Social Magic Quadrant

Microsoft position as a Leader in Gartner’s 2014 Magic Quadrant for Social Software in the Workplace has moved to the top. Read the rest of this post »

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.

Webinar Recap: Migrating to SharePoint Online with @jasonbell

There’s a lot of interest around moving to the cloud, and specifically, SharePoint Online. Because of that, we’ve had several webinars over the summer that focus on SharePoint Online and SharePoint in a hybrid environment (you can view all our past Microsoft webinars here, beginning with the most recent). headache2

Despite that interest, migrations can be a bit of a headache (or in some cases, a debilitating migraine). But, if you do your research and plan properly, the process can be a fairly smooth one – possibly even your last, since once in the cloud, you shouldn’t need to do intensive upgrades or migrations in the future.

Last week, we held another session around SharePoint Online, this time focusing on Best Practices for a Successful SharePoint Migration or Upgrade to the Cloud.  My colleague, Jason Bell, a senior solution architect within our Microsoft practice, kicked off the webinar with the top reasons to move to SharePoint Online. Following this, he shared migration methodology, which includes your migration assessment, migration development, and the actual migration plan.

Next, Jason talked about the different migration approaches – manual, scripted, or the use of a third party tool like AvePoint, Metalogix, or Sharegate. He wrapped up with a discussion around secure cloud computing, including information rights management and the use of Office Web Apps.

For the full webinar replay, including an informative Q&A portion where Jason answered a ton of attendee questions, click here. You can also catch up with Jason on Twitter @jasonbell.

 

Multi-Forest Identity Solution – Azure AD Sync

 

microsoft-azure-logo

Last week I wrote about strategic benefits with Microsoft Azure and included some market research of other big cloud competitors. Continuing on that and in part 2 of this series I will talk about the one of the most awaited multi-forest identity solutions – Azure Active Directory Sync Tool

In April this year, Microsoft announced set of great new identity synchronization features available in preview. Including password write back, Azure AD Sync (AAD Sync), and multi-forest support. Working with customers with multiple on-premises Active Directory forests and multiple on-premises Exchange organizations wanting to migrate to Exchange Online using a hybrid deployment it’s not been a trivial approach implementing Forefront Identity Manager (FIM). FIM provides self-service identity management for users and a framework to enforce security policies. FIM implementation isn’t trivial and cost effective for many Office 365 scenarios and as a result I experienced customers with complex multi forest environments turning their backs to Microsoft and going after other vendors.

Customers with single forest typically relied on DirSync which is really a downsized version of FIM. Although a clean and easy setup DirSync suffers from a number of limitations. The most painful for large companies being the fact that it only synchronizes identity data from one forest to Azure AD. The other drawbacks includes creating an Office 365 account  for all Active Directory users of a particular OU and minimal control over the user object.dirsync

Hence on the path to bridge gaps and prompted by the need for in-the-cloud password replication back to the on-premises AD( their users log on to every day), Microsoft released “DirSync with password reset write-back”. It’s part of the Azure AD Premium offering which allows users to reset their Azure AD user account password via the “MyApps” web portal. Now came the need to address multi-forest synchronization and greater control over configuration. This lead to the next big announcement from Microsoft – Azure Active Directory Sync (AAD Sync).

AADSync has its underpinnings from components of Microsoft’s Forefront Identity Manager (FIM) metadirectory service, so its architecture is similar to both DirSync and FIM. You connect your active directory forests to AADSync via a connector. Like FIM and other meta directory services, these connectors feed into an aggregated store that contains a consolidated view of all the inbound identities. It’s this view that AADSync replicates to Azure AD. With Microsoft making progress with AAD Sync preview versions, partners and customers are now anxiously waiting for a public release to help them address their multi-forest identity needs.

 

aadsync1                                                                                   (Fig: AADSync account resource forest scenario-image source: Microsoft)

Just today Microsoft announced another version – AAD Sync Beta 3 with investments in hybrid exchange and multi-forest configuration by adding the multi-forest password write-back capabilities. Check out the installation guide for more details http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/24057.aadsync-installation-guide.aspx.  AAD Sync will allow customers to

Onboard their multi-forest Active Directory deployment to AAD

  1. Advanced provisioning, mapping and filtering rules for objects and attributes, including support for syncing a very minimal set of user attributes
  2. Configuring multiple on-premises Exchange organizations to map to a single AAD tenant
  3. Selective synchronization which enables you to only sync attributes required for the services you want to enable.
  4. AD password reset with multi-forests.
  5. Exchange hybrid deployment in multi-forests environments which enables you to have mailboxes in Office 365 as well as in your on-premises exchange.

 

An integrated on-premises / cloud identity directory is a key piece of Microsoft’s Cloud OS vision and this goes to show their commitment to cloud first, mobile first strategy.