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SharePoint 2016 – Collaborate in the Cloud On Your Terms

Has your organization ever considered the business issues listed below? SharePoint 2016 is here and now is the time to determine how it can help your organization today.

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If you answered yes, to any of the above, download our latest guide today to learn more about how to use SharePoint 2016 and collaborate in the cloud on your terms!

Perficient’s Microsoft Practice is Ready to ‘Rise’ and Shine

Agility in any marketplace requires a willingness to evolve. With the acquisition of Rise Foundation, Perficient’s Microsoft practice is positioned to create, market, and sell products of its own.

Rise Foundation is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) application that transforms SharePoint for Office 365 or SharePoint 2013/2016 on-premises into an easy-to-use intranet or portal for the business user. But Perficient did not just pick up the application; it acquired the product development team as well. This allows Perficient to develop and support the product in ways that add value to the company’s core services business.

“We have been working with clients to make the most of their investments in Microsoft technology on their own digital transformation journeys, and adding Rise Foundation to our portfolio provides a way to expedite that,” said Matt Morse, General Manager, Microsoft Modern Apps business unit. Read the rest of this post »

Maximize Your Office 365 Investment – 5 Tools to Use Today

More than 50 million business users leverage Office 365. However, many enterprises simply implement Exchange and stop there. Office 365 has so much more to offer!

This guide takes a look at five key features that you may be overlooking:

1. Skype for Business: Users across the globe can come together to collaborate on projects, using their preferred devices.
2. SharePoint Online: It’s more than just content management. Business users can implement SharePoint Online for MySites, enterprise social networking, and blogs.
3. OneNote: Improve productivity by sharing notes and diagrams in the cloud – all documents are easily searchable across various devices.
4. OneDrive for Business: Seamlessly share files with colleagues, partners and associates, and retrieve files no matter your location or device.
5. Delve: Search and discover using Office Graph. Read the rest of this post »

Using Azure AD Domain Service for SharePoint IaaS Deployments

Azure Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a great option for SharePoint Server deployments for those use cases and/or organizations where SharePoint Online is not appropriate or sufficient.  IaaS can be used for dev/test scenarios or a part of a production, cloud-based infrastructure.

With SharePoint Server 2016, deployment without Active Directory is no longer supported;  Active Directory is mandatory for any scalable version of SharePoint Server.  Until now, the requirement for an Active Directory Domain was satisfied by provisioning a Windows Server Virtual Machine (VM) and configuring the server as a Domain Controller.

The Azure Active Directory Domain Services (currently in preview) offers an alternative. Rather than deploying and configuring a VM, the Domain Service could be enabled within an Azure Active Directory instance and associated with a new or pre-existing Virtual Network. Once the initial setup is complete, virtual machines deployed into the virtual network can be joined to the Active Directory domain. Once the machines are joined to the domain, the domain can be utilized as if it was being provided by an On-Prem or IaaS Windows Server.

The advantage? Simpler, more cost-effective Active Directory Domain management without the need to configure and run an additional server.

Since the Azure AD Domain Service is in preview, I decided to test the service within the context of a SharePoint IaaS-based deployment. In my testing, I chose to use the SharePoint Server 2016 Beta 2 image (see SharePoint 2016 Install ), but the results are applicable to any SharePoint version (e.g. 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016) using an Active Directory based deployment

The end result – a domain that can be used to support SharePoint Active Directory users and groups! For example, a domain name of sp2016ad.onmicrosoft.com can provide a SharePoint setup login of sp2016ad\sp_setup.  (As of this writing, the service is only supported in “classic” mode, with support of Azure Resource Management forthcoming.)

The detailed instructions can be found below. Read the rest of this post »

SharePoint Server 2016 Installation

The report of my death was an exaggeration – Mark Twain & SharePoint Server On-Premises

SharePoint Server On-Premises was, in the recent past, presumed obsolete. While Office 365 and Cloud Computing are juggernauts, compelling use cases continue to exists for On-Premises deployment. Realizing this need, Microsoft is working toward a Q1 2016 release of SharePoint Server 2016. As of this post, the Beta 2 bits have been released.  This post focuses on the architecture, installation and configuration of SharePoint Server 2016.

What’s Different?

By design, SharePoint Server 2016 is highly compatible with and consistent with SharePoint Server 2013. Notable differences are as follows:

  • More granular/supportable deployment model including Single Node Farm and Min Role Deployment
  • SharePoint Foundation install obsoleted
  • Microsoft Identity Manager replaces Forefront Identity Management

As for previous posts for SharePoint 2010 and 2013, I was interested in validating techniques for automated installation of SharePoint Server. The good news – automated installations continue to be well supported with familiar tools and infrastructure. Read the rest of this post »

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:

SPTF

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

SPTF

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 »