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Posts Tagged ‘SharePoint’

How Delve Makes your Life Easier!

For some time now Microsoft has been working on an intelligent fabric- machine learning. This algorithm is (now more than ever) becoming an Delve Img1integral part of many new platforms and products, especially office graph which powers the new Office app called “Delve”. Delve is part of the Office 365 suite and is available for all tenants with “First Release” turned on.

I blogged about Delve in its early days here & here  but since then it has evolved quite a bit. What I wanted to share with you is how Microsoft is rolling new functionality into this app so that life for an end user becomes simpler. There are many aspects when we look into a “day in the life” of an end user but one of the most important ones is organizing and email. Won’t you agree? Taking these two in consideration, let’s look at how Delve makes your everyday life easier!

But before we look into the new enhancements, let’s take a small walk down the memory lane and see what is Delve. Office Delve brings most relevant content to you. This is based on what you’re working on and what is trending around you (your connections, groups etc.). Helps you discover new connection, be it People, documents, or new ideas. All this is done by Delve constantly learning your work habits/styles and creating a globe of information in and around you. Office Graph incorporated signals across Office 365 and content primarily from OneDrive for Business, SharePoint Online team sites and the new Office 365 Video portal.

Now let’s explore the latest enhancements that has been keeping the Delve team pretty busy.

Boards

This feature helps you organize various content and make it readily accessible and share friendly. Think of this as the same exercise you are Image 001used to, of applying sticky on a board to gather all relevant ideas and suggestions. This feature takes this traditional approach, digital.

Image 002Everyone in your organization can view and contribute to an existing board or create a board—but they can only see and open documents that they have permission to access.  From within Delve, you can search for a board, follow it to stay informed and discover other boards—all without having to know or remember where individual pieces of content live. Watch this youtube video to get a better idea.

Image 003


Gotchas
:

Boards does not allow you to embed external pages yet; so in essence no public boards!
Currently you cannot add context to the content on a public board. It’s simply pinning a document without any comment or context around it. (Sounds like a yammer integration in the play here)

Image 004

Email

I bet you would not disagree with me when I say email is single handedly the most used/abused application today. People use it to share ideas, circulate announcements, send attachments etc. This is a the latest in the list of additions to Delve. On the Delve home page, attachments found in email show up in the “Home” view. The attachments are presented in cards that provide some context including information about who sent the message and some text from the message body. If a message contains multiple attachments, each attachment is presented in a separate card.

Gotchas:
It won’t show you attachments sent by you.
Attachments will only show in the two week time frame. Delve will show items that are of interest to you based on insights it has gathered and analyzed in the Office Graph database. The same kind of signal-driven rationale is used to surface documents stored in SharePoint and OneDrive for Business libraries.
You obviously can’t delete items from Delve – that’s due to the reason that Delve is a machine learning algorithm based on search.

Overall great additions to the Delve family. I’m certainly looking forward to the next one – Yammer integration.

 

 

Image source: Microsoft Office blog

The (updated) SharePoint app model development approach

I was recently invited to attend a session at the Microsoft campus in Redmond titled “Transitioning SharePoint Full Trust Code to Application Model Solutions Airlift”.  So, aside from the long title, what exactly was this session going to provide?  I did get a chance to see the preliminary agenda so I did have some idea what the main topics were, but I still wasn’t exactly clear on what I was going to get out of this.  Nevertheless, I was intrigued and knew from the agenda that there were some great topics being discussed so I made my travel arrangements and headed to Redmond.  Little did I know at that time that I was about to attend a session that really put things into perspective with the current state of SharePoint and change how I think about approaching both on-prem and SharePoint Online projects going forward.  In this post, I will go over the key topics that I took away from these sessions and the recommended guidance to address these topics.

airlift intro

At a high level, the primary goal was to bring partners and clients up to speed on converting SharePoint Full Trust Code (FTC) to app model.  Topics ranged from initial deployment, to maintenance, upgrades, migrations, etc., the whole gambit, essentially.  I have been following the Office 365 Developer Patterns and Practices Team (PnP) for some time so I did have some idea of this before the event, but after sitting through the sessions, going through the labs, and talking with others at the event, it really put things into perspective and made me realize the paradigm shift the platform started with SharePoint 2013 and how important it is to get on board now, even if you’re an on-prem customer.

App model != apps/app parts/app webs

When SharePoint 2013 was making its debut, SharePoint apps were all the rage… many a session was attended discussing SharePoint apps, app webs, host webs, etc.  What seems to have gotten lost in a lot of that shuffle was the focus on the app model and not just SharePoint apps.  It seems that Microsoft is aware of this and the PnP team is trying to help guide everyone to focus on app model (client side code) and not just SharePoint apps.  While apps have their place, they are not the star in my mind and too much focus has been around apps in general since SharePoint 2013 was released.  Focusing on the app model in general (not just apps!) is key and, for those more involve with ECM and Intranet style projects, it’s necessary since apps don’t always have the best fit with those types of projects.

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Much Awaited OneDrive for Business comes to Mac and iOS

This announcement should be music to the ears, for all the Mac and iOS diehards using Microsoft apps. Earlier I had blogged about an interim solution for these devices, you can read it in my post here. Last week, Microsoft announced new ways that you can access and manage your OneDrive for Business (ODFB) files from your Mac and iOS devices. The good news is that ODFB works like OneDrive (Personal): You get a virtual drive in the Finder so that you and your apps can access ODFB files normally. That means that Office for Mac can now access files in your corporate ODFB account (which should have always worked). New capabilities in how you view, manage, and share your photos and it now allows you to connect to one or more ODFB accounts.

Previously Microsoft had shipped two separate apps – one for your personal files and one for business files – now you can do this all within the one app. For a business user you can access all your files plus all the files that have been shared with you. You can even access your most recent files plus recover accidentally deleted files from the Recycle Bin. You can download the iOS app from the app store, and the Mac sync client preview from the Microsoft Download Center. You can also take a first look at the new Mac sync client on Office Mechanics. I share below some screenshots from my iPhone, that goes to show how easy it is to add ODFB to your existing app. Read the rest of this post »

Why governing Yammer vs. SharePoint represents an about-face

Yesterday may have been Ground Hog Day, but unlike the movie, I’m happy to report no time loop (although there was a lot of snow for some of us). Aside from the freshly fallen snow, there was also fresh new content over on CMSWire, thanks in part to my colleague Rich Wood and his article The Yammer vs. SharePoint Governance Taste Test.”

Rich is the only person I know who can relate Folders Crystals to governance in Yammer and SharePoint and have it make perfect sense. How so?

Do you remember the Folgers Crystals instant coffee commercials from the 1980s? In these 30-second advertisements, a surreptitious survey is taken of diners in a fancy and presumably expensive restaurant. Served after-dinner coffee, they inevitably describe for the camera how fantastic it tastes and smells. Just as inevitably, the shock of the coffee drinkers when they discovered they’d actually been served Folgers Crystals — instant coffee, not the freshly-brewed European blends they’d been expecting — gave their snobbish expectations the lie.

In many ways the governance of Yammer vis-à-vis the high-powered governance features of SharePoint is similar to that cup of Folgers coffee versus flavor expected of the freshly-brewed premium blends.

Rich goes on to explain that the shocked diners are your SharePoint admins. Within Yammer, the governance features are softer and lighter, existing to guide collaboration. The opposite is true of SharePoint, where the governance model tends to restrict people from communicating outside of approved circumstances. Despite being so different, when deployed correctly, governance in Yammer can be just as effective as that of SharePoint.

Rich discusses the importance of understanding the differences between social, cloud-based collaboration like Yammer and collaboration within the older, document-first platforms.

If you’re used to thinking of “governance” in a SharePoint context, it can be a difficult transition — even an unnatural one — into governing a Yammer network properly while still encouraging user engagement. The baseline systems serve different purposes. Simply put, SharePoint is for files, Yammer is for people.

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SharePoint 2013 Search: External Content Relevancy Boosting

Where’s my External Content?

The first time you bring in external content into your search index, whether that be from BCS or Custom Connector, your search ranking and relevance for that content will most likely be buried under all of your SharePoint content. This is quite common. Don’t worry however, we will go over some of your options to bring that content to the top, also known as relevancy boosting.

Query Rules for the Admins

It has been said and it has been done a lot. Query Rules have become somewhat of a staple in SharePoint 2013. I won’t cover it in detail because there’s a huge amount of resources out there (check out Chris Hines’ post here), however I will leave a small tidbit below.

Often when you are pulling multiple entities from BCS, you end up with a single content source with quite a few different entities that are of different types of content. Good news is that you can split them out.

Accessing Individual BCS Entities

Look for a crawled property called EntityName (might be two of them), and map them to a managed property. For our sake, we will call it MPEntityName. You will want this managed property to be queryable.

Then you can query your BCS entity by running a simple MPEntityName:NameOfEntity.

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Top 10 Things to Know About Yammer External Messaging-Flexternal

Yammer is rolling out an exciting new feature which will provide the ability to add external collaborators to new conversations, existing conversations,External-Messaging2 and private messages within the Office 365 network. This will be first released for beta testing (for verified and registered admins).

The Office 365 community hosted an open discussion around this new feature led by Microsoft team. Folks on the discussion shared real time scenarios where this could prove real helpful.

  1.  We have a new person joining our team. The manager announced it internally and the excitement and kudos poured in. But the person that we were hiring wasn’t on the thread. Everyone was sort of preemptively congratulating this person even though this person wasn’t on boarded yet. Once this feature turned up, we included the new hire on the thread, and this person was able to see all the congratulatory messages and even make their first post about how excited they are to join the team.
  2. We’re working with an external person on a project. One where it doesn’t necessarily make sense to spin up an external network. Doing so would just be overkill. We want to exchange files, have conversations, etc. The external person isn’t necessarily full time on the project and we only need their input infrequently.

Here is a list of top 10 quick tips you need to know about this idea – Flexternal

  1. People who you add to the conversation will be able to contribute and add others. However, they will not be able to add you to the conversations in their network. Only you can add others at this time.
  2. People can NOT be invited to Public or Private Group as a whole but just to a thread. They can be invited to public conversations, but only to single instances. So they have to be invited to every conversation you want them to see.
  3. If you remove an external participant from a thread, they no longer see the message in Yammer, but still can find the message within their email inbox. How much of that conversation is revealed in email? For instance if there were four posts on a thread, will all four responses show in the email or just part of the conversation up until they were removed?
    Every comment from the conversation is sent individually via email. So one email will only include one comment of the conversation–not the entire thread. Let’s say you were added at the beginning of the conversation. You’ll get four separate emails. If you were added by comment three you will only receive comments three and four. Once a user is removed they will no longer receive email notifications. You also cannot view content in email. You need to sign into Yammer to view files or notes.
  4. What happens if the invited external does not already have a company Yammer network? For example, an individual contractor/consultant.
    That external user can either chose to respond via email, or signup and join their Yammer network. Obviously they wouldn’t be able to join your network.
  5. What happens if I invite an external user to a conversation at the “wrong” email address. Will they have to create a new Yammer profile or would they be able to pull the conversation into their existing inbox?
    Right now that person would be able to reply to you by email. There isn’t currently the functionality to pull the conversation into an existing inbox though.
  6. Will the network admin be able to easily identify/contact the admins of the foreign network posting to their users? The most obvious reason will be around spam and abuse.
    Microsoft is working on including ‘report as spam’ button with this feature. That button will automatically provide this feedback to them and to the network admins.
  7. Will the email address of those posting into my network be clearly available in the data exports?
    Yes - the mail addresses are available. People who will be posting into your network are the ones that are explicitly invited to conversations by other people in your network. Therefore it is similar to someone in your network cc’ing an external user in their email that is also addressed to others in the company.
  8. How will external messaging recipients be clearly identified in email interaction with a thread?
    If you are responding by email, you’ll see the same external participant icon that you see on the web (the globe icon). When responding by email you’ll also get a warning at the bottom of the email that there are external participants in the thread.
  9. It’s not possible to disable this feature at a network level at this time. This means NO administrative override.  However, Yammer External Messaging will clearly show the external party that has been added.
  10. Currently it will not allow users to communicate with Gmail/AOL/Yahoo types of email address. You have to use a corporate email address.

Set up Document ID prefix in SharePoint 2013 programmatically

While it is simple to set the prefix of Document ID Service in SharePoint 2013 manually, it’s less straightforward if you are looking to set it up programmatically (but still fairly simple once you know how). If you’ve been wondering how to do this correctly, last week, Perficient’s Peng Zhao wrote a blog post that walks through the necessary steps.

This post introduces you to a correct way to set up Document ID Prefix in SharePoint 2013. Immediately after you kick off the timer jobs for Document ID service in this approach, all of your documents under the new site will show up with correct prefix.

We have recently rolled out a web template based on our team site template. It requires you to set the prefix of Document ID service when the user is creating a site with the web template. It is simple if you can do it manually in the “site settings>>Document Id Settings” like this:

SharePoint2013 Document ID Settings

If you plan to do it programmatically, it is a different story. The articles or blogs I searched on the Internet demonstrate that the following will do the trick:

SharePoint2013 Document ID Settings by web properties

It sets the root web property “docid_settings_ui”. It also sets the prefix value on the Document ID Settings page as if it were set manually. If you go to the settings page, the prefix string shows up there; nothing seems wrong. But after you kick off your timer jobs for Document ID service, you will find all your documents never get the new prefix.

The CORRECT way to set the document id prefix should be like this:

SharePoint2013 Document ID Settings by server side model

Neat and simple, right?

In this way, right after you kick off the timer jobs for Document ID service, all your documents under the new site will show up with correct prefix.

 

Thanks Peng Zhao and Matt Connolly for sharing this tip!

Perficient’s Top 5 Yammer Blog Posts of 2014

In another 12 hours or so, topfivethose of us on the east coast will be watching the ball drop (mainly on television, but perhaps a few of the Perficient folks local to NYC are planning to brave the cold and crowds). Either way, we’ll be celebrating with family and friends as we ring in the New Year. New Year’s Eve is certainly a social occasion, so I thought I’d wrap up 2014 with a summary of the best enterprise social posts that were published throughout the year.

Since our enterprise social network of choice is Yammer (both for our customers and internally, where we’ve moved from predominately communicating via email to having conversations in Yammer whenever possible), here are the top five blog posts on all things Yammer:

Yammer – DirSync or AD FS (SSO) or Both?
There’s a lot to think about when planning your Enterprise Yammer implementation. How will I get users into Yammer? How will users login to Yammer? Which password will they use? How will users who leave my organization be handled in Yammer? What software do I really need to implement? In this post, Joe Crabtree discusses Yammer DirSync and SSO. SSO in Yammer is a generalized term, as any SSO provider can be connected with Yammer. He focuses specifically on AD FS, as that is Microsoft’s SSO software.

Is Your SharePoint Ready for Yammer?
In this post, Vaibhav Mathur explains, if your organization is experiencing rapid growth or you simply need better collaboration, you ought to take a hard look at enterprise social. Microsoft has clearly stated that they believe the future of social collaboration to be in the cloud, and are making most of their investments in cloud-based features within Yammer and Office 365. As a result, our customers are moving to Yammer as their social platform to enhance their social collaboration practice. Vaibhav discusses the one concern he’s been been hearing from lot of organizations, and that concerns centers around making this transition – from native SharePoint social to Yammer. He talks about how to make the shift, and how to know if Yammer will be of value.

Read the rest of this post »

Perficient’s Top 5 SharePoint Blog Posts of 2014

As 2014 comes to a close, we’re taking a look at our most popular blog posts of the year. Here are the top five SharePoint related posts, in no particular order:top-5

SPC 2014 Roadmap Updates – SharePoint 2015 Announced!
While attending SharePoint Conference 2014, Joe Crabtree summarized Microsoft’s goals for Office, which Jared Spataro shared during his keynote speech. With the cloud being king, Joe goes on to explain what these changes mean for on-premises customers, and assures folks who plan to stay on premises – it’s okay.

SharePoint 2013 Search: JavaScript CSOM Primer
With the rise of SharePoint Online, custom search solutions through JavaScript have become a staple of the development work done for clients. While a lot of your search basics can be handled through simple modification of Display Templates, the opportunity still arises when you need to do something truly custom with your search code. In this post, Will Tseng reviews the basics, and then takes it a little deeper to give you more control over your queries and results returned.

 SharePoint Hybrid Architectures Introduction
Hybrid SharePoint environments combine deployments of SharePoint on premises with SharePoint Online. The hybrid environments enable organizations to realize a higher degree of flexibility than forcing a choice between either an on-premises or cloud model. The goal of any hybridization is to leverage the strengths of both parts, while minimizing the components’ weaknesses. Here, Joe Crabtree walks through some of the terminology and explains the different options. Read the rest of this post »

Video How-To’s in Office 365

Video Portal was announced back in November with initial push to “first release” customers and a global deployment available by early 2015. This portal powered by Azure Media Services provides adaptive streaming optimized for video playback for the device it’s being viewed on. Leveraging Office Graph, simple drag and drop interface, discover ability across enterprise search and Delve, integration with yammer conversations, and sharing capabilities on mobile makes this an intuitive and engaging knowledge management add in.

Below is a summary of Video Q&A with Microsoft team, MVPs, and community members:

Why does Office 365 Video need Flash installed?

Microsoft is working to add HTML5 video playback support in a future update. This will remove the current Flash dependency. For the initial release, we prioritized security of the videos’ playback stream. We are working with Azure Media Services on new player and detection tech that can get the right player (native, HTML5, or flash) and the right stream from Azure media services, so that we offer both adaptive streaming and security on latest mobile devices and browsers. For native iPhone app, we are using Azure Media Service SDK to support HLS. Browser playback doesn’t work currently for mobile devices because of flash. Read the rest of this post »