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With every new edition of SharePoint there’s a lot of new apps around that are key to getting the best of out it. This week AvePoint has a new meetings app to bring order to the content around meetings, Metalogix is offering a new way of assessing SharePoint storage, SharePoint Solutions automates site creation, and PartnerPulse monitors Microsoft partners.

AvePoint Meetings App

AvePoint has a new offering for SharePoint this week that should be of interest for those that are looking for an easy way to manage meetings and the information that comes out of meetings in SharePoint.

The new app called AvePoint Meetings enables users to follow meetings by tracking notes, actions and decisions and check them off against agenda items.

Conventional meeting tracking involves written notes that need to be typed up afterwards and fed into a system. The result is that the margin for error is huge given the number of steps that it takes before this kind of information ends up in the enterprise system.

AvePoint Meetings, however, offers a more structured way to track this information by using the ‘My Task’ feature of SharePoint 2013 by creating ‘Actions’ as SharePoint Tasks.

This enables organizations to discover all  the information around meetings in either SharePoint 2013 or in Outlook 2013. It enables users collaborate with each other in real-time by:

  • Creating single or reoccurring meetings
  • Allowing meeting participants adjust agendas and discussions as needed
  • Capture meeting information and notes with multi-user support
  • Tracking meeting minutes with full auditing, allowing for historical search capabilities
  • Assign and synchronizing actions

The app is now available in the SharePoint 2013 app store and, even better, it’s free.

Metalogix’s BLOBulator

Also this week, Metalogix released a new app that will help enterprises with storage and storage costs by assessing how much content is in SharePoint database deployments.

Using the new app called BLOBulator, a tool that Metalogix says is easy to use and is free, enterprises can analyze the amount of Binary Large Objects (BLOBs) that are in their environments and how much space they are taking up.

According to Metalogix, the amount of content stored and access through SharePoint is growing at a rate of 75% annually with more than half of organizations reporting that they have farms that exceed 1 terabyte in size.

This has been caused by the growth in the number of BLOB files, which consists of content such as Office documents, PDF files, and, increasingly, audio and video files.

As more BLOBs are placed in SharePoint, it  becomes slower causing upload and download problems.

However, by downloading the free BLOBulator, an administrator can  find out how much space is being used by BLOBs and determine whether putting content out of the system will improve performance, reduce storage costs and/or unblock back-ups.

While unblocking space has always been important, with the release of SharePoint 2013 enterprises are going to have to decide what gets moved and what doesn’t. This looks like something that will help even before migration planning begins.

SharePoint Solutions Automates Site Creation

From SharePoint Solutions this week there is a new add-on that automates the site creation process, giving administrators the ability to create and configure content uniformly and according to per-determined settings.

The new add-on called Site Provisioning & Governance Assistant for SharePoint 2013 (SPGA) is designed for companies and organizations that need numerous SharePoint 2013 sites created and provisioned on an ongoing basis and also need to maintain a rigid identity.

With SPGA, administrators can ensure that SharePoint 2013 taxonomy, governance, look-and-feel and other standards are adhered to consistently. It also has the added advantage of freeing up IT staff from this kind of repetitive task for other tasks around the infrastructure.

PartnerPulse Monitors Partners

Finally this week, although not exclusively for SharePoint, we thought we'd mention the PartnerPulse community.  For those that think they don’t or won’t have problems in the coming months as the new version of SharePoint comes online an old adage springs to mind: if you think nothing is wrong, you don’t know what’s going on.

Not that SharePoint is particularly problematic, but given the amount of time vendors are investing in it to produce add-ons for better functionality, PartnerPulse provides a useful stopping point if you are looking for something, or some vendor, that can help with your deployments.

If you haven’t come across it before, PartnerPulse is a directory that puts customers in contact with Microsoft partners enabling users to browse a directory of partners by function, competency or through a search for specific things.

At the core of it is the 'Pulse' element. With it, visitors to the site can post information, ratings, and/or pictures of products that may be useful for users and vendors. The list of features now available to all users includes:

  • Adding a company logo, and a banner image to their profile.
  • Update your profile text.
  • Contact details, your address, and social networking links.
  • Post branded Pulses on your profile and start interacting with users.

The creators of PartnerPulse hope that with enough interaction from vendors and users, it will ultimately provide snapshot of the partner network. Founder Chris Wright says the new site offers an alternative to Microsoft’s Pinpoint which has quickly become a destination for apps. PartnerPulse, however, is focused on interaction between the company and users.