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SharePoint 2013 Analysis & Reviews

Corralling Non-Microsoft Content in the Cloud

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Ten years ago, Yahoo and Google offered rapid creation of free file sharing and collaboration spaces -- perfect for group papers, sports teams, families -- in short, any group of people who needed to see a common, centralized set of files.

There's no shortage of Web hosted business-oriented file services in today's cloud era: OneDrive, OneDrive for Business, Box, Google, Dropbox, Salesforce Chatter, among others.

Most recently, Amazon announced its new enterprise cloud file sharing service, Zocalo. Zocalo will offer simple document feedback, centralized repositories, offline sync to laptops, phones and tablets, security and directory integration. As with many of these services, the costs are minimal to none, allowing users to stand up a new repository in minutes for a project with a credit card.

These services pose a real challenges for the Microsoft enterprise.

Google Kicks the Productivity Stool From Under Microsoft

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It’s been an interesting couple of weeks in the document management space, made all the more interesting by the ongoing competition between Microsoft and Google around their productivity suites.

We also saw recently that most enterprises are still struggling with document management while both Metalogix and Accellion have released new products to help overcome this.

Why You Should Never Upgrade SharePoint

Information Management, 2014-11-August-Monkey-Tools.jpgClients often tell me that they want to "upgrade their SharePoint" without understanding what it is that they are requesting. "Upgrade" makes the process sound much easier than it actually is.

When you upgrade Microsoft Office, you can open all of your old documents in the new version after a simple install. If your previous version of Office was really old, the software might prompt you upon opening each document to convert it to the latest version -- a one-time task that runs automatically.

People tend to think that a SharePoint "upgrade" is as simple as installing the latest version of SharePoint on the server, and then the content and documents will automatically port over. This could not be further from the truth!

Where User Experience Should Fit in SharePoint's Roadmap

SharePoint, 2014-08-August-Jigsaw-Puzzle.jpgMany people have singled out SharePoint's user experience (UX) as one of the main culprits in lagging adoption and engagement numbers since the launch of the platform. Arguably it wasn't until the 2010 version that Microsoft took targeted steps to remedy this, adding important usability improvements and social capabilities. It was also during the SharePoint 2010 release timeframe that the partner ecosystem grew to support design and UX. This expansion introduced new options for customers, as well as provided feedback and direction for Microsoft, leading to further enhancements in the SharePoint 2013 release, including mobile enhancements and the support of device channels.

But even with SharePoint 2013's focus on the presentation layer and ongoing UX developments inside of Office 365 -- such as deeper integration with Yammer, PowerBI and the Delve (formerly Codename Oslo) interface -- has it been enough to improve adoption and engagement?

5 Administration Tips for SharePoint and OneDrive for Business

2014-06-August-traffic-police.jpgI've been planning on writing a Top 5 article on SharePoint administration and management for the past six months, but now that I'm finally doing it I find I must expand the scope. What's different?

The pace of change has accelerated.

Having worked in the SharePoint space for the past 10 years, it's easy to note the changes, the biggest shift being what is happening with Office 365. With OneDrive for Business, Microsoft has taken aim at the online drive space. And just as the competitors, they are trying to replace your hard drive and file shares with a cloud version, providing 1 terabyte of storage for each user.

Focus on the Last Mile of SharePoint Automation

2014-30-July-Long-Road.jpgThe rise of social and collaborative networks has changed the nature of the business interaction. The inbox and the Rolodex have become foreign to us. We expect instant access, constant updates and alerts, and data about every aspect of our lives to be readily available. We expect common business activities to be automated, streamlined, easy. Many of our measurements for success in business (certainly from the information worker's standpoint) revolve around the quality of the user experience we receive -- or create for our customers.  

When surrounded by a team of people, it is easy enough get the necessary help from others to work through a complex or confusing business process. However, as an employee in a remote office, most of your daily information worker activities are likely self-driven. Many of the interactions that require involvement from others, who may be located in another time zone, can take time and reduce your productivity while you are waiting. Suddenly it is not just about identifying the right person for an approval or feedback but about balancing their availability against your project and time constraints.

Design Information Systems with SharePoint in Mind

Any company that stores information on a computer is storing knowledge. But not all companies have an effective knowledge management system in place to manage that information. That depends on how the system was planned and how it is managed on an ongoing basis.

Whether you have a new system or an existing one that encompasses several different platforms, it's important to assess whether it is delivering all that it can for your organization. How can you do that? An (enterprise content management) ECM Reference Architecture can help you understand gaps and redundancies from a platform perspective.

Microsoft Tightens the Reins on Office 365

Companies are still signing up for Yammer — despite the fact that user adoption remains a problem. 

In fact, according to Yammer co-founder David Sacks, the British grocery retailing giant Tesco has just inked a 250, 000 seat deal with Yammer. The information was contained in a memo from Sacks to Microsoft employees.

Sacks announced on Twitter late last week that he is leaving Microsoft, but did not specify why.

Take Control of Growing SharePoint Environments

2014-28-July-Conductor.jpgSharePoint is complex. With increased SharePoint adoption comes a number of IT challenges -- more users, more content and increased mission-criticality. Yet managing and maintaining a high-performance environment doesn’t require a costly or complex solution. Staying ahead of a rapidly evolving SharePoint environment requires a commitment to success, backed by proactive and thoughtful goal-setting, testing and measuring.

One Consultant's Approach to a Small SharePoint Cleanup

A pilot SharePoint cleanup project is straightforward. A consultant facilitating a small project to clean up a company’s SharePoint intranet can reach the lessons learned phase with a few basic tools.

Recall the mantra: simple is elegant.

The Problem With Yammer? People Don't Use It

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Yammer is being promoted as the new social layer of SharePoint. But Microsoft is also tying it tightly into Office 365. In the past two weeks, this has resulted in the packaging of Yammer with Office 365 small business plans, while the price of Office 365 is also about to be slashed.

There are problems with Yammer. But the problem lies not the product itself.

According to David Lavenda, vice president of product strategy at Harmon.ie, the real problem is that many people who have access to it just won’t use it — or any other social network for that matter.

Oslo and Office Graph: Welcome to the Enterprise of Things

2014-09-July-Spiderwebs.jpgIf Microsoft has its way, big data is coming to your Office 365 environment very soon.

In March of this year Jared Spataro, general manager of Enterprise Social at Microsoft, introduced Office Graph and challenged us to “work like a network.” Office Graph -- which derived from Yammer’s Enterprise Graph concept -- analyzes user metadata from the Office 365 environment (Yammer, SharePoint Online, Lync and Office Online) to identify signals, trends, relationships, social connections and content that relate to each other to form patterns that can be used to deliver a more relevant and rich contextual end user experience.

This rich set of metadata is meant to provide a more comprehensive picture of who you are connected to, who you interact with and how you interact within the enterprise. This is a new frontier for Microsoft and this technology will significantly change how you collaborate, work, connect and engage within the online enterprise going forward.

Test Before Making a Full Scale SharePoint Leap

2014-08-July-Swimming-Hole.jpgYou've built your solution architecture. You've got a vision in mind. You eagerly take the full scale implementation plunge. But the energy erodes after things start to fall apart during the implementation phases. Ad-hoc requirements pop up and all you get is boatload of custom code requirements or a bad rap from disgruntled users -- now you're really in trouble.

Don't let this happen to your SharePoint implementation.

5 Steps for Building a SharePoint Migration Plan

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From all outward appearances, we seem to have turned a corner with SharePoint 2013 migrations. Compared to previous versions, SharePoint 2013 has experienced a relatively slow adoption cycle as organizations paused to understand the impacts of the new release -- and to understand, in many cases, their cloud strategies.

Migrations to the latest version seem to now be increasing speed. Since the SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas earlier this year, my own observation is that more companies are approving budgets and updating plans, and with that movement and more firm cloud strategies in place, we are also seeing an increased interest in SharePoint Online and Office 365.

What Microsoft Will Do to Keep Your Business

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Dropbox wants Enterprises to store their content in Dropbox. Box wants it in Box. Egnyte, Accellion, Syncplicity … you get the picture. They all want to be your provider as well.

And Microsoft has something to lose if it lets that happen. And it’s not the dollars (you pay for services on the aforementioned vendors’ clouds as units of storage) that these other companies could potentially earn.

The world’s largest software company needs you to keep living and working in its products, like Office and SharePoint, which you wouldn’t have to do if you stored your stuff on these other clouds.

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