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SharePoint, SharePoint 2013 Best Practices, Analysis

OpenText, Microsoft Woo Law Firms #ILTA14

This week's International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) conference drew little interest from anyone but legal professionals.

But as the conference concludes, it is worth noting two new releases that underscore ongoing competition between OpenText and Microsoft in the document management and collaboration space. Both companies released new law-focused collaboration tools that focus on the secure transfer, syncing and sharing of documents.

  • OpenText announced the release of eDOCS10, its specialized document management application for the legal profession
  • Microsoft announced a preview of Office 365 Matter Center that enables file sharing and organization from the comfort of familiar productivity tools

Both solutions tackle the ongoing problem of document chaos in the enterprise.

Take Back Your SharePoint Governance Plan

2014-21-August-Tug-of-War.jpgLet’s start at the beginning … What is a governance plan? In the IT world a governance plan is typically a set of roles, responsibilities, procedures, policies, etc., that an organization can build around the usage of a particular piece of technology. When you are implementing new software either for the first time or in preparation for an upgrade, a governance plan is important, but depending on the technology, may not always be required.

When you are implementing SharePoint, a governance plan is definitely required.

Microsoft Leaves Ballmer Bleeding as It Moves On

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If Steve Ballmer’s decision to step down from the board of Microsoft was sudden, it wasn’t a surprise. 

Once Satya Nadella stepped in as CEO and started changing Microsoft from a devices and services company to one focused on productivity and platforms, Ballmer had to go. "Cloud first, mobile first," became the new mantra.

In an open letter to Nadella, Ballmer explained that he thinks it would be impractical for him to stay on the board. Ballmer's commitment to Microsoft is clear. “I bleed Microsoft — have for 34 years and I always will,” he said in the letter. Microsoft, though, doesn’t really care. It's already ancient history.

Microsoft Frees-up Storage For SharePoint Online Sites

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Microsoft just announced a service that will make it easier to manage storage for SharePoint Online within the Office 365 suite.

The move effectively tackles one of the big problems users were having with storage allocation to SharePoint site collections. It also makes the management of entire SharePoint environments easier.

The changes announced last night makes the storage limits associated with each group of sites more flexible. It means storage that is not used with one site collection can be moved to another to facilitate the development of that collection.

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.

Google Classroom Fishes For Microsoft Users In Schools

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Cheeky Google is stomping all over what has until recently been an exclusive Microsoft stomping ground. Well, nearly exclusive. Google has just announced the release of Google Classroom for anyone that is currently using Google Apps for Education.

Classroom is a collaboration tool that enables students keep track of what assignments are due, enable teachers to track what is happening in the physical classroom and provide direct, real-time feedback to students on their progress.

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?

7 Pain Points For Doc Management

Even after all the years of document and enterprise content management, enterprises are still buckling under the stress of trying to manage even their basic structured data. We saw yesterday, for example, in new research from Docurated, that 68 percent of organizations have five or more repositories.

We also saw that despite the rise of cloud computing and storage, the majority of content is being kept on premises and that workers spend up to nine hours per week just finding documents.

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.

Why Your Doc Management Strategy Isn't Working

There’s no getting away from document management chaos. Even with the development of file sharing technology, cloud computing and agile document management, workers are still drowning in sea of untraceable and hard to track documents.

In fact, according to recent research from document management vendor Docurated, the average sales or marketing professional is spending up to nine hours every week just looking for documents as they wrestle with legacy and contemporary file system architectures that haven’t been overhauled in years.

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.

Back to Basics (Again) with Enterprise Collaboration

2014-29-July-Puget-Sound.jpg2014 was the year that we were supposed to get back to basics. We’re now more than halfway done, back-to-school shopping season is upon us and many of us are probably thinking about returning to the work focus after taking advantage of the lazy hot days of summer (on the other hand, who’s up for a sunset sail around the bay?). I’d like to take this time to do a midyear checkup on enterprise collaboration and technology goals.

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.

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