HOT TOPICS: Customer Experience Marketing Automation Social Business SharePoint 2013 Document Management Big Data Mobile DAM

SharePoint, SharePoint 2013 Best Practices, Analysis

The Future of SharePoint is the Cloud #gartnerpcc

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It's not exactly ground-breaking, but Jim Murphy, a research director in Gartner's web and cloud group, thinks Microsoft is trying to lure its SharePoint users into the cloud, despite the number of enterprises that are still using it on-premises.

Speaking at this morning’s session on the future of SharePoint at Gartner’s Portals, Content and Collaboration Summit in London, Murphy reassured attendees that there is still plenty of time before time runs out on the on-premises version.

Drive Social Adoption with SharePoint and Yammer Analytics

With the advent of SharePoint 2013 and Yammer integration, companies have struggled to monitor and manage the integration, adoption and usage of the collaboration platforms deployed across the enterprise. SharePoint Administrators are having a difficult time gathering meaningful metrics on SharePoint and Yammer usage and adoption. Community managers, IT managers and business leaders need metrics that show who is using the platform, how it’s being used, and how far the reach of social collaboration has extended into the enterprise. These measurements are key to ensuring that collaboration is being integrated into business processes.

Was Gartner's Social Software Smackdown a Lovefest?

Gartner hosted a “Social Software Smackdown” panel at its Catalyst Conference last month. After talking with its host, analyst Larry Cannell, it’s clear that the participants from Microsoft/Yammer, Salesforce/Chatter and Box don’t feel that they’re in a turf war, at least just yet.

That's true in spite of the fact that Gartner’s most recent Magic Quadrant for Social Software in the Workplace noted there’s little difference in the products these companies provide.

 “We are in the early stages of this market with a tremendous upside for enterprises and workers,” Cannell wrote in his takeaway notes.

Building a Hybrid Bridge to the Microsoft Cloud

2014-29-August-Rope-Bridge.jpgWhen Satya Nadella announced Microsoft’s new Mobile-First, Cloud-First strategy, he drew a line in the sand with Microsoft employees and set the company on a new course. When Microsoft COO, Kevin Turner reiterated the message at the World Wide Partner Conference in July, he sent partners scrambling to get cloud certified, saying “Selling on-premises software was good for you and us for a long time but the future lies in the cloud and mobility, and Microsoft plans to go in that direction with our partner community intact.”

Customers have felt the shift as well as they ponder what solutions can be cloud based and how to integrate them without significant effort and cost. Some organizations look at Office 365 and feel insecure about moving to a multi-tenant environment. Many organizations have significant investments in on-premises applications and infrastructure so moving to the cloud will not be an easy process.

These critical business systems have kept the wheels of commerce running for some time and have been built up with many layers of complexity and integration. Strict compliance regulations prevent many companies from exposing data in a cloud environment. With these constraints and issues in mind Microsoft has created a number of hybrid options that allow companies to selectively migrate enterprise solutions or build new applications that use cloud services while maintaining an on-prem infrastructure.

Let’s look at the options.

Microsoft Secures SharePoint Online Data

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Microsoft has taken another step to secure data in SharePoint Online with the introduction of Data Loss Prevention (DLP). The only thing surprising is that it has taken this long to do it, given that Microsoft already provides DLP for Exchange, Outlook and Outlook Web App (OWA).

However, it wouldn’t make a lot of sense to introduce DLP to SharePoint Online without also applying it to OneDrive.

So Microsoft has gone ahead and done that, too.  With it, users will be able to to search for sensitive content in the enterprise eDiscovery Center, but keep the content where it was originally located.

DAM Confusion in the Marketplace

2014-21-August-Maze.jpg(UPDATED 8/27) With the announcement of Microsoft’s partnership with the DAM vendor ADAM last month, it would be easy to say that Microsoft has de facto conceded defeat for SharePoint, a MS tool often promoted as a DAM. This would be a mistake; SharePoint and ADAM were never really competitors. Despite the claims of some enthusiastic sales people, SharePoint has never really been functional as a true DAM system. This new partnership solidifies SharePoint’s role in an overall DAM strategy as a file sharing and workflow tool that can be integrated with true DAM system – and especially so with ADAM, as they share the .NET code base.

One question still lingers: will Microsoft continue to promote SharePoint as a DAM tool while using ADAM both internally and as the DAM solution in their cloud offerings? Both the question and its answer open up the complex world of DAM marketing and branding for those in the industry.

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?

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