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Tools to help you get more out of SharePoint

Tools to help you get more out of SharePoint

by: David Rubinstein

Lots of third-party tools were on display at Microsoft's Ignite conference held in Chicago last week, and while we turned the spotlight on a number of them in last week's newsletter, today we'll offer up our thoughts on a few more.

One of the most innovate platforms we saw at the event was the Contextual Intelligence Platform from H3 Solutions (makers of the Mobile Entr´┐Że application). The platform uses natural-language processing to bring you information related to what it gleans you're working on. So, for instance, I could write this article, run it through the processor, and in the same pane I would get a list of related articles on the Internet (free version) or even related items in past articles I've written that are in the BZ Media database (enterprise version).

Or, if I were writing an article on FDA drug recalls, I might be offered a list of related recalls, or similar medical conditions.

As a writer, I could find little that was as useful and relevant to my work. But this would be a huge bonus to anyone working on any kind of document. You can find out more and get a free app here.

One of the big complaints you hear about SharePoint is that businesses are licensing it, but workers aren't using it. Colligo hopes to help companies over that hurdle with Colligo Engage, which helps organizations use their information architecture to drive growth. Engage helps workers do just that by bringing enterprise content to their device of choice, automating metadata tagging for easier retrieval and the ability to sync to multiple content repositories. Colligo has Engage apps for Outlook for Windows, Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, and (soon) Android.

Also, CEO Barry Jinks told me that Colligo will release in the second half of the year an SDK for organizations to build their own apps on top of Colligo's sync engine. And, in the next 24 months, the company expects to move entirely to a subscription business.

An announcement that got a large positive response at Ignite was the new Office 365 Migration API, and Simon De Baene, CEO of Sharegate, gave an interesting perspective on migration. "It isn't just one thing. Moving stuff around SharePoint is day-to-day.? Most people think about moving from one version to the next, or from on-premises to the cloud. "The main goal for the API,? De Baene said, "is about speed. Everyone used the CSOM API and at some point; it was killing the Office 365 service. That API wasn't designed to handle load, and it was compromising Office 365 performance.?

Metalogix CEO Steve Murphy echoed De Baene's sentiments, saying that speed is critically important to migration for a number of reasons, including keeping the unavailability of information being moved to a minimum. Zero downtime is the goal so as not to disrupt business users. The Metalogix migration solution enables merging, splitting and reclassification of sites, site collections, lists and other content.

Finally, Gimmal talked about and demonstrated Structure, its platform for enterprise information management running on-premises or in Office 365. There's a delicate balance between rules and policies and usability, and Structure gives organizations what marketing VP Dave Martin called records management on a par with solutions that come from traditional enterprise content-management providers. For instance, someone could share content outside of SharePoint, but Gimmal will make sure the content is protected, can be audited, and has use policies applied to it.

Gimmal is the only company in the market certified on SharePoint 2013, Martin said.

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