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  • The fundamentals of user adoption were discovered in a corn field in Iowa before 1962.  For decades, these fundamentals have been used to explain the growth of technology.  You’ve probably seen the adoption bell curve with the labels of innovators, early adopters, majority, and laggards.  But you may not have known where it came from or what it means for you as you’re trying to roll out your latest IT project.  Everyone is focused on the communication and internal marketing of the solutions, but they’ve forgot to tune into “what is in it for me” (WIII-FM) radio.  What appears complicated on the surface isn’t impossible if you break it down.

  • Defining a Digital Workplace for any organization without knowing the business requirements and budget is irrelevant in 2019, as still today, for many of us the digital workplace era still didn’t happen. The real question is, is a Digital Workplace based on the Microsoft Ecosystem a Buzzword? A Revolution or a Reality?

  • Modern tools designed to help people communicate, collaborate and share are increasing productivity and helping workers thrive in today’s office environment. There are a variety of options to choose from and making the decision of what may be best for your business can be difficult. While new tools continue to improve, people avoid the migration from one tool to the other, for fear that they may lose their data, cause disruption, or increase cost. However, the switch may be easy – keep all your data, eliminate unnecessary cost and get more value.

  • If you need another reason to attend SPTechCon in Boston this year, the Office 365 Hands-On Kitchen is definitely a good one. This full-day, pre-conference experience will bring together Office 365 newbies and veterans alike to build real-world solutions with all those apps that come with your subscription. 

    Think of it like a hack-athon, but for Office 365 users of all skill levels. (That is to say, real people… not just hackers).

  • With all of the messaging apps on the market, it’s hard to know which one is best for your organization. Although they all seem similar, there are distinct differences between each of the tools, which will affect how effective they are for your employees.

  • Timlin has been engaged with Microsoft over the last couple of months providing support for the beta rollout of their new Custom Learning solution for Office 365. In typical Microsoft fashion, they recently renamed the solution to Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways. The Timlin Engineering team has been supporting the first customers by resolving issues and providing documentation for the tool.

  • For quite a while now, Tom Resing (@resing) at Microsoft and I have talked about the current SharePoint documentation and the various audiences it serves. That documentation has improved vastly over the last few years, as it has become more community-driven and the writers at Microsoft have become more and more agile in what they produce. But there has always seemed to be a gap in my mind. There is voluminous content for developers, end users, and admins, but not a lot for site owners and citizen developers. In conversations with Vesa Juvonen (@vesajuvonen), we decided there should be an additional PnP-based effort to start creating content to fill this gap.
  • Lake Elmo Bank

    29 May 2019 Knowledgelake
    Bank Streamlines Transactional Content Management Across Locations

    Lake Elmo Bank was founded in 1911 when it was started by a group of farmers and local business owners, and today it remains the same community-minded bank envisioned by its founders. Lake Elmo serves a diverse and growing community while maintaining a tradition of personal service and lasting relationships. But as the Bank continued to grow, the day-to-day operations became inundated with paper. The KnowledgeLake Platform was adopted to reduce the burden of paper, boost service, and improve operational performance.

  • SharePoint was due for a face lift and 2019 brought it in spades.   While many technical limitation exist in the new Modern experience that leave clients scratching their head “why would it not do that?”, we have seen overwhelming adoption of this new experience and tons of requests for our product to work within it.  So we asked ourselves, “How do we make our products (that we have been developing for the past 24 months) work in this new strange land? ” The answer, of course, is to make your products compliant with the SharePoint Framework also known as SPFx.
  • Hold the Fries and the Shake!

    29 May 2019 Dori Albert
    Imagine that one day you are craving a burger so badly that if you don’t immediately go get one, you might just pass out or fall over and die. You need that burger.  So you sprint out the door to the closest burger joint to get that big, juicy burger.  You are starving for that burger, but as you’re still watching your weight, you will only allow yourself this one indulgence – just one burger today.  However, as you order your burger, the cashier tells you that you must buy the fries and shake, and she will pick the size for you.
  • So it’s time to redo your intranet or local department homepage. Maybe you’re migrating from an older version of SharePoint or it’s just time for a facelift. Regardless, it’s a great opportunity to learn about the tools available when you take on the task. But it’s important to assemble a good team to work on it.
  • Allowing users to set alerts on SharePoint lists and libraries is the easiest way to keep users informed with what is going on within your intranet and team (collaboration) sites. This functionality has been a part of SharePoint for many versions and is an easy feature for users to take advantage of. That is, IF you have all the settings correct.
  • Teams is Microsoft’s newest collaboration tool designed to improve collaboration in a chat-based workspace. Teams is being called the “one app to rule them all” because it provides a platform for people to work together, hold conversations and meetings, share content, and even work on other apps right within the Teams app

  • Don’t Educate, Engage Instead

    26 Mar 2019 Robert Bogue

    Too often, we try to treat adult learners like they’re just larger children.  The model is akin to opening the top of the head and trying to pour in the information, but adults don’t learn that way.  They’re awash in an overwhelming sea of things that they could learn.  Instead of trying to learn everything that other people want them to know, they’ll self-select what’s important – and what isn’t.  If you want adults to learn or change behavior, you must work from a different perspective.

  • Have you ever needed to get some information from one or more of your SharePoint environments to analyze or inspect information from them? That may seem daunting or painful to aggregate, especially in bulk,  but SharePoint search can be your best friend in these instances.  This blog post will dissect the following example script to show you one possible way you can take advantage of this powerful pairing.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) and automation technologies offer the opportunity to reengineer and improve business processes. In many cases, those improved processes will operate in a completely different way; fully automated and autonomous, freeing up time previously taken by ‘humans’ to perform redundant and repetitive activities. But the key to gaining advantage from automation is turning that free time into time for innovation. This is where our automation efforts can ultimately fall short.
  • Your organization has finally made the decision to make the big leap, to migrate from one version of SharePoint to the next best thing. As daunting of a task as this may sound, there are a variety of resources and tools that can assist your organization in this process.

  • If you use SharePoint and are familiar with PowerApps then you probably know about the ability to select the “Customize Forms” option to customize your SharePoint List with PowerApps. This can be a good option to customize your forms but if you go to the documentation about it you’ll notice there are some limitations to the functionality:
  • Information architecture is one of those phrases you hear tossed around a lot with platforms like SharePoint. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the cloud or on premises, SharePoint gives you some powerful tools to manage your content. The power of the platform is making it reflect your organization, though. The information architecture Microsoft gives us out of the box is a nice start, but it isn’t your information architecture.

    Depending on who you talk to, you’ll hear some or all the following things when you discuss information architecture.

  • The Microsoft Cloud offers a wide array of artificial intelligence services that are just itching to be put to work within your everyday business flows. If you’re new to Microsoft’s AI paradigm, you’ll want to check out the best tool for understanding all the new Azure services, how they relate to each other, and what they do.

  • The Benefits of SharePoint Hub Sites

    15 Jan 2019 Kevin Townsend, Senior Consultant, Bamboo Solutions
    Modern site architectures bring a flat view to the SharePoint world as we know it.  For so long we have planned, designed and implemented our SharePoint site architectures around the classic Site/Sub-Site methodology.  You may have heard the term “Hub Site” thrown around recently, and today, if you haven’t already jumped in to learning about that, I hope to point you in the right direction. 
  • “Can’t we just get started developing?  What is this Discovery period for? We know what we want, can’t we just start working on prototypes with the developers?”  Questions like this are hard to answer as it seems like an easy road to just start wireframing or prototyping. Who cares?  Well you should!  Beginning development without a complete Discovery phase will lead to so many inefficiencies that your project will surely miss its cost and time budgets as well not meet your users’ needs.
  • In digital workplaces, it is inevitable to collaborate with people outside your organization; and collaboration involves sharing documents. An external user can be anybody, a colleague, a client, a supplier, or a contractor.

    Even though SharePoint and Office 365 are reliable tools for external sharing, we have found that employees in many organizations tend to use third-party tools for sharing documents with external users. There is a simple explanation for this: since external sharing can be risky, IT teams tend to simply disable the feature. Unfortunately, this imposed limitation usually leads to several undesirable consequences: resort to third-party cloud tools, fragmented governance, detriment to user adoption, and more.


  • We can develop remote event receiver in SharePoint online using visual studio 2015. In SharePoint online Office 365 environments we can not run custom code in the SharePoint server. But we can run code in a remote server. Remote event receivers can be developed using provder hosted add-in. We can use remote event receivers to handle events in the SharePoint add-in model. We can use AppInstalled and AppUninstalling events to set up or remove SharePoint objects and other event receivers your add-in needs.

  • Finding Your Path as an IT Pro

    15 Nov 2018 Teresa Baxmeyer

    Until recently, career paths for IT Professionals seemed well defined, straightforward, and advancement was more or less linear. After choosing an area of interest, technical languages and roles became apparent. Staying on the same path throughout your career was the norm.  However, times have changed and to be successful we must adapt. The pace of change is rapid and employers need professionals who can learn new skills quickly - there is no longer a straight-line career path. After mastering one skill we must move on to the latest release as quickly as possible, constantly looking ahead to what skills are needed next. 

  • What is Orphaned Content?

     

    Orphaned content is content that doesn’t have any documents linking to it in the portal. This can happen a lot with older content. It’s easy to forget about older content and not remember to link it to new documents within the portal. This makes it difficult to find since there’s nothing in the portal that links to it. Instead of accessing it through a link on another page, you have to know the exact title or URL of the content to be able to find it.

  • Currently, there is a real hype around PowerApps. If you look at them from the bright side all the promises are kept. Well, there always is a “but” – that is clearly expected. Here, however, we don’t have only one of them, we have a heap.

    Let’s start slowly and systematically. Data Security is enterprise critical – mobilizing content, too. That’s why a lot of well-governed organizations do not allow apps to be provisioned on their mobile devices if not via their EMM infrastructures. They additionally want to know and decide which data and documents are published on what device as well as what for. And they want to manage the lifecycle of any mobile app. Having created a mobile app is fine. But what if it isn’t allowed to be rolled-out?

  • Microsoft Ignite 2018 Wrap Up

    01 Oct 2018 Marc Anderson
    Unless you were under a metaphorical rock last week, you probably were deluged with information coming out of the Microsoft Ignite conference in Orlando. While the conference was heavily weighted toward Azure innovations and enhancements, there was plenty for us to cheer about as SharePointilists. The SharePoint and OneDrive team uses Ignite as one half of its annual announcements cycle, with the May SharePoint Conference North America filling that role for the other half of the year. In each conference, they review what’s happened in the time since the last conference and let us know what will be coming before the next one. In other words, while there is plenty of vision mixed in, the announcements are all about enhancements we should see in the next half year. (Sure, they miss on a few things, but their track record here is strong.)
  • To ensure success in maximizing SharePoint and Office 365 usage, leverage the influential power of executives in your company. When leaders from every department play a role, the initiative becomes a priority to everyone.

    Even though your company size and structure will determine the number of executives to add to your team of stakeholders, aim to recruit at least two executives from every department and assign specific roles to each player. Look beyond your IT department; mobilize efforts from heads of departments across the organization.

  • Microsoft Ignite is happening this week in the sunny Orlando, FL. Office 365 was one of the most important topics of SharePoint Conference North America in May, 2018, and we expected some further news for Ignite, too. – And here it is: Microsoft just announced Microsoft Search, the “cohesive search that intelligently helps you find, discover, command and navigate”.

    Let’s see what this means.

  • A question comes up quite often: “How do we find internal influential people who can actually help with driving SharePoint and Office 365 adoption?”

    Successful adoption of new technologies is the result of organizational change. And, change seldom happens on it owns; long-term strategic efforts are needed.

    In addition to having a proven strategy, executive influence and peer pressure are needed. You need to assemble a team of influencers that will set expectations and inspire action.

  • Currently, there is a real hype around PowerApps. If you look at them from the bright side all the promises are kept. Well, there always is a “but” – that is clearly expected. Here, however, we don’t have only one of them, we have a heap.

  • The most frequent confusion that I encounter with users is related to what are OneDrive and OneDrive for Business, and how do I know the difference.  There’s good reason for this.  The OneDrive brand has been used to refer to two different services and multiple different components.

    To be simple about it, OneDrive is the cloud file synchronization platform for Microsoft.  OneDrive keeps files on your PC in sync with files on a cloud-hosted server.  OneDrive has a personal and a commercial offering.  In the commercial offering, OneDrive is also the mechanism that is used to synchronize SharePoint sites.

  • New hardware, office supplies, access to databases, purchase approvals, leave requests, benefit updates, travel reimbursements – these are just some of the many types of requests that an organization has to contend with every day. Without an organized system in place to manage the requests, a company will suffer from wasted time and lost efficiency due to delayed and unanswered requests – along with the consternation and frustration of employees and customers.

    Requests need to go into an orderly system so they can be handled properly and resolved quickly. The requests must be sent to the right person or group; relevant parties have to be notified; workflows need to run that automate the request processing; there have to be ways to reassign and escalate the request, as well as send alerts and status reports as the request makes its way to completion.

  • As we all know, aside from being its namesake, Modern SharePoint revolutionizes the SharePoint we know and love. Everyday users will particularly enjoy the update, as it makes it a lot easier for them to use, providing them with a more responsive and faster product, straight out of the box. With Communication Sites, Modern Team Sites and other improvements, such as column formatting and business apps integration, users will love to work with the new SharePoint.

  • In many companies, people work with documents, extensively. Among the common pain-points they would highlight is how hard it is to find documents, especially old documents. They would mention the amount of time that is wasted quite regularly in the efforts to find documents buried into folders and subfolders. To many, the frustration is familiar.

    Using SharePoint definitely solves this problem.

  • One of the most difficult challenges that implementers have is to get their users to enter metadata.  Metadata drives search and findability, but users just don’t want to do one more thing.  They may intellectually understand the need to find their work, but in the day to day work, it gets lost.  This might cause them to select the first option in a required drop-down.  I call this the “Afghanistan effect” because Afghanistan is first in an alphabetical list of countries and, especially for American users, is often not the correct entry for most uses of a Country field.  If the fields aren’t required, they may ignore them all together.  Here, we’ll look at two techniques for “tricking” users into entering metadata: Word quick parts, and column default value settings.

  •  

    As organizations move systems and processes from predominantly on-premises environments to cloud-based applications and platforms, they often fail to fully understand the impacts these changes have on their existing processes and IT operations. For example, your legacy administration tools may offer an “upgrade” to the vendor’s cloud version, yet it lacks feature parity. Reporting and executive dashboards may require an overhaul, as your new SaaS platform does not provide the same level of granularity as your legacy system.

     

    Future planning requires a thorough understanding of what is in place today. Creating a baseline of your current systems is an important aspect to tracking the success of any future changes – and it should include comparison data from other organizations in the community, and within your industry. On the topics of governance, security, and compliance, that’s exactly what we’re trying to provide: a baseline for Office 365 customers.

  • Gamification is a hot topic these days. Understanding how incorporating gamification can increase your company’s potential for growth is crucial for staying competitive in today’s market.

     

  • If you need another reason to attend SPTechCon in Boston this year, the Office 365 Hands-On Challenge is definitely a good one. This full-day, pre-conference experience will bring together Office 365 newbies and veterans alike to build real-world solutions for a local state university.  

    Think of it like a hack-athon, but for Office 365 users of all skill levels. (That is to say, real people… not just hackers). 

    Plymouth State University of New Hampshire, a state-run, non-profit university, is in need of better ways to run some of its business processes. You'll be teamed up with a diverse group of conference goers to help take Plymouth to the next step in collaboration, automation, and adoption within their Office 365 ecosystem. 

  • Secret SharePoint: Search Power

    05 Jul 2018 Robert Bogue

    SharePoint’s search engine is powerful.  It indexes content and properties.  It includes ranking engines that help float the information you really want to the top of the list.  However, there are ways you can structure your query to get even more relevant results.

  • End-users rarely start and continue using SharePoint and Office 365 on their own; strategic efforts are needed from both the IT team and the executive team in general.

    To increase SharePoint and Office 365 usage and improve adoption, leadership from every department has to get involved. The most effective step in this initiative is to follow adoption-friendly habits that employees can duplicate. If team members observe certain working habits from the leadership, they are more likely to imitate.

  • Creating the Group Events Document Library and Content Types

    The era of cloud computing era ushered in by Software as a Service (SaaS) has tremendous appeal and benefits for document and data management. However, because it lends itself to the storage of decentralized data, this can lead to users to an experience of data fragmentation, and inefficient information retrieval. Integrating disparate data sources into a searchable and coherent whole has brought its own challenges.

  • Secret SharePoint: Links and Looks

    11 Jun 2018 Robert Bogue

    Often there are times when you want to send a link to someone or control the look of a SharePoint page.  If you’re willing to do a bit of work, you can get links that make sense and look good, and you can improve the look of a page with something as simple as a parameter.

  • Everyone wants to make sure that their information is safe, and passwords prompts is a part of that process.  However, those prompts can become excessive and annoying if they feel like they’re happening every 30 seconds.  Here are some strategies to eliminate unnecessary authentication prompts for good.

  • One of the most popular questions that we get is on seeing how much of SharePoint or Office 365 is being used in an organization. For the purpose of having a quick look at the progress without the need to call outside expert help or the need to deploy advanced tools, some basic metrics will help.

  • Add a shopping cart, storefront and checkout experience to your SharePoint Online (Office 365).

    This is kind of a big deal.  Your staff or contractors can order supplies by adding items to a shopping cart and clicking through a checkout process that you get to control – all within your own SharePoint Online. 

    You can allow the checkout process to skip the payment step completely and use customizable “cost centers” for billing or enable secure credit card payments.

    Leverage cost center and business unit billing options to track orders and budget by department.

    Control inventory, issue discount codes and gift cards, manage and process orders, and stop the pain and suffering associated with using emails and spreadsheets as your “internal Amazon”.

  • SharePoint, as a platform, serves multiple purposes.  It can do collaboration and information management, and it can be a navigation portal that helps users find the resources they need to get their job done.  Sometimes, however, it’s more important to present guard rails to help users end up in the right place.  It’s more than helping find the places they have access to – it’s hiding those places they may have access to but that they typically don’t go to.

     

  • A common question that we often get is on choosing the best Office 365 tool for corporate internal communication.

    The answer is not that simple; several factors play different roles in the evaluation and selection process. By the way, Microsoft Outlook is not a consideration due to its limited capabilities.

    The short paragraphs below attempt to briefly outline the basic steps you may take to ensure a better decision.

    The basic action plan entails the following: clarify your communication objectives, evaluate the applicable tools, and ensure successful adoption of the chosen tool.

  • One of the questions that pops up like a prairie dog on the midwestern plains is whether users will see things that they shouldn’t see.  Whether it’s search or in the menus, folks don’t want others to see what they shouldn’t.  That makes sense, but when does SharePoint remove these items, and when doesn’t it?

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