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  • No matter how much Microsoft and other platform providers talk about the speed of delivery in the cloud, there still needs to be some kind of "shock and awe" announcements left off of the weekly build schedule and shared through a carefully orchestrated mega-conference.

  • BA Insight announces availability of our Connectors for Hybrid SharePoint. This out of the box software works in conjunction with Microsoft’s new Cloud Search Service Application (Cloud SSA) to bring content into a unified search index running in Office 365. For the first time, organizations can use an online search facility, run by Microsoft, to provide a unified view across all content enterprise-wide.    

  • When Office 365 really came into its own in about 2013, the message from Microsoft was “To the Cloud!” Later, they eased back to “Hybrid!” With SharePoint 2016, the messaging has become a heck of a lot more flexible. With 2016, you can have your cake, and probably eat it too.

  • To take advantage of the popularity of the Web-based service connectivity platform IFTTT (If This Then That), Microsoft yesterday announced it is launching Office 365 Channels for IFTTT.

  • Metalogix, the premier provider of collaboration content management software to move, manage and secure content in the cloud, on-premises and hybrid environments, today announced at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, Essentials for Office 365, a new unified management suite. The solution provides all the necessary functionality to perform the lifecycle management for Office 365, from onboarding users to managing the migration, security and backup for content from a single management console. 

  • When SharePoint 2016 becomes available later this year, and is released to the public in Q1 2016, there will be five versions in use by organizations around the world. That’s a lot of collaboration. When I think about all the various questions I have been asked about SharePoint over the years, I realize that many of them are the same, based primarily on how to use a functional piece of the system, how to create a workflow, or how to maximize a specific efficiency within an organization.

  • Microsoft this week let its partners in on a premium Office 365 suite designed to enhance productivity through collaboration and innovation—and to give third-party providers new opportunities to integrate with Microsoft’s tooling.

  • Nintex, the global standard in workflow automation, today launched two new enterprise-grade workflow automation software for companies to drive productivity and engagement for global workforces who are located in the office or in the field, from laptops to mobile devices, and when connected or offline.

  • SP Marketplace (http://www.spmarketplace.com/), the leader in Office 365 business portals and applications, announced SP Business Suite 365, a next generation business suite that transforms Office 365 into an operational hub that drives higher employee productivity and collaboration.  

  • Beezy Inc., the most comprehensive enterprise collaboration solution for Office 365 and SharePoint, today announced the general availability of the first seamless integration between Yammer and the award-winning Beezy enterprise collaboration solution. Using Beezy, community activity within Yammer is now visible and interactive in SharePoint, and likewise, all social activity in SharePoint can be visible within the Yammer newsfeed, allowing organizations to leverage their social investments across both Yammer and SharePoint.

  • Rackspace, the #1 managed cloud company, today announced that it has expanded its service offering for its Microsoft product portfolio with Fanatical Support for Microsoft Azure. Rackspace will work with customers to help them speed their deployment of Azure, minimize costs and optimize performance. Rackspace engineers will provide application and infrastructure architecture guidance, making it easy for customers to succeed with Azure. The company will also offer hybrid cloud solutions that combine Rackspace Private Cloud powered by Microsoft’s Cloud Platform and Azure.

  • Nintex, the global standard in workflow automation, today announced it has acquired Drawloop Technologies, Inc., headquartered in Irvine, Calif., to further its ability to help customers and partners worldwide transform document generation and business processes with technologies that ensure workflows run seamlessly in the cloud and hybrid environments, and between platforms like Office 365, Sharepoint and Salesforce.

  • There is a lot being written today that ETL is dead, dying, an old horse that can no longer keep up with the automobiles of today – namely, Big Data.  To some extent this is true, but not in the Microsoft ecosystem of Cloud First, Mobile First, self-service BI. In four steps I will show you how you can extract, transform and load data today.  

  • We hear it time and again. “My company implemented SharePoint, but it’s not a good solution. No one wants to use it.” The blame falls on the software – which, to a degree, it should – but it should be falling on the company. Why? Because it’s the restrictive policies and procedures that govern usage that are turning people off to SharePoint. As Barry Jinks asks in this excellent blog post, do data security and regulatory compliance have to trade off with user experience? It’s an interesting look at a big problem facing organizations that want to go all-in with SharePoint, and you can find it here.

  • Imagine that you’ve been asked to help plan the new children’s science center in your city. You are thrilled to be part of it because of how this new facility will enable your kids to collaborate, interact and learn. However, because of government regulation and concerns for the children’s welfare, when the facility opens there is heavy security around the place; everyone gets searched before they can enter.

  • A new crop of MVPs

    David Rubinstein

    It’s July, when most people’s thoughts turn to how nice it would be to be outside on a beautiful summer’s day instead of being chained to a desk in an office that’s either way too hot or way too cold.

  • After a collective sigh of relief, we must get back to work and find ways to customize in the post-“SharePoint on-premises is dead” days and look to our foreseeable future of hybrid. This past May at Ignite 2015 in Chicago, the SharePoint community was assured that SharePoint on-premises will continue as long as there is a demand. But the tables have turned for the better, and SharePoint will now be driven by the cloud (and on-prem will follow).

  • AvePoint, the established leader in enabling enterprise collaboration across platforms and devices, today announced the general availability of three new apps – AvePoint Watermark, AvePoint MyWorld, and AvePoint PDF Aggregator – for Office 365 and SharePoint Online. With the addition of these apps, workers can better streamline everyday business operations and take advantage of the latest Microsoft technologies to enhance business insights.

    Through the use of familiar tools such as PDFs and integration with Microsoft’s innovative Office Graph, AvePoint’s latest apps allow end-users to better protect confidential documents as well as be more productive by surfacing relevant information and simplifying everyday business processes. The apps include:

  • SharePoint changes... why?

    David Rubinstein

    Microsoft has had some bad company habits when it comes to moving its users (developers, IT pros and information workers) to the new technologies it is developing.

  • Android users can now access Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps from their Android phone. The announcement joins the Office apps for Android tablets, and it marks Microsoft’s commitment to bringing the Office experience to Android users worldwide.

  • Whether you are an internal resource, a consultant, or working for a product company, you are likely shipping a product to your end users on a regular basis. The size and shape of that shipment may change. From large software packages to simple workflow updates, we are all shipping some sort of product, but do we know how that product is performing in the wild? Do we know the pain points that end users are experiencing?

  • Is the people picker broken?

    David Rubinstein

    At the end of May, Microsoft architect Kirk Evans wrote a blog post about the frustrations users were experiencing implementing claims authentication via SAML in SharePoint.

  • SPServices has been a mainstay of SharePoint client-side development since 2009. Yup, that’s when I first posted the fledgling library on Codeplex. It’s only recently that I’ve realized how important it’s been to people in the SharePoint community. I’ve always known it was getting a lot of use, but I didn’t realize how pervasive that use was.

  • Your people and your data are your organization’s greatest assets. With Office 365, we continuously strive to provide you with more control over how your data is managed and accessed.

    At Ignite in May, we announced the ability to assign workload-specific service administrator roles to your organizations IT administrators for Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Skype for Business Online. We’re pleased to announce that this capability is rolling out starting today.

    The ability to assign workload-specific admin roles provides your organization more control over how your Office 365 administrators access your data. An admin assigned to a workload-specific admin role would only have access to the relevant controls and settings associated with that workload. For example, the SharePoint Online administrator role provides that admin access to only SharePoint related controls and settings in the Office 365 Admin Center. The SharePoint Online admin can manage SharePoint site collections, configure SharePoint settings such as the organizations external sharing policy and access SharePoint Admin Center for additional SharePoint capabilities. However, the SharePoint Online admin will not have access to other Office 365 service controls and settings such as mailbox configuration, transport rules and other non-SharePoint related settings.

    More-control-over-data-access-with-workload-specific-admin-roles-1

    In addition, to better align the permissions to how your administrators are organized, there is more flexibility in assigning roles. If your Office IT administrators have multiple responsibilities and require permissions that are greater than what is offered in one administrator role, such as within SharePoint Online and Skype for Business Online responsibilities, then you can assign both those roles to that administrator. Your organization is no longer limited to only one admin role assignment per administrator.

    To configure an admin role, the global administrator selects the user from the active user list, then selects edit user roles > Limited Admin Role to display the list of all the Office 365 admin roles. Simply select the applicable admin role(s) and you’re done.

    More-control-over-data-access-with-workload-specific-admin-roles-2

    With the new workload-specific admin roles and the ability to select multiple admin roles, your organization now has more options to set the right level of permissions to your Office 365 IT administrators. Ultimately, this means you now have more control over who has access to your organization’s data.

  • Build a Form, win a prize

    David Rubinstein

    The fine folks at Kintivo have launched their “Build a Form” contest to encourage SharePoint users to create a fully functioning form its business can actually benefit from.

  • 0610.sp-bamboo

    SharePoint collaboration software provider Bamboo Solutions has announced that Workflow Conductor R4.0 is available for SharePoint 2013. Workflow Conductor is the company’s solution to creating, managing and reusing custom business processes without having to do custom coding.

  • It's amazing how quickly the community conversation can shift. A year ago, people were up in arms about the future of SharePoint on-premises, reading into what was said (and not said) at last year's SharePoint Conference, with the doom-and-gloom crowd predicting its rapid demise. And here we are, post-Ignite, with a renewed energy surrounding a forthcoming (albeit slightly delayed) SharePoint Server 2016, and for just about every vendor I speak with, there’s plenty of SharePoint business to go around. In fact, SharePoint is still growing.

  • 0605.sp-wunderlist

    Microsoft has acquired German startup 6Wunderkinder, the company behind the Wunderlist to-do list Web and mobile app.

  • As June is the end of the Microsoft fiscal year, I had a chance to speak with Microsoft technical product manager Jeremy Thake about the upgrades and announcements regarding Office 365 and SharePoint.

  • When I started speaking on the SharePoint conference circuit, I often told the story of one of the first implementations in which I took part. The project was for a communications company, and the scope was focused on getting the platform set up for basic team functions, document management and collaboration. The project team was made up of relative newcomers to the organization, and since it was 2003, many of us were new to SharePoint altogether.

  • Varonis Systems, Inc., the leading provider of software solutions for unstructured, human-generated enterprise data, today announced the release of several updates to the Varonis Metadata Framework - its core platform for delivering innovation through a wide range of products. Important enhancements have been made to Varonis DatAdvantage, Varonis DataPrivilege and the company's core "commit engine."

    The release of version 6.1.30 of the industry-leading Varonis Metadata Framework platform continues to raise the bar in enabling organizations of all sizes to analyze, protect, manage and share their rapidly growing volumes of unstructured data. On the heels of the May 20, 2015, announcement of beta availability of new cloud compatibility with Microsoft Office 365, Varonis solutions bring organizations peace of mind on their most valuable and sensitive data, wherever they chose to store it: on premise, in the cloud, or in a hybrid environment.

    The new features are as follows:
    —DataPrivilege for SharePoint: Users will now be able to manage their SharePoint data alongside their file share data without IT's involvement, putting identity management in the hands of data owners and their business unit leaders.
    — DatAdvantage for Directory Services: With improved detection capabilities, users will be able to not only detect group policy changes in Active Directory, but also show IT staff exactly which policy settings were changed. More log-on information will be captured and analyzed to help security better spot possible intrusions and misuse, along with real time alerts when critical settings are modified. These enhancements will help IT better control the security and stability of a critical infrastructure component.
    — Commit Management Platform: Advanced logic and functionality have been added to Varonis' commit engine, the underlying mechanism that allows the software to affect customers' environments through changing access control lists, folder structures, and group memberships. The new logic will  make sure that all changes will satisfy logical dependencies; new functionality will help administrators easily program changes in bulk, add more flexibility to schedule and monitor their execution, and add flexibility to more easily roll back changes later. With these enhancements, users will be able to get their environments under control more quickly than ever before.

    Yaki Faitelson, Varonis Co-Founder and CEO, said, "We are witnessing a growing demand for organizations and by organizations to secure, manage and take advantage of the massive volumes of emails, word documents, spreadsheets, presentations, images, audio, and video files that are created and shared by their employees every day. We call this human-generated data. Rarely does a week pass without news of a data breach impacting hundreds or thousands of consumers, and a huge percentage of these breaches seem to stem from poorly managed file environments. This is why we continue to work hard to refine and expand our software solutions to help our customers take every proactive step necessary to feel confident in the security of their data files, whether they live on premise, in the cloud, or in a hybrid environment. We look forward to helping more companies prevent serious damage from future data breaches, and feel confident in the security of their data."

    For more information on Varonis' solution portfolio, please visit www.varonis.com and join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

  • Apttus, the category-defining Quote-to-Cash solution provider, announced today the formal launch of its X-Author for Excel Partner Program. The program will provide participating organizations of all size and industry-type with the support and service required to sell the Apttus X-Author for Excel solution directly to their own customers. This functionality will not only open additional streams of revenue for Apttus partners, but also diversify the overall business needs they can address. In addition to these tangible business enhancements, participants will significantly increase Salesforce user adoption and usage throughout their customer base, contributing to an overall increase in efficiency and effectiveness of their own solutions.

    X-Author for Excel transforms Microsoft Excel from a standalone desktop tool into a native UI for Salesforce and is applicable across all industry verticals and functions. For business tasks such as mass data manipulation and financial modeling, many users are accustomed to the multi-row, multi-tasking experience provided by Excel, often eschewing the utility and innovation of the Salesforce platform. Implementation of X-Author for Excel integrates the data, controls, permissions, and routing of Salesforce with the familiar user experience of Excel. With X-Author for Excel, data manipulation can be completed in one percent of the time that it would take in the traditional browser UI. X-Author technology is also transforming data migration, moving data between orgs 80 percent faster than comparable tools.

  • George Bernard Shaw wrote, “Progress is impossible without change.” If you know Microsoft and heard the messages from the recent Ignite conference, you know this is Microsoft’s mantra (sometimes to our discontent).

  • Two weeks ago at Microsoft’s Ignite conference, we got one of our first looks a potential new shift on how we may customize SharePoint Online to create our own completely custom portals. The answer? NextGen Portals for Office 365. In a few sessions on NextGen portals, Daniel Kogan and Jeremy Kelley, both SharePoint Product Managers within Microsoft, gave a session called “Behind the Scenes: Engineering NextGen Portals,” which may be viewed now at Channel 9. This talk explored a customization paradigm shift, and it certainly appears to be the answer to Microsoft’s warning of changing master pages in Office 365.

  • Microsoft has announced new features and integrations for Outlook Web App, OneDrive for Business, and the Clutter e-mail organization feature for Office 365.

  • 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.

  • Microsoft would like every organization to move to the cloud. But realizing that many are not yet ready to move, the company has decided to bring the cloud to you.

  • When Microsoft announced Office 365 Video at the last SharePoint conference, many folks were impressed by the demos, both in the keynote as well as the breakout sessions. At the time, it was not available for customer tenants, and the news faded into the mix of other announcements made at the conference.

  • From the halls of Microsoft Ignite 2015, AvePoint, the established leader in enabling enterprise collaboration across platforms and devices, today announced new tools to help customers speed up and simplify the move to Microsoft Office 365. Utilizing Microsoft Azure technologies, AvePoint Solutions for Office 365 enable organizations to migrate to Microsoft Office 365 faster while ensuring sustainable user adoption and effectively managing critical business data on the platform.

  • Formotus, a mobile enterprise form provider, announced an expansion to its mobile form offerings at Microsoft Ignite including the Formotus SharePoint List Connector. The new custom control enables uses of a repeating table in any form to update data in a SharePoint list. The expansion also adds a feature allowing column additions to SharePoint form libraries for one-click item opening in the Formotus mobile app from the browser. The company also announced on-demand mobile data forms through its new Formotus Now mobile app for iOS and Windows 8. The app is in limited beta preview. More details are available in the Formotus blog post.

  • SMART Technologies Inc. now offers new capabilities in its  SMART Room System (SRS) for Skype for Business (previously known as Microsoft Lync), including enhanced functionality, new support services, and seamless integration with Skype for Business and Microsoft Office 365.

  • QUADROtech today officially announced a Triple Play offering for Exchange and Office 365 mail migrations. QUADROtech, who are a leading email migration vendor enabling businesses to non-disruptively migrate data – has updated its framework following feedback from its growing customer base with a new workflow designed to solve ISV Disparity and speed-to-completion time.

  • Cryptzone, a provider of dynamic, context-aware network, application and content security solutions, today announced its enhanced offerings for Microsoft Azure at this week’s Ignite conference. Cryptzone is rolling out support for Azure across its cybersecurity solutions, including AppGate Secure Access and HiSoftware Security Sheriff for Office 365, ensuring the same multi-layered and tailored security for sensitive information whether in the cloud or on-premises.
  • Beezy, the preferred enterprise social collaboration solution for SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013, announced today the availability of Beezy for Office 365, with support for migration from Beezy on-premises to the cloud, and from competitive social platforms Jive and IBM Connections to Office 365. Beezy is the only social tool provider built on SharePoint that supports social collaboration on-prem, in the cloud, and in hybrid SharePoint deployments. Additionally, Beezy is the only solution providing migration options between platforms.

  • Metalogix today released an update to its ControlPoint data loss-protection software, and introduced Service Manager for Office 365 to help organizations provision users and content.

  • Microsoft’s Build conference kicks off today. Developers will hear about Windows 10, HoloLens, Azure enhancements, Cortana, Windows Phone 8.1, Docker containers... oh, and new tools for creating Office 365 applications. In his keynote, CEO Satya Nadella spoke of Office as a complete platform, more than simply a collection of applications and APIs. Integrations with DocuSign, LinkedIn and Salesforce were demonstrated. Imagine, Microsoft partnering with Salesforce! Also, an Uber add-in for Outlook will allow users to get reminders about rides based on events in their calendars.

  • Last week I blogged about Power BI and gave a balanced perspective regarding a project I am working on. Jen Underwood from Microsoft had some great feedback. In looking at her blog, I found a vendor call Datazen that offered a product that might fill a couple of my project needs where Power BI could not.

  • Do you know what the “yips” are?  According to Wikipedia, the yips is a term applied to sports players who lose fine motor skills without apparent explanation. Athletes affected by the yips demonstrate a sudden, unexplained loss of previous skills. Athletes affected by the yips sometimes recover their ability, sometimes compensate by changing technique, or may be forced to abandon their sport at the highest level. Perhaps the most famous example of someone with the yips is former big-league baseball player Chuck Knoblauch, a second baseman who during his tenure with the New York Yankees seemingly forgot how to throw a ball from his position to first base. And there’s pro basketball player Charles Barkley, who golfs with a strange hitch-push motion when swinging. Check it out on YouTube if you haven’t seen it before.

  • AvePoint, the established leader in enabling enterprise collaboration across platforms and devices, today announced the general availability of AvePoint Perimeter Service Pack (SP) 4. AvePoint Perimeter extends the collaboration power of on-premises SharePoint beyond the walls of the organization, increasing user productivity by allowing them to work with anyone from a single content repository – all while maintaining security over the content with robust administrator options. 

  • PlexHosted, a developer of robust managed cloud-hosting solutions for better enterprise collaboration, today announced a new set of product offerings for Microsoft SharePoint that will allow Microsoft Office 365 customers to continue using SharePoint Online Public Websites, a feature that was discontinued by Microsoft earlier this year. As a Microsoft Partner, PlexHosted is approved to host public websites based on SharePoint.

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