Strategy – When to use SharePoint, Yammer, Office365, Outlook or Skype

On Channel 9 there are a number of resources on SharePoint, today I am highlighting one that includes SharePoint. The evolution of Office365 has raised a number of questions that sometimes are difficult for the end user to understand, because some products seem to have the same function.

This session addresses this topic related to when should we use what technology.

 
https://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Ignite/2015/BRK2102/player#time=0h0m0s:paused
 

SharePoint Training – Online and On Premises

One of the most common questions I am asked is were can resources and training information be found for different levels. Well, the best option I can point you at is Microsoft 🙂 more specifically the Microsoft Virtual Academy (https://mva.microsoft.com/).

MVA

You can choose the product or platform, and the level you need, so that it can fit several needs.

You can also define you own learning path, allowing you to choose the courses and do them at your own pace.

 

Sharepoint versus open source solutions in times of crisis

Ok, this is an old discussion but in the financial crisis environment , many organizations are trying to get rid of licencing and opt for free or much cheaper solutions.

So this lead us to the main question, is sharepoint a solution in this context, or will it suffer because of it’s cost?

Lets be clear, Sharepoint is not a cheap solution! even though you opt for the Sharepoint Foundation version, you still need a licensed Windows Operating System and a SQL Server (ok, here you can go with the SQL Express, but it is limited in capability and cannot be clustered). On the other side there are several other CMS solutions that are not licensed or have non licensed versions (Community).

So What should my organization choose?

 

My answer is depends . . . ok, this is the easiest answer but the most honest one, why? because there are no two similar cases between two different organizations, and while some will get their objective with an open source solution, others will be very limited on their capability of work and evolution.

With more than 10 years implementing CMS solutions one thing I have witness is that free versions normally have a catch (not all!!! but most), the Community versions give you basic functionality and capability, but when you need more complex approaches usually you have to go with the Enterprise versions, and those are licensed. This also happens with Sharepoint, if you go with the Foundation version you will have a basic amount of functionality and capability, but if you want to go online in internet or the have more complex solutions you will need standard or enterprise versions.

So do I believe Sharepoint is a real solution in this times of crisis, hell yeah!

Sharepoint gives you something that most platforms don’t, it was built for a number of porpuses and it works! you can say that you have a lot of problems implementing Sharepoint solutions, believe I have seen a lot of them, and because I have I know what I am talking about.

I have implemented CMS solutions with Liferay, Joomla, Sitefinity and other CMS as well as a lot of Sharepoint (Sharepointing since 2004), and I can honestly say that when comparing the various products with Sharepoint there seems something missing, either in the implementation of on the functionality / capability part.

Once again, I am not a Sharepoint only Purist, I can recognize that there are other CMS solutions better depending on the purpose o f the implementation. Sharepoint is not a tool for everything, but as far as I know is THE TOOL for some specific scenarios.

 

This is a very long post, but the objective is to question the future and utility of the Sharepoint Platform nowadays and in the near future. I believe Microsoft will have to adjust their licensing program, to enable Sharepoint, and other products to continue to be chosen. And I do still believe Sharepoint still have no direct match for all it’s range, but the evolution will show if the competition will keep up and catch up or even became better.

 

Do you want to keep learning? why not online and for free . . .

One of the things we acknowledge very quickly in our area is that you need to keep updated in knowledge.

This will be easy if you have the taste to learn! If you do why not learn from exciting courses from prestigious schools for free? Yes, you read it right, for free . . how can I do this?

 

Well . . . there are several platforms with this objective I personally recommend 2: Coursera and edX

 

Coursera: https://www.coursera.org/

edX: https://www.edx.org/

 

Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes.
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Peter F. Drucker (1909-2005) American writer and management consultant.

New baby boy, less posts :)

Well for the last 3 weeks I have been posting less due to the birth of my new baby boy.

I am now a very proud father of 3 boys.

 

So in the next few weeks I count on returning to posting on technology, but for now my attention is for my family.

Sharepoint – how to “sell” the concept?

If you need to “sell” the concept of Sharepoint to a client or even in your own organization, there are a few pointers to keep in mind, so I will try to sum up the dos and don’ts.

Before the list, keep in mind that Sharepoint is not a complex platform, but it provides MANY functionalities and solutions, and sometimes that is the hardest part . . . how do you explain what is Sharepoint and what can be done with it.

 

First lets talk about what you SHOULD do:

  • Know Sharepoint – this seems a bit obvious, but it is so important for the person that is talking about a solution or product to have REAL knowledge. It is the only way you can “sell” the idea for a specific client or context. Someone that really knows what they are talking about can adapt his speech in a presentation or conversation to the needs and desires of the client, and can clarify any doubts that may appear.
  • Know your client – when you go to an external or internal client, you should know as much as possible about him. This is an advantage when addressing someone, and enables you to adapt your speech / presentation to the clients context. This is so important even for internal clients, if you must have this presentation internally in your organization, try to know exactly to whom are you going to be talking so you can be prepared.
  • Adapt your scenarios – If you are going to talk to Lawyers don’t take them a retail presentation, clients need to have their scenarios or as close as possible, so they can relate to what you are presenting. Even if you are talking to someone in your organization, do adapt your speech and facts to the reality of the clients needs.
  • Take the numbers with you – so you do need to persuade your client to choose Sharepoint, try to have some licensing information, because one of the first questions will e “how much will this cost me?”, this question usually comes from financial or administration profiles. Another typical question is related to hardware, this one comes from the IT departments, “How many servers will I need?”, “What Software will be needed?”. So the architectural knowledge is also important.
  • Prepare and rehearse  your presentations – If you are well prepared for a meeting or presentation, the success probability is huge. By preparing you can improve your own speech and presentation, and at the same time gives you confidence for the talk itself.
  • Keep it simple – if you cannot explain in simple terms what you are talking about, you will not be able to talk clearly to so many client profiles. You need to be ready to talk to administrations, IT departments, Human Resources, Administrative sections, or even profiles like industrial workers.  In your speech do abuse the technical terms, remember that not all people know what you are talking about.

 

Now lets talk about what you SHOULD NOT do:

  • Do not try to teach your client his business, usually they do not like that.
  • be carefull with your speech, keep it clear and simple without the abuse of technical terms.
  • do not go to a presentation without rehearsing it, one of the worst feelings is to be talking about something without knowing the sequence or the subject.
  • At least google about your client, jus to know what they do.
  • If you do not know about what someone asks you, DO NOT make things up!!!

 

These are some of the pointers that I usually use for myself and my team.

Visual Studio 11 – Productivity Booster !!!

Last Wednesday I went to a Microsoft’s Portugal Event on Visual Studio 11, it has been a while since my last event and the topic is very interesting to me.

This was an event that was divided into 6 sessions:

  • Keynote – Welcome to Visual Studio 11 (with Jay Schmelzer)
  • What’s new in the Visual Studio IDE (with Michael Koster)
  • Agile Application life-cycle Management with Visual Studio 11 (with Mitch Lacey)
  • Async -New Feature for Responsive Programming in Visual Studio 11 and .Net 4.5 (with Caio Proiete)
  • Software Testing with Microsoft Test Manager 11 and Lab Management (with Luis Carvalho)
  • Visual Studio 11 and Windows Azure (with Jay Schmelzer)

 

To sum up the event I think the new version of the VS is much programmer friendly, on subjects like Search, Snippets, Project Templates, functionalities and preview.

So, the new VS11 will support HTML5 (DOCTYPE) and has code snippets of HTML. The Code Snippets were largely upgraded and have much more than only C#, you can even find MVC specific snippets.

Another excellent new feature is the search, you will have search in almost every context. This allows you to be more productive in finding what you are looking for.

The preview tab, allows you to see a specific file content, without opening a new tab, this will help prevent the flooding of tabs that we all know and hate.

On project templates, specifically to Sharepoint, Microsoft has made available much less than the previous version. This was done because the templates used were only a few, this way we can continue to use the solutions templates and add all the other project types that we need.

So we get to the TFS (Team Foundation Server) part, here we have some very exciting news.

We will be able to suspend and Shelve using snapshots, this will allow us to freeze an environment up to the break point 😉

Both have the same principle, but the suspend is to be used when we are interupted, and the shelve when we want to save changes without checkin to the TFS.

The Lab management part has also some very useful news, we now can set has target environments any type of Virtual Machines and our own laptops or desktops. This is managed using agents installed on the target machine.

This is just a small sample of the VS11, that you can start using right now, the beta version is available for download.

You can find the download here: http://www.microsoft.com/visualstudio/11/en-us/downloads#vs

 

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