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
 

Office 365 Video – New Video capability Online and On Premises

With the evolution of the Office 365 the SharePoint Online and On Premises also benefits, one of the latest new features is the Video management and availability in the Online and On Premises versions.

Some of the most interesting topics:
– Definition of the channel for the Video
– Upload multiple videos
– Recycle bin Video recover
– Editing of video titles and descriptions while still in upload process
– Custom thumbnail definition
– Statistics on videos visualizations
– Upload of custom subtitles
– Ability to download videos

What’s new in Office 365 – Video

My story with Sharepoint – 10 years and counting

In January of 2004 I had my first contact with Sharepoint, at that time it was the 2003 version, and my first project was to implement an Intranet Portal for a Government Entity, related to the energy area.

I never heard of Sharepoint before, so when I started searching for information, the first thing that I realized was that there wasn’t that much!

So the beginning was learning to install, configure, administrate, manage and USE!

The first Intranet was implemented without any specific development, only adjusting the clients requirements to the way Sharepoint worked. I have to say that the project was a success, and ever since I have been working with Sharepoint almost constantly, not exclusively, but there seems to exist always another Sharepoint project to me 🙂

So after 10 years, I have followed, implemented and some times been the alpha and beta implementor of some of the Sharepoint versions. Currently I have implementations of 2003, 2007, 2010 and 2013 versions of Sharepoint.

  • Sharepoint Portal Server 2003 – Intranet builder, this version was purely for internal use! A very poor community with very few information.
  • Office Sharepoint Server 2007 – The merge between the Sharepoint 2003 and CMS 2002, it was an adventure to start using! a very exciting new approach, that for the first time allowed us to use the same platform for internal and external solutions. Nevertheless it was clear that the merge between the Sharepoint 2003 and the CMS 2002 capabilities was still to be ended. The boost of the Sharepoint community, because the information from Microsoft was limited, the community took for itself to create the information ans solutions, it was the start of one of the most “rich” communities in the IT industry.
  • Sharepoint 2010 Server – A much merged platform, giving the social enterprise boost, and with a real document management capability (instead of managing documents). The community keeps growing, beginning to include other products knowledge. A very timid approach to Sharepoint in the Cloud.
  • Sharepoint 2013 – The more recent version, were we are all at this moment! A very strong community is still growing, and with the reality of Sharepoint in the Cloud a new approach on implementation is being done.

After 10 years working with Sharepoint, sometimes I am asked if I don’t get bored with it and if Sharepoint’s life is reaching the end . . . well, there is no such thing as a Sharepoint project!!! believe me when I say that every project is unique 🙂

About the Sharepoint’s longevity it seems that for every new version that is released it becomes more of a core platform for Microsoft, some examples of this are the inclusion of Project Server and Commerce Server as services on Sharepoint, instead of standalone products.

A real threat to Sharepoint’s continuous use can be the licensing, because in these times of crisis one of the first cuts of costs that companies do is licensing, and if Microsoft doesn’t adjust to this “new” reality it will suffer, as well as the platform.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Reimagine SharePoint Development Guidance

With a new version of Sharepoint comes new challenges and doubts.

Microsoft has released a new Development Guidance to help us make some decisions.

When should we use APPs? Cloud or premisses? … Should I ask for a raise? ok, the last one is not part of the guidance 🙂

 

In the download you can choose between Deciding Between Apps For SharePoint And SharePoint Solutions and Moodle And Office365 With ADFS, both in pdf and xps formats.

 

You can download this new Guidance here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=39047&WT.mc_id=rss_alldownloads_all

 

 

Free Microsoft E-Books

One of the most valueable thing is knowledge, therefore every way we can have access to it is most welcome.

 

Microsoft has over the years been releasing e-books for free on their technologies, and now we have a MONSTER list:

  • Sharepoint
  • Azure and Cloud
  • Development
  • Visual Studio and TFS
  • SQL Server
  • Windows
  • and more

 

you can find these e-books at this link: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/11608.e-book-gallery-for-microsoft-technologies.aspx

 

 

Sharepoint 2013 and Antivirus

One of the questions from the IT departments, when we set up a Sharepoint Farm is and the Antivirus???

Well there are some guidelines to do it, in terms of products and what to be aware of, but now with the 2013 version we have to know the new information’s on it. HArbar.NEt has published a new article on this subject called Antivirus and Sharepoint 2013.

In this article Spencer Harbar, talks about the discontinuation of Forefront Protection for Sharepoint and the alternatives to it.

 

You can find this article here.

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.

FINALLY, Microsoft Embraces Social — And It’s Going to be Big

I have come accross an article in Forbes web site on Social Enterprise in Microsoft products and strategy, if you follow the Sharepoint evolution you know that this is one of the areas that has been growing in every new version of the product.

Since the 2007 version (MOSS) that Microsoft has started a trail of Enterprise Social networking, providing  features that allow knowledge sharing, profiles connections among others. These were upgraded in the 2010 version but are still in a very early stage, and we hope that in the next version of Sharepoint this can be really an investment.

Check out the Frobes article at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/markfidelman/2012/03/13/finally-microsoft-embraces-social-and-its-going-to-be-big/

 

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