We need to be a workforce of the future not the past.

Posted by Jim on July 11, 2017
O365, Office 365, SharePoint 2016 / Comments Off on We need to be a workforce of the future not the past.

SCOPE OF Discussions:

Over the last 10 months under my direction our development team developed a new communication portal for CSM Bakery Solutions. It was first developed in an 0365-development environment both my personal Environment (owned and managed for 6 years) and further developed in a second O365 environment which became our production environment and finally moved to a 2016 production environment where the final alterations and adjustments were made just as they had been made in all the other previous environments.

Throughout this time both my developers and myself as well as our marketing team of in experienced SharePoint users were utilizing site content administrator permissions at the site content level. Subsequently 20 days ago the Cognizant team (Our third party administrators) removed our top-level permissions without warning or provocation .. and we then had to try and support the system in a dysfunctional architecture that was not by design.

At that point and at the request of the Business, I engaged the organization to open a ticket with Microsoft for two reasons:

  1. Firstly, to get a better understanding of what is and is not best practice when managing Content Management Systems such as SharePoint from an administrative, user and developer perspective and,
  2. Secondly to begin undertaking a review and Analysis of next steps for us to move from 2016 to O365 given the hick-ups missteps and failed delivery.

It has always been our intent to be on O365 and at this point and the Business has raised significant concerns about IT capabilities as well as concerns about Cognizant as a third part manager, there role and cost and conflict of interest in managing our systems.

It is my contention that however the security and governance of this system was framed using older versions of SharePoint, our currently framed structure it is improper, incorrect and does not lend itself to the standards and capabilities given the level of knowledge expertise and capability of the Development team who engage a full level of support for the system.

Now having moved CSM’s System to the most mature and secure version of SharePoint, and knowing that we will be moving to a single tenant in the other O365 environments in the next three to six months, we need to review our Governance considering these changes and in light of the leaps in security and environment protection Microsoft has built into its current systems.

With mine now 17 years of experience working with all flavors and versions and all features and capabilities and all pillars of the SharePoint environment overseen senior Architects and Developers in my organization and many other roles, it is my contention that we no longer need to have such over bearing security boundaries placed on the Developers and Architects roles in that it hampers the process of development and administration which is the Dual role.

Given the isolation of systems in Site Content Containers, Sandbox solutions, other features in tenant solutions and our development approaches that use nothing but Out of The Box capabilities this old governance model we have now is overly protective and produces un-necessary cost and inefficacies that more represent the old-style application models we used in SharePoint 2007 than the new age model more aligned with the capabilities of the cutting-edge Microsoft technologies.

Moreover, our movement to O365 will introduce more economies and opportunities to reduce administrative overhead by third party companies that pray on companies by enforcing overly restrictive control models to hi-jack and hamstring use of inhouse personnel expertise and abilities (e.g. un-necessary hand holding that produce inefficiencies and make customers un-necessary reliance and developers and advanced users pray to uneasy rules and regulations).

And in an extension of this thought, I must question the UAT environment we have now hurriedly stood up. This environment created at significant expense (both to stand up and maintain) to proffer the vailed value proposition that it offers in that developers now have got a safe place to build and create “Workflow” Forms, List Libraries service such as excel, Visio or capabilities such as access service Information Rights Management, Customized Search, eDiscovery strategies, External access, or to provision master pages or templates or layout pages or Records management, PowerPoint Services, Power Pivot Score Card, Performance Point, on an on … etc. and then move to the third party to enable in the production environment.

What then are we going to do when we go to O365. Should we then also have a “UAT O365 so the developers can build and deploy in the antiquated old school application model. Are should we not start using OOTB features and capabilities builds in production as intended? And assigning the correct rights to develop and build such in production?

Are we to believe that our UAT can maintain synchronized images like the old style 2007 and 2010 systems did when developers were had building customization to the frame work? NO App Model or Web Part development or solution.

At the core of this request .. my concern is that CMS and management is just missing the point that this tool (“SHAREPOINT”) was designed to be used. And used by all at all levels. The capabilities and fail safes built into the system no longer present the risk of damage of failure that the older 2007, 2010 systems presented.

We need to evaluate the risk and rewards that stifle innovation and motivation of our employees and talent base and rather enable them to work with the cutting-edge technologies without unnecessary and obtrusive constraints. We need to be a workforce of the future not the past.

Just a comment I wanted to share – JIM


Want to Learn SharePoint?

Posted by Jim on July 04, 2017
O365, Office 365, SharePoint 2013, SharePoint 2016 / Comments Off on Want to Learn SharePoint?

Anyone looking for structured training and wants to learn some of SharePoint best practices before you engage your next site build – I encourage that you consider some formal SharePoint Training. There are plenty of choices out there by many many providers, from whole-day online training sessions to week-long boot camps. Such training is a great way to take your skills to the next level by learning industry best practices and expanding on the skills you picked up yourself.

Things you can do to learn SharePoint?

1: Start using it

When you want to learn how to drive a car, I am sure you can read books and view videos or listen to friends’ advice. However, until you put yourself behind the wheel and start pushing pedals and shift transmission, you won’t learn how to drive. SharePoint is no different. The best way to learn SharePoint is by starting to use it. Before you start taking formal training, I highly recommend that you test drive the tool and try to do things with it. Whether you will just try to upload and share documents or do more advanced stuff like creating sites and pages, you will get some idea about SharePoint.

2: Become a SharePoint addict

Follow SharePoint blogs, watch videos. When you want to learn SharePoint, as I stated in one of my previous posts, Google is your best friend. There is wealth of information out there on Internet, (and all free too) for you to start using. If you encountered a question or a problem on SharePoint, the chances are, someone else did as well.

3: Attend Some Free SharePoint Webinars

Lots of SharePoint consulting companies are doing free SharePoint webinars these days. They might not necessarily be thorough, but are a great way to learn certain SharePoint topics and review capabilities of SharePoint in general. By the way, I run several SharePoint webinars myself on various topics, feel free to check out a schedule here.

4: Join a SharePoint User Group in your area

Lots of large cities worldwide have some sort of SharePoint User Group (meet ups), meeting regularly to listen to SharePoint experts talking about SharePoint. Also, once a year, big cities also host SharePoint Saturday events, where once a year, on Saturday, they have big, one-day conference with lots of SharePoint experts sharing knowledge about SharePoint. Both of these are completely free and great way to learn SharePoint something in fun atmosphere.

Is SharePoint 2019 the Likely Next On-Premise Release

Posted by Jim on July 01, 2017
O365, SharePoint 2016 / Comments Off on Is SharePoint 2019 the Likely Next On-Premise Release




Well how can we know …?

  1. Because Microsoft Has Said It

On May 4, 2016 Microsoft gave a fairly clear indicator that there will be yet another SharePoint version that will be on-premise. You can read all about it here.

  1. And Because We May not Be Ready For The MS Cloud

While Office 365 makes life so much easier for system administrators (i.e. no patches, upgrades, cumulative updates, and yes, even custom code) there are literally billions of documents stored by thousands of organizations worldwide that are still living on-premise. These will continue to live there for at least another decade. Think about how long FileNet has been around!

Let me know what you think?

Mapping SharePoint as a Drive

Posted by Jim on June 30, 2017
O365, SharePoint 2013, SharePoint 2016 / Comments Off on Mapping SharePoint as a Drive

Today many organization’s are using SharePoint or OneDrive and have them mapped as a network drive. But … if you haven’t mapped the drive properly you might come to all sorts of issues.

One of the issues you may encounter: when creating an Office document (Word, Excel etc) and then saving in the mapped SharePoint drive is upload failed.


 To get the correct link for mapping SharePoint as a network drive you will need to:
  1. Open Internet Explorer and log in with your Office365 credentials (please note this only works  with Internet Explorer and no other browser – This is a Microsoft limitation that cannot be changed)
  2. From the Home page, navigate to Sites > Team Site > <Shared Documents> – this may vary depending on how your company has decided to name the Shared location of files.
  3. Once you are in Shared Documents, from the tool bar ribbon select Library and then select Open with Explorer (this will open the Library as a standard Windows Explorer folder)
  4. Once the shared documents Library is opened in Windows Explorer, select and right-click on any of the files/folders within that location and select Properties.
  5. Make a note of the Location in the General tab and use it to map SharePoint as a network drive.
When mapping SharePoint as network drive you will need to:
  1. Add the following to Trusted sites in Internet Explorer:


  1. Before you map a drive, login to Office 365 via Internet Explorer and tick “Remember my credentials”;
  2. Open the full clients address in internet explorer and make sure it opens the files without any logon prompt so https://sharepointsite.sharepoint.com/personal/USERNAME/Documents/
  3. Go to Services and make sure WebClient service is set to Automatic;
  4. When mapping a drive, make sure “Reconnect sign-in” and “Connect using different credentials” boxes are checked (make sure to use Office 365 email and password in the credentials prompt); (you’ll be prompted twice for the username and password, make sure you fill it in twice and twice select remember credentials)
  5. Go to Internet Explorer settings – Tools, Options, Connections, LAN Settings, uncheck “Automatically detect Settings” – this will significantly improve the connection to SharePoint.


SharePoint Online is Extremely slow

Posted by Jim on June 30, 2017
O365, SharePoint 2016 / Comments Off on SharePoint Online is Extremely slow

It been around for five years now but it’s still externally slow as milt tenant system. Here are my top five reasons that you may notice your SharePoint Online is slow, or that your environment is running slower than expected…

  1. General Architecture:

This is the most common has most impact on performance.  The Structural Navigation functionality generates hierarchical navigation by dynamically crawling through the SharePoint site system.  This could mean possibly hundreds of SQL roundtrips just to generate a single page.  While this functionality may have worked well On Premises, the additional latency is amplified by having to go to the cloud.  A typical Lift and Shift migration to the cloud would require that the navigation structure be changed in order to have performing navigation.  It is recommended to build navigation using search instead of the Structural Navigation functionality.

  1. Site content rollup:

Use static content where possible for highly trafficked areas.  And if speed is a concern, remember that Content by Search web parts will return results faster than the Content Query web part. Content rollup web parts, such as Content Query and Content by Search, will dynamically aggregate information to display to the user on the fly.  While these are convenient methods for developers, it can also present slower loading times and are not recommended for Publishing Portals that generate large amounts of traffic.

  1. Very large images or videos:

Make sure that if there are any videos on the page, that it is not loaded until the user clicks to start the video.

  1. Too many requests:

In recent years development techniques have pushed to loading more content on the client side.  For example, parts of a page could be loaded via HTML templates; many templates mean many calls to the server.  Try to minimize requests as much as possible by minifying and combining JavaScript sources, and also use CDN sources where possible.  Because CDN sources for common libraries, like jQuery, likely would have already been accessed by the client, the file would be cached and need not be loaded again.

  1. OMG -Too many web parts:

Every web part is an asp.net control that requires additional server processing to render.  Minimize the number of web parts by using static content wherever possible.