Office 365

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


When do you use Nintex?

Posted by Jim on June 21, 2017
Office 365, SharePoint 2016 / Comments Off on When do you use Nintex?

Nintex is the market leader in workflow automation for SharePoint, and its workflows are used by thousands of businesses around the world to simplify and streamline their processes and

So, how can you be one of these ‘best in class’ companies that uses workflows to improve their business?

Over the next few weeks I’ll explore some of the best in class recommendations. Interesting and in confliction to many business owners, Nintex is for everyone. I have personally seen the eyes of hundreds of business admins and mid level executives come to live after one simple demonstration of the tool set.

Best Practice Tips and Tricks for Nintex Workflows

All the latest news on Nintex Workflows can be found at the Nintex blog. To get you started, our guide for best practice tips and tricks will set you on the right path.

  1. Research First

The beauty of Nintex Workflows is that they’re so , so very simple to build. But this shouldn’t be an excuse for set up preparation. To ensure your workflows are actually useful and serve a purpose, you need to begin by getting out there and doing some research.

The first step is to interview the people who’ll be using the workflow. What activities do they perform? How do their processes work? What would make it easier? Once you’ve got a deep understanding of what they need the workflow for, you’re ready for the next step.


Posted by Jim on July 09, 2016
Office 365, SharePoint 2013, SharePoint 2016 / Comments Off on BrightWorks

A surprising product designed to support PMN (Project Management) in a SharePoint wrapper. I recently reviewed this product. Although its been around for a while, the latest version in a significant planning tool.  I was a little disappointed with the fact that the current version is not ready in the SharePoint 2016 version but as with all things that will eventually get fixed.

Why BrightWork?

If your organization need a professional tool to manage projects and process this is something you may want to check out.

Features, Benefits, Product Strengths

  • Effective Project and Portfolio Management – With its ‘Start and Evolve’ philosophy, users are able to immediately implement an effective project management wherever their starting point is. It has pre-defined tasks, documents, templates and other artifacts for different kinds of projects, enabling them to make the first and most important step: starting a consistent best practices PM strategy. And as projects increase in number and complexity, users are given the flexibility to have the tools that evolve with the requirements. They also are able to see and prioritize which projects are more valuable and most align with the business.
  • Real-time Team Collaboration and Dynamic Resource Management – Built on top of the SharePoint environment, project managers, team members, PM champions, senior executives, IT managers and other stakeholders are able to communicate more quickly and effectively than just by using email. Real-time collaboration extends to file sharing, document management, and client portals with real-time status updates. And the right people with the right skills are able to work on the right projects with an effective resource allocation system that is visible to all.
  • Insightful Reporting and Metrics, Accurate Project Costing and Budgeting, and more – As a web application, project status updates are given and received in real-time, which helps decision makers to have greater control for managing risks and opportunities. With different types of graphical reports, portfolio dashboards, and metrics among others, the right information can be retrieved anytime for making informed decisions. With accurate tracking of project costs and expenses, users are able to make their business efficient, productive and profitable most of the time, if not always with this project and portfolio management solution.

Office 365 public offering

Posted by Jim on December 07, 2014
Office 365, SharePoint 2013 / Comments Off on Office 365 public offering

The overall perception was that Microsoft has been saying for a long time that it wanted to foster a more open relationship with its customers and developers, mainly in terms of upcoming releases of its software. This was partly to give everyone an early heads on up new features, but also to encourage community feedback and support.

So they have been working hard in recent months and years to open up dialogue and better prepare customers of changes and new releases.

And that being said, Microsoft has recently released the Office 365 for Business Roadmap, detailing upcoming changes and add-ons to the Cloud platform. And it is a breath of fresh air!

At the same time Microsoft announced theFirst Release’ program, allowing customers to opt-in for new Office 365 features at least two weeks before they launch them into production. This gives developers time to setup a tenant, conduct their testing, and make sure their solutions are fully compatible.

The Office 365 Public Product

So here is a look at how Microsoft has presented the road map. For easy reading, Microsoft split their features into 3 main categories:

  • The Launched – Fully released updates that are generally available for all applicable customers
  • The Rolling out – Updates that are beginning to roll-out and are not yet available to all applicable customers
  • And In developmentUpdates that are currently in development and testing

Each feature has a little click able ‘plus sign’ which offers more detailed information about it. Each feature announcement has the following elements:

  • Feature title
  • Feature description
  • A ‘Learn more’ link that goes to a related blog post
  • A small picture or screenshot of the feature in action

In General, the road map works well and will surely prove in the coming months to be a really useful tool. It could certainly do with an internal search function, but we hear Microsoft has received this feedback from much of the community so hope it will be added soon

What does the road map impart?

For SharePoint users, there are two features of the road map which are particularly interesting – the customizable SharePoint navigation bar and forms for SharePoint lists. Let us take a closer look at each:

  1. Customizable SharePoint online navigation bar

This feature has been a long time coming for users of SharePoint and is currently in the ‘roll-out’ stage on the road map. It enables SharePoint Online admins to hide some of the links that are on the top bar by default – ‘One Drive’, ‘Yammer/News feed’, and ‘Sites’.

  1. Forms for SharePoint Lists

The long awaited replacement of Info Path is currently on the “In Development” list. For now, all we have is the information available from Microsoft:

“This feature will allow for in-browser list form customization on top of SharePoint lists and will allow for in-browser list item editing without having to go to a different view as well as adding and rearranging list columns in the custom view.”

As yet, that’s all we have to go on, but we’re already looking forward to seeing how this feature develops.

A new era of communications for Office 365

Microsoft’s decision to open up about the future of Office 365 is great news for business users and developers alike. Microsoft has made no secret of the fact that they have drawn heavily on the experience of Yammer’s release schedule, but have actually done an even better job in execution.