Tech Genius – Ask your Toughest Technical Questions

April 10th, 2014 No comments

New this year, we are having Ask the Experts round-table sessions in SharePoint Summit Toronto. I am leading “Tech Genius – Ask your toughest technical questions ( Dev & IT Pto) track. If you are around, come and see us in Session 3.4 during the conference. Dates and times are in the following flyer:

3-28-2014 9-58-43 AM

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Free SharePoint 2013 Apps: Action Tracker and Sticky Notes

March 7th, 2014 No comments

As you may have heard, apps are big in SharePoint 2013. In our SharePoint 2013 projects, we heavily rely on the new app architecture to deliver functionality that target end users. Recently, we have added two *free* SharePoint 2013 apps to the SharePoint App Store. Here is a brief description on each of them.

Action Tracker app lets you assign tasks to other users in the site and track the status of  the assigned tasks. The app was implemented using Twitter Bootstrap and Backbone.js, and uses SharePoint REST APIs.

See more about this app at  http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/store/action-tracker-WA104034530.aspx

actiontracker

Action tracker app Has 3 different sections. On the left pane you see Tasks Assigned to You, My Action Items which is the tasks that you have created, and also Items that are due today.

On the main section you can see the 6 most recent items. You can also create items or view all items, in a grid view.

In the down section you have the navigation pane which lets you navigate through different pages. Below is a screen shot of all items.

actiontracker2

 

The strong point about this grid view is that it works instantaneously when you navigate through pages or edit an item. After all it’s all about being the fastest ;)

The next app is the “Sticky Notes”. This simple but useful app brings sticky notes to your SharePoint Site. You can put small colorful reminders on a white wall. This app was created using the same architecture as “Action Tracker”, so the user experience is pretty the same. Also with how well they perform your users will feel like they are using an offline app.

This app is available at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/store/sticky-notes-WA104007498.aspx

sticknotes

That was a brief intro on our new FREE apps, please check them out in the SharePoint Store  and as always, we would love to hear your feedback!

Categories: SharePoint 2013 Tags:

Reasons to Love Yammer

February 13th, 2014 No comments

I love Yammer because it’s easy to use (just like Facebook). To me, Yammer is Facebook on diet …I mean there is no fluff or information overload and you can be much more focused on the conversation itself.

Conversations are like the oxygen for my daily work, so I do whatever it takes to improve them. Yammer is giving me the oxygen!

I love Yammer because it helps me explain SharePoint social features to my customers a lot easier than My Sites in SharePoint itself.  Here is an example of how I educate my customers on social features in Yammer before letting them touch MySite in SharePoint:

 

Have I replaced my outlook and Lync with Yammer? Absolutely No! Yammer is yet another right tool for the job. Depending on how urgent or braod my conversations are with my customers I use different tools. The following picture shows the model I follow:

Great article on how Yammer can help you drive better communication channels  with your customers: http://blog.viewdolabs.com/collaboration-with-the-outside-yammer-as-an-extranet 

Categories: SharePoint 2010 Tags:

Office 365 : Service Interoperability

January 15th, 2014 No comments

Just to be clear, there are two breeds of Office 365 currently available in the market:

  1. Office 365 RTM (SharePoint 2010, Lync 2010, Exchange 2010 and Office Pro 2010) which is the focus of this blog post for the most part (see the end of the blog post for new Office 365 stuff)
  2. New Office 365 ( based on the 2013 wave of products (SharePoint, Lync, Exchange, etc) currently in the customer preview mode).

 

The more I work with Office 365, the more I like the interoperability features of the platform. In the context of services, the interoperability is the ability of a service to work with another service with no or minimal effort on the part of tenant. Here are some of the features and workloads in Office 365 that totally justifies why as a small to mid-sized customer you should be considering Office 365:

1) With SharePoint online, collaborating with your partners and customers is ridiculously simple. It’s just the matter of enabling a few settings and features , and you are all set!

 

2) Office Hub: Your SharePoint Online sites under your fingertips (Windows Phone Only)

3) Office Web Apps (Not included in Exchange Online Plan.View only in Kiosk Worker (K1))

Aside from the obvious benefits of Office Web App, if you are delivering content across a wide variety of network links or across clients with fluctuating bandwidth, Office Web App is a fantastic way of delivering Office documents to your end users FAST,without worrying about how long it would take for the client to download a word document or whether or not they have the right version of Office client installed. Just think about it for a sec!

4) MySites (Only available in enterprise plans E1 to E4)

I’ve lost the count of failed social implementations in SharePoint just because the client was not able to properly implement MySites. Identity management business is not fun and user profile import is not easy either. It’s a slippery path you don’t want to go down! Well, My Site are there already , all you need to do is a) buy the right plan  and b)click on the right link! That’s all to it!

5) Your Lync federation with other organizations that use Lync 

Be my guest if you want to spend thousands of dollars to buy and setup your Lync farm and spend half a year planning and executing your plan to install Lync in your organization. Lync as a service in Office 365 is easy to setup and it comes with Federation which if you wanted to setup yourself it could be an additional edge server , a couple more certs and IPs on the top of what you had already spent for your on-perm Lync farm!

6) Setup Exchange ActiveSync on various mobile devices

7) How to use PowerShell to manage your online services

.8) Creating online meetings using Lync Online

9) Broadcast your PowerPoint presentations using Lync Online . This feature is particularly important because SharePoint Online PowerPoint Broadcast feature in Office 365 will be removed on 2 October 2012, and all data stored in the Broadcast site collection will be deleted. That being said , for broadcasting your PowerPoint presentations you either need to use Lync or

10) Office Boradcast Service (a free service within PowerPoint 2010)

11) Microsoft Lync 2010 Attendee – User Level Install

12) Lync Online for mobile devices

13) Directory Integration Services in Office 365

Now let’s take a look at the features included in the new Office 365 and what they mean to customers from the interop perspective:

1) Sync your SharePoint documents to your computer at home or work using SkyDrive Pro included in MSI-based Office Professional Plus 2013 (Yeah, that’s how Office 365 team distinguishes their Office products from the traditional Office client apps intended for your desktop or on-premise usage):

2) Integration with Skype

Categories: SharePoint 2010 Tags:

My Office Knows it All!

December 29th, 2013 No comments

I am not saying Office 365 is great! I am saying Office 365 is pretty AWESOME! I think the combination of Office 365, Office 2013, Office Web Apps and SkyDrive is the future for everyone, and an immediate need for many small to mid-sized businesses.

Read my blog post here for a long list of immediate benefits you can get from Office 365, and the second part of another post here about SkyDrive and Office Web App integration and awesomeness.

In Office 2013, just like SharePoint, everything can be tied to an identity. This is optional, but if you choose to identify yourself to Office, the following picture shows where you can set your identity:

The identity shown in an Office Client is referred to as Microsoft Account which can be your Windows Live Account (like @live.com or @msn.com) or your corporate account that’s been associated with Windows Live. After you identify yourself to Office, you have the option to save or open your Office documents from your SkyDrive.

Office defaults to SkyDrive when saving a new document, which means Microsoft wants you to save your document there!

For SharePoint Designer, there are two identities : Microsoft Account (1) as well as the identity of the user who has logged in to SharePoint (2). SharePoint Designer just like SharePoint let’s you sign in as a different user , should you click on the icon labeled as 2 in the picture.

Obviously, you may have a reason for not wanting to be tracked by Office, which is totally understandable. However, a new feature in Office 365 called My Office is interesting and may make you change your mind. The following picture shows My Office (Beta) in the new Office 365:

After you login to your My Office site, you are able to see all your recent documents you have opened in your Office client apps across all your devices, thanks to Microsoft Account support in Office 2013.  Alternatively, you can create new Office documents in SkyDrive or access the links used by your Office clients apps. That’s pretty cool stuff!

It’s very impressive how Microsoft has been able to quickly turn things around, and become a serious competitor in this CLOUDY world we are living in!

[Off-Topic]: I always use Word to publish my blog posts. You can also use Word to publish to your corporate SharePoint blogs. Read this HOW-TO.

Categories: SharePoint 2013 Tags: