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    This week, Microsoft published two blog posts that talk about the future of collaboration. The first, published on April 15, is called “The rise of dynamic teams.” This post is a bit of a “think piece” that talks about the rationale behind Office 365 Groups. The second, published on April 16, is called “SharePoint Server 2016 update.” The second article is exactly what the SharePoint crowd has been waiting for – some details about when SharePoint 2016 will be available and what the direction of that product will be. Both posts are teasers for Ignite, where the secrets of the future will be revealed in grand fashion.

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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    On May 4, 2015, Satya Nadella and other Microsoft executives announced upcoming capabilities coming to Office and Windows that are designed to reflect Microsoft’s focus on “mobile first|cloud first” and delivering consistent user experiences that allow people to work any place, any time, on any device. My favorite quote of the morning came from Corporate Vice President Gurdeep Pall: “Workplace is a misnomer. Work is what you do; it's not where you do it.”

    Common

    Rapper Common kicks off Microsoft Ignite 2015.

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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    In a blog post on July 8, Microsoft announced new activity logging and reporting capabilities for Office 365. These new features will begin rolling out starting this month and will be available in the reports section of the Admin Compliance Center. These capabilities are especially important because one of the best and scariest features of Office 365 is the ability to easily share content – both inside and outside the organization – and the new capabilities make it much easier to look at what and how content is being accessed both inside and outside the organization. With the new activity logging, your admins will be able to monitor what is going on with your important information. This will help ensure that you are compliant with your own internal governance policies as well as legal and regulatory requirements.

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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    It’s always much easier to talk about measuring the value of technology investments when you are talking about systems such as general ledger or accounts payable – where the value can be measured in terms of improving a business process. It’s not nearly as easy when it comes to talking about the value of your intranet or enterprise social investments.

    I’ve talked about “squishy” metrics before in this blog – on July 11, 2014, when I posted the chapter I wrote for Prove It! Using Analytics to Drive SharePoint Adoption and ROI. In this post, I’d like to share an update to my original post on metrics, this time focused on demonstrating the business value of investments in enterprise social. In a recent post on the European SharePoint Conference blog, I took some poetic license with a popular song by Meghan Trainor and pose that when it comes to enterprise social, it’s not All About That Bass - it’s all about that case — the business case, that is.

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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    I had the most wonderful opportunity this past summer to serve as a judge for the Step Two 2015 Intranet Innovation awards. The panel of judges reviewed more than 20 finalists to select the winners. You can read more about the winners in the official announcement. The winning solutions (“Gold” winners) came from very small to very large organizations but there were some clear and distinct lessons that I took away from the winning entries. They were all:

    • “Fit for purpose”
    • Built iteratively – with end users
    • Measured
    • Aligned with but not constrained by the chosen technology platform
    • Governed

    Fit for purpose

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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    One of the best features about SharePoint is search – but did you know that there are several ways you can improve search results without touching a line of code? These five tips can help your users find what they are looking for more effectively.

    1. Every document deserves a Title. Encourage content contributors to add meaningful Titles to their documents. Display the Title in views to encourage use. The Title is the field that is displayed first in search results so if you have a lot of documents with the same title, it’s really difficult to scan results to find what you are looking for. Give your documents a Title and make sure it accurately describes the document.
    2. Check the Title when you create new documents from existing documents. Be careful when you re-use documents, especially PowerPoint presentations where your title may say Title 1. Take a look at the document properties and make sure that the Title applies to your document – not the one you borrowed as a starter.
    3. Metadata is your friend. Use it if you’ve got it. Encourage tagging documents with optional attributes, especially if you are using these attributes as refiners. See tip 4.
    4. Use “Column Value Default” settings to automatically set default metadata.You really don’t have to harm any humans in order to add metadata to documents. Take advantage of column value defaults that can be set at the library or folder level so that when you add documents to a folder or library, they can inherit metadata auto-magically! Note that when you move documents from one folder or library to another, the default values are not applied to the new document. They are only used to set the values when the attribute is blank. (The exception is a document set, where you can force metadata into the document from the “parent” document set.)
    5. Ensure that you are securing content that needs to be secured. Virtually every upgrade to SharePoint 2013 or Office 365 is going to expose content in search that was previously hidden using “security by obscurity.” If you don’t want search (or Delve) to expose content to unauthorized users, make sure that the library or folder where the document lives has appropriate permissions. If you don’t want a library to be included in search results – for example, content you have migrated from an old system and just want available as an archive – you can use the library setting found in Advance settings that allows you to hide the library from search results.

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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    Did you know that when you don’t have any required columns on a document library in Office 365 (and SharePoint 2016) that users are not prompted to enter metadata when they upload a single document?

    Last week, I had the opportunity to lead an introductory SharePoint workshop at the Computers in Libraries conference. During the class, I talked about the different ways a user can add documents to a document library, including dragging and dropping as well as uploading a document. After the class, Lennea Bower from Montgomery County (MD) Public Libraries told me that she has been frustrated because in their new Office 365 environment, when you upload a single document to a library with metadata, you are not prompted to enter the metadata values unless at least one field is required. They have scenarios where they don’t want to make attributes required, but they would like users to see the metadata prompts.

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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    This is going to be a great week for SharePoint with the Future of SharePoint event coming on May 4. It’s not too late to register and even if you can’t watch the event live, you will be able to watch it later if you register. About 7 weeks later, from June 20-22, 2016, there is another opportunity worth considering: attending the Share Conference in South Africa.

    Share is a unique event sponsored by The Eventful Group. Each year, the conference producers conduct a series of focus groups to understand the critical issues and important topics for business users. Yes, that’s right – business users. Share is a business-centric conference for people who want to identify new and different ways to use SharePoint to solve business problems. This year’s hot topics include:

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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    This morning (May 4, 2016), I had the pleasure of being in San Francisco for Microsoft’s “Future of SharePoint” event, which coincided with the general availability date for SharePoint 2016. This is the second time I’ve been in San Francisco for a major SharePoint event. The last time was in 2003, for the launch of SharePoint 2003. It’s amazing how far things have come in the past 13 years! The future of SharePoint is now – and the future is all about you and me – and making it easier to connect and collaborate and get work done in a way that brings the information we need to make key decisions to the places we need it, in the format we need it in, and on the device we are currently using. The future of SharePoint is all about people – and there should be no doubt that Microsoft is continuing to invest in providing great people experiences with SharePoint. While I am super focused on user experiences in SharePoint, and Microsoft has shown users a whole lotta love in the announcements today, developers are going to be pretty happy too – along with the folks focused on security and compliance. In fact, no matter who you are, if you have ever said, “I wish it were easier to [fill in the blank] with SharePoint,” you are probably going to get your wish fulfilled very soon.

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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    Michael Sampson’s latest book, Re-Imagining Productive Work with Office 365, is a “must read” if you are currently using or planning to use Office 365. Michael is a brilliant author and approaches his overview of Office 365 not from the perspective of the individual technology elements, but from the perspective of the activities that “information workers” do every day:

    • Storing and sharing files
    • Profiling employee expertise
    • Co-authoring documents
    • Managing meetings
    • Holding discussions
    • Running team projects
    • Thinking productively

    The focus on business activities instead of specific technologies provides a very practical way of consuming the information in this very well researched book. It will help you understand which aspect of Office 365 to use in a variety of business use cases and how you can best engage your colleagues to be successful with this technology suite. Though the features and capabilities of Office 365 are updated almost too quickly to be incorporated into a book, Michael has found a way to make sure the book’s content stays relevant by indicating where future updates will improve or enhance the experiences he describes.

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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    One of the best things about SharePoint on Office 365 is that you are able to take advantage of all of the great new features that Microsoft is developing as part of the future of SharePoint as they become available. While some updates have only minimal impact on end user experiences, modern document libraries introduce some pretty significant differences that might make users uncomfortable for a little while. After all, all change is disruptive when it’s unfamiliar! To help both me and my clients quickly find where common document library actions have moved, I created a feature comparison table that I’m sharing in this post. This is my “dude, where’s my car?” or “where did my cheese go?” summary.

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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    One of the key benefits of leveraging Office 365 for your SharePoint solutions is that you will be able to take advantage of all of the latest and greatest advances in the platform as they are launched. This means that you don’t have to worry about managing upgrades and fixes – and this should save time and resources associated with platform management. But, it also means that you have less control over when changes happen in your environment – and that means you need to stay on top of what Microsoft is planning. Successful change management is a lot about managing expectations. When people are fully informed and aware of changes to the software they use every day, the changes can be easier to accept – especially if you have evaluated the impact of these changes in advance. To ensure that your continuously evolving Office 365 environment is not disruptive to your users, you need to monitor what is happening with the platform with a multi-faceted “lens” – looking at upcoming changes from multiple perspectives. For that, it takes a village.

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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    This past week, Atlanta was host to about 25,000 visitors for Microsoft Ignite. During the Day 1 keynote, Jeff Teper, Corporate Vice President for OneDrive and SharePoint, took the stage for 15 minutes to introduce the continued investments Microsoft has made in SharePoint that were previewed in San Francisco on May 4, 2016. The SharePoint announcements were only part of an incredible array of announcements across the Office 365 family, including some major infrastructure and security announcements and some awesome features for Office that I can’t wait to try!

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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    October was a big month for Microsoft with lots of exciting updates to software and hardware, but today brings the official announcement of Microsoft Teams – the much anticipated group chat workspace for Office 365 users. Microsoft Teams is a new experience that brings together people, conversations, and content in Office 365. Microsoft Teams is (are?) Microsoft’s answer to Slack. The cool thing about Microsoft Teams, however, is that while Microsoft may be a little late to the group chat party, it’s got all the elements needed to deliver a best-in-class solution – and these tools are the ones we already use every day.

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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    I spent a lot of time in 2016 working on more information architecture (IA) projects than usual – from designing comprehensive information architectures as part of intranet migrations or upgrades to small IA usability engagements and everything in between. Here are six key lessons that I learned that can form the basis of your new year’s resolution to give your intranet IA a health check.

    The Information Architecture for your intranet provides the strategy and plan for information access. It informs how users will navigate through the solution and how information managed by the solution will be organized. A good intranet information architecture is 100% focused on the people who need to process, find, and interact with the content. We mostly think of IA as supporting the “browse” experience. But, given the fact that search depends on metadata, which is part of your IA, a good IA is also supports search. If you get it right, your information architecture will help users find content in three critical content-finding scenarios:

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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    January doesn’t just mean the start of a new year for me – it also means an opportunity to review the Nielsen Norman Group’s Intranet Design Annual. The 10 Best Intranets of 2017 were officially announced on January 7, 2017. Even though it’s a little weird to call these the best intranets of 2017 – especially because the submissions were completed in June of 2016 – the report has a lot of interesting and helpful information and design trends that intranet design teams should consider. A word of caution as you review the full report, just because a feature was used in an “award winning” intranet doesn’t mean it needs to show up on your intranet! Megamenus continue to be a popular method for intranet navigation – and about half of the award winners use megamenus for global navigation. But that doesn’t mean your intranet must have a megamenu! You do, on the other hand, need to make sure that your users can find what they need easily. But, that doesn’t mean you must choose a megamenu as your navigational approach. On the other hand, if you don’t have a plan for ongoing governance, you can pretty much be assured that your intranet will fail. So, read the report with an “outcome” lens.

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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    In November 2011, I wrote a blog post called SharePoint User Adoption Strategy: Team Member “Service Level Agreement.” In that post, I talked about how important it is to start off any project with a shared agreement about how the team is going to work together, including how to organize, tag, and name files in the SharePoint team site. With today’s exciting announcement of the general availability of Microsoft Teams, I offer some updates to that post to ensure that your organization gets the most value out of Microsoft Teams.

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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    I spent a lot of time in 2016 working on more information architecture (IA) projects than usual – from designing comprehensive information architectures as part of intranet migrations or upgrades to small IA usability engagements and everything in between. Here are six key lessons that I learned that can form the basis of your new year’s resolution to give your intranet IA a health check.

    The Information Architecture for your intranet provides the strategy and plan for information access. It informs how users will navigate through the solution and how information managed by the solution will be organized. A good intranet information architecture is 100% focused on the people who need to process, find, and interact with the content. We mostly think of IA as supporting the “browse” experience. But, given the fact that search depends on metadata, which is part of your IA, a good IA is also supports search. If you get it right, your information architecture will help users find content in three critical content-finding scenarios:

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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    In 2016, May 4 was all about SharePoint. In another “May moment” this year (May 16), Microsoft unveiled the latest innovations for SharePoint and OneDrive during the SharePoint Virtual Summit. If you missed the event, you still can watch the entire program online.

    There were lots of exciting announcements, and it’s worth watching the entire two-hour event, but it included several compelling announcements related to technology capabilities that can help organizations realize their knowledge management goals.

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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    The organizations I'm currently working with are seeing some tremendous value leveraging the social capabilities of SharePoint and Yammer. I'm going to share some great stories about how they have overcome barriers to deliver meaningful business value at the SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas. However, explaining and getting value from the use of hashtags has been a little more complicated because they don't work as expected in some scenarios and the concept of a hashtag is just not universally understood by all of our users. With that in mind, here are a few tips for a recipe I'm calling "Hashtag Helper" based on the practical lessons we've learned.

    To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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