Archive for category Sharepoint

Office 365 takes control

When Microsoft first launched BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite) I had been working for Microsoft New Zealand as a Technology Advisor for just on a year. My experience with cloud solutions pre-dates my time at Microsoft and that gave me some insight as to what this meant for Microsoft as a business. Not only did they make the step into the hosting business, competing against some of their most loyal partners, but they fundamentally changed the way in which they saw their own software. The Office 365 preview was launched this week, and along side it the next version of Microsoft Office, 2013. This falls in line with something I predicted when BPOS was first launched, Cloud will become the way in which you consume Microsoft Software from now on.

The evolution is totally natural and in line with what the industry as a whole is witnessing. Programs have become Apps and more importantly Servers have become a Service. Microsofts licensing model has been playing a game of catchup with this massive change, we have seen a credit card only experience mature into a more traditional distribution model, allowing customers to buy Microsoft cloud services via their regular channels/relationships. http://rcpmag.com/articles/2012/07/09/wpc-2012-office-365-partners-to-get-direct-billing.aspx

Office 365 has become the way in which you buy Microsoft’s Office Suite and all of the associated back office services, Exchange, Sharepoint and Lync. Furthermore it opens up a rich marketplace for partners to show their wares. Office 365 has only been in market for just over a year having had a long gestation period that was fraught with delay after delay (some 9 months or more), its refreshing to see that Microsoft has learnt from its mistakes and with little warning released the beta of the next release of its Office 365 platform known as Wave 15.

Over the next few weeks I hope to share with you some of my observations, covering off some of the improvements to the services and the integration points into your on-premise software. There are many such improvements to talk about, Loryan Strant from Paradyne in Australia has listed a few here: http://thecloudmouth.com/2012/07/17/office-365-wave-15-whats-new/

Hot on my list is the new Sharepoint Experience coupled with Office 2013, this will put out any Google fires within your organisation, along with Lync “click to call” … watch this space New Zealand there are providers working furiously on this capability.

Lync Wave 15 Office 365 Voice Integration

To setup a 9 month trial of the Office 365 beta go here: http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview/en/try-office-preview , I suggest that you choose the Enterprise edition and remember that once you create a tenant account you should be able to add the other products bu clicking the appropriate link and using that ID to authenticate again.

Sharepoint 2013 Home

It has been an action packed month for Microsoft, starting with the announcement that they will sell their own tablet device to take on Apples iPad, to the launch of its next generation productivity suite in Office 365 / Office 2013. And if that wasnt enough, Microsoft announced today that Windows 8 will be available on the 26th of October http://windowsteamblog.com/windows/b/bloggingwindows/archive/2012/07/18/windows-8-will-be-available-on.aspx .

A big year ahead for Microsoft and I am betting those working for Google have something to worry about!

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Sharepoint adoption

Taxonomy is a word that is used quite frequently when describing the classification and management of information within Sharepoint. Sharepoint is the information management component of Office 365, and as great as it is there can be some hurdles to getting users to adopt it. In a perfect world Sharepoint would replace the file share and any other document based processes within your business. Chris Riley blogged recently on Taxonomy and how important it is to any Sharepoint deployment, cloud or on premise.

Taxonomy Planning in SharePoint 2010 – End User – NothingButSharePoint.com.

The biggest limitation with Sharepoint is that there are NO limitations… Time and time again Sharepoint deployments fail due to lack of planning. You can plan your Sharepoint deployment so that your users aren’t put off. Keeping it simple and easy to understand while at the same time enforcing a level of governance to ensure the data stored is searchable and relevant.

Going from a file share to Sharepoint takes some getting used to and with a good amount a planning it should make logical sense to the user from the get-go. One of the tools we have found to be useful that allow users to work from a familiar environment is Harmon.ie . This tool is a plug in for Outlook and is accessible from the main Outlook pane or any new calendar or mail item. It allows a user to interact with their Sharepoint sites and document libraries right from within Outlook, no need to change to a different app or grapple with the browser experience. Navigation is handled similar to traditional folder structures and its that familiar navigation that adds to its ease of use.

Harmon.ie is free up to 250 seats however there is an “Enterprise” version available for USD$129/user/year. There is also an iPad and iPhone client available for free, this client allows navigation of your Sharepoint sites and at a glance view the documents and their meta data. With the current lack of Office for iOS the premium version of the iOS client will take a user to the Web App interface for quick editing of documents. My iPad uses a version of Quick Office (a 3rd party Office style editor) and Harmon.ie recognizes this and allows you to edit documents in this app seamlessly.

The important thing from an administrative point of view is to architect the structure of the information within Sharepoint ahead of time. The moment users are able to access the site they will revert to old habits if strict governance isn’t present. Office 365 has to be the cheapest content management solution on the market and with some good planning it can be the best experience for an end-user as well.

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