Sunday, 23 December 2012

Responsive Sharepoint Websites

 Topsharepoint.com Provides Inspiration For Jaded Designers

Renova Energia is the Site of the Month
Renova Energia is a Topsharepoint.com Site of the Month
Just to let you know, the team over at Topsharepoint.com, have now published 2172 reviews of what they believe to be the most creative or innovative Sharepoint powered Websites around today.

The Sharepoint sites of the month feature is a worthy read and may provide much needed inspiration for jaded designers looking to make their creative mark on this platform.


One of their latest articles from staff writer Luis Kerr, is a great piece on responsive Sharepoint Websites.

".....Rather than designing several websites for different screen resolutions, responsive design will enable you to design one website that specifies how it should appear on various devices......"

You can click this link to read the article in full.

Infographic About Sharepoint Fallacies

10 Misconceptions About Microsoft SharePoint

Microsoft SharePoint is used primarily for document and content management. SharePoint also has a bunch of features and applications that makes it a strong alternative to comparable business solutions. Ironically, it’s these same strengths that have led to confusion about the software’s capabilities.

Sharepoint Scotland company, Evokeit.com, have just released this infographic that tackles the top 10 misconceptions about Sharepoint.

Infographic From Evokeit.com

IT won’t run on iPads and Macs.

While it’s true that a great number of solutions are geared to specific operating systems, this simply isn’t true. Utilizing Office Web Apps and an Internet connection, SharePoint can be used like any other Office app.

It needs IT management.

This myth comes out of SharePoint’s alleged complexity. It’s such a powerful tool many believe it would take a skilled tech to use effectively. The fact is the app was built for users that don’t have the tech background. Like any of the company’s software, IT should monitor it, but users will be the primary managers.

It is Easy to Install and to Reap the Benefits.

SharePoint was developed with the newbie in mind. If one has the patience and desire, you could certainly take advantage of this app’s versatility. There’s a steep learning curve, but the result will be a better user at the hands of an unparalleled business application. Know what you want to do with it, train and keep up to date with SharePoint’s capabilities.

It is a glorified file store.

This is believed because that’s what most use it for with completely satisfying results. It’s rare to find anyone that’s uses all its features, like metadata driven refinements, PowerShell or decomposition trees. It would be prudent to investigate everything SharePoint has to offer.

It was developed for collaboration, not running LOB systems.

The software was engineered for enterprises and projects of all sizes. SharePoint has the framework and architecture, the third party add-ons, support development and reliable integration that makes it an excellent solution for pretty much any challenge.

It always looks like SharePoint.

This might have been true at one point. Over time, SharePoint has distinguished itself by simplifying its design. You can easily depart from the appearance of what was once the typical SharePoint site. Designing a more aligned corporate image website with SharePoint has become a simple matter of knowing how to use the software effectively.

The IT department can install it.

This one has some truth to it. The software undoubtedly has a default installation that would be sufficient for the average small business or departments within a company. Yet, to take full advantage of this powerful solution, it would be a good idea to have it professionally installed. That means a SharePoint installation by a tech that knows the application. Under their advisement, they can help you utilize SharePoint the best way.

It won’t need custom development.

SharePoint has features that the average user will never even hear about, let alone use. Out the box, it’s a great app. Yet, customization is SharePoint’s true strength. It can be tailored to perfectly fit any single company’s needs. This integration would be fundamental to production, making the exacting installation of SharePoint a must.

Everyone has SharePoint, that’s why we should.

While the software is certainly prolific, do your due diligence and ensure that SharePoint makes sense for your business needs. No app applies to everything and everybody, regardless of how many are using it. For your purposes, there could actually be a less expensive solution. There might even be a product that has features which are better suited to your requirements.

It is a one-off project.

As SharePoint has been effectively evolving with its clientele, this is simply an inaccurate assumption. SharePoint requires attention to updates and features. In the end the possibility of great success lies in the user. SharePoint is quite capable of doing the things you need it do, but the time and research is definitely required to effectively run and grow with your business with SharePoint.


Conclusion

The biggest and truest fact about SharePoint is that most of us really don’t know how to use it. Training and revisiting training is the best way to utilize SharePoint. With a wide range of features, it’s capable of pushing through any project put before it. It also has an excellent support system.

For a larger version of this infographic click here.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

2012 - A Year In Sharepoint

CMSwire.com Looks Back At The Year

Just read an interesting post over at CMSwire.com from author Jennifer Mason, looking leisurely back at the year with a focus on Sharepoint, Jennifer writes:
".....The next highlight of year for me was seeing so many HR departments recognize that they could use a tool like SharePoint to try to automate and improve their internal onboarding process for new hires....."

Now working at hosting specialists Rackspace, Jennifer has made three predictions for 2013:
A) Devices are going to Dominate How We Think
B) Users will want to Communicate Beyond the Boundaries of the Internal Organization
C) Evaluation of Hosting Options
I suppose time will tell if Jennifer's predictions come true, I certainly don't like her first prediction but agree with the other two.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Integration in Office 365

Office 365 is a Powerful Tool for SMEs

The Logo Of Microsoft Office 365
Either I'm in a productive mood this week or I've drunk too much coffee, these are the only explanations I can offer for posting twice in two days on this blog :)

All sorts of businesses require software similar to Microsoft Office to store and access information. As an alternative to the standard Office package stands Office 365. For a moderately low price, a company gets access not only to the complete Microsoft Office suite but also to Exchange and SharePoint. The integration of SharePoint with Office software and tools brings many benefits.

One of the more powerful tools available in this package is Microsoft Office Web Apps. This is a feature that allows users to view and edit Office documents online through a browser. Since the files can be used online, there is no need to install Microsoft Office on the computer. As an added bonus, files being viewed on a browser also allows full use of all Office software on devices that are not Microsoft-based, such as standard tablets.

With a "remember me" feature, accessing SharePoint is the same as logging in. Once logged in, users are able to access any drive on the network and share information, in other words "shared drives". With this feature, information and files can be accessed and transferred from across the network, saving time and effort. Though setting up the shared drives can be a bit troublesome, it is well-worth the leg work in the long run.

The true power of Office-SharePoint integration comes through when saving Office files directly to a SharePoint location. This can be done easily, simply accessing the "Save As" and selecting from the locations that have been added to the list. This means documents do not have to be saved on the hard drive at all, instead redirecting all files to other locations such as business sites and the cloud.

Though all these tools are powerful, the data transferred through the networks must be kept safe. Toward this end, Office 365 includes powerful security measures to ensure all data is secure. This is accomplished by using more than just anti-virus software. All Office 365 services are monitored to be able to identify threats as they appear and recognize unusual behavior which is then reported or handled directly.

With all the tools of Microsoft Office at your disposal without even having to install the software on each computer, Office 365 is a powerful package. By using integration with SharePoint, the familiar Office suite becomes an even more effective tool. With it, users can access Office software online and share documents throughout the network and beyond.

Click here for information about how to integrate Sharepoint with 365

Cheers, Brent

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Why I Love Scotland

10 Reasons Why I Love Scotland

Glen Coe in the Scottish Highlands
 
This article is a departure from my usual dose of Sharepoint related fare. As a traveler, I have seen enumerable places, but in my opinion none matches the exquisiteness of Scotland. The top 10 reasons why I love Scotland are its scenery, people, food, golf, culture, history, drinks, music, weather, and castles.

1) Scotland's scenery is breathtakingly natural and uncorrupted. Because Scotland receives much rain, the mountains and plains are overwhelmingly rich and green. I also saw many rainbows, and one astounding rainbow in Edinburgh perfectly encircled the sun. The gardens, especially those of Crathes Castle, are the most beautiful I have ever seen.

2) People in Scotland are often warmly welcoming and temperate, unless they've had too many beers :). Most everyone is amicable (aside from the grumpy chap at my local bakers), including tour guides, entertainers, and everyday citizens.

Indeed, when I was last in Edinburgh, I was leaning in the doorway of an office to keep from the rain, and I was offered a nice cup of tea from a chap who works for a local Edinburgh based company. Clocks are not taken so seriously here, as Scottish way of life is rather relaxed and free of hustle.

3) Scotland is home to some of the best food in the world. The Aberdeen Angus is top-quality beef, the nowhere is fish fresher. Scottish salmon is unbeatable, and Tobermory serves the best fish and chips in existence. The Falls of Feugh in Banchory serves a wonderful afternoon tea with scones, jam, and clotted cream.

4) As a golfer, I enjoyed visiting the home of golf. St. Andrews is a wonderful town, and I loved stepping onto its original golf course. The town has 36 miles of golf courses and many gift shops for golf merchandise.

Golfing at St Andrews


5) Scottish culture is colourful. Everwhere, even on streets, tartan can be seen. Once I saw a bagpiper in full regalia playing in a park in Inverary. Tourists were taking pictures with him and he was more than pleased to oblige. Scottish song and dance is also a stunning experience to behold.

6) History is behind much in Scotland. Inverary is a beautiful example, with traditional buildings and an overall old-time feel. The Urquhart Castle ruins, once one of Scotland's largest castles, is still a stunning site and full of history. Visiting Culloden is an incredible journey through history to the battle in 1746. The ruins of St. Andrew's Cathedral also exude history.


The Ruins of Urquhart Castle

7) From whiskey to ale, Scotland has some of the most delicious beverages in the world. Tennent's Velvet Scottish Ale is the greatest beer I have ever tasted. I also tried light lagers and Guinness, all of them fantastic. I also tasted free whiskey samples in several gift shops, and I can say that single-malt Scotch whiskey earns its fame.

8) Scottish music is amazing with bagpipes, drums, violins, flutes, etc. Banchory, Inverary, The Taste of Scotland Cabaret in Edinburgh, and many other places witness the stunning talents of bagpipers. Edinburgh's Military Tattoo is the greatest bagpipe performance I ever heard.

9) All year the weather is mild, neither too hot nor too cold. Cloud cover is frequent, so the sun is rarely intense. The rain and cloud cover actually enhance the scenery's natural beatuy, as it is free from darkening shadows or glares. Daylight is prolonged during summer, and both sunrise and sunset are captivating.

10) Castles are a must-see in Scotland. Duart Castle, one of Scotland's oldest castles, offers a beautiful view from its balconies and has a wonderful interior. Crathes Castle has the most incredible garden, and Glamis Castle was the Queen Mother's childhood home. Edinburgh castle is also a powerful specter.

No place in the world is quite like Scotland. I appreciate learning about diverse cultures and visiting different countries, but Scotland will always be my favorite. With its comforting food, personalities, beauty, and culture, I truly love Scotland the Brave.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

An Introduction to Sharepoint Administration

What is the Role of a SharePoint Administrator?

Administration

Before discussing exactly what SharePoint Administration involves, it is first necessary to understand what SharePoint is and, conversely, what it is not. Microsoft's SharePoint is not a program or software, it is a platform.

It is a massive web-based platform that can house and accommodate huge amounts of data, documentation, images, presentations, calendars, discussion boards and blogs. And all of this data can be searched, accessed, updated, and shared in real-time. It is also a front-end tool where the webpages that are used to access and view all of this data can be customized just like any website.

SharePoint is a server based product that is installed on the back end of a system. It is not an individual application or program housed on people's desktops. Instead it resides on the back-end and that is the beauty of the design because it can be viewed, modified and shared by anyone within the organization, provided they have been granted access.
 
Access can be controlled, restricted and is flexible enough that it can even be taken down to the site level or document level. As an Administrator, you can grant read, write and collaborative access to any document or site within SharePoint. It is fully customizable.

When you consider the scope and potential of SharePoint, it becomes very easy to see the challenges facing an Administrator. SharePoint can be used to launch a simple departmental website with a few documents, task lists, spreadsheets or calendars.

Or it can be a massive repository for all of a large company's data and documentation, spanning dozens of different intranet websites and even connecting, reading and housing data from separate, legacy systems. SharePoint also does all of this without any significant drag on a company’s system or resources.

As a SharePoint Administrator, your role will depend largely on how much of SharePoint’s potential is utilized and what the scope of the platform roll-out. As with the earlier example, you might simply be creating an intranet website for a single department within an organization.

Creating a site does not require any programming or even web design skills. It can all be done through the user interface. As an Administrator, you are responsible for granting access for the sites you create and this, again, can be very straightforward or, it can become very complex if the platform is rolled out company-wide and access to data is taken down to the document level.

The SharePoint sites themselves can be customized just like any website. You can change the banners, import images, set up menus and essentially control navigation. So, the Administrator’s job in creating the sites will, again, depend largely on how much customization and functionality is built in to the sites.

Administrators can also grant access to lower-level administrators who can own and administer their respective sites and documentation. As SharePoint grows within an organization, multiple levels of administrators often develop.

Another major component of SharePoint is its search capabilities. It has a massive, built-in search engine that allows users to search through all of the internal documentation housed on the SharePoint site. The Admins role from this perspective is ensuring that all of the underlying documentation is tagged and indexed properly to allow for the full potential of the search capability.

This aspect of the Administrator’s role is not unlike someone responsible for search engine optimization. But, again, the tools used for tagging and indexing documents are more straightforward and user friendly.

There are many online resources for learning more about SharePoint Administration and even certification programs available. Microsoft’s own website is a great place to start or even online learning sites like Lynda.com can be a good resource for learning more about the platform.

SharePoint is a massive tool that houses tons of documentation in a collaborative, real-time, web-based environment. It is not unlikely that SharePoint Administrators will be in high demand as companies continue to move towards taking advantage of all that this platform has to offer.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Preview of Sharepoint 2013

A Preview of SharePoint 2013 From Evoke IT

Sharepoint 2013 Preview
Wave 15, more commonly known as SharePoint 15, is the latest version of the SharePoint Software, one of Microsoft's most successful products on the market to date. The web application platform encompasses many aspects of web design all into one highly functional program and offers several new features, as well as improvements to old features in the newest version.

One of the newest features in SharePoint 15 is the Cloud App Model. The Cloud App Model follows the latest trends for the development of mobile applications and allows the user to implement them within his own web page. The feature offers small bits of functionality that was custom-developed for the platform. The feature can be installed from the App Store by the site owner.

SharePoint 15 now works with Search Engine Optimization, a powerful tool for web page designers and maintainers that is commonly referred to as SEO. The feature means that SharePoint 15 now has all of the tools that are required to make an Internet website that is visible on popular search engines such as Google and Bing. The new features have taken care of the issues that were present in the 2007 and 2010 versions, such as the issues with semantic URLs are no longer a problem.

Design Manager is another feature that is offered in SharePoint 15. The manager allows the user to create a master page design in any design tool such as Dreamweaver. Once the design is completed, the user can convert it and apply it to the website using SharePoint 15.

The main idea of SharePoint 15 is improvement on the 2007 and 2010 versions of the web application. New features, such as SkyDrive integration are paired with improvements to other features that were already in place, such as workflows and BCS. The hard work of the developers means that SharePoint 15 is the best version of the application to date. Even if you have never used the SharePoint web application or do not use Microsoft products for anything else, it is a good idea to check out the latest version of SharePoint.

You can read more thoughts and opinions about Sharepoint 2013 from Evokeit.com

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Question - What is Sharepoint?


 A Question Often Asked - What is Sharepoint?

 

We know that SharePoint, allows you to create, implement and design new webites and portals. However, if you're a novice to the concept of sharepoint this short video breaks it down into simple terms. The animation isn't going to cause the animators at Pixar to lose any sleep, but it does a sterling job of introducing the concept to those who are still scratching their heads as to what Sharepoint is and does. The video is from "Get Started Sharepoint" on youtube, they also have other videos you might want to check out.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Sharepoint Loaded With Social Features

 Sharepoint Getting Smarter - Few Yet Taking Advantage?


A pleasant start to my monday morning reading an interesting article from Expresscomputeronline.com over a coffee. This tech publication is one of India's longest running IT news sources, indeed they are in their 23rd year of publication and still going strong, but I digress.....

Their latest article that suggests advances in content management technology has made ECM (Enterprise Content Management) tools much smarter. Also that Sharepoint has been incorporating social features from online social communities such as Twitter and Facebook:

".....Products across software categories are taking a cue from services like Facebook and Twitter and incorporating elements from these social networking sites. Microsoft's SharePoint is loaded with social features like Box that connects users to relevant people, content and conversations....."

However the article also states that alas not many are taking advantage of these new social features.

".....except for a handful of vendors, not many are offering social intelligence unless they have been asked to include the same in their offering....."

I think this will change as vendors seek to harness the tidal wave of traffic that, if implemented correctly, social media can provide.

Read more here

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Ahoy Mateys! Avoid a Shipwreck

Avoiding a Sharepoint Shipwreck

Having just watched the engaging 1954 version of Robinson Crusoe featuring Dan O'Herlihy, James Milne's new article for IDM is very timely.

Six steps to steering clear of a SharePoint Shipwreck

Ship Sinking
 ".....failed SharePoint projects have become so common place in our industry that we have started to coin a new phrase which helps describe the volatile nature of these projects. We have started to refer to these failed SharePoint projects as another, ‘‘SharePoint Shipwreck’’. This metaphor has a number of characteristics in common with a real shipwreck; there may be nothing wrong with your vessel yet you still find your project perched upon a rocky shoal or maybe marooned upon a desert island....."

To summarise James recommends that project goals and content ownership should be clearly defined before starting, and that a clear business model is established before embarking on any Sharepoint voyage.

Hopefully unfriendly cannibals like those encountered by Robinson Crusoe on his desert island can also be avoided.


Saturday, 11 August 2012

Technology Selection Challenges With SharePoint

Richard Harbridge's Thoughts on the Key Technology Selection Challenges With SharePoint

Richard Harbridge over at rharbridge.com has over 7 years of Sharepoint experience as an end user, developer, administrator, architect, business analyst, and consultant.

Checking out his informative blog, this post caught my eye.

".....When making a decision whether SharePoint is the right fit or platform for your enterprise technology strategy it’s important to understand that SharePoint is a significant investment. Even the free version of SharePoint can lead to costs associated with migration of content, scale, and integration....."


The image above is Richard's rough generalization of how you might compare some product stacks to SharePoint (and its stack). Check out his blog, it's full of great content.

Business Intelligence Features?




The Business Intelligence Features of Sharepoint 2010?


Kris Frukacz over at Evokeit.com has written an interesting post on their blog about the business intelligence features of Sharepoint 2010. Thankfully he doesn't go into too many tedious technical details, but he does furnish us with some images and charts to back up his opinion.

You can read more of Kris's thoughts here

Friday, 10 August 2012

Showcase For Outstanding Sharepoint Designs

Excellent Sharepoint Designs At TopSharepoint.com

I don't know about you, but I like to look at excellent web designs while surfing the web and sipping on a coffee, whether they be in simple minimalistic html, css or Sharepoint.

 TopSharePoint.com offers a showcase gallery that shows off a plethora of excellent SharePoint-based websites from all over the globe. They carefully select websites based on their usability, design, creativity and ability to incorporate modern techniques. If you have a spiffy SharePoint site why not submit it?

Interested in learning more, or just viewing some of the candidates?

If so more details can be found here

An Interesting Sharepoint 2013 Screencast

Screencast Of Sharepoint 2013 Observations


Yaroslav Pentsarskky, (you won't forget that name in a hurry) has posted an interesting screencast over at Sharemuch.com. In it he shares new features that have caught his eye and also what has been disappointing in Sharepoint 2013.

He has this to say:

".....it might just be right for power users who have web hacking aspirations....."

There will be many who agree with that statement and some who won't, time will tell how users will view Sharepoint 2013.

If you're interested you can watch Yaroslav's screencast here

Newsgator Goes Sharepoint Social

 Newsgator Targets Sharepoint Audience?

With the news Sharepoint 2013 just around the corner, it looks like Yammer won't be the only player on the Sharepoint social block. It seems NewsGator believes theres plenty of social love to go around and has backed this by releasing a new version of their "Social Sites" plugin for SharePoint.

Newsgator's Brian Kellner had this to say:

"Our customers told us they needed a better way to filter, refine, interact and consume large amounts of information in the social streams," said Kellner in a statement to the press. "Whether they are on SharePoint 2010 or plan to move to 2013, they will still have the most advanced social experience available."

If you're interested, you can read more here