Overview of ECM for teams with Site Mailboxes #SPC12

November 14th, 2012 No comments

My first blog during the SPC12. My schedule is more crowded than I thought. I hope to bring you more summaries the next few days.

This session was hosted by Adam Harmetz and Alfons Staerk

Finally, the integration of SharePoint and Exchange is here. The new feature is called Site Mailboxes. While you might have already read or seen a lot about this feature, here a short summary of this feature.

The Site Mailbox is what is says it is. A mailbox within a SharePoint site. It is a kind of group mailbox, but controlled by the users. You and me. I can create a new Site Mailbox, which automatically creates a real mailbox in Exchange.

When you give access rights to people on the Teamsite where the mailbox is hosted, they automatically get access to the mailbox in their Outlook. This means the control of the mailbox is done from SharePoint, nice…

The demonstrations during the session showed a lot of functionality from the Outlook perspective. Let me summarize my favorite ones:

  • The mailbox      automatically gets added to your outlook when the Teamsite is shared.
  • The document libraries      as the inbox of the Teamsite appear in Outlook. Nice is that new documents      are bold, just like unread email. And this is personal.
  • You can drag document,      attachments and other emails to both the inbox and the document library.
  • Sharing an email can      be done by drag and drop, forwarding or cc’ing the email to the Site      Mailbox, which has unique address. I like it…
  • The feature I loved      most is when sending a document from Outlook it automatically sends the      link to the document, not the document itself. A natural way for people to      share documents, without extra clicks.

Some of the techy content of the session was that the integration between SharePoint and Exchange is quite smart. Dragging a document into Outlook thus Exchange, it wil be automatically routed to SharePoint for storage and only the link will be stored in Exchange. Actually the document is stored in a shared cached storage, meaning document only are stored ones for both platforms.

A good overview session, done with Office 356 by the way.

Finally a feature that will really improve productivity of all knowledge workers.

Categories: SharePoint Tags: ,

Ask Me (Alomst) Anything during the SharePoint Conference 2012 #SPC12 #SPCNL12

November 6th, 2012 No comments

The Microsoft SharePoint Conference is comming soon. Just another few days to the main SharePoint event. Just like last year, I will be blogging about the sessions that I an attending. I’ll try to live blog like last year. A Microsoft Surface would make this easier (hint!).

This year you can also Ask Me Anything  about SharePoint via twitter @souabi. Well, almost Anything, you can ask me anything about SharePoint functional, architecture and governance. I am a business user, so asking me about a specific .NET class from the SharePoint API will result in “I’ll ask my colleagues” answer.  I hope I will be able to answer your question(s).

You can also send your questions to my Rubicon collegues @ErnstWolthaus and @Emil_Verwoerd. Both experienced SharePoint Developers. You can spot us easliy if you are at the SPC12!

To keep track on the questions and answers follow #AskMeAnythingAboutSP tag on twitter.


Categories: SharePoint Tags:

Computable zoekt testers voor Fujitsu-ultrabook

August 9th, 2012 No comments

Computable is op zoek naar testers voor Fujitsu-ultrabook. Ik zeg niet verder zoeken …

Deze blogger zou graag zijn handen willen krijgen op deze krachtige gadget en deze twee weken lang bloot stellen aan de ultieme gebruiker en software tests. Ik laat zelfs mijn vrouw de ultrabook gebruiken voor de ultieme gebruikersvriendelijkheids tests 😉



Categories: Everything Else Tags:

SharePoint 2013 Beta …

August 9th, 2012 No comments

The beta of the new SharePoint is finaly here. I have allready seen lots of changes (good & less good ;-)) … and hope to have some time to blog on them soon.

Download the preview here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/hh973397.aspx

If you are not an IT-Pro, you can create a beta ofhe the new Office 365 and play with the new SharePoint version here:


happy testing…


Categories: Everything Else Tags:

#SPC11 Summary: How Microsoft built Academy, it’s Social Video Platform (SPC353)

October 6th, 2011 No comments

The last session of the SharePoint Conference I will be attending, before the SharePoint Conference 2011 comes to an end.

More and more enterprises want to use “video”  within their organizational boundaries. This sessions demonstrates how Microsoft got their own “youtube” built.

Using video can be for:

  • Educational purposes (training video’s)
  • News and information
  • Social and collaboration purposes
  • “Branding”  (who we are)
  • Etc..

Key pattern elements:

  • Using SharePoint 2010 to create a design blueprint for building social knowledge sharing systems.
  • Key Components:
    Community & Social experience
    Document storage, management & delivery
    Managed Meta-data Service
    FAST Search
    Portal Design
    Windows Media Services (WMS) / Smooth Streaming

Microsoft uses a Publishing Site for the root of their portal site, with publishing pages. Next they use document sets to group all content for a single video together. For example a video contains the media file, a thumbnail, etc. These are grouped using Document Sets. Document Sets construct allows content to be consistently defined and displayed. The next layer is the Media Storage, where the physical media is stored. This needs good thought when starting to build your own video platform. The last layer is the Shared Services layer, where the social features are enabled.

I noticed that they use FAST Search to present related content and video’s on the pages of their portal. FAST is used to reduce page creation administration (related content is generated), by surfacing Repository in context of the visited page.

There is a hands on lab you can download that is used in the demo, here: http://aka.ms/podcasting

Choosing how to create, store and manager the actual video’s is an important architectural decision. There is no out of the box solution for this in SharePoint. Storing large amount’s of video in SharePoint itself is not recommended. Think about using Smooth Streaming (a plugin in IIS) to tune streaming to network conditions so the video always plays smoothly.

Session details:
Title: How Microsoft built Academy, it’s Social Video Platform
Speaker: Austin Winters

Categories: SharePoint, SharePoint 2010 Tags:

#SPC2011 Summary: Multi-Tenancy with SharePoint 2010 (SPC370)

October 6th, 2011 No comments

Multi-Tenancy is a way to securely “split” or partition information, operation and services in a single SharePoint farm to different organizations. I am following this session to hope and get more insight in this feature of SharePoint.

aThe session starts good. The first slide shows ” This is a technical session with lots of demo!”. This means my blog entry will be sort and show summaries.

Problem definition for Multi-Tenancy:

  • Isolation of data, operational services and management.
  • A unique deployment for each customer on shared set of resources.

Who is doing it?

  • Office 365
  • Webhosters as fbweb.net, Rackspace
  • Private Cloud suppliers (IaaS)

Always remember: Multi0Tenancy in SharePoint 2010 was designed for Office 365!

This is a good remark, meaning that you can use it as it is. Changing it to your specific requirements will be hard.

Multi-Tenancy is not a point solution. A collection of features needs to be configured to deliver this funcitonality.

Features that are used:

  • Host Named Site Collections
    In sort Site Collections with their own domain name.
  • Site Subscriptions
    A logical grouping of site collections that share a number of settings and services.
    Each subscription has a unique ID. Once this is created Sites can be added to that subscription.
    Sites within the same subscription can be managed from a common site.
  • Service Application Partitioning
    Use the same instance to serve multiple tenants. Provides data isolation for each tenant. Not database SQL partitioning.
    Note: Mode can not be changed after creation. Service application that do not store data do not need to be partitioned.
  • Feature Pack
    Extremely useful for service levels. Group a number of features togehter.
  • Tenant Administration
    Can manage configuration of Farm Administrator delegated features. Tenant Administration is a hidden site template. Self Service site creation is required for Site from Tenant Administration Site (this needs customizing the site template to make it workable in a live environment)
  • Customizations
    Fully Trusted Code. Sanbox solutions.

High Level Configuration steps:

  1. Configure Infra pre-requisites
  2. Create Hosting Web Applications
  3. Provision Service Applications
  4. Create Feature Packs
  5. Provision Tenants

From here the session goes into a demo to show these steps. As one might expect, creating and configuring a Multi-tenant environment is only possible using PowerShell.

There are a number of design constraints:

  • Multi-Tenancy only works with a OU structure in a singel AD forest. Each tenant has their own ID.
  • Search is not configurable at tenant level. This is a farm and therefore global setting.

Do not deploy unsupported Service application:

  • FAST for SharePoint
  • Performance Point
  • Project Server

Session Details:
Title: Multi-Tenancy with SharePoint 2010 (10:30 6/10/2010)
Speaker: Spencer Harbar

Categories: Everything Else Tags:

#SPC2011 Summary: Building Self-Service BI Applications using PowerPivot v2 “Denali” for Excel and SharePoint (SPC325)

October 6th, 2011 No comments

The first session on the final day. I’ll try to live blog (6/10/2011 9:00) this session as wel as the two I did yesterday.

A good start, the session will focus on PowerPivot v2.

John wants to go through the whole lifecycle, being:

  1. Personal BI
    Tooling: PowerPivot for Excel
  2. Team BI
    Tooling: PowerPivot for SharePoint (& Project Crescent)
  3. Organizational BI
    Tooling: Analysis Services


Demo starts with the PowerPivot for Excel tool.

Step 1. Connect tot a database (or other sources), select tables and import the data.
The data can also be import from a SSRS report that is available for the user.

Step 2. Start exploring.
Even with 100-rds million of rows the tool performs. Nice!

Step 3. Build analysis, for exmple a Pivot Table.
This is exactly done as we are used to in Excel.

Step 4. Add mashups (additional data)
Here the fun starts. The power of the tool comes from using mashups, thus data from other sources to enrich you corporate date. In the demo John adds information from an access table to get a list of state names etc. This to enrich the data he already imported.

Step 5. Create relations between data and newly added data.
One needs to create relations off course to get the stats code in the base sata connected to the new data with the full state name, etc. The tool has a nice diagram viewer/editor to do this. It is NOT possible to export the diagram from the tool.
New: They added a number of new features in the advanced mode. You can go to the file tab and select “Switch to Advanced Mode”. This adds an advanced tab.
In the advanced tab:

  • Perspectives (filter the data based of a specific field/competence/subject area/etc)
  • Implicit measures
    Measures are in short more complex calculations (calculated columns). To handle measures they added a calculation area.

New: In V2 you can select the sort order. Just pick the sort by column and select your own order.
New: Calculations area to add complex calculated fields (measures) in the list view, that can be used in the pivot table.
Evolved: Key performance indicator. Improved handling and adding of KPI’s (in Excel).

Key is that with Power Pivot a user can create complex models without having to switch (to soon) to other more advanced tooling.

Step 6. Go to Team BI (next step in the lifecycle)

Demo continue with the PowerPivot for SharePoint.

Publish the Power Pivot created in Excel to SharePoint. Add things like daily/hourly refresh schedules. And share the pivot table with people in the same team. Edit the table in the browser without opening Excel.

Question: Can I secure parts of the sheet to different users in PowerPivot for SharePoint.
Answer: No, this is not possible with this tooling. (one needs to go to the next level in the lifecycle)

We also got a quick peak at Project Crescent, to build ad-hoc reports in the browser. Again nice!
Project Crescent is not a replacement for project builder, but Microsoft wants to get the power of building ad-hoc reports to the novice.

Step 7. Another step up the lifecycle is go op to Organizational BI

The demo shows the analysis services where John does a restore from PowerPivot, from th earlier created PowerPivot in Excel. Analysis services adds the more IT capabilities such as segmenting and security. From here it get’s to visual studio etc…

Nice demo where I as a business user can start with a pilot on my own environment and have this grow to a corporate BI dashboard.

Session details:
Title: Building Self-Service BI Applications using PowerPivot v2 ” Denali”  for Excel and SharePoint
Speaker: John C. Hancock

Final day @SharePoint Conference 2011

October 6th, 2011 No comments

Well today is the final day @ the SharePoint Conference 2001 here in Anaheim. A great few days with lots, and lots, and lots, and lots, did I say lots of sessions.

I was a bit disappointed, during the keynote,  that we did not get any glimpse of new SharePoint development or the road Microsoft is taking this platform. But this was quickly made up by the lots of sessions and the care Microsoft took of us during the conference. I am as always amazed how they manage to serve breakfast and lunch to 7.500 people without any chaos.

I am glad, that as an expert on this platform, I could still learn a bit and take new idea’s with me back to the Netherlands. I hope to share them with my colleagues and customers as soon a I get back.

Up to the last sessions ….


Categories: Everything Else Tags:

#SPC11 Summary: Handling Explosive Content Growth: Advanced Strategies for Managing Retention and Disposition in SharePoint (SPC 408)

October 6th, 2011 No comments

My last session for today, and my second try for a live blog entry. I am a bit worried since Ben Robb mentions that this is a more “developer”  session. But the topic is a “business” topic, so I’ll stay put. My post wont have any code in it.

If we look at the document lifecycle we can see thee 3 high level steps:

  • Create document (and store)
  • Declare Record
  • Dispose

Why should you worry about retention?

There may be clear demands from compliance/business/management/legal. The users often only want to know where the stuff is and be able to find it easy. The ease of use is more important for a user than compliance.

What out of the box features are available in SharePoint?

  • Document ID service
  • Information Management Policy
  • Workflows
  • Word Automation Service

I want to add (not mentioned in the presentation) that retention and disposition is not only from a legal or compliance point of view. Imagine the ability to “delete”  10 to 20% of your content each year. This will dramatically reduce the amount of storage you will need in 5 to 10 years. I smell a way to cut cost there! Even if it is just deteling the older versions of documents. Back to the session.

Ben demonstrates the out of the box information management policy functionality. You can find a lot of information about this topic here http://bit.ly/pJbwoJ.

When do you need to customize?

If you have compliance of legal constraints you will need to customize your process.

Things to worry about.

  • Application Lifecycle Management, where do you put the business rules that can change if law or other compliance rules change.
  • Content Lifecycle Management. What happens if the rules of lifecycle management change.
  • Legal Frameworks
  • User Education

Ben mentions that communication to end users is very important. When content is moved communicate this to your user. They will find documents missing and may not know why.

Custom Retention

Out of the box retention is limited to common date fields. Here is where Custom retention formulas can support more complex business rules. The rest of the demo is code.

Custom Workflow

Custom workflows can be used to handle actions that are not available in the out of the box functionality. The example that Ben uses for a custom workflow is when a document is moved to a records center. When this is done, normally the social comments and workflow history stay at the teamsite. In the demo he showed that this can be done with a custom workflow. I like that he uses custom built workflow activities, so business users as me can stay in control when “rules”  change and change the workflow from SharePoint designer.

Session Details:
Title: Handling Explosive Content Growth: Advanced Strategies for Managing Retention and Disposition in SharePoint
Speaker: Ben Robb






#SPC11 Summary: Impementing an OnPrem/Office365 Hybrid Archticture (SPC236)

October 6th, 2011 No comments

I will try to live blog this session. So bare with me here.

A Hybrid architecture has the following benefits:

  • Extend resource & communications to remote locations
  • Provide controlled access outside your firewall
  • Quickly setup public facing website

Adoption Inhibitors:

  • Similar to Inter-Farm
  • Transformation (Business, Technology, Operational)
  • Data Governance
  • Onboard/Offboard
  • Cost

Opportunities of SharePoint

  • Solutions platform
  • Rationalize business functionality for agile adoption
  • Use RaaS to explore extending capabilities
  • Maturity evaluation

Levels of Hybridization:

  • Redundant
  • Partitioned
  • Migrated
  • Synchronized

Replication as a service. How can you manage the replication of information in a hybrid environment, without breaking information streams such as workflows etc. Michael Jordan introduces a third party product here, ecKnowledge Server by CASAHL.

The actions in replication are:

  • Collection of the data, this is done with Crawling, Extraction & Load.
  • Analysis, this is done with reporting and rationalization.
  • Transformation, this is done by clustering, throttling, Replication, etc…

Now comes the demo. The demo does go into Office 365 & On Premise SharePoint.

They are talking about what’s easy en what is not.

Standard the following can be done with the standard products:

  • Authentication, people will want single sign on for a hybrid environment to work.
  • Branding
  • Navigation
  • Site Lifecycle

The demo gives a nice example of a company with an online and on-premise environment. With a clear branding that shows where a person is, that is in the online or on premise portal. Both with a gobal navigation to navigate between the portals. Off course with single sign on enabled.<insert image here ;-)>

I love the site-directory where the site lifecycle management is clear and shows sites that live in the cloud and on premise. When requesting a new site, the demo keeps in mind that users do not understand the difference of the portals. The demo uses the request for a site form to determine where the actual site is created. This can be based on governance, functionality, size requirements, etc…

There are some hybridization features that require some elbow grease of assistance

User Profiles & Social

Pick an environment where social and profiles are of most value
Only read-only of profile in other environment
Redirect MySites
Use same source of record
Redirect search of people to one environment

Data Replication

A business example (part of the demo) of replication is a project site where there are 2 document libraries. One is for internal documents only (thus only on the on premise env.). Second is a shared documents. Here they added a column “ReplicateToOnline”. Here the users can choose to share this information with another project site (for example where the project works with external people). The 3rd party synchronization tool (with correct configuration) takes care of the synchronization between the on premise and Office365 site. Nice! A good example to use the power of O365 to work with external people and leave internal data internal.


Federate if you’re in O365-D (D is dedicated!)
Index O365-D w/ OnPerm FAST
Link between the two different search environments
Replicate meta-data to Online environment. This is shown in a nice demo 🙂

Customizations & Logic
Always use OOTB first
Sandbox if possible
Run all solutions through MSOCAF
Leverage Replication as a Service.

Demo shows the online site where a customer can fill in a form for a request. This is replicated to the on premisce environment where the workflow is run. The response (after a workflow) is then replicated back to the cloud. Since we have time we get a bonus demo. ” Office365-S Sandboxed “Timer Job”. We off course know that time jobs are not possible on SharePoint online. In short the replication is used between the online environment and a on premise sql database to “fake” the timer job. Interessting!

Business Intelligence

Publish static reports to the cloud
Link for full report to local environment (not accessible for external users)


Hybridization is …

  • nothing new
  • a complex environment (requires the same planning and effort as a complex on premises environment)
  • not a place to relax your best practices
  • yet another good reason to examine your workloads
  • easier with additional capabilities
  • getting better

There is a whitepaper about the subject “Hybrid SharePoint Environments with Office 365” (that is much more readable than this blog entry) from http://bit.ly/ouNAVB