Live Online Summer BOGO!

written by: Jennifer Johnson on June 11th, 2015

Buy one class scheduled in July or August and receive a second seat in the same class for free!


Furthering your career doesn’t have to mean giving up your vacation this summer.

That’s why we’re offering summer BOGO for live online sessions! Register with code BOGO2015 for one seat in a July or August live online training session and get a second seat in the same session free.

The convenience and flexibility of our live online training helps you and your team gain the skills and knowledge you need without having to give up the vacation you want.

Find the right course path for you. Where will this summer take you?


*Offer cannot be combined with any other offers. The offer is valid between July 1 and August 31. First registration must be made at full price. Free seat is for the same session. Use code BOGO2015 at checkout to receive discount. Some course exclusions may apply. These terms and conditions are subject to change at any time.


What is SharePoint Governance?

written by: Tom Robbins on June 30th, 2015

The importance of SharePoint Governance cannot be understated.  But most “green” SharePoint organizations do not even consider Governance until it’s too late.  Many organizations even consider the Governance a simple document to be created and kept on hand just for the purpose of having one.  The Governance should be driving and managing your SharePoint deployment and ongoing production.   Before even placing SharePoint into production, the Governance should be well on its way to providing the central governing principles and management procedures for your SharePoint environment.

So what exactly is SharePoint Governance?

Governance is the set of policies, roles, responsibilities, and processes that control how an organization’s business divisions and IT teams work together to achieve its goals. Every organization has unique needs and goals that influence its approach to governance. Larger organizations will probably require more—and more detailed—governance than smaller organizations. A good governance plan can:

  • Streamline the deployment of products and technologies, such as SharePoint Server 2013.
  • Help keep your organization’s system secure and compliant.
  • Help ensure the best return on your investment in technology.

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In essence, the Governance “runs” your SharePoint system.  Governance includes:

  • Hardware and Software requirements
  • Principles
  • SharePoint vision
  • Service Level Agreements
  • Details your Enterprise Taxonomy and Folksonomy and how they are managed and measured
  • Explains in-depth your plan for Training and Support
  • Site creation and lifecycle management policy
  • Details the Governance Team
  • Explains process for conflict mitigation
  • Reporting and accountability expectations on the effectiveness of Governance

These are just a few of the considerations for Governance.  Too many organizations find out years too late that there needs to be a management infrastructure in place.  Look, SharePoint is an information management and collaboration platform that will have reach into everything your business does, how people collaborate, and how your information is stored and discovered.  As organizations get started with SharePoint, they rarely realize the impact of SharePoint.  It has the potential to completely change the way your people work together and the way information flows within your enterprise.  Governance is more important at the beginning than anything else.

Governance helps to manage or address many SharePoint management processes:

  • All of the default settings, configuration, and features that need to be considered
  • Default templates and solutions that should be deployed
  • Management of content sprawl
  • Policies and procedures for document lifecycle management
  • Defines the standardized navigation, branding, and consistent user experience
  • Defines the management chain-of-command and escalation and conflict mitigation policies
  • Ensures that SharePoint vision, mission, and goals match your organization vision, mission, and goals.
  • Guarantees compliance with legal and regulatory compliance


Web Seminar Recap: What’s in Store for SharePoint 2016 from Microsoft Ignite

written by: Melissa Monroe on June 29th, 2015

Recently Microsoft confirmed that SharePoint Server 2016 will be released in Q2 2016, with a public beta planned for Q4 2015. They are focused on delivering value to customers as part of their on-premises deployments, while at the same time making it easier to take advantage of cloud innovation thru hybrid deployments of SharePoint Server with Office 365. With SharePoint Server 2016 Microsoft hopes to deliver enhancements and new capabilities in these three major areas:

  • Improved user experiences
  • Cloud-inspired infrastructure
  • Compliance and reporting

This webinar talked about the future of SharePoint Server 2016 and covered the top 3 sessions about SharePoint Server 2016 from Microsoft’s Ignite conference.

1. The Evolution of SharePoint

  • This session is an Overview and Roadmap for the next version of SharePoint On–Premises designed to give a preview of SharePoint 2016 and it’s capabilities.
  • If you are a Business Decision Maker who is looking to understand the vision, strategy, and high-level investment areas in SharePoint Server 2016, this session provides a broad level overview.

2. What’s New for IT Professionals in SharePoint v.Next

  • This session is intended to understand SharePoint Server 2016 capabilities in detail to including architecture, deployment and provisioning, and post installation configuration.
  • If you are an Admin, IT Implementer, or IT Professionals this session will provide insight into the on premise deployment road ahead.

3. Overview and Implementing Hybrid Search with the New Hybrid Search Crawl Appliance

  • Hybrid SharePoint deployments are here and here to stay. A hybrid SharePoint environment is composed of an on-premises deployment of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 and a SharePoint Online tenant in Microsoft Office 365.
  • In this session, we review the options and considerations to make when configuring hybrid search, including best practices shared by Microsoft’s engineers and product managers at Ignite.
  • This session is intended for Admins, IT Implementers, and IT Professionals looking to understand the advanced hybrid search capabilities included in SharePoint Server 2016.

Attendees learned more about SharePoint 2016, reviewed all of the exciting information from Microsoft Ignite 2015.

This seminar, What’s in Store for SharePoint 2016 from Microsoft Ignite, was presented by Andy Huneycutt on June 26th.

Missed this seminar? Catch up by downloading the slides and recording here.


Web Seminar Recap: Using Document Sets to Implement Business Processes in SharePoint 2013

written by: Delaney Galvin on June 23rd, 2015

Document Sets are a feature of SharePoint that allow an enterprise to manage multiple pieces of content as one single work product. We can think of Document Sets as “Super Folders” because they allow us to group information together, but that is as far as it goes. Folders are something you want to avoid in SharePoint because they have little value in the big scheme of actually managing SharePoint content. Document Sets have some of the same attributes of folders, but come with other object elements that allow us to perform many different management functions. Some of the features of Document Sets are: version management, workflow association, Information Management Policy, and metadata. This webinar introduced the attendee to Document Sets and dove in how to create and use them. Document Sets can be used to implement business processes and this goes beyond the normal approach of using them simply as folder replacements.

The topics that were covered in this one hour webinar:
• What are Document Sets?
• How Document Sets can be used to manage work product
• The components of Document Sets
• Defining a Document Set
• Using Document Sets to implement real business processes

Tom Robbins presented this seminar on “Using Document Sets to Implement Business Processes in SharePoint 2013″ June 19th.

Missed this seminar? Catch up by downloading the slides and recording here.


SharePoint is NOT A Replacement For Network Drives

written by: Tom Robbins on June 23rd, 2015


I’ve been thinking about this blog post for a while.  I work with customers and students all around the country on a weekly basis.  In conversations with each new class or new customer there is always one thing I can count on hearing, “For the most part, we use SharePoint for document storage.  IT simply migrated our network drives over to SharePoint”.   I used to cringe when I’d hear that, but I don’t as much anymore.  I see it as an indication of all of the opportunities that we will have in working together to really understand and implement the powerful tools in SharePoint.  Using SharePoint as a network drive replacement indicates the level of SharePoint maturity an organization has achieved.

First and foremost SharePoint is an Enterprise Collaboration portal.  Sites in SharePoint give teams a place to share knowledge in the form of discussions, micro blogs, Wikis, blogs, and other things.  Through the use of Lists, teams can facilitate project management and implement processes to help improve team efficiency and productivity as well as store information relevant to the team.   Using Libraries, teams can implement intentional oversight and management of the lifecycle of content like documents through features such as Version Control and Content Approval as well as Workflow.  Using the powerful Search capabilities in SharePoint, users can find enterprise knowledge that helps them more quickly complete the job tasks they have been assigned and to derive insights about the health of their organization.

Using the Enterprise Content Management features of SharePoint, an organization can implement a formal system of classification and categorization of information.  From Site Columns to Content Types, to Managed Metadata for Enterprise Taxonomy, a suite of tools exists giving Site Owners and users a method of declaring what information is relevant to an organization.

Now, let’s talk about Network Drives.  Not much to say here except they were created so that users could have centralized access to shared information and they were simply file cabinets, which like real-world file cabinets, contained folders.  Many folders within folders within folders were a futile attempt to classify and categorize information.   I won’t get into the many reasons why folders were never an efficient system of classification and categorization.  (See my previous posts regarding How To Implement a Folder-Less SharePoint 2013 ).  Network Drives were rarely ever managed from the content lifecycle point-of-view.  Document owners assumed IT was taking care of bloat, and IT assumed document owners were cleaning up and purging their old content.  So the result was that network drives continued to grow.  Not only did space requirements grow, but also there was no system of classification and categorization, so we never really thought of fast searching through the use of keywords or search terms to find information.  Information was just not indexed for quick retrieval unless you purchased some enterprise search engine.  Either we knew what the folder structure was or we didn’t find documents.  And if we didn’t know exactly which folder something was in, because it couldn’t live in multiple folders, we could rarely come up with reports based on the contents.  The content in network drives just continued to grow, whether it was relevant or not.  They were used partly to house relevant organizational content, but mostly they were just holding archival content that may or may not have actually been required to be archived.  If you had regulatory or organizational requirements to maintain content, you certainly were doing that because nothing was ever thrown away.

So, as you can see, SharePoint provides tools and features for Site Owners and Content Managers to have intentional control over the team information. Team information is stored in sites, which is under the management of Site Owners instead of IT.  SharePoint is not simply a place to store your documents.  It’s way too expensive for that and creates a totally different disaster recovery and business continuity model since the data is not in SQL server databases.  Trying to envision SharePoint as a network drive is very limiting.  Sure, you can store/archive content in SharePoint, but rarely would you use the SharePoint tools, like Version Control, on archive content.  You can certainly use SharePoint and its Records Management features for archive, but that is usually something that comes later after the true intentions of SharePoint have been implemented.

So, think a while before you just assume SharePoint is a network drive replacement.  I equate it to putting all of your files on Facebook.  WHY?  It wasn’t designed for that.  You upload relevant content to social platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn.  You don’t just assume they are designed as a new place to archive all of your stuff.


How well do you know SharePoint Libraries?

written by: Tom Robbins on June 16th, 2015

So for a few weeks, I will be challenging your knowledge of SharePoint.  Last week the questions were about Lists.  This week, let’s talk Libraries.  The answers are at the bottom!  Don’t look ahead!

1)      What should you use in place of folders to classify and categorize documents?

A. Super folders
B. Metadata/Columns
C. Colors
D. Network Drives

2) What is the default Content Type for a Document Library?

A. Web Part page
B. Form
C. SharePoint Page
D. Document (blank Word doc)

3) Which Column/Field Type can be used with the Enterprise Taxonomy term store?

A. Managed Metadata
B. Lookup
C. Choice
D. Site Column

4) Which OOTB SharePoint library contains the content types for use with Business Intelligence?

A. Document Library
B. Form Library
C. Report Library
D. Picture Library

5) The name of a Library becomes the URL.  A best practice for the name is that it should not have spaces because the spaces are converted to what in the URL?

A. %20
B. b
C. <space>
D. nothing, there will be a space in the URL


So, how well did you do?  Stay tuned for more questions about SharePoint!

Answers: 1) B 2) D 3) A 4) C 5) A


How well do you know SharePoint Lists?

written by: Tom Robbins on June 9th, 2015

So for a few weeks, I will be challenging your knowledge of SharePoint.  Last week the questions were about Governance.  This week, let’s talk Lists.  The answers are at the bottom!  Don’t look ahead!

1)     Which of the following is NOT an OOTB List App in 2013?

A. Import Spreadsheet
B. Calendar
C. Tasks
D. Risks

2) Which Column/Field Type represents a very narrow taxonomy of terms that are only useable within the list where it was created?

A. Managed Metadata
B. Lookup
C. Choice
D. Site Column

3) Which Column/Field Type represents an Enterprise Taxonomy of terms?

A. Managed Metadata
B. Lookup
C. Choice
D. Site Column

4) Which of the following is TRUE about Lists?

A. They are the building blocks of information/content in SharePoint
B. List items share the same schema
C. Lists contain information that is related
D. All of the above

5) What List component is your “Report” tool?

A. Items
B. Columns
C. Views
D. Metadata

So, how well did you do?  Stay tuned for more questions about SharePoint!

Answers: 1) D 2) C 3) A 4) D 5) C


How well do you know SharePoint Governance?

written by: Tom Robbins on June 2nd, 2015

I figured I would spice up my weekly blog posts by adding in a little Q&A.   Starting this week, I will occasionally post some SharePoint questions to make things exciting.  This week I will pose a few Governance related questions.  Let’s see how you do!  The answers are posted at the bottom.  Don’t look ahead!

1)     Which of the following is TRUE about Governance?

  1. Business requirements should drive your SharePoint deployment
  2. Governance is not really important in the success of SharePoint
  3. A Communication Plan does not have much value
  4. IT should create Governance and be the key stakeholder

2) Which of the following business players needs to be represented on the Governance team?

  1. Senior Management
  2. Just IT (they own technology!)
  3. Legal Department
  4. All SharePoint users need to be represented in some form

3) What is the industry standard for implementing a Permissions Strategy in SharePoint?

  1. Use AD Groups to control access to SharePoint objects
  2. Roles-Based Management
  3. Delegate permissions management to IT
  4. Least-restrictive permissions strategy

4) What is likely to happen without a clear and ongoing Governance?

  1. Governance is not really required so there will be no impact
  2. SharePoint success will be directly impacted by the level of Governance
  3. SharePoint adoption is easier if you just deploy it and let users learn on their own
  4. Examiners and Auditors will not have much trouble finding information

5) Governance should be an extension of  _____________.

  1. Your company organizational vision
  2. Your competitors organizational vision
  3. The HR business requirements for a solution
  4. None of the above


So, how well did you do?  Stay tuned for more questions about SharePoint to test your knowledge!

Answers: 1) A 2) D 3) B 4) B 5) A



Web Seminar Recap: How to Configure and Use Managed Metadata in SharePoint 2013

written by: Jennifer Johnson on May 26th, 2015

Presented by Andy Huneycutt on May 22, this webinar focused on SharePoint 2013 Managed Metadata. Andy described the managed metadata service and connections, and provided an example scenario for using them.

Managed metadata is a hierarchical collection of centrally managed terms that you can define and then use as attributes for items in SharePoint Server 2013, and when applied contribute to a more efficient and consistent user experience. The managed metadata service application makes it possible to use managed metadata and share content types across site collections and web applications. A managed metadata service publishes a term store and, optionally, content types; a managed metadata connection consumes these.

Specifically discussed in this web seminar:
• Enable managed metadata in your SharePoint Server 2013 application
• Learn the difference between managed terms and enterprise keywords
• Create new managed terms
• Create enterprise keywords
• Share managed metadata with content types

This webinar also discussed the benefits of Managed Metadata:
• Consistent use of Metadata
• Improved content discoverability
• Metadata navigation in list and libraries
• Increased flexibility

Missed this web seminar? You can find the slides and recording here.


How To Implement a Folder-Less SharePoint 2013 – Part 3

written by: Tom Robbins on May 26th, 2015

Part 1: How To Implement a Folder-Less SharePoint 2013

Part 2: How To Implement a Folder-Less SharePoint 2013

In my final installment regarding the use of Folders in SharePoint I want to just outline a few bullet points, recap the previous blog posts, and finally give a list of other resources on the web around this topic.

1)      Folders constrain you by not allowing you to use all the features of Views

2)      Folders are usually named very liberally. The URL can become too large.

3)      Search cannot use folders because folders cannot have metadata

4)      If you are using folders because of permissions, consider Document Sets!

5)      Items that need to be classified in multiple ways would mean you would have to put a copy in every folder

6)      Metadata is scalable

7)      You can slice and dice your data using Views with metadata

This is a great matrix that I found on the web. The link to the original page is listed below:

  Folders Metadata
Security Folders can be used to propagate permissions and control the access to the resources the folders   contain. None.
Content Type Order Folders can control which content type’s users can create using the New menu on the list toolbar.   Folders can also control the order in which the content types appear in the menu. None.
Navigation Folders are intrinsically part of the navigational infrastructure in the SharePoint platform. Metadata can be used to control navigation, but this requires creative approaches. List View web   parts showing filtered list views can provide metadata-based navigational capabilities. While this requires no custom code, it can be labor intensive to add the web parts to a large number of pages. Additional metadata-based navigation can be accomplished through custom code.SharePoint 2010 Update: SharePoint Server 2010 supports the use of metadata-based navigation for files in document libraries and list   items.
Url Folder names form portions of the URL of the SharePoint resources the folders contain. None.
Tools Support Most Microsoft and 3rd party tools inherently know how to work with folders in the SharePoint   platform. Metadata support in 3rd party tools is spotty. While a tool from one vendor will generally understand how to handle its own metadata, the tool will generally not understand how to handle the metadata from another vendor’s tool. This can   make it challenging to incorporate metadata from multiple vendors’ tools into a single SharePoint information architecture.
Search None. Metadata is indexed by SharePoint search and will return results based on keyword searches.   SharePoint Server also supports promoting selected metadata to searchable properties.SharePoint 2010 Update: SharePoint Server 2010 and FAST Search for SharePoint supports using metadata to refine search results.
Sort None. Metadata can be used to control the order in which items are displayed in list views.
Filter List views can be configured to show only the list items contained within a folder and its sub folders. Metadata can be used to control which items are displayed in list views.
Group None. Metadata can be used to group list items together in list views. List views limit grouping to two   hierarchical levels.