Loading...

Category Archives for Technology

Benefits of No-code SharePoint Application Development

According to a recent Microsoft report, more than 250,000 organizations worldwide use SharePoint for their day-to-day collaboration. While SharePoint was initially launched and sold as a robust document and content management system, it has evolved into a highly configurable platform for enterprises today. It makes great sense then to utilize this platform to develop powerful SharePoint apps that fulfill key business requirements.
While SharePoint does offer some out-of-the-box application development templates, but working with them can be tedious as it requires in-depth and complicated customization to create business-specific solutions. The next best SharePoint application development approach is to custom code it all the way. While this might fetch satisfactory results yet the process is complex, costly, and time-consuming. It does not make sense to engage in this process unless in-house SharePoint development is one of your core business areas.
What is the alternative then?
The solution to this custom SharePoint development dilemma lies in adopting the No-code approach. No-code development is a trending concept among the developers’ community. But, before we discuss the benefits of No-code SharePoint application development it is essential to understand this concept first.
True No-code products, such as our very own QuickApps for SharePoint, are primarily 100% metadata-driven development platforms. As a result, all the SharePoint application functionalities created by the developer are stored in the form of properties which describes actions or behavior to be represented. When an application runs, the App Interface corresponds with defined properties to show the functionalities. This means even the non-technical personnel can develop applications with the simple point-and-click configurations. This enables the enterprises to focus back on their core business, lowers costs, optimizes user experiences, and streamlines business processes.
Top 4 Benefits of No-code SharePoint application development
  • Empowers Citizen Developers: Removes dependency on IT, and promotes the citizen developer concept. A no-code customization approach allows the employees to meet their complex business requirements, from interface enhancements to complete SharePoint software solutions.
  • Accelerates Time to Market: Since the point-and-click configuration consumes significantly less time than writing, debugging, and compiling codes, the end-user functionalities can be developed in a rapid quick time. Comparatively measured, customized SharePoint solutions can be created 6x to 8x faster. This helps enterprises meet their development SLAs.
  • Brings High User Engagement: Allows enterprises to extend SharePoint capabilities beyond what is natively possible by developing apps that fit the business needs, improve navigation, enhance the UI, and drive high user adoptions.
  • Simplifies the Upgrade Process: Mitigates the challenges associated with the upgrade process. Custom coded applications involve hard-coded references to server names, databases, or URLs which might not run effectively on another platform. As the custom SharePoint apps built with no-code development tools need the least coding, they can work seamlessly in the new platform.
Customize SharePoint without Coding with QuickApps
Now, let us introduce you to AgreeYa’s no-code SharePoint application development solution – QuickApps. This innovative product includes a set of 21 web apps which simplifies SharePoint development and minimizes the application lifecycle costs. By adopting QuickApps, enterprises can reduce the cost and effort required in supporting, maintaining, and upgrading business applications ensuring their long-term impact and high return on investment.
Amit Gupta
Amit Gupta
Senior Product Development Manager and Practice Lead – SharePoint Delivery Microsoft. Amit Gupta plays a key role in incubating and establishing best SharePoint practices at AgreeYa. He is closely associated with the Product Development and Delivery team and works to find new solutions based on Microsoft technology and optimize performance and responsiveness for our clients. He can be reached at amit.g@agreeya.com

Signs You Need an Online Collaboration Solution

An organization is just as good as its skilled, collaborating employees. Everyone in an organization is an asset that needs to be utilized to its best capabilities, which only shall bring the true return on the investment gone into building an army of professionals. Organizations have lived for long under the fear of exposing themselves to potential threats with collaboration. But collaboration cannot be ignored any longer, as it will leave them in a grey, vulnerable situation of incompetency. If the remotely sitting teams fail to collaborate, discuss, make presentations to each other for a rounded decision than your initiatives will always struggle to succeed at every step. If people in your organization are unable to come together for work, they struggle between the different versions of documents, unable to locate files, these signs at workplace are a call for help: Collaborating with the Overseas Team is a Challenge: And why just overseas? Collaborating beyond the firewall protection will be challenging and difficult if you are not running on an extremely supportive collaboration tool. While firewalls are crucial, they shouldn’t get restrictive by getting into the way of a clear communication. If this is hampering your progress, then the reason is a lack of collaboration tool. Best way to avert the insecurities that email brings is to opt for a collaboration medium that can support internal sharing of documents, without the need of sharing any document over the mail. SharePoint is one such platform. Facing Cases of Breaches: This can take a bigger form, if not addressed urgently. No organization can survive breach scenarios, losing business and finances. Besides, restricting collaboration is not a choice, as that in itself means restricting possibilities. This constant tug of war between risk and restriction is where you need a SharePoint solution. In such a scenario you need a powerful collaboration platform to secure your communication. Versioning of Documents Between Approvals: Back and forth of documents for approval generates multiple versions of documents. And later in time when you will really need it, it will be hard to spot the latest version. Again a restrictive way of working pulling you back, causing frustration at workplace. Working over the entire document can go in vain, if you send across the wrong version. This is a part of collaborative weakness that your organization is suffering from. Inability to Display Data in an Interactive Way: There are complex data and scenarios that need to be discussed. But how will you display them in a video call or a meeting? This involves collaboration capabilities to enable display in charts, graphs, images, and more. If this is a challenge for your organization, then this needs your urgent attention. SharePoint can infuse these capabilities in your team, such as, with the help of web apps by QuickApps you can swiftly create chart flows, tables, and graphs. These web apps will help you evolve your SharePoint abilities. It is a good idea to hire resources overseas, to control costs. But it takes a good collaboration tool to communicate work, discuss challenges, and build a solution together. If you come cross these signs, take these as a shout for help.
Amit Gupta
Amit Gupta
Senior Product Development Manager and Practice Lead – SharePoint Delivery Microsoft. Amit Gupta plays a key role in incubating and establishing best SharePoint practices at AgreeYa. He is closely associated with the Product Development and Delivery team and works to find new solutions based on Microsoft technology and optimize performance and responsiveness for our clients. He can be reached at amit.g@agreeya.com

Propagating SharePoint Adoption in your Enterprise-Part 2

Engage Leadership: It is nearly impossible to drive a major change in the organization, without engaging the leadership. Change will be difficult even for the ones who are positive about this initiative. To drive a successful SharePoint adoption plan, it is imperative to reach out to the leaders and seek their help to drive this change. When leaders will talk to people and communicate the value that this adoption can drive, they will be more likely to adapt to the change. Bring People Together For a Goal: A SharePoint adoption plan needs to be communicated well, to drive its adoption. Bring people together for this goal, communicate its benefits and how it will make their lives easy. This should be a solution-centric conversation, revolving around improving the whole work process of regular work, sharing content and ideas, discovering information, getting organized, streamlining of business processes, or connecting to line of business systems—SharePoint can enable a number of critical business solutions. People want to make their lives easy; they will adopt the idea when they will know its full extent. Simplify and Take Support: While SharePoint is built to address a multitude of challenges for the users, the fact about SharePoint is that it is complex right to the root. While people adopt it afterm administrator’s efforts, they will begin to drift in absence of a legit tech support. A multitude of SharePoint support tools are available in the market that will simplify work, adding efficiency, accuracy, and speed hugely. As people move towards SharePoint, help them simplify work through support from SharePoint software such as: QuickApps (helps you build quick web applications through pre-built templates), Site Administrator (helps you administer your SharePoint by giving to insight and access to its environment), and Recovery Manager (helps you recover data lost on SharePoint). Start with Smaller Engagement and Then Broaden Up: Starting with a small group of people and then expanding gradually is the best way to carry out this SharePoint implementation plan. A small group of people is easy to convince, track, and train. Besides, you can selectively pick those people who are excited about this technology. After working on SharePoint with your small, well-choosen group, take feedback from them and expand the adoption. This way, it will there will be lesser on stake, minimal risk and chances of damage. Moreover, spread out the success stories related to its adoption, to build a way of SharePoint adoption. SharePoint Governance: As we begin to use SharePoint, its environment begins to grow into a huge unmanageable jungle of chaos. Reason behind this is that Microsoft frequently releases upgrades to this platform, to make it all the more powerful and ready to address your challenges. While these upgrades are good, they can also lead to chaos. Only way to deal with this threat is a powerful governance plan, which needs a complete understanding of its environment. Instead of struggling with its environment, take support from Site Administrator tool and get an in-depth understanding and access to its functioning.
Amit Gupta
Amit Gupta
Senior Product Development Manager and Practice Lead – SharePoint Delivery Microsoft. Amit Gupta plays a key role in incubating and establishing best SharePoint practices at AgreeYa. He is closely associated with the Product Development and Delivery team and works to find new solutions based on Microsoft technology and optimize performance and responsiveness for our clients. He can be reached at amit.g@agreeya.com

4 Ways Customized-Web Apps for SharePoint Will Transform Work

SharePoint is the most robust tool available in the market today. However, it too needs a support system to run smoothly, given all the complications attached to it. One of its harrowing complications relates to coding, which at times leads to scenarios where you build entirely different results, than what you have been trying. Besides, SharePoint development requires coding, which further poses challenges such as excessive resource investment, rounds of re-work, prolonged project deliveries, and extra cost. To overcome limitations of SharePoint Out-of-box functionalities, Microsoft offers the option of writing custom code solutions. Custom Code Solutions further poses challenges such as excessive resource investment, rounds of re-work, prolonged project deliveries, and extra cost. AgreeYa’s QuickApps comes handy as you address these challenges. QuickApps is a set of pre-built templates that even a non-SharePoint-expert resource can use to build applications and web pages or perform customization. It removes the compulsion of going through a tedious coding process, usually needed to achieve something on SharePoint, as these pre-built templates let you drag and drop to build what you want. Here are top 4 ways QuickApps web apps for SharePoint can change your life as an IT Support Staff: Achieve Fast Customization – Web apps allow the user to perform point-and-click configuration instead of custom code. This speeds up the whole customization process by 80%, as there is no need to go through extensive coding and re-work the problem area. This can be dealt with a quick-fix of a SharePoint web app deletion and addition. Empower More Users with SharePoint Capabilities – Web apps empower non-technical users with SharePoint capabilities, developing a team of independent staff, who don’t need to rush to IT for every small piece of customization work. While this work empowerment makes life easy for users, it also saves the time of expensive resources who have to spend time in this work, which does not add any real value to the business. Deliver Projects Faster – With ready-made templates making it easy to build and deliver help desk, project management and CRM applications on the spot, there are faster than ever project deliveries than ever. With SharePoint web apps making it possible for non-technical staff to build solutions, these make work easier and faster for the knowers of this technology, leaving little or no scope for re-work or corrections. Besides, these are easy to support, maintain, and extend. SharePoint Adoption that Brings Higher Satisfaction – You have made a good investment in SharePoint, now is the time on maximize on your investment by controlling the budget and encouraging its adoption across the teams. Web Apps make SharePoint possible for everyone in an organization that leads to its enthusiastic acceptance. A team of web app empowered resources make it possible for the project owners to complete a certain SharePoint related task on their own, and release it from their desk. While this keeps the project owner happy, as now there is no back and forth with the IT team, it also means cost containment for the business overall. AgreeYa’s QuickApps is a collection of 21 web apps that bring different tasks to accomplishment. Users can take a free trial of these web apps and explore how this can mean business transformation for them.
Amit Gupta
Amit Gupta
Senior Product Development Manager and Practice Lead – SharePoint Delivery Microsoft. Amit Gupta plays a key role in incubating and establishing best SharePoint practices at AgreeYa. He is closely associated with the Product Development and Delivery team and works to find new solutions based on Microsoft technology and optimize performance and responsiveness for our clients. He can be reached at amit.g@agreeya.com

6 Reasons to Use SharePoint as an Intranet Platform

Irrespective of how big or small an organization is, organizations need collaboration technology to keep its employees connected, across the geographies. Whether the employees work from on-site, off-site, or from home, it is an unavoidable call to ensure that there is a seamless flow of information, keeping everyone updated on the progress. Microsoft has addressed this challenge the best, by offering us SharePoint as an ineasytranet solution provider for collaboration and content management. While there are several other options in the industry, SharePoint continues to win the game with its high-end sophistication which gives it the potential of being the single infrastructure and a central web-portal. Sometime back, there was a storm of dissatisfaction blowing against SharePoint, which was majorly led by the complexities that it brings along with. For instance, the challenge of coding that demands a constant r-work. But today there is the easy way out, with – QuickApps in the market. QuickApps is an ensemble of web apps which remove the primary need of coding from the whole process of customizing and developing a business application. As QuickApps has now cleared the air around SharePoint, these points, SharePoint continues to win hearts as an intranet solution: Can be Used for Designing SharePoint helps in cost-saving in many ways and designing is one of them. SharePoint can be designed to meet the branding requirements of an organization. It is easy to make customization and results don’t look like they were developed on SharePoint. SharePoint has a feature – Design Manager, which lets you build pixel-perfect, customized designs of websites that are in line with your organizational message/goals. Intelligent Search Engine There is a consistent need for data discovery; SharePoint provides it all. Data is often all over the place and needs to be organized, to make sense of it, which is easiest with SharePoint. It lets the users discover people and content scattered all over, in a personalized way. Quick Content Addition Since SharePoint is for collaboration, it allows quick and swift content addition, editing, and proofreading too. Users get to create content categories, to upload different types in different sections. These columns are also re-usable. Sharing Made Easy SharePoint has revolutionized the way people share content today. It has made it easy to just attach a document and share it with people. It is also a secure way of sharing confidential documents. SharePoint also lets you regulate external sharing with vendors, customers and clients, with the provisions available on SharePoint. Automated Work On SharePoint SharePoint offers document management, which can also be streamlined for automation. SharePoint allows the user to set dates to expiry for documents which reduces the time to half of what it usually takes. SharePoint’s workflow automation also cuts down the hassle of remembering the chain of events, as it can be followed through the automated process. SharePoint Has Perhaps Maximum Support Tools SharePoint allows so many functions that it has led to a user complexity. Still, SharePoint remains unreplaceable as an intranet solution, with the number of issues it has the power to address, in – helping you build an intranet solution that your users will go gaga about, technology experts who have developed support tools that fix the SharePoint complexities acting as roadblocks. Users today are empowered to build perfect and quick solutions with tools such as AgreeYa’s QuickApps, which is an answer to your business application building vows. SharePoint is the best solution you will ever have for intranet, as it lets you build anything to your heart’s desires. This is also why technology companies are so widely and wildly coming up with solutions that drive its adoption while helping them get more jobs done.
Amit Gupta
Amit Gupta
Senior Product Development Manager and Practice Lead – SharePoint Delivery Microsoft. Amit Gupta plays a key role in incubating and establishing best SharePoint practices at AgreeYa. He is closely associated with the Product Development and Delivery team and works to find new solutions based on Microsoft technology and optimize performance and responsiveness for our clients. He can be reached at amit.g@agreeya.com

Propagate SharePoint Adoption In Your Enterprise-Part 1

Technology is growing exponentially, shrinking the boundaries and connecting people in a never-before way. While personal life is infused with technology, people want to be just as smart at work, as in personal lives. This means, tremendous expectations pinned to the IT, making them the most critical function of any organization today. IT is clearly under a lot of pressure, of delivering effective results in shortest possible span. To meet this, they need to transform the way they operate. IT has the latent power to offer new way of sharing information, communications, and empowering the non-IT with the ability to build their own, quick solutions. They can realise this power by expanding their latent potential through SharePoint adoption at workplace. But unfortunately, experts avoid using SharePoint, for reasons set-deep in challenges related to SharePoint, such as:– such as SharePoint complexities, incomplete knowledge, unbaked ideas behind its implementation, unclear implementation purposes, company work culture, and ego clashes. The key to successful lies in its adoption, going through the grind of learning, evolving, and bridging the gap between technology and its implementation. But the fact is that SharePoint can bring a smooth flow to work with appropriate adoption method. These techniques will improve SharePoint implementation and propagate a wider adoption among your co-workers drastically, by addressing their concerns: Identify the Key Driver SharePoint adoption can solve a lot of organizational challenges. But what will be your key driver for its implementation? Define your goal behind its implementation so that your employees can help you take right steps towards its adoption. Identify, whether you want to breakdown the organizational silos, improve your asset management, or probably meet the compliance requirements in an unprecedented way. Propagating SharePoint adoption in good spirit can work to the best effect. Convey a clear understanding of the value that SharePoint adoption can bring to work. This is also a chance to align your organizational priorities with the business. It will inspire your employees to strengthen your idea, shaping it up well. Execution Bringing a functional transformation to an organization is difficult, as people tend to resist the change. Ironically, it is difficult and yet critical to have people accept the idea right at the onset to make this initiative successful. SharePoint adoption is the most critical part in its implementation, more because people are scared of it. However, to achieve this, engage the leadership to set example for you and encourage the employees. Get the mid management support to make this execution successful, as otherwise it can be a big failure, with barely anyone showing interest in the idea. SO take the support of leadership and executives to propagate its adoption. Engage the leadership to set example for you and encourage the employees, by demonstrating the transformation that it can bring. Moreover, facilitate this change through ideas like: SharePoint reduces burden on the resources, by mitigating dependencies, delays, and inefficiencies. Let them know how rolling out SharePoint will change their efficiency level and there will be a drastic improvement in its adoption level. Begin with Training: Training is pivotal to a successful SharePoint implementation, which will make or break a user’s courage to use it. As an organization, if you have invested in SharePoint, invest in training too if you want to bring SharePoint usage to the table. Training here means a quick introduction to the functionalities and a big picture of the overview. Align the users with their work scenarios by training them as for how and what to do. Implement in Phases: Implementation of the whole SharePoint in one go can lead to failures, emerging from unforeseen circumstances. Best the idea is to build a plan and implement it in phases. When implementation is done phases, it gives a better plan for the next stage, bringing along greater chances of winning profits. Break the whole plan into small projects/sites as you take up this journey. Besides, users are often resistant to change, and a phase implementation will empower you with a better-prepared workforce, and you can roll out the plan gradually. Find an Owner For the Project: While there are several working on a project, it needs a project owner to keep the acts together. While a project owner will decide the scheduling of the project tasks, he/she will remind the users that it demands patience, so don’t push it, just take time to adapt these changes. Besides, with a project owner, it is easier to take a break after the first phase of implementation and look back in retrospection. It is an effective way to pick the problems and work through a solution for the second phase. Tap the Hidden Potentials of SharePoint  While SharePoint has immense possibilities to offer, it is true that SharePoint is complicated which leaves its potentials untapped. 40% people have already given up on it as their implementations aren’t successful. Besides, 66% agree that it is too complicated and too demanding to get through SharePoint implementations. But if your project demands lightning speed, customize SharePoint a cinch by using SharePoint customization software. For instance, QuickApps is AgreeYa’s SharePoint customization software that enables a user to develop an application at 80% faster speed with its smart technology. It removes the need for a user to be a SharePoint expert, as it eliminates the process of coding from application development. It brings SharePoint out of the box, tapping its hidden potentials. Adopt these ways to change the way your users look at SharePoint development. Make it healthier, happier, and a promising way of building applications for your organization.
Sanjit Debroy
Sanjit Debroy
Sanjit Debroy, General Manager at AgreeYa Solutions — holds hard core knowledge of technology developments, industry trends and market dynamics. He is the man behind areas such as Technology consulting, Knowledge Management, Design Thinking, Services Delivery and Corporate Strategy at AgreeYa. A decade old professional he is - collaborations, key decision making and business interventions fall into his kitty. To reach him out – sanjit.debroy@agreeya.com

Create solutions upto 80% faster with custom development

In the present economic landscape, enterprises want quick development, real time processing and proactive outcomes. The current application development setting demands the same. How far are you agile? In various line of businesses, quick and custom based application development is required in order to reach to the masses and the markets. People want to tap on ‘go to market’ and overcome any hassles. Go with this piece of information to understand how you can create solutions upto 80% faster. Our QuickApps for SharePoint is one such solution that simply enhances one’s process of developing an application and bringing it to the market. The solution offers intelligent intranets and content collaboration which helps the client in meeting the requirements into exact needful product. What is special about SharePoint QuickApps?   Easy to Use and Configure
  • One can drag the web apps to a page and configure
  • It does not require any extensive knowledge or any kind of development expertise
  • No professional qualification required
  Resultant Applications
  • Meet various range of requirements
  • Go to any length in managing any number of projects
  • User friendly with regards to support, maintain and upgrade in order to assure long-term value and ROI
  • It provides value addition to businesses as it is highly customizable, as a matter of fact, it can be configured for any virtual need or any vertical
  • The solution permits extreme granular permissions like edit, view only, delete/create files, and similar more and information hierarchy access for better secure sharing, it gets more critical when external users are brought in to collaborate
  • The brand-able interface lets one to project a highly professional image, both internally and externally when collaborating with external partners
The SharePoint based solution is an application development framework that involves multi-purpose set of Web apps. This lets customers develop custom apps without code. Realize the fact that – it is configuration and not coding! In that case, any kind of resource, not necessarily developers, can build solutions on their own. Take a look at the following chart of the web apps and the associated key features. This will help in realizing that each web app has its own aesthetic set of features that further helps in amazing application development. sharepoint-custom-development From above, let’s take one web apps and look at the amount of beneficial features it is offering to the end customers – qListView It lets you view, group and filter data in most meaningful ways which is otherwise not possible to do without coding. For instance, you can roll up data from multiple SharePoint sites, site collections, lists, and web applications. Following are the benefits of qListView:
  • Customize the appeal with the help of pre-packaged skins or one can create a custom skin
  • Export list view data into formats like PDF, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, or CSV formats
  • Configure parent-child relationships in a two-level hierarchical list view
  • Create complex filters and sort list view data in relevant ways
  • Unlimited grouping
  • Point and click roll up of data in multiple lists
  • Point-and-click CAML filtering editors for both list items and folders
Similar to above, every web app has its own set of features which lets the user create a solution that he has been aiming in quickest time. SharePoint QuickApps lets people meet with a large variety of business specifications and requirements from across the verticals. Customization within SharePoint lets you extend base functionality that meets with any project need (charts, dashboards, forms, menus, data filtering etc.) of the user. This helps in cutting on time investment and the required developments are made upto 80% faster. Use Case: Take the scenario of an eLearning vertical where the user wanted to create an app for children (from 10 -15) where they will be able to create math problems on their own. In his SharePoint environment, the user wanted an application with little application of resources and minimum time investment. He had two choices, either he could hire SharePoint resources for the app development or he could leverage SharePoint QuickApps to create an app on his own. He decided to use SharePoint QuickApps as an easy and cost effective solution for developing the app. He used some of the features like: QChartView This feature enabled him to create charts and dashboards which involved drill-down reporting, dynamic filtering and rich user experience. Further, it involved features like:
  • Customize chart elements like fonts, labels, backgrounds, canvas, logos, tooltips etc.
  • 30 plus chart types to meet with various visual, BI and dashboard requirements
QCascadingMenu This enabled improved site navigation with multi-level cascading menu bar around the top of the page.
  • Apply the pre-packaged skins so as to customize the appeal
  • Hide or show various menus dynamically as per user’s group or permissions
In this manner, the user applied various available features like qHelpLink, qManagement and qMediaView and related others. Upon integrating such features, the user was able to create an app that met his immediate requirements. In one way, the user is able to exploit the potential of SharePoint investment to the fullest as per his business requirements. Explore QuickApps to understand how better you can explore SharePoint environment and make better returns.
Arindam Ray Chaudhary
Arindam Ray Chaudhary
COO at AgreeYa, Arindam is more than 25 years old in the technology domain. He has meticulously contributed to Consulting, Outsourcing and Technology Services within AgreeYa. His key areas involve integrating a global team, defining technology and business vision of products and services, business development, establishing large scale client engagement, leading time -cost -quality driven value via project governance and solution engineering. To reach him out – arindam.rc@agreeya.com

Governance Plan for Hybrid SharePoint Environment

Some wise person told, we create our own demons. Sometimes, without us knowing about it. And this is what is happening with many enterprises who bring SharePoint to “fix” their problems. SharePoint and Office 365 are excellent productivity tools widely used for enterprise collaboration, content management and search. And with the 2007 setup, there were two flavors of SharePoint viz. Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) which was technically free SharePoint that came along with Windows Server and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007 that was a licensed product. Then came SharePoint 2010 with Foundation which was free and licensed version SharePoint Server 2010. But then Microsoft started SAAS based product like called BPOS that featured skimmed down version called SharePoint Online. And as these products matured, we ended up with SharePoint 2013 and Office 365, the SAAS based offering of SharePoint, Exchange & Skype for Business. The choices increased and so did complexity. Enterprises started evaluating SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business in parallel with their SharePoint On Premise installation. They liked what they saw.
  • Minimum administrative overhead, maximum productivity, no upgrade or patching headaches. And the onus for downtime goes to Microsoft.
  • End users would demand just one more site collection on SharePoint Online. Power users would demand just one more APP. Infrastructure Managers started moving their network drives on OneDrive for Business. Sweet!!! 
  • And then comes chaos. Chaos on what content goes where? When to use OneDrive for Business? When to use SharePoint Site? And most importantly, when not to use SharePoint? To add to the confusion, questions like what content goes on premise? what content goes online? How do we search? Where do we search? What gets priority? 
Hence, Governance for SharePoint Hybrid. So let’s start with the basics, how does SharePoint Governance help?  Governance is important and essential part of every SharePoint deployment. A solid and real governance plan helps answer the most critical question any organization has How do we effectively manage our SharePoint environment? This question has haunted IT Leadership for long.  And Governance is the answer because it helps define Policies, Processes, People and Tools that control your IT teams, Business teams and executive sponsors to work in harmony.   How can Governance help in hybrid scenario? 
  • Avoid content chaos.
  • Consistent user experience.
  • Enforce standardization and best practices.
  • Eliminate redundancy and ambiguity in content life cycle process. 
  • Establish a consistent mechanism to identify whether SharePoint Online, SharePoint On Premise or OneDrive for Business is the right tool for given classification of content. 
  • Governs storage and compute power. 
  • Improve find ability. 

What is a Governance Plan?

Governance Plan is more than a document. Its a complete guide that keeps IT & Business goals as central focus and defines policies, processes, people and tools to effectively manage the SharePoint environment. IT points to resources, templates and guides to execute tactical and operational activities related to SharePoint. 
  • Policies – The governance plan needs clearly articulated policies. These policies have to be in line with business, legal and compliance needs of an organization.  
  • Processes – The governance plan would require processes to enforce policies, escalate in case of non-compliance and process to request for overriding of policies along with service level agreements to complete the processes. 
  • People – The governance plan would require clear definition of people (roles) involved, their responsibility, escalation matrix, operational level agreements and authorization matrix. 
  • Tools – No all policies can be enforced manually or via a document. It is imperative to define tools to execute various processes. E.g. Backup tools, compliance tools, etc. 

Governance Segments

  • IT Governance: This segment defines policies and processes around IT Infrastructure like storage, backup, restore, high availability, disaster recovery and content security. It also deals with identity, authentication and access management plan.  
  • Information Governance: This segment defines policies and processes around content and how it is organized and presented to end users and content owners. It also deals with taxonomy and hierarchy of content along with its findability. 
  • Application Governance: SharePoint is as much of a platform as it is content management system and customization using API and services is possible. It is imperative to have Application Governance defined to ensure user experience, system performance and customization standards are consistent and adhered to. It also deals with application life cycle management and dev ops procedures to minimize disruptions.
  • Governance and Site Types: Different type of sites require different policies. And in case of hybrid, the importance varies depending upon whether the content is on premise or cloud. Published sites have tighter governance over information and application management than team sites, personal sites and OneDrive for Business. Generally, the larger the number of people who get information from a particular type of site, the more tightly it is governed, and vice versa. This is shown in the following graph. For example, if your intranet home page is available for everyone in your organization, it’s generally much more tightly governed than the site for the accounting department, which is more tightly governed than most group or team sites, and so on. Personal sites are generally the least governed types of sites. 

Governance Operating Framework

GOF or Governance operating Framework is the various area of SharePoint Operations where Policies & Processes are defined. The following diagram depicts the Governance Operating Framework for which the Governance Team would establish policies and processes. In my subsequent blog post, I would create a sample governance plan taking the below into consideration. In case of hybrid environment, it is imperative to have these broken down for clear demarcation between SLAs and processes for On Premise and Online environments. 

Best Practice for Governance Plan

  • Goals: An effective governance plan anticipates the needs and goals of your organizations business functions and IT teams. IF you have a goal defined, you will have a metric to measure it.
  • Uniqueness: While the intent is to standardize processes, the governance plan has to be unique to your organization. Templated one size fits all plans are useless and misdirect governance team energies towards tweaking processes other way round.
  • Classification: Classify your business information. Build Taxonomy or Buy Taxonomy that’s tailored to support your business needs.
  • Educate: Establish training and education plans. It is imperative that every SharePoint user is educated to organization’s policies and processes.
  • Phased out approach: Governance plan is an ongoing initiative. And you many not achieve perfection on day one. Plan phases. Start with small governance team. Build the foundational policies and processes. Aim high but execute in phases.
To summarize, hybrid SharePoint environment needs to be governed and control to avoid the content and information being scattered. A back up plan for on premise might not apply on Office 365 and license management plan for Office 365 might not apply on on premise environment. In my subsequent blog post, I will publish a template and elaborate on how to approach establishing a governance plan. Till then keep watching this space.
Sanjit Debroy
Sanjit Debroy
Sanjit Debroy, General Manager at AgreeYa Solutions — holds hard core knowledge of technology developments, industry trends and market dynamics. He is the man behind areas such as Technology consulting, Knowledge Management, Design Thinking, Services Delivery and Corporate Strategy at AgreeYa. A decade old professional he is - collaborations, key decision making and business interventions fall into his kitty. To reach him out – sanjit.debroy@agreeya.com

What’s new in SharePoint 2016 (and what’s deprecated)

The RTM release of SharePoint 2016 in March was an important milestone for SharePoint Product line as a whole which include new capabilities for end users, IT professionals, administrators and architects. And this release is a next step towards hybrid capabilities across on premise and Office 365 after a cumulative update for SharePoint 2013. Let’s look at what’s new in SharePoint 2016 and what’s deprecated.

042216_1821_whatsnewins1-1

MinRole allows you to install and configure the role that you want in particular for that server in the farm. Not only from an installation standpoint that it would configure the required features for that role but also from administrative standpoint it would make sure that the roles the server belongs to are complaint. You can at any point of time convert to new roles if required. You can look at the services to verify compliance status.

042216_1821_whatsnewins2-2

  • User Improvements
    • A document library could go upwards of 25 million documents with a threshold of 5000 view threshold beyond which SharePoint would start throwing weird messages unless you index your columns. While the technical threshold still remains for performance reasons, SharePoint would auto create index columns and the user won’t have to worry about explicitly adding index.
    • Support for ODF document is added.
    • Files are now shared via durable links which is combination of site id and document id. Will not break the link if file name changes.
    • Filename length and other character restrictions are removed. However, Restricted characters such as % and # are still not allowed in file names.
    • Project Server is now consolidated into SharePoint content database.
    • You can now rename files, create new files, and share files from within the WOPI iframe on the browser page.
    • You can now preview images and videos in SharePoint Server 2016 document libraries.
    • You can now apply themes to your Suite Navigation.
  • User Profile Management
    • User Profile page will now include content from Delve and Open Graph API.
    • Forefront Identity Manager is now no longer included in user profile sync service application. Unidirectional sync is available though.
    • Using Microsoft Identity Manager to sync identity is now supported.
    • Blogging feature now supports drag and drop of images and enhance user experience.
  • Performance & Security Improvements
    • Reliability improvements to Distributed Cache.
    • SharePoint Logging API allows easier ability to record and report on analytics and telemetry across a whole range of objects in the farm.
    • Fast Site creation based on copying a master template Site Collection from the database level using “SPSite.Copy” function
    • SMTP connections now support TLS.
    • SAML claims based authentication will be preferred though NTLM/Kerberos would still be supported.
    • SharePoint Server 2016 now provides the same data loss prevention capabilities as Office 365.
    • The compile time for customized XSLT files used for Content Query, Summary Links, and Table of Contents Web Apps is improved.
  • Hybrid Improvements
    • eDiscovery and Legal Hold will now traverse SharePoint Online in O365
    • Search Service can query SharePoint Online in O365 and provide a single ranked results set with integrated relevancy (no separate verticals)
    • Consolidation of Social features to ensure followed on premise and online content appears in a single social profile
    • Delve and Office Graph API can surface content from on premise services along with content in O365 (will be released for 2013 this year)
    • Item level encryption using Azure AD Rights Management Services
  • High Availability & Scalability
    • Patches would be much smaller.
    • Patching would support nearly zero downtime to the farm and no disruption to the users.
    • Content DBs would scale to terabytes. (although I would prefer it much smaller and structured)
    • Maximum upload size has increased from 2 GB to 10 GB.
    • Index partitions support upto 500 million maximum items.
    • BITS now replacing FSS over HTTP and Cobalt to reduce IO between servers and bandwidth to the end user
    • Traffic Management endpoint automatically routes user requests based on server health.
  • Upgrade options
    • There is no direct upgrade path from 2010 to 2016 (sites and databases must be running in 2013 mode)
    • The upgrade process is the same as 2010 to 2013 (2013 databases are attached to a new 2016 Farm and are upgraded)
  • Deprecated Features
    • SharePoint Foundation is not supported.
    • No Stand Alone option which installs SQL Express. Only Supports use of SQL Server.
    • Forefront Identity Manager is no longer included. Instead support for Microsoft Identity Manager is encouraged.
    • SharePoint Designer will not be shipped with SharePoint 2016. Instead, support for SharePoint 2013 Designer will continue.
    • Duet Enterprise for Microsoft and SAP cannot be deployed with SharePoint 2016.
    • Excel Services and its associated business intelligence capabilities are no longer hosted on SharePoint Server. Excel Services functionality is now part of Excel Online in Office Online Server (this is the next version of Office Web Apps Server), and SharePoint users can use the services from there.
    • The Tags and Notes feature is deprecated in SharePoint Server 2016. Users can no longer create new tags and notes or access existing ones. However, an administrator can archive all existing tags and notes by using the Export-SPTagsAndNotesData cmdlet.

SharePoint 2016 comes with number of features that were either missing in SharePoint 2013 or half-baked. While there are financial implications due to some of the deprecated features, Microsoft has certainly poised SharePoint for growth and user adoption.

Arindam Ray Chaudhary
Arindam Ray Chaudhary
COO at AgreeYa, Arindam is more than 25 years old in the technology domain. He has meticulously contributed to Consulting, Outsourcing and Technology Services within AgreeYa. His key areas involve integrating a global team, defining technology and business vision of products and services, business development, establishing large scale client engagement, leading time -cost -quality driven value via project governance and solution engineering. To reach him out – arindam.rc@agreeya.com