Blockers for Moving to Office 365 with Vlad Catrinescu

There is a big push to get organizations to adopt Office 365 and many are encountering challenges with moving their existing processes “to the cloud.” I recently spoke with Vlad Catrinescu [BlogTwitter], Microsoft MVP and author, about these challenges and his experience in overcoming them.

01:01 Challenges organizations are facing
01:31 Customization in SharePoint
02:00 Rewriting code
02:19 Regulations
03:16 Release schedule
05:01 How to mitigate challenges
06:36 IT Pro job changes
08:28 Training materials need to change

Talking SharePoint Management Console at SPS Charlotte with Cory Williams

I sat down with Cory Williams [Twitter] at SharePoint Saturday (SPS) Charlotte to get his thoughts on Office 365 administration. Cory is one of the organizers of SPS Charlotte and was a speaker as well!

00:44 Pay attention to the Office 365 Message Center
01:17 Shameless plug for the REgarding 365 web show Office 365 Message Center: The week that was
01:47 New SharePoint Console
02:04 More dates please!
02:35 Release schedule – when are new features showing up in my Office 365 tenant
02:44 Reminders for new features and changes
03:36 Let’s tie Microsoft Flow into the Office 365 Message Center

SQL Saturday Louisville 2017

Join me on August 5th in Louisville Kentucky for SQL Saturday!

There are some really great sessions lined-up for the event and I will be discussing how to use your on-premises data in the cloud with Microsoft Power BI, PowerApps, and Flow.

Register via the #SQLSatLouisville site.

New Simple Approval Flows In SharePoint Libraries

Microsoft announced today the newest improvement in workflow for the SharePoint platform – easy-to-use approval workflows built-in that will enable you to route a document for approval and give you the ability to give a custom message.

In my workflow presentations, I talk about having a simple approval workflow being a great first step but we need a better user experience than what we have been given out-of-the-box with SharePoint in the past. We need the user to be able to approve/deny directly within their email client, without having to go to a SharePoint page, edit the task, complete the task, and then save it. Too many steps!!

New: Simple Approval Flows

With this new functionality using Microsoft Flow, we will now be able to ad-hoc route documents for approval and approval participant will have a one-step action link in their email.

New built-in approval flows

Make sure you check out the new Microsoft Mechanics video “Zero code business process apps in SharePoint with PowerApps and Microsoft Flow” showing this and other improvements to the SharePoint experience.

Using PowerApps to Build SharePoint List Forms

Today Microsoft announced the next step for PowerApps integration with SharePoint – using PowerApps forms within the context of a SharePoint list or library.

This is another way PowerApps is becoming a strong successor to InfoPath forms and will give your users a rich viewing, creating, and editing experience right within their SharePoint library or list.

Using a PowerApps Form to View, Create, and Edit SharePoint List Items

This feature will be coming to SharePoint Online & Office 365 this Summer and I expect we will immediately start using the functionality within my client organizations to improve the user experience.

I highly recommend watching the new Microsoft Mechanics video “Zero code business process apps in SharePoint with PowerApps and Microsoft Flow” to get an idea on how the forms will be created and used.

Postpone the SharePoint Online Public Site Deadline

In October 2012, Microsoft released a feature called SharePoint Online Public Sites, which allowed the creation of a public-facing, anonymous ‘SharePoint-ish’ site. It wasn’t a full-featured SharePoint site – public sites had limited features, including static pages and generic theme capabilities – enough to make it useful for small companies with no web development resources. Microsoft targeted small and medium-sized business with this feature and it promised an easy to use method for generating content and modifying the web pages.

Sample SharePoint Online Public Site

However, the feature wasn’t used by a majority of Office 365 customers and caused an abnormal amount of customer tickets. So in early 2015, Microsoft announced that the SharePoint Online public website feature would be discontinued as of March 9th, 2015. Office 365 customers that already used the feature at that time would be able to continue using the public website feature for 2 years after the March 9th date. The change is outlined in the KB Article 3027254.

The message has been consistent from Microsoft since the first announcement – move away from the public website feature because it will be turned off. Period. Almost two years have passed – the deadline is fast approaching and we are now hearing more customers looking for alternative web platforms. On December 9th 2016, Microsoft put out a message via the Office 365 portal to remind customers of the upcoming deadline.

Reminder: SharePoint Online Public Websites are going away

However, this time the message had a new detail that other communications did not, an olive branch of sorts.

In January 2017, we will have a process in place allowing you to postpone the removal of your SharePoint Online public website.

That is good news for anyone who has yet to move their site to a different host. While we don’t know what the process will be or how long customers will be able to postpone the removal of their public sites (more information will be announced in January 2017), it is good that Microsoft listened to their customers and is giving them some extra time to make plans – if two years wasn’t enough 🙂

SharePoint Saturday Nashville 2016

I will be presenting at #SPSNashville on May 14th on the topic Business Intelligence with SharePoint & Power BI. I will show how to create BI solutions using SharePoint, Excel, Power BI, and a new Microsoft tool Flow.

Join us! SPSNashville.org

[UPDATE]
I had a great time presenting at SharePoint Saturday Nashville. I had a great group of attendees and we discussed SharePoint list interaction with Excel, Power BI, and Microsoft Flow. I am not posting my slides because I didn’t really show content on slides – I used demonstrations the majority of the time to show the power of the tools.


We walked through creating a BI solution that included a SharePoint helpdesk site – one solution used Excel and Power Pivot to build dashboards, the second used Power BI to display and manipulate the helpdesk data, and lastly we used Microsoft Flow to improve the functionality of the solution by pulling in even more content.


The rest of the day was fun and filled with some awesome content from other speakers, delicious hot lunch from Just Love Coffee, and snacks with the sponsors.

SPSNashville 2016 Attendees
SPSNashville 2016 Attendees

The last session of the day was a question and answer time with Microsoft CVP Jeff Teper.

There were a lot of great questions and Jeff was genuinely excited to see all the SharePoint professionals giving up their Saturday to learn and build community. A few bits of information I noted that Jeff shared:

  • There will not be another SharePoint-branded conference put on by Microsoft anytime soon. Microsoft’s Ignite conference will be the focus and they are attempting to put more focus on SharePoint at the conference.
  • Approximately 300,000 Android users start using OneDrive every day
  • Jeff acknowledged some missteps and wants to fix them – the first being that navigation will be coming back to the new document library look in SharePoint
  • Microsoft knows it did not handle correctly the delivery of the message around how the newly announced SharePoint Framework effects existing developed add-ins. This will be fixed in the weeks ahead.
SPSNashville 2016 Jeff Teper
SPSNashville 2016 Jeff Teper

The day ended with a lot of giveaways – we counted over 20! We also announced that attendance was up 79% over last year!