Chattanooga SQL Saturday 2017

Please join me on June 24th in Chattanooga, Tennessee for the third annual SQL Saturday Chattanooga! We will be discussing SharePoint BI and how Power BI brings a new level of data storytelling to collaboration.

Register via the #SQLSatChattanooga site.

[This post will be updated after the event]

Digital Workplace Conference – Auckland, New Zealand

During the SharePoint Summit this month, Microsoft shared the road-map for things to come for SharePoint on-premises and SharePoint Online. If you haven’t heard all the announcements, go watch the recording now. After watching and learning about what was coming, I have a few questions I would like to get answered and my friend Darrell Webster has arranged a way for us all to get those answers!

Darrell is participating in the Digital Workplace Conference in Auckland New Zealand and has invited a few of his Microsoft MVP friends to be part of a live panel asking questions of Microsoft’s own Mark Kashman. I will join Christian Buckley, Alistair Pugin, and Loryan Strant to ask Mark the tough, burning questions we all want to have answered. Do you have questions you want me to ask? Let me know on Twitter!

We are going to have a great time – it all starts Tuesday May 23, 2017, 4pm Central time ( May 24, 2017 9:00 am Auckland time), and if you can’t join in person, you can view it live on Facebook or live on YouTube!

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.

SharePoint Dashboards using Power BI – Nashville Excel & Power BI User Group

I am presenting at the Nashville Modern Excel user group on April 13, 2017 – come join us! My talk will focus on using SharePoint to build business intelligence dashboards with Power BI and Excel.

Register on the user group site: Nashville Excel & Power BI User Group

[UPDATE]
Thank you to everyone who attended my presentation – what a great group!

It May Be Time to Stop Building Access Web Apps

For years now, power users have created solutions using Access Services within SharePoint. These solutions have often been the backbone of many business processes for small to medium-sized organizations. Now that Office 365 is widely available and is fairly cost-effective for those organizations, we have new options to solve those business needs.

Microsoft PowerApps is a new member of the Office 365 family and now that PowerApps is generally available within Office 365, Microsoft is recommending to organizations that solutions built with Access Services be migrated to the PowerApps service.

Access Services & Access Web Apps shipped with SharePoint 2016 and will continue being supported as part of the SharePoint product life-cycle.

Moving forward, information workers should build their apps using PowerApps on top of SharePoint lists to give the feature-rich solutions their users need with the full on-going support of Microsoft and the tech community.

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 🙂

Convert SharePoint 2016 Trial to RTM License

It is generally a good idea to try software before you purchase or implement it fully. We have already seen a great interest in SharePoint Server 2016 and we have installed the trial version many times to give the ‘try before you buy’ experience to our clients.

Once you decide to go from the trial license to the ‘full’ RTM version, the process to convert your license is simple and is the same as it has been in earlier SharePoint versions. The license conversion starts on the Central Administration site – you can do this via PowerShell, but we will be using the GUI this time.

Select the Convert farm license type link found within the Upgrade and Migration section.

Convert SharePoint License
Convert SharePoint License

On the Convert License Type page, enter your SharePoint Server 2016 Product Key (it will be in the format: XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX) and then click the OK button.

Convert License Type
Convert License Type

After waiting a few moments….

Working On It
Working On It

if you entered a valid key, you should see the screen below.

Conversion Operation Successfully Completed
Conversion Operation Successfully Completed

When you return to the Convert License Type, the new type will be shown.

Enterprise Client Access License
Enterprise Client Access License