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.

Update – Postpone the SharePoint Online Public Site Deadline

Last December I posted the news that Microsoft will allow Office 365 admins to postpone the removal of their Office 365 public sites – which are special SharePoint Online site collections that can be used as an internet site for companies.

There wasn’t a big announcement on how to actually do the postponing, which is understandable as Microsoft would rather you not keep your public site so they don’t have to support it.

To postpone the deletion of your SharePoint Online public site, go to the SharePoint admin center – the URL location is in the format: https://[ReplaceWithYourTenantName]-admin.sharepoint.com/_layouts/15/online/SiteCollections.aspx – and go to the settings page. For the setting “Postpone deletion of SharePoint Online public websites”, select I’d like to keep my public website until March 31, 2018.

Postpone Public Site Delete Option
Postpone Public Site Delete Option

As the setting notes, you will have until March 31, 2018 to find a replacement for your public internet site. Don’t wait! Start a project now to make the change so next March doesn’t sneak up on you. Contact me if I can help with your transition.

Securely Embed Power BI Reports in SharePoint

The business intelligence landscape in SharePoint has a new and improved story to tell with Power BI! Join me on April 13th at the Nashville Excel & Power BI User Group – I present a session on Power BI Dashboards in SharePoint Online.

The presentation will be heavy on demos as I walk through the BI options in SharePoint – using list views, Excel, and Power BI – to tell great data stories. I will also show the awesomeness of the Power BI mobile app on iOS!

The meeting is free and lunch is provided! Register: Nashville Excel & Power BI Meetup

Louisville SharePoint User Group March 2017

It is great to see the SharePoint community organizing again in Louisville Kentucky and I will be speaking at their third meeting! On March 10th, I will make the short drive up to the ‘ville to discuss business intelligence options in SharePoint and Office 365.

Register free via the Eventbrite page.

Check out the Louisville SharePoint User group: Facebook   Twitter

[UPDATED]
I had a great drive up to Louisville Kentucky today! The Louisville SharePoint User Group (LouSPUG) is meeting again after taking some time off, and I was impressed with how well the group is organized (and the food was delicious!).

There were a lot of fantastic questions from the attendees and we had a good discussion about telling data stories. Thanks for having me LouSPUG – I hope to be back again!

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 🙂

Building Business Intelligence Dashboards with SharePoint Data – December 1st 2015

I will be co-presenting at the Nashville Business Intelligence User Group meeting this month. We will be walking attendees through creating dashboards using Power BI and I will be focusing on using SharePoint data.

I will show how to use Excel to create dashboards within SharePoint web part pages – first with an export of a SharePoint list and then an import of a SharePoint list into Excel. We will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each method.

I will then show linking to the same SharePoint list data using the Power BI Desktop application and then publishing it to Power BI.

[UPDATE]
The meeting went really well – Tammy Clark started off showing how easily Power BI could connect to Facebook data.

I went second and used a SharePoint list I created with Helpdesk data to create dashboards using Excel and SharePoint web part pages. I then moved onto Power BI and ended with showing the cool iOS Power BI app (although it took some time to get it to project from my phone onto the screen).

Power BI iOS App
Helpdesk sample data within Power BI iOS app

Dan Evans then made a couple of announcements about Cortana and Power BI integration. Kerry Tyler finished off the night rocking our Power BI world with a demo that had us saying “wow!” 🙂

Nash BI December 2015 Meeting
Business Intelligence User Group Meeting Attendees

We finished the night at a new restaurant around the corner called Tupelo – fried green tomatoes, pork egg rolls (they were fantastic!!), and chicken and biscuits were enjoyed by all!

Tupelo Honey Cafe
SQLFamily Night at Tupelo Honey Cafe

SharePoint Users Group – December 8th 2015

This coming December 8th I will be presenting to the Nashville SharePoint Users Group (nashvillesug.com) with the topic “Building SharePoint Solutions with Out of the Box Features and No Code”.

I will highlight the features within SharePoint that I use often to create beneficial solutions for companies around the country. With heavy emphasis on not using any code, I will demo solutions built using a SharePoint Online site.

[UPDATE]
Last night’s meeting was a lot of fun – we have a great turnout and I know I had a good time hanging out with my Nashville SharePoint friends.

We started off by talking about the Microsoft office move – the offices are moving to closer to downtown Nashville and will disrupt our meetings some next year. However, we already have plans for at least half of the time we will be without a meeting home, so stay tuned!

I then talked about the next technology event in Nashville – SQL Saturday Nashville 2016, which is on January 16th, 2016. It will be a great learning experience and I will be giving a spotlight session (learn more in my blog post about the event).

The group was interactive and we had a great conversation around no-code solutions.

We ended the night with a lot of great giveaways. Thank you to everyone who attended my session!

Nashville SUG Dec 2015
Nashville SUG Dec 2015 Attendees