To collect is Human, SharePoint provides order

To collect is Human. Do you know what a baroque kunstkammer is?  It is the original File Share, a place where curiosities were stored and looked at by people before computers were mainstream.  Everything was collected, coins, games, books, and other natural and unnatural items.  There was NO order but with the development of library science and taxonomies, these cabinet of curiosities were organized.  File shares are the modern version of the kunstkammer.  It is up to IT to turn these cabinets in to an engine of revenue discovery.  SharePoint Search is becoming an instrumental tool helping IT discover what is out there and organizing it so that knowledge workers can find what they are looking for.

How do you prepare to move from unstructured File Shares to the future?  There are 7 Steps, which lays the groundwork for new technology investments like SharePoint, Enterprise Content Management or Enterprise Search.

The Seven Steps

  1. Establish Information Organization Priorities
  2. Build a Business case
  3. Identify and Prioritize Information Sources
  4. Build User Profiles
  5. Develop a Taxonomy
  6. Implement the Taxonomy
  7. Govern the Taxonomy

While moving through these seven steps, three drivers will be prevalent in your discussions. The users of the information, the business that creates the information, and the information itself.

The Users have demands and requirements that they need to be able to use the information.  They can be standards, or behaviors that are discovered.  The business has priorities on how the information will be used to address the business goals and objectives.  The information within a business has it own characteristics and demands as well.  Leaders have to consider the growth rate and how it is maintained.  The structure of the information must be present, but might not be obvious to all business functions.

How big is this problem?

Hilbert et al. (2011) – globally stored information increases 23% per year (94% of the content is digital).

Scientific American – in 2007 global information was equivalent to 61 CD-ROMs per person

Economist (2010) – each US household in boarded with 34 GB of information per day

Short, Bohn, & Baru (2011) (2011) – workers process 11 TB of information per year.

Gille (2012) – Between 2003 and 2008, the amount of global information increased 162.4% from 5,608,991 TB to 14,716,646 TB (i.e. a 21% annual growth rate).

SharePoint can help tame information with SharePoint Search and how it can present enterprise content.


The Office 365 Partner of Record – 3 reasons to add one to your Office 365 Account

If you have a Microsoft Office 365 subscription and you do not the trusted advice of a Microsoft Partner, you are not getting the full support that you could. Microsoft will pay a portion of your subscription to a Microsoft Partner to help you support your Office 365 Subscription. IMPORTANT: If you already have a partner of record, then work with them to receive the support you need, if you are not getting the support, then CHANGE your Partner of Record.

Associating your tenant (account) with a Partner is completely optional, but it is recommended so that you can get personalized help when you have a problem or need an issue solved. Assigning a Partner of Record has NO impact on your costs and does not change the services you receive from Microsoft.

With the Professional Plans (P1, P2) there is no phone or ticketed support using the administration portal. The only place to get help is the Office 365 community forums. There are Microsoft paid support personnel that help answer questions, but make sure that your request is specific so that you will get a good answer.

Reason 1 – Do you want a live person to help you with any Office 365 problem? Your Partner that you associate to your account should be your first email or phone call if you want a problem. They will be able to answer your questions or help you get the answer from Microsoft.

Reason 2 – Do you need a person to help you create and set up the tools of Office 365? Your Partner has the skills to get through a deployment quickly. There are many gottchas and planning tips that a partner knows that can save you time in getting your account set up. Things like setting up your Domain, Setting up ADFS to work with you on premise environment or, setting up a SharePoint online environment to enable you to collaborate with internal and external users.

Reason 3 – Do you have a specific person that can administer your account on your behalf? A Partner once associated, can administer your account on your behalf. That means your partner can build out SharePoint Online site collection, manage your Lync Online, can manage your Exchange Online and set up users.

Do you want all this? Then associate your account with a Partner. If you do not have a Partner, BCH IT Consulting is ready to help. We have tools, techniques and processes to help any Office 365 account be fully utilized to benefit the client.

Here is how to do it.

  1. Log in using the Microsoft Online portal
  2. Click on licensing
  3. Click on the subscription
  4. Look for the partner information and click add
  5. A dialog box will appear asking for a partner ID enter “ 3413097 “ and then check ID.
  6. Microsoft should display "BCH IT Consulting" Click OK.

Congratulations, you now have one of the friendliest Office 365 partners that is ready to help you or your organization succeed.

Please visit for more helpful information regarding your Office 365 Account.

8 Steps to Buy the Right 3rd Party App for SharePoint

The path to SharePoint success often requires third-party intervention. SharePoint success is an ongoing process. It continues to evolve as the business changes and new opportunities and threats emerge. This adaptability is its great strength, but it presents a key challenge to both users and IT.

Administrators need to create a plan for SharePoint success. Like boat captains they must know where the potential dangers lie and take a direction that avoids them. SharePoint isn’t going to address all of your concerns out of the box (OOTB). The good news is that you can commercial components to get the user and administrative experience you need. Infotech research indicates that the key challenges with SharePoint include: findability, content management, administration, workflow, mobile, and social. Each must be managed to avoid SharePoint sprawl and to ensure user adoption. There are plenty of third party applications that offer solutions to the problem. So, how can you make a decision on which one to choose?

These eight steps guide the decision process for choosing the right third party application to meet your need.

1. Identify your Needs?

Discuss what you want SharePoint to do? Many companies think that implementing SharePoint is a holy grail to fixing processes and collaboration. It is not. SharePoint has been designed as a crossroads for all sorts of processes that run the business. Think about what you want SharePoint to do. Do you need to Migrate data or sites? Do you need an easy way to build a workflow? Do you need a way to manage permissions? Do you need to capture documents from a scanner? After this is complete, go to the next step.

2. Are there practical options OOTB?

Once you have the needs identified, then look to SharePoint to see how that need can be met. If you need a list to manage a problem, a list can be created. Do you need a team portal that has a document library? SharePoint can do this. Do you need an easy way to migrate a site from one location to another? Well SharePoint can do this, but it is hard. SharePoint can do many things, with varying degrees of difficulty. If there are no OOTB solutions, think about a third party app to install with SharePoint to accomplish the need.

3. What type of product would meet our need?

There are generally two different types of products and they are tied to the type of users of the tool. 1. A Power User, 2. IT professional. Power user applications are generally licensed by the user and are a lower cost, this type of tool general does not support scheduling or scripting and is manually managed by the user. The IT pro tool will often be licensed by the time period or size of content being migrated. Generally supports scheduling and scripting and could include reporting.

4. What Vendor should we use

So what user do we use? This is the million dollar question. Here are some questions that can help you out. What version is the product? How mature is the Product? How extensible and customizable is the product? How user friendly and usable is the product? How difficult is it to manage and administer the product? Who else is using the tool? Is there a free trial? Asking these questions will help narrow down the list of potential vendors.

5. How do we Compare products?

A good way to compare products is to take a scenario that you have and map it out. What are the inputs? What needs to be done with those inputs? What are the outputs? Then look at each product you have picked to compare and look to see how easy and completely the outputs can be achieved.

6. What questions should we ask the vendor?

When you finally get to talk to a vendor, ask questions to make sure you fully understand what you are getting and how to implement it. Ask for a free trial? Ask for help getting the application installed? Ask about you specific scenario to make sure that you are buying the right product. Ask about support and updates? These are all questions that should be answered and understood before buying.

7. How do you get discounts?

The easiest way to get a discount is to ask. You risk nothing and gain an additional discount. The second way is to order more. A volume discount. It never hurts to Ask.

8. Purchase Products?

Once you have made your decision, the fun begins. Purchase the product, Install the product, Train your users, and begin enjoying the new found benefits of the application within SharePoint.

Here are some scenarios that make sense to purchase a Third Party Application for SharePoint.

  1. Content Management
  2. Workflows
  3. Administration
  4. Social
    SharePoint is a tremendous tool that can serve many functions. However, the multi-faceted nature of SharePoint makes it difficult to manage. Ensuring SharePoint success requires careful governance. It is necessary to look forward and anticipate some of the key challenges that will emerge as SharePoint adoption increases across the enterprise. According to infotech, “In almost all cases, it is preferable to use third-party tools to extend native SharePoint functionality.” Uses these Steps to make the right Choice.

Lego’s and SharePoint

From Richard Harbridge’s  Microsoft SharePoint for Business Executives: Q&A Handbook

One simple analogy is that SharePoint is like a huge box of Lego from the local toy store. When you get those huge sets, there’s no picture of what it’s going to build, as that’s totally up to you. If you’re careful, creative, and plan well, you can build a castle, an airplane, or even a city. Or, if you’re not as good, you (sadly) get a pretty big sized brick of little pieces that does nothing and represents even less.

A governance plan is required to build the city




Secret: Must Read Now – How to sell Cloud Computing


From Ted Levitt — marketing professor at the Harvard Business School

CEOs/Managing Directors do not care – let me repeat – DO NOT CARE what technology is used to create the four critical value buckets:

Differentiation – Distance between what their company can do and what the competitor can do.

Neutralization – Quick time to eliminate any distance between what their company can do and what the competitor can do.

Optimization — Ability to perform existing operations faster, cheaper and better than competitors

 Actionable Insight – ability to observe, orient, decide and act faster than competitors.

Focus on the benefits that cloud computing can deliver to YOUR organization.

You can be a “SharePoint 2013 Power User” with these three books.



Beginning SharePoint 2013: Building Business Solutions

Now in its third edition, this perennial bestseller features a complete overhaul for the latest version of SharePoint. A must-have for building business solutions in SharePoint, real-world scenarios address critical information management problems and detailed descriptions explain how to efficiently and successfully handle these challenges. Plus, best practices for configuration and customization round out the coverage of getting started with SharePoint 2013 so that you can confidently make this platform work for your business today.

  • Examines product functionality alongside realistic scenarios to provide you with contextual relevance
  • Addresses managing permissions, reporting in SharePoint, and working with access services
  • Offers updated content on working with lists, libraries, workflow, content types, and web parts
  • Reviews social features, forms management, business connectivity services, and more

Beginning SharePoint 2013 is an ideal introduction to the latest iteration of this popular content management provider.

Beginning SharePoint 2013 Development

A complete revision to a popular SharePoint developer’s resource

Fully updated for SharePoint 2013, this book is an ideal starting place for SharePoint development. Covering all the major topics that a new developer needs to know in order to get started, this resource contains 100 percent new content and addresses the major overhaul to the SharePoint 2013 platform. The team of authors, led by Microsoft’s Steve Fox, presents you with a detailed overview that helps you establish a starting point for development. They then walk you through ways to advance your knowledge so that you leverage the new SharePoint 2013 features to build custom solutions.

  • Addresses developing managed or unmanaged applications
  • Provides an overview of Windows Azure for SharePoint
  • Looks at common developer tasks in SharePoint 2013
  • Gets you started with building, packaging, and deploying SharePoint 2013 applications
  • Highlights essential points of security in SharePoint 2013

Touching on everything from developing applications using Office services to development workflow applications, Beginning SharePoint 2013 Development covers everything you need to know to start confidently working with the platform today.

Beginning SharePoint 2013 Workflows

Beginning SharePoint 2013 Workflows is a practically-oriented book about building effective workflows in SharePoint 2013. Workflows are process flows that use pre-defined common activities executed as a process on a SharePoint server. Workflows serve in any situation requiring steps to be taken in a precise, controlled order, with forks and variables and other options for customization.

Workflows in SharePoint 2013 have been redesigned from the ground up and are immensely more powerful than the workflow features found in previous versions of SharePoint, 2007 and 2010. The latest version brings a brand-new infrastructure together with fully-declarative authoring environment that is finally ready for prime time. You cannot afford to be unaware of what SharePoint 2013 brings to workflow management.

Data Expert Explained

Red Line cartoon

Four Best Practices for Executives to stay connected with a Social Business

Executives are busy people.  Often working long hours to make sure the business is running smoother.  The movement to a more Social Business, all employees are looking to Executives to more engaged with the people who work for them.  The rise of Social sites like Facebook, Linkeding, Yammer, and Tumblr, has given a voice to the employees that work for companies.  Executives should embrace this culture shift with open arms to capitalize on the value of knowledge that is with the people in the company.  Here are four best practices that will help executives get the most out of a Social Business. 

Share and Receive Information

Business today are required to move fast to keep up with the ever changing needs of consumers.  This can be a challenge if there’s a lack of visibility into what’s happening across and outside of the company.  Social business applications have the capability to:

  1. Send Announcements to efficiently distribute company=-wide Messaging
  2. follow up on all company meetings by sharing a note with FAQ’s and additional Details. 
  3. Share key updates from a conference of speaking engagement to enable employees to feel in the know. 
  4. Join a group or to and follow the conversations and work taking place and offer suggestions or praise for a job sell done.
  5. Spend 20 minutes a week scanning your feed to stay abreast of what is going on in the company. 

Encourage and Respond to Feedback

The majority of employees are disengaged and feel as though their input doesn’t matter.  It’s essential to enable your employees to have a voice and show that you are listening

  1. Observe real-time reactions and responses to your posts by taking note of likes and replies. 
  2. Encourage employees to reply to announcements with feedback and questions
  3. Ask an open-ended question or post a poll seeking feedback on an issue or possible initiative. 
  4. With the help of your network Community Managers, hose a periodic Online Session or Q&A around a specific topic or hot-button issue to quickly capture employee insight. 

    Bring Leaders and Team Together

    Leaders and teams today are dispersed across geographies and departmental silos. It’s important to stay on top of what your fellow executives are doing and make sure leadership is in alignment.

  1. Create a Leadership Group where fellow executives can come together to discuss and share updates around the organization’s vision and goals.
  2. Share monthly/quarterly reports with Leadership and Board Members and engage in discussion around the documents that have been uploaded to the group.
  3. Encourage other leaders to Post updates on team strategies and goals to provide greater visibility into where the organization is headed.

    Recognize and Praise Hard Work

    Feedback is powerful. Employees are encouraged by the feedback and reinforcement they receive from others, especially managers and executives.

  1. Click the “Like” button under a post that you find to be interesting or valuable to others in the organization.
  2. Post a “Praise” to one or several people for a job well done on a specific project or task. This could be anything from a new product launch, a key sales closing, a new marketing campaign, or a promotion.
  3. These simple actions tell employees that you appreciate their work and reinforce positive behavior.
    These Four Best Practices will enable Executives to stay engaged with employees as well as clients and customers.  Showing them that they are truly part of what makes your company great. 

This information was presented at A Yammer Community Manager Training session. 

The Six Benefits of a Social Business

Difference between Social Media and Social Business

Social Media are the platforms and technologies that people use to communicate and create interactively, like Twitter, Facebook, Yammer, or YouTube. Most often we refer to social media as the technologies that are used between a company and the public at large, but it could also refer to the platforms used inside a company to communicate in a more social and collaborative manner. When most people reference social media for business, they’re referring to using these technologies for engagement with the public, or for leveraging for data purposes. The activities are typically (though not always) used and managed by customer-facing departments like marketing, customer service, PR, or sales.

Social Business is the process and result of optimizing your internal business to take advantage of social media’s opportunities, putting processes and governance in place to mitigate its risks and adapt to its implications, and applying social concepts and technology internally to enable collaboration, sharing, innovation, and open engagement. Social business can encompass using external social media, but it’s not a requirement. Technically, an organization can be a social business without engaging publicly in social media at all.

Six Benefits

  • Improved customer satisfaction since you’re reacting faster and more openly, applying their input towards improving products and services, and making them feel like a much more invested and engaged part of your business.
  • Deeper employee loyalty fueled by a more collaborative work environment that empowers each person in the organization to be a part of shifting and improving the business. That makes your company a more attractive place to work, too.
  • More effective knowledge sharing that’s one part a sound technology base, one part well-thought out process, and a large part giving everyone from employees to partners the ability to learn from, contribute to and preserve the collective intelligence of the company.
  • Strengthened brand reputation from customers and partners who feel better informed, heard, and connected, and from the people inside your organization who are charged with stewarding that brand in their everyday work.
  • Lowered costs through everything from improved product development and an appetite for innovation to more
    efficient internal processes, more collaborative employee education and training, and stronger relationships with partners that yield better opportunities.
  • Clearly established vision and governance to guide the organization’s social initiatives overall, and a coordinated center to unify independent social and collaboration projects within departments or business units.

The Secret

Implementing Social media into a business is 20% technical and 80% Change Management.

Free Microsoft SharePoint 2013 Training

I am always looking for free good training resources for Microsoft SharePoint, below are some Microsoft Resources that I found very helpful.

If you want to learn about SharePoint 2013, there are valuable resources out there to get started.

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