For many months now I have been planning a road trip with my oldest son, Preston, to drive down through southern Utah and into Arizona to visit some of the areas in which he served his LDS mission. And last month I was finally able to take a day off and drive with him. It was an adventure, for sure. We spent a night in Moab and hiked up to see the famous Delicate Arch, we passed through Monument Valley (above) and see parts of the Grand Canyon. We also stayed a night in Snowflake, and drove through Show Low and Payson, AZ before driving down into the valley and Mesa to stay with more friends. Loved getting to spend time with my son, but it was also great to see some of these places for the first time. In fact, I purchased a intra-agency national park card, and hope to use it much more in the upcoming year.
August was the first month in a long, long time where I did not attend some kind of event. Lots of conference calls with partners and customer demos, and plenty of content – internal and external-facing. There was, of course, the webinar with Mike Oryszak from B&R Business Solutions on the topic of idea management, and my monthly CollabTalk tweetjam on the topic of the new SharePoint Framework (#SPFx). Other than that, 12 to 14 hour days of content and emails and online discussions.
I read the latest Harry Potter book. Oh, and I went fishing a couple times. Always a great way to break up the work week.
I have to say, when you’ve traveled the world as much as I have over the past 7 years, its been an adjustment to stick around the home office this much – but I have to admit that I do like being home more.
Of course, all of that is about to change, with Ignite coming up this month in Atlanta, the Collab365 online event in mid-October, SharePoint Saturday Redmond taking place end of October on the Microsoft campus, and then the MVP Summit (also in Redmond) followed by the European SharePoint Conference in Vienna. Basically, no break until Thanksgiving. In-between there, there will be more webinars, tweetjams, and possibly even the launch of the podcast series I’ve been talking with Noah Sparks about starting up.
As far as content goes, I had a couple major focus areas in August, the first of which was idea management. With the formal launch of Idea Campaigns this summer, we've out a tremendous amount of interest in our new SharePoint capabilities that, as with all Beezy features, builds off of SharePoint capabilities, enhancing and extending what is available out of the box. I was joined by Beezy partner, well-known speaker and former MVP Mike Oryszak (@next_connect) from B&R Business Solutions for a webinar on the topic, where I demonstrated the Beezy solution, and he shared some of B&R's deployment experiences. Be sure to check out the whitepaper, or watch the on-demand recording of our session:
For last month's CollabTalk tweetjam, I was able to put together a stellar panel of MVPs, MCMs and experts from around the community to share some of their takeaways from the new SharePoint Framework. In the blog post below, you can find the panel details and questions discussed, and in the Storify post, you can read through the tweet-by-tweet discussion. Great stuff.
As many of you know, I've been leading a community effort this year that is examining different aspects of collaboration planning and measurement. The 'Measuring Collaboration Success' initiative is in its second phase this month, with the third and final phase kicking off the week of Ignite. If you have not yet participated in the second survey, which looks specifically at the metrics that organizations use, please click on the link below and take the short survey. There's also a podcast discussion with BA Insight's CTO Jeff Fried (@jefffried) that is worth checking out:
Oh yes, and Beezy was included in KMWorld's Trend-Setting Product list for 2016. Press release and the entire list below:
In typical fashion, I wrote a number of thought-leadership pieces this past month dealing with topics around planning, governance, UX design and productivity, some of which will be included within our customer nurturing programs over the coming months:
One article that stands out was a post on the rise of mobility solutions. In the post, I point to a great whitepaper written by my peer Maximo Castagno, who leads the product management efforts here at Beezy, in which he discusses the trends that are moving the enterprise toward the mobile-first model. It's also a great lead-in to the announcement made this week about Beezy's new messaging solution built on Office 365, called BeezyPocket. Definitely check out the post and related whitepaper, but also be sure to sign up for the BeezyPocket beta.
And finally, promotions have begun for the European SharePoint Conference in November, and with it, my keynote with Sharegate’s Benjamin Niaulin (@bniaulin). Ben and I have some fun plans for our teaser video. Looking forward to completing that.
Ok, that's a wrap for my August activities. Things are already in full swing for September. I'm planning this month's tweetjam from the road in Atlanta, so watch for that. Otherwise, keep watching the tweets on @buckleyplanet and other social channels, and hopefully I'll see you at one of the upcoming events.
As I begin to prepare for some of the fall events, one of the topics I will be picking up again is governance. It’s a subject that continues to interest SharePoint and Office 365 admins, and there have been major announcements around governance, security and compliance from the product team this year. Historically, Microsoft has a strong record of mitigating security risks. As most cloud-based competitors have focused on rapid innovation, the gaps have only become wider and the management of the many collaboration tools across any single enterprise has become quite complex. With Microsoft, the gaps have not been as wide, which has continued to keep platforms like SharePoint and Office 365 as the market-leading tools of choice for enterprise customers.
Even with the restructuring and realignment of product, engineering, and marketing organizations under the “one Microsoft” banner, the company has made major investments in improving their security and compliance story across the board.
Microsoft “gets” the enterprise space. Through investments in the Office 365 Compliance Center, various regional and global standards and certifications, and customer and partner evidence efforts, the company continues to invest in governance and compliance features. It is only a matter of time before Microsoft closes the remaining governance and security gaps — either directly, or with the help of its partner ecosystem.
Of course, they need to stay on their toes – because the requirements and expectations of customers is always evolving. In fact, I would say that there is a fundamental shift underway in how organization approach collaboration. Whether building out an intranet, engaging with partners and customers through a formal extranet or consumer-based social networking platform, or even within the business platforms we use, such as CRM and ERP systems, the use of social tools to improve how we connect, communicate, and collaborate is on the rise. And you cannot ignore the rise of the mobile device -- check out the latest whitepaper from my team at Beezy on this topic.
But while end users are quick to adopt these technologies, concerns over how these tools are monitored and managed can present a sizeable gap for compliance-minded organizations.
As companies increasingly look toward social technologies to improve the user experience within enterprise collaboration management (ECM) platforms, we need to not forgot one of the primary reasons we have these ECM platforms in the first place: their document-centric functionality, role-based security features, and their robust auditing and compliance capabilities.
Most organizations go to great lengths to ensure only the right people have access to certain content, and that the content adheres to sometimes very strict industry and regulatory standards. Unfortunately, the leading social tools do not always comply with these strong governance, reporting and compliance standards, and organizations must take steps (sometimes very manual steps) to mitigate any risks.
From a SharePoint social perspective, you still have the benefit of sitting behind the SharePoint security model. While there are some out-of-the-box metrics and reports, the best Microsoft can offer today for on prem SharePoint social customers is the ability to dig into the change logs and other social activities through the various content databases. And then there are those teams also using Yammer. For the most part, how you work across SharePoint and Yammer is incomplete within the current versions. This is a rapidly changing discussion — but the key is to be aware of your own security, compliance, and governance requirements, and understand (and mitigate) the risks inherent with social collaboration.
For now, your best defense is training, helping end users to understand the process and limitations of security within your chosen social collaboration toolset. Another option is to let the community police the social platforms. People tend to come up to speed very quickly, and correct each other when, for example, someone shares a secure document in Yammer that should be in a secure area within SharePoint, sharing a link rather than uploading content (which may also be duplicating the content).
Overall, many companies are finding that the value they receive through social collaboration is greater than the risks of working without some of the security and governance safeguards. Of course, one of the major advantages of working with a solution like Beezy is that we provide an extensive set of social collaboration capabilities — beyond what either SharePoint or Yammer can provide — all within the SharePoint framework, meaning that all of your SharePoint governance, compliance, and auditing controls and capabilities automatically apply to Beezy. Our solutions was built on SharePoint, for SharePoint — whether on prem, in the cloud, or somewhere in between.
If you are interested in more best practices around building a governance strategy for your social collaboration tools, you should check out the whitepaper I co-authored with Melinda Morales who is now over at 3Sharp, and who I will be presenting with on this topic a couple times this fall. The whitepaper covers three key areas in order to best apply social governance to your existing or new environment, and can help remove the stigma from the word “social” for your management teams. This guide will help you:
Click here to download your free copy of this whitepaper. And watch for updates via Twitter and other social channels as Melinda and I begin promoting our sessions. Looking forward to talking about governance again, as this remains an important topic.
At the Future of SharePoint event in San Francisco in May, Microsoft announced a number of new features and capabilities expanding on the SharePoint platform. As part of their roadmap, they announced the SharePoint Framework, a new development model that "enables fully supported client-side development, easy integration with the Microsoft Graph and support for open source tooling."
Microsoft has been "dog-fooding" the framework with the development of some of their latest innovations, including their latest mobile applications, and new document library and list experiences in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business. Reactions from the community have been mixed, but mostly positive as it allows customers and partner to leverage the latest JavaScipt frameworks like React and Angular, and better supports dynamic user experiences that are responsive and mobile-ready.
On Tuesday, August 30th at 9am PDT we will be convening again as a community to discuss "Building on the SharePoint Framework" as part of the monthly CollabTalk tweetjam, and picking at the seams of the SP Framework. We’ll talk pros and cons, share experiences from the preview, and discuss the future of SharePoint development – from a technical and business standpoint.
Joining me on these sessions are a wide variety of experts and community members from around the world, including many MVPs, engineers, project and product managers, and so forth.
If you’ve never participated in one of these tweetjams, it's pretty simple: anyone can jump in and share their thoughts, or just lurk in the wings and absorb the wisdom of the crowd. Either way, it’ll be a TON of content to consume in a single hour. You can follow the live session using the Twitter UI of your choice (Twitter.com, Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Twubs, whatever). How it works is that I’ll post a series of questions every few minutes, and people will respond to Q1, Q2, Q3 and so forth with A1, A2, A3, always including the #CollabTalk hashtag with their answers. Feel free to reply as often (or as little) as you’d like, ask your own follow up questions, share relevant links, retweet others, and engage with the audience.
The questions we will discuss during the session include:
Undoubtedly, there will be side-questions, side-conversations, and wise-cracking throughout. The dialog is usually thought-provoking but also fun. Participating on this panel are a number of MVPs and experts on SharePoint and Office 365. The tweetjam is open to the public, so please join in the discussion!
As always, it should be a fantastic discussions. Everyone is invited to participate whether or not you’re part of the panel. Join the conversation using the #CollabTalk hashtag and share your ideas and feedback. Thanks!
Every company talks about innovation, but how many put the infrastructure in place to make innovation a key aspect of their business? Innovation is not just an output – it is also a process that requires cultural and technological support to help you manage the complexity. Many organizations try to leverage industry standards (such as the IDEO and NABC models), but also want to modify those standards based on internal best practices and to support their unique business requirements. Some try to do this leveraging SharePoint as the primary knowledge repository, but struggle to make it work. Why is that?
Companies need a consistent method for moving an idea through a formal review process, and the ability to elevate an approved idea to a formal project where action can be taken - and innovation measured. You cannot improve upon something if you cannot monitor and measure its progress and results. To understand the business value of ideas, and to track the return on investment of innovation generated from your own employees, you need something more structured and formal that a Suggestion Box in your lunch room. And you definitely need something more that a slightly modified SharePoint list to track outputs.
The idea evaluation process you employ can vary depending on the type of idea, which right there adds more complexity that most people are comfortable building themselves out of the box with SharePoint. For example, a cost-cutting measure, or a suggestion for improving the customer experience might have a much lower bar to meet than would an idea for a new product introduction, or even an improvement to internal systems and processes, which could include considerable costs, time, and resources to take action – and may also include risk to existing business norms.
If you missed last week’s webinar with Mike Oryszak (@next_connect) and I where we discussed the value that formal idea management can bring to the traditional SharePoint knowledge repository, you should definitely watch the on-demand recording. Check it out:
In the webinar, we walk through some of the pros and cons of using SharePoint OOTB, but we also spend a few minutes showing you what the Beezy team has built for Office 365 and SharePoint, and how we can dramatically improve your team’s ability to capture corporate knowledge – and build a repeatable innovation engine. The solution is completely configurable based on these kinds of decision matrixes, with appropriate workflow behind each idea type.
Within most organizations, idea management should be more about aligning with their internal culture than about mapping to a formal methodology. Common sense tells us that the better the fit with the culture, the more likely people are to use the solution.
At its core, an idea management solution must provide a method for employees to:
Additionally, incorporating idea management into an organization’s social collaboration capabilities can be a highly-effective method to raise visibility, and the level of dialog, surrounding employee suggestions. By leveraging the social capabilities within Beezy, for example, such as the ability to vote up on the best ideas, helps to elevate community consensus.
After being reviewed by management, the best ideas can then be promoted to team projects where actions can be assigned, tracked, and measured, and where employees with winning ideas get public recognition. In fact, beyond the business advantages of employee-led innovation, idea management can have a profound effect on the overall level of engagement with employees. Public recognition is a top factor in generating employee engagement.
And for innovation to happen, you need an engaged workforce. If employees are not engaged, they are not generating ideas, sharing best practices, discussing how to optimize and improve the business, or performing at their best.
Early in my career, I joined a team on the week that a core team member was retiring, and was tasked with helping him with the transition. As a young project manager, I was already well-versed in the difficult process of transcribing years of knowledge and expertise into a consumable format. I remember sitting through a session with him, walking through a thick binder filled with process diagrams, flowcharts, and spreadsheets that was supposed to somehow encapsulate his 20+ years with the company – and as he was explaining the history behind one of the initiatives he developed and ran, I realized how much context was missing from what he had documented.
In a webinar tomorrow, August 18th at 10am PDT, I will be joined by former SharePoint MVP and Senior Solution Architect Mike Oryszak (@next_connect) with Beezy partner, B&R Business Solutions, as we talk about some of the problems surrounding knowledge management, using SharePoint as a knowledge center, and how idea management can help. You can register for the webinar here.
While idea management and knowledge management are not the same thing, we’ll make the case that idea management is a strategy that can dramatically improve your knowledge management efforts. Idea management is part process, part cultural change. It works best when you open up your environment to the entire community, allowing different voices and work experiences to join in and voice their opinions. As more people provide their input, it makes your environment more social – people become more engaged, sharing and commenting on other’s ideas, and creating information assets that become searchable within SharePoint.
Thinking back to this former peer, leveraging an idea campaign would have helped us capture much of the tacit knowledge (individual skills, ideas and experiences that are difficult to document) that was lost when he left the company. For example, we could have created an idea campaign looking for ways to improve the define project management methodology. The campaign would have included his documentation and description, but then allowed people to share their thoughts on how to improve upon the model. Employees would have been able to add ideas, comment, vote, like, and share – including the individual who started the campaign.
As workloads become more social, as with idea management, people share more: they generate more content, they apply more tags/keywords, and they are more apt to correlate ideas to other, existing content. The end result is not just the creation of new ideas – but an enrichment of existing ideas and content and profiles. That’s the power of social collaboration – and idea management is an organizational tool to unlock that social dialog.
For more on idea management and SharePoint, I encourage you to check out the Beezy blog for relevant articles, download a copy of our free ebook Formalizing Idea Management, or you can join us tomorrow for the webinar.
Back in March, we kicked off phase 1 of the ‘Measuring Collaboration Success’ initiative (#MeasureCollabSuccess) by looking at how we, as a community, define “success” in collaboration, and, specifically, with SharePoint and Office 365. Far too many organizations claim to have deployed the platform successfully, only to struggle with unused licenses and an increasingly complex series of unsupported 3rd party tools and web solutions. So we asked people to help us define success, which we captured within the results of our first survey. You can download the resulting whitepaper here.
During this second phase, we look specifically at the measurements of collaboration success. Please take the survey and share your experiences.
The purpose of this initiative is threefold: to understand how the community defines collaboration success (captured in our first survey results), how they measure that success (the current survey), and then how they deploy in a way that ensures the defined goal is met and that the proper measurements are in place (survey coming in late August).
Collaboration is a fairly broad topic that can encompass everything from email to instant messaging to real-time video communication. While we use a variety of technologies, the goals are fairly consistent across organizations: to share information, improve communication, and support corporate culture. We may approach collaboration in different ways, but we all consistently fail at defining "success." And if it is not well defined, how can we measure it and claim success?
As I state in several places, the goal of this initiative is not about lead-generation for my company or any of the other participating companies. All responses are anonymous., If you'd like to receive the raw results of the survey, we do capture your email. However, we will not retain your email for sales or marketing purposes, and will delete the list after sending out the results when the survey closes in 6 to 8 weeks.
Our intent is to keep this initiative vendor-neutral and independent, learning from the data and sharing our perspectives with the community.
You can follow the entire panel using the #MeasureCollabSuccess Twitter list.
Thanks for taking a few minutes out of your day to take this survey. For the comprehensive results of all three surveys, be sure to see my sessions at Ignite in Atlanta in September! See you there!
I’m sitting at Logan Airport in Boston, on my way home from another successful SPTechCon Boston event. Always lots of fun, great to see so many friends and acquaintances, wish I had had time to go visit a few more of my former co-workers. But alas, time was short and I am on my way back home to Seattle for a day of rest (sort of) before a long family weekend.
My schedule felt lighter than usual, with only 2 regular sessions, a Lightning Talk, and participation in the Stump the Experts panel. And, of course, I was in the Beezy booth between all of these activities, providing demos and talking social collaboration. You can see my view from the panel in the photos above. These things are always a lot of fun, where the audience asks (mostly) short questions and the panel tries to answer them quickly and with humor (mostly). I sat between Andrew Connell and Todd Klindt, as you can see, and had a blast.
Also a standard of the Boston event is the mid-week Boston SPUG participation, where members of the community are able to join the event expo hall at the end of the day, and then have an on-site SPUG event with many of the speakers. Such a great idea for supporting the community, and also giving the speakers yet another platform. Love this. Wish more events would do something like this. And because of the BASPUG participation, I got the chance to see a number of my local friends who were not attending the conference. Always love that. Some additional photos from the week:
In case you missed my sessions, both were repeats from the Austin event – but as with most speakers, I made some updates and tweaks for this event. My first session was an updated version of a presentation that I’ve been doing since the 2010 release: The 10 Best Office 365 Features You’ve Never Used (But Should) which is kind of a click-bait title in that it’s not all O365 content, per se, but a blend of productivity capabilities in O365 and the Office suite. It’s a list of cool features that you may already know about and use, but most folks walk away with a few new things to try out. This session is always a crowd-pleaser:
My other session follows the theme of some of the content I’ve been writing over the past several months about improving the user experience (UX) by making pro9ductivity a core aspect of your design and planning. So this one was not so much about SharePoint as it was about guidance on design and implementation, and harkens back to my project management and business analysis days, and was entitled Productivity Hacking for Team Collaboration, and was first presented last fall over at UnityConnect. Check it out here:
Gearing up for some travel later this month, as well as several online activities, I thought it was time to post an update with links and details. Like many of you, my kids are wrapping up the school year. My son Nick has his high school graduation ceremonies tonight in Redmond, WA. So proud of him -- he was recognized for his excellent PSAT scores, as well as completing numerous AP classes this year, scoring mostly 5's, with a couple 4's, and has an assortment of cords for his academic achievements. Pictures will be posted. And my youngest is in football training camp for the next couple weeks, looking forward to finishing off his sophomore year at the end of next week.
Ok, as far as upcoming events, here is what I have coming up:
And that's it for events, so far. Of course, there will be more CollabTalk webisodes this summer, and I plan to also schedule tweetjams throughout the summer, but I am also working on a couple new projects -- and hope to be able to spend much more time creating videos. I've even thought about picking up the OneThing torch once again, creating videos alongside MVPs and experts as I travel around the world, highlighting what they think people need to know about Office 365.
Moe to come! Keep watching this space…
I remember a few years back when someone suggested an online SharePoint Saturday event, and I thought “Well, you’re missing the point of these regional community events – its more about the networking than the content.” While some online SPS events have had mixed results, what began as SP24 and has evolved into Collab365 has been a resounding success – and I am thrilled to be able to spend some time with Jon, Fraser, Mark, Andy and team as they broadcast live from Microsoft in Redmond this week, with presenters and attendees dialing into this massive FREE event showcasing the latest news and learning about SharePoint, Office 365, and all relevant technologies.
While I did present once last year, I had a great time “anchoring” a couple fellow speakers, including Jeremy Thake’s 2015 keynote – so this year I signed up for more anchoring spots, and will be joining the Collab365 team on camera for a couple panels, as well. Plus, Beezy has signed on as the official social sponsor for the entire event….so you’ll notice our logo on every chat module throughout the site.
So much great content, and many friends presenting….but I picked out a few sessions that are relevant to Beezy and the work we are doing around the UX and extending SharePoint and Office 365 capabilities and use cases. I am not knocking the other sessions – these are simply the topics which I’ll personally be following this week:
Tuesday, May 10th
Wednesday, May 11th
Thursday, May 12th
The event is happening live right now, and once again is entirely FREE. Check out the session listings, sign up, and get involved!