Here's the link to sign up for the next London meeting on 14th June
Here's the link to sign up for the next London meeting on 14th June
Thank you to everyone who attended the meeting in London on 9th December; to Matt for his hard work in organising the event and to John Timney for his presentation.
I have had a few requests for information on my presentation "The Art of SharePoint Success". The slides for the SharePoint Saturday version of the presentation are on slideshare
And there are some further ramblings on the subject on my blog:
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Sign up for free at http://www.DipIntoSharePoint2010.co.uk
Only 2000 site collections available so hurry.
“The SharePoint Conference 2009 will be the first and the best conference to get in depth training on SharePoint “14”, from upgrade and migration to the business value of new platform features and functionality. Come and get early insight into what you’ll be able to do with SharePoint “14” and how you’ll be able to get there.”
It’s rumour time.
Word is that the Microsoft SharePoint Conference will be held in Las Vegas 18th – 22nd October.
MS usually hold SharePoint conferences in March and have recently held European event every two years. According to that pattern one could have expected an event in Europe this March. Perhaps the change indicates exciting new announcements to be made.....
Keep up to date at http://www.mssharepointconference.com
The Best Practices Conference in April is still the place to be in Europe!
Someone who shall remain nameless once told me that with regard to SharePoint licensing, “…If you don’t get the answer you want, ask again.”
There is no doubt that there is (still) a huge amount of confusion on this subject. It is one of the most common issues that clients ask me to advise on. There are many blog entries which attempt to explain the various nuances and complexities of the subject, and I won’t attempt to do that here. But here is an example of why this subject is so difficult.
First consider this extract from the Microsoft White Paper , “Planning an Extranet Environment for Office SharePoint Server 2007”, dated June 2007 and still available from the Microsoft web site (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc262400.aspx)
Consider licensing requirements to determine the minimum number of server farms that you need to plan for. There are two server licenses available for Office SharePoint Server 2007. These licenses cannot be combined on the same server computer or on the same server farm. The following table lists and describes each license offering.
Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, Server License
This license is required to run Office SharePoint Server 2007 in client/server mode. You should use this license with the requisite number of Client Access Licenses (CALs) appropriate for your organizational needs.
Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 for Internet sites
You may use the software for Internet-facing Web sites only. All content, information, and applications must be accessible to non-employees. This license has all the features of the Enterprise Edition of Office SharePoint Server. This is a per server license that does not require the purchase of Client Access Licenses.
If you plan to deploy internal content for your organization and Internet-facing content for non-employees, you must deploy at least two server farms to meet licensing requirements. “
So, two server licenses that cannot be combined on a single farm meaning that for Internet and Intranet you need two farms. Seems straightforward?
Now consider this advice from the MS Volume licensing web site, accessed this morning (http://www.microsoftvolumelicensing.com/userights/ProductPage.aspx?pid=123)
“Accommodation for simultaneous use of server software under Office SharePoint Server 2007 and Office SharePoint Server 2007 for Internet sites
The same software is licensed under Office SharePoint Server 2007 and Office SharePoint Server 2007 for Internet sites under different use rights. Office SharePoint Server 2007’s use rights support private intranet sites and require CALs for licensed access, while Office SharePoint Server 2007 for Internet Sites does not require CALs, but does require that all content, information and applications be accessible through the internet to non-employees. Please refer to the Product Use Rights (PUR) document for these products’ use rights.
As an accommodation for possible deployment scenarios, customers wishing to consolidate their SharePoint needs under a single deployment may acquire licenses for both products, assign those licenses to the same server, and use the same running instance of the software simultaneously under both licenses. However, customers must acquire CALs as required under the Office SharePoint Server 2007 use rights for users and devices accessing content in any manner not permitted under the Office SharePoint Server 2007 for Internet sites use rights.”
So now it seems we can use a FIS licensed farm to support CAL based intranet use for internal employees; just as long as we buy the correct number of CALS and ensure that the content is only access by users with the appropriate license.
This advice is repeated on the MS SharePoint FAQ’s page http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepointserver/HA101655351033.aspx
Is it just me?
Microsoft have just launched a new web site for new SharePoint developers. Here's the link;
(Cool Silverlight looking site too!)
Recently I read two articles in Computing which highlight the challenges which Executives face in understanding how to use SharePoint technologies to deliver business value.
The first article claims that UK business are struggling with innovation. Accenture estimate that 58% of UK business Executives feel that innovation is essential to their company’s long term success.
“Innovation should not be confined to the research and development function, or even just in the marketing function, in high performing businesses it permeates the culture, metrics and processes of the whole company.”
Typically companies associate innovation with the desire to increase market share. Here is the link,
The second article claims that social software has still not shown its business benefits. Half of global CIO’s plan to invest in Web 2.0 technologies for the first time in 2008, according to Gartner but, the article claims, many firms lack understanding of how social collaboration tools can be used to create business benefit. Here’s the link;
Although you don’t hear it mentioned too often SharePoint is a Knowledge Management tool. What is SharePoint? It is Microsoft’s Information Worker platform. It’s a highly scalable and extensible platform for creating a wide variety of different solutions for Information Workers.
There are two types of knowledge. Explicit knowledge which can be written down or codified in some way; this could be in the form of reports, presentations, spreadsheets, process maps, or any other type of document or artefact. Implicit knowledge is that which is based on experience, it cannot be written down or recorded.
Researchers at the Harvard Business School published an article in 1999 which indentified two basic strategies for managing knowledge (http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/0500.html).
A Codification strategy addresses the management of Explicit knowledge. This type of strategy focuses on putting in place processes, policies and technology to capture, store, manage and retrieve documents which contain knowledge vital to an organisation. A Personalisation strategy addresses the management of Implicit knowledge. This type of strategy focuses on putting in place processes, policies and technologies which bring people together, and facilitate the sharing of ideas, and information. Although an organisation may use elements of both strategies the key to success is to identify the one which is best suited to the business model and high level strategic objectives and to focus on this.
For example an organisation which repeatedly solves the same problem, or delivers the same type of solution or service again and again for different clients will probably want to focus on standardisation, increasing efficiency and effectiveness within core business processes and lowering costs. In this case a Codification, or Person-to-Document strategy will probably be most appropriate. Conversely am organisation which offers a highly bespoke service to clients, focusing on quality not volume business will probably be focused innovation, and creativity rather than costs. Here a Personalisation strategy will probably be most appropriate.
SharePoint provides the tools to support both of these types of strategy. For a Codification strategy we have Enterprise Content Management, Workflow, Excel Services, and Document Search. For a Personalisation strategy we have MySite and the Social Networking web parts, People Search, Collaboration, and the Community kit.
Returning then to the two articles in Computing that prompted this post; The value of Social networking and Web 2.0 technologies is that they support Personalisation knowledge management strategies which are key to successful processes on innovation. For organisations that do not value or focus on innovation these technologies may not deliver significant benefits, these organisations may benefit more from those tools that support a Codification strategy.
Here's something to strike terror into the very core of your soul! Web 8.0 is just round the corner....
Following links are for the two presentations given at the Basingstoke meeting at ICS Solutions on March 27th.
1. "Planning for a high availability MOSS farm", Lewis Baldwin - Head of Infrastructure and Support: http://www.icssolutions.co.uk/images/SUG_HAF.pdf
2. "Governance: Protect your SharePoint Investment", Symon Garfield - SharePoint Practice Lead http://www.icssolutions.co.uk/images/SUGUK%20-%20MOSS%20Governance.pdf
Just back from the final sessions at this year’s conference.
For me this has been a week very well spent. My head is full of new information and ideas, I have made some great contacts, caught up with old friends and gained a two new MS certifications (MOSS dev and config). :)
As I mentioned in an earlier post I noticed a shift in the content with a growing emphasis on the softer aspects of the technology; not just nuts and bolts but users and uses. I think that this is partly due to the growing body of experience, not least Microsoft’s own. I understand they are the world’s biggest users of SharePoint (no surprises there I guess); they have 325 thousand Portals, sites and Team sites in the business. I have noticed the results of this experience of using the technology for business gain coming through in their sessions. After all the tech guys are also the users in this case and as a result their presentations have an increased maturity about them.
Plenty of announcements made here, including; BizTalk Adapter Pack, Capacity Planning Tool, Extranet Accelerator Kit, Search Server Express released, and the Asset Inventory tool. To name just a few.
Plenty going on in the Partners exhibition hall, despite the seemingly low number of places avaialable. My impression was that Business Process Management related vendors were the largest group. There were also plenty of Training, Document Management, and Migration related partners. The standard of presentations on the stands was very high and all the partners who I stopped and talked to really knew their stuff. Might sound obvious, but it's not always the case at these events. Some of the Partner led sessions and stands in Berlin last year were poor. Perhaps another example of an increasingly maturing market?
The SharePoint based Conference site has worked well. It provided a handy-dandy session browser to plan which events to go to; it even integrated with Outlook. Most impressively I can already find most the slide decks on the site. I still have not got my DVD from last year’s event which had the slide decks on!
It was not all good news though. A few people I know who work in the Partner community and do deep dive hands on work with SharePoint day in and day out were very disappointed with the technical level of the sessions. One, who shall remain nameless, walked out of almost every session I saw him in disgust. To be fair for those working at the top level, who already know the product from the ground up are not going to learn that much at an event like this which is aimed at the mass market. Plus this wasn't a development event, that was held last month. Still, a level 400 session should be a deep as it can get.
Seattle is great, especially for Vegetarians and Vegans. Much better than Las Vegas where the DevConnections event was held, at least in my humble opinion.
I recommend the event for next year, as long as it's not in Vegas! There really is a strong business case for it, so start planning to now so you can convince the boss. In the meantime I heard a rumour that the UK will be getting a 'Virtual SharePoint Conference' later this year, but no official announcement yet...
Couple of days off now before flying home on Saturday. That'll just give me time to write up my notes and all those new ideas.....
This is the third SharePoint Conference that I have been to in the past 13 months; two offical Microsoft events and the DevConnections event in November last year. I have noticed a subtle shift in the content in this event.
Microsoft is a technology based company so it's no real surprise that that events relating to their products are largely technical in nature. But, as I often argue, SharePoint is very different than any of their other products. 'Traditional' software products are focused driving efficiencies within structured business process. This produces easily quantifiable benefits and ROI usually in the form of lower costs or increased productivity.
SharePoint is all about Knowledge Management, Collaboration, Web 2.0 and these are all technologies that focus on people, connections and sharing ideas. Delivering business value from these new age technologies and actually proving the results is much more problematic, and is more about people than technology.
Here at the conference we have seen all the usual MVP's and Microsoft experts talking about all the usual stuff; Deployment, Web Content Management, Administration, Developing Web Parts, The BDC, and so on. Of course this sort of Nuts and Bolts stuff is vital, the IT people need to understand how to operate the machinery. But we have also seen an increasing amount of content related to the softer aspects of SharePoint. There is a track dedicated to Governance, a topic which merges both the technical and business aspects of using SharePoint. I went to a session on successful Deployment and it turned out to be an MVP talking to a technical audience about the value of defining business problems, agreeing a mission statement for your SharePoint project and other 'soft' business analysis related topics. It even included interpersonal skills in meetings with business people. Hardly a mention of settings, quotas, servers, bandwidth and the like.
My favourite session so far has been "Web 2.0 What is it? and Why Should you Care?" presented by Forrester Analyst Rob Koplowitz. It was this session that got me thinking and led to me making this Post. The session was part of a series of presentations by analysts rather than technical experts. I've not seen this before at a technical conference. I missed some of the earlier sessions but hear from others that they were equally as good.
I think that it's great that the these non-technical aspects of SharePoint and its use are starting to get mainstream attention amongst the technical community. No point being technically excellent with your SharePoint deployment if no one ever uses it, or it does nothing more than host the lunch menu, internal phone directory and the meeting room booking system.
It was an interest the business value of Knowledge Management related technologies which first led to me getting involved in SharePoint. My impression of the User Group UK is that the membership is largely from a technical background? I'll be presenting a session at a meeting of the group in Basingstoke on March 27th (which Nick has yet to announce - hint hint) on the subject of SharePoint Governance and as I have already said this will cover both technical and business related aspects of SharePoint. Would anyone be interested in other non-technical sessions? Strategies for introducing SharePoint into an organisation; Developing a Collaboration Strategy; Introduction to SharePoint Business Analysis; Developing the business case for Collaboration. Just a few ideas. I've considered doing this before but assumed that there would be little interest. Maybe now's a good time?
SharePoint conference 2008 opened this morning with Keynote speeches from Bill Gates, Kurt Delbene Vice President of the Office Business Platform Group.
Unfortunately I am having to spend far too much time sitting in my hotel room working on this trip, so I don't have time to give a detailed review; but here are a few headlines:
First some info on the event its self:
- 3,800 attendees at the conference
- 500 people on the waiting list
- 22 countries represented
- 61 partners exhibiting - the partner sponsorship sold out in 24 hours
Some SharePoint facts:
- SharePoint has now joined SQL and Exchange as a billion dollar server product
- Expecting to hit 100 million SharePoint licenses this year
- Bill noted that this puts SharePoint in a different league to specialist point solutions in the markets such as ECM, BI, Collaboration
Announcement: SharePoint as a hosted service
- SharePoint and Exchange are now available as a hosted service to organisations with less than 5000 seats. Here's the link, check it out: http://www.microsoft.com/online/sharepoint-online.mspx
- We were given a pretty compelling demonstration of how an organisation can combine a locally hosted Active Directory with a hosted Exchange and SharePoint implementation running in the Microsoft Data Centre.
- If this is the future then where exactly do the Microsoft Partner Community fit in I wonder? It has clear benefits for MS in terms of controlling licenses.
Announcement: MS Search Server Express released today
- Following the announcement of Search server Express beta at the DevConnections conference in November last year, the product is fully released and ready for down load today
The next version of SharePoint:
- Not much on this so far but in the Q&A session Bill talked a lot about the ability to surface SQL tables in the SharePoint environment and the ability to create a SharePoint list and declare it as a native SQL table. This, he claimed, will bring together the richness of SharePoint lists with the functionality of relational database tables.
- This will certainly see SharePoint develop further as a fully fledged Application Development platform.
- There was a brief mention of the further development of the BDC as the technology of choice for accessing backend data systems. We had been wondering if the Fast acquisition would signal the end for the BDC as we currently know it, but it seems not.
Increased support for deploying SharePoint:
- We were given demos and overviews of four solution accelerators recently developed for SharePoint
- The SPConfigurator for deploying .wsp, content types, master pages, audit settings and the like across one or more SharePoint farms
- Asset inventory tool which scans your network or IP range and produces a SQL server based report showing all SharePoint assets and content it finds. Very nice, I like this a lot!
- The Capacity Planner tool. This has been around a while now, must be several weeks at least, provides a wizard for inputting information and assessing the capacity of a given SharePoint farm topology.
- The Extranet Accelerator kit. Uses forms and workflows to enable users to quickly provision Extranet sites from SharePoint.
Announcement: Silverlight Blueprint for SharePoint
- Some very nice demos of rich internet applications using SharePoint and silverlight
- Announcement of the release of a Silverlight blueprint for SharePoint which includes guidance and code to integrate Silverlight into SharePoint web parts.
- I was a non-believer in Silverlight unitl today, they are winning me over
By midday my head was spinning with too much new information! SharePoint, SharePoint, SharePoint. Where will it end????
Oh yes, I also took advantage of the free Prometric tests which are available here and I am now a certified MOSS Technical Specialist. I am going to hang the certificate on my wall next to my 100m swimming certificate and Cycling Proficiency badge.
The backpack is a briefcase style bag, and the Microsoft branded water bottle was a huge disappointment
More news as it breaks....
The MS SharePoint conference 2008 kicks off in Seattle on Sunday night. The Great and Good, or should that be the Good, The Bad and the Ugly? From the SharePoint world are heading to the airports this weekend.
Rumours abound that we may get a sneak preview of the next version of SharePoint which I hear is due for CTP release soon.
There's a party for the UK delegates on Monday night - be there or be square!
I can’t wait for another free backpack and all those SharePoint branded goodies.
More news as it breaks.....