5 Powerful Steps to Maximize Office 365 & SharePoint UX

5 Simple Steps to Maximize Office 365 and SharePoint Usability

 

I am humbled to have been selected as a Microsoft Regional Director, which made me realize it’s been a little while since I’ve posted.  I intend to correct that.  I’m excited to announce a new blog series on how to drive maximum usability in Office 365 in SharePoint Online, Office 365 Groups and beyond.  In my experience at Blizzard I’ve found simply migrating our data to SharePoint Online won’t accomplish the most important updates in the past year.

 

5 Steps to Maximize Office 365 & SharePoint Usability

Classify – Both Sites and Groups support classification in Office 365.  Being able to take action such as not listing a group or site in a directory, or using a flow to approve a site based on the need to support external guests can allow one to have a much better handle on HR data vs Finance or Legal data as an example.  It can also lend itself to support putting sites in Hubs based on department, division or location.

Hubify – Hubs are a new type of site, but really they simply roll up the documents and provide search scopes.  It’s running a Windows Powershell that makes a site into a hub site.  In this post we’ll dig into the how and why with samples.

Groupify – Groups is all the buzz.  Groups gives you all storts of stuff you never asked for, but the approach does have some merits especially in relation to adoption.  Much of the new tools will never be used until people experience them.  Teams and Groups expose these new tools.  The Group OneDrive and Group Inbox and Group Calendar are fantastic as is Planner for a team.

Modernify – The Modern UI is out, but there’s no one big switch to take your classic site all the way to a Modern SharePoint Site, but you can do it in 3 pretty basic steps.

CulturifyHow are you going to handle branding and incorporating company culture? We’ll look at the best approaches available today the answer is slightly different in Modern and Classic sites.

How do I get a list of all the files I’ve shared in OneDrive for Business?

In traditional OneDrive user interface this was a simple click to see the shared files and even today in OneDrive personal it’s easy to click between those that have been shared with me and those that I have shared.  In basic governance and compliance, being able to manage file sharing and controlling the sharing is of paramount importance.  If you have all your files in a single view you can see visually what has been shared and look at each file to see that beyond the fact it’s been shared you can see who it’s been shared with.

If you an admin in Office 365 you can go into the Usage Reports to see the activity and usage reports.  View Activity by Files or by Users.  Like what you see?  You can export either report into Excel and interrogate it even further.

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In this report you can see what’s been shared, viewed, synced, internal and external sharing counts and by file or by user.  It’s quite useful and I think many have no idea it exists.  You can read more about the reporting portal in this blog post from the Office team.  The SharePoint, Exchange and OneDrive Activity report can be really quite powerful in understanding activity, usage and adoption including things like… what are people sharing externally? 

In addition the Unified Audit Log has a lot of options that you can look at including uploaded, accessed, viewed files or deleted files:

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What about for users who aren’t admins?

Good news.  The feature has been announced and was detailed at the recent SharePoint Saturday San Diego event.  A few cool features were announced in San Diego including a new point in time file recovery and rollback for OneDrive to recover from malware and corruption of your files.

Roadmap?  Yep.  The Shared by Me view in OneDrive is coming in Q1 according to the roadmap.office.com.  Simply search by OneDrive and scroll down to In Development to find the feature.

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There is more coming to OneDrive including a new personalized list of the files I’ve shared internally and externally as well as time limited compliance options for external sharing and brand new recovery options.

I highly recommend this very recent keynote address by Stephen Rose Senior Product Manager from OneDrive.  He went into detail about the new sharing features as well as the recovery piece.  Cool stuff.

Stephen Rose SharePoint Saturday San Diego Keynote on What’s coming in OneDrive for Business – YouTube

10 Things to Remember from 2017 Office 365 Year End Recap

I hope you enjoyed my 2018 future of Office 365/ SharePoint predictions.  2017 Was filled with a lot of releases and many new technologies to learn and grow with.  It’s a good day for reflection.  In fact the Tech Community Blog posted 2017 year roundup.

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1. Microsoft Teams released with integrated Bot Framework and SharePoint document integration

2. SharePoint Framework SPFx released for Office 365 and for on premise with Feature Pack 2.

3. Teams announced it would replace Skype for Business online.

4. Communication sites & Modern Team Sites released

5. Over 200 data previews formats

6. Modern List improvements

7. StaffHub, Office 365 Education,

8. Flow Released – Integration with Office 365 libraries.  Announcements for more on prem integration in SharePoint 2019.

9. PowerApps Released – Integration with SharePoint libraries.  Announcements for more on prem integration in SharePoint 2019.

10. OneDrive on Demand (Improved sync on demand files for SharePoint doc libraries) with Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.

Introducing Mixed Reality & SharePoint Saturday VR #SPSVR See you in AltSpaceVR!

I have to thank my good friend Noah Sparks for tutoring me in VR.  He’s one of the most passionate and has spent a lot of time educating  taking the time to catch me up.  My first intro to mixed reality was with the Hololens at Ignite a few years ago at the LiveTyles booth, where you could see a virtual SharePoint portal as well as interact with any number of 3D objects in their booth.  They allowed me to wander around and experience AR based training from minecraft castle sitting on a Augmented reality table to a 3D video of a guy showing me how to lift weights properly.

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Microsoft’s full continuum look at Mixed Reality (Image courtesy Microsoft)

Later about a year ago, I was at SharePoint Saturday Utah and participated in a session with Noah Sparks and Jared Buttars about SharePoint and Mixed Reality.  I was running a live periscope broadcast at the session and there was a lot of excitement and engagement both in the room and from on twitter and periscope.  After the session Noah delivered some 1:1 VR experiences with his VIVE.  Everyone who got a chance to use it was impressed and freaked out with how amazing it was.  Noah invited me over to spend a night experiencing the VR at a more detailed level.  It was that night I first tried Facebook Spaces

In anticipation of my new job at Blizzard and my new found passion for VR, I researched the mixed reality headsets.   I visited two different Microsoft Stores and got demos of the HP headset and at Best Buy got to experience the PS4VR, but ultimately decided to go with the Oculus by Facebook along with a Samsung 360 for 360 3D pictures and video and broadcast recording.

I’m not the only one who has been fascinated and sees a future for AR/VR mixed reality and communication and collaboration.  In fact, at the last Collab 365 they setup a room in AltSpacesVR and a few people had a session in VR.  Pretty cool.  Mark Stokes has done a great job of kicking things off in AltSpaceVR and great news… Microsoft aquired them.  This is another great reason to meet up in Microsoft’s AltSpaceVR.

 

SPSVR-planning

I think we’re ready for a special event just for the Office 365 SharePoint people to discuss VR in a virtual reality environment.

 

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Clip of What Productivity Looks like in Mixed Reality (Clipped at 13:09)

 

Interested in being on the committee, speaking, or participating?  Please join me.

Register your interest on EventBrite to be informed about the upcoming #SPSVR…  and Join me in the upcoming planning session for #SPSVR on January 4 Event on AltSpaceVR

At this meeting we will determine format, dates, times, length and room.

 

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SharePoint people gather in AltSpaceVR during session at Collab365.  Notice the showing off of Communities in SharePoint Online in VR.

 

Are you ready?  Not convinced this is Microsoft’s Next Big Bet, you haven’t been watching.  Look at the Fall Creators update of Windows 10 and Interface is so important. Go to Microsoft Store and look at the investment… check out the demo.  See you in Virtual Reality… in this case… Microsoft AltSpaceVR.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTT_3DhTMI8

A Future in Gaming: I’m headed for Blizzard Entertainment!

It’s appropriate that early in my career in technology started with morale events based on network gaming found on a hidden share versions of Doom, then later it was Command and Conquer and WarCraft, StarCraft, Duke Nukem and Diablo.  Great memories, tons of fun and strengthened friendships.  We couldn’t wait for those moments when it got quiet with no one left around and the machines became available for something even more powerful than your average productivity tools.  Even early in my marriage we’d come to play networked games on battle.net.  I’ve always enjoyed gaming, in balance of course.  I gave my notice at Konica Minolta last week and start my new position at Activision | Blizzard Entertainment in Irvine on January 8 as Senior IT Operations Manager responsible for the End User Computing and Windows Core teams.

Activision Blizzard is the world’s most successful standalone interactive entertainment company. Our portfolio includes some of the biggest franchises in all of entertainment, developed by the incredibly talented teams at Activision Publishing, Blizzard Entertainment, King Digital Entertainment, Activision Blizzard Studios, Major League Gaming, and our independent studios, including Toys for Bob, Infinity Ward, Sledgehammer Games and Treyarch.” – Blizzard Careers page

For Christmas I got an Oculus and a gamer VR laptop that will support my new career.  Hope to connect with you on Battle.Net as I build new characters on WOW and Overwatch and whatever else may come along…  More details to come!  My blog will broaden.  You may have noticed I rebranded my blog and you’ll see a broader range of topics from VR to Games and tech gadgets along side the Office 365 and SharePoint content.  You’ll see further improvement in my blog navigation to support those changes.

FAQ

Will you still be working with SharePoint / Office 365?

Yes, I will be managing the team responsible for SharePoint and Office 365 including the collaboration platforms and productivity tools as well as Azure AD, Identity, Exchange, DNS, Patching, SCCM, and Apple and Macs.  I will be driving the strategy for SharePoint, Office 365, Collaboration and Intranet at Blizzard.  Big responsibility I know.

I do believe jobs will expand in Office 365 and contract in on premises SharePoint especially for developers. I posted 8 predictions for SharePoint in 2018.

Will you still be traveling and speaking at conferences?

Yes, in fact I will be speaking at a number of SharePoint Saturday’s, aOS, and Community Meetups and Industry events  in the first quarter of 2018.  This may change slightly, but at this point my management is supportive of my community work and has offices around the globe they’ve already said they’d like me to visit in Ireland, France, Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea and they support me in my endeavors.  I’m already booked for my Madagascar trip in February and Ethiopia/Uganda/Kenya Central Africa Family trip this summer.  Hope you can come to #Blizzcon I’m very excited to add that event to my line up in 2018.

How many countries do you have left?

Not sure what this has to do with my new job, but about 30 countries (of ~197) after what’s already been booked.  I’ve been averaging about 10 new countries a year, but what’s left is getting increasingly difficult and more planning involved, so this may vary.  My priority is my family and work, so this should not interfere.

What do video games have to do with the future of collaboration?

It doesn’t have to, but I do see more and more… a convergence in real time and even near realtime for video, audio, chat, feeds, training, screen sharing and definitely the future of interfaces may have more of a convergence with gaming and collaboration and intranets.  We’ve already seen examples of gamification in Intranets.  I expect to see more culture and gaming represented in chat rooms, Intranet interfaces, and video as these experiences converge.  The future of AR/VR bring a lot of new possibilities to the enterprise by 2021 more than 10% of AR/VR will be purchased for corporate use.

How were things at Konica Minolta?

I have had a great relationship with my boss, and I had a fantastic team, whom I will miss dearly.  After about 3 years at KM, I’ve had a great impact on their practice. Together we’ve been able to accomplish a lot, but this is a fantastic opportunity I couldn’t pass up.  You should never burn bridges, and I can safely say this is amicable.

Have more questions? You can ask me in the comments or on twitter at @joeloleson or at the upcoming events such as #SPSUtah or #SPSSD

Intranet SharePoint & Office 365 SPS & aOS Events including a meetup in Madagascar

It’s a busy first quarter, but ample opportunities to hear my speak at a number of global and domestic conferences.  Hope to see you there!

SharePoint Saturday San Diego – More info and registration Over 300 registered.  Don’t miss my TED style talk on the future of Intranet Interfaces.

SharePoint Saturday Utah – More info and Registration This annual event is packed with the top SharePoint and Office 365 speakers in the state and brings in speakers from all over the US including many international speakers.  I will be delivering a TED style talk on AR/VR and Intranets with Noah Sparks as well as a break out session where we’ll drill into the future of communication and collaboration as we look at Office 365 from a 360 view.

AOS Comoros is being organized.  Block out Feb 28. More details to come

Indian Ocean Islands Meetups – Last week of Feb and 1st week of March – Register and we’ll reach out to you with the details…  End of Feb beginning of March we are planning a number of Office 365/SharePoint meetups including Mauritius, Reunion, Madagascar, Meyotte and Seychelles.  Even if there’s only one person we’d love to meet up.

Intra.NET Reloaded Boston – April 22-24 Defining the Future of the Digital Workplace.  “North America’s most innovative event on intranet, digital workplace and internal communications.” This will be my first year speaking at the event.  I’ve heard it’s the best industry Intranet event.  I’ll be covering the future of the Intranet…

8 Predictions for SharePoint & Office 365 in 2018

I’ve done predictions every year for the past few and plan to share some of these at upcoming Predictions Tweetjam #CollabTalk on Thursday, December 28th from 8am to 9am Pacific.  You don’t have to register. Just show up.  I’ll be posting as @joeloleson.  It’s a good opportunity to collaborate.  Scroll down to the bottom to see some old predictions.  Use the comments to let me know how you think I did, or how you think I’m right or wrong.  I promise to respond to any comments on this post.

8 Predictions for SharePoint & Office 365 in 2018

  1. People will look to Skip SharePoint 2016 and go to 2019.  It will be much better received than 2016 was, but it will still be somewhat lackluster (never will it be like it was back in the good old days of dedicated SPCs for SharePoint launches). In the first year of SharePoint 2019 release it will surpass 2016 as an install base.  (2016 still hasn’t surpassed 2013.)
  2. Hub sites will become the preferred way of doing Information Architecture in SharePoint and deep portal structures will be flattened as a best practice.  Note there will be many who cry foul and it will cause heated debates.
  3. OneDrive on Demand will become a great drive to Windows 10.  Sync for SharePoint will be carried along as a benefit and client sync for SharePoint will have its greatest adoption since groove.
  4. Modern Team Sites, Modern Lists, and Themes will soon become consistent with the expectation for status quo for SharePoint and a big line will be drawn for OLD SharePoint vs. New SharePoint based on what comes in 2019 and what’s in O365 now.
  5. WSPs are Dead – The community will abhor them and it will be an insult to think of installing them.  As a result even third party solutions will need to rethink how they not only support apps for online but also on prem.
  6. Groups will cause further confusion in 2018, but Teams will become the darling of Microsoft sales for collab as it activates multiple workloads.
  7. Microsoft AI (Simple automation, auto classification and extraction) will start to make its way into SharePoint Online amongst other workloads.
  8. Simple Communication Site based Intranets (and Intranet in a box solutions) + Hub sites will gain favor for Office 365 adopters.  Deep complicated Intranets will fall out of favor in a huge significant industry wide way.Let me share some of my old predictions… from a post in SharePoint Predictions from December of 2015
  • Microsoft will not consider an Office 365 tenant not fully utilized until SharePoint is in real use – Microsoft has been requiring many workloads. Exchange, OneDrive are not enough.
  • Mobile will become more important in SharePoint world – The SharePoint Mobile app is really a nice app, and the SP Team has committed to making it all responsive and mobile. We are already seeing it in SharePoint Online.
  • SharePoint 2016 will launch to simple fanfare – Yeah. It has been the slowest adopted version of SharePoint.
  • SharePoint gets cool again – Jeff Teper has done a great job of taking back the mantle and making it cool these past two years.  The product team has attracted the necessary talent and made it cool.