Do Less So You Can Achieve More with SharePoint

Do Less So You Can Achieve More with SharePoint

Business process automation is integral to any growing business. Let’s look at how SharePoint can help business’ of all sizes streamline, automate, and transform processes with rich forms, workflows, and custom mobile apps.

Gather and manage data and files

SharePoint lists collect data—just like you might in Excel—and are easy to share and manage on an intranet. More than ten million custom lists are in use across Office 365—from simple lists like contacts and tasks to lists that power mission-critical business operations for large enterprises. Use Microsoft PowerApps to build custom forms to view, create, and modify data and files.

 

Automate repetitive tasks

Free yourself and your team from the time you spend on recurring manual team and organizational processes. Use the simple, visual designer in Flow to lay out the steps. You can do everything in Flow from configuring alerts and approvals to modeling complex, multistage processes.

 

Connect to and integrate data sources and services

When your process needs data from other sources and services, Flow lets you automate data exchange, synchronize files, and more. Use Flow, for example, to copy information entered by a sales team in Microsoft Dynamics to a SharePoint list used by operations. Flow also integrates with on-premises and third-party services.

Build apps that transform your business

With PowerApps, you can create, without writing code, apps that interact with data in SharePoint lists and libraries, as well as other cloud and on-premises sources. Use PowerApps to create digital experiences that take advantage of technology like cameras on mobile phones to work in innovative ways.


Empowering first line workers

Empowering first line workers

Empowering first line workers

“First line workers are the lifeblood of the world’s largest industries,” says Microsoft’s Farren Roper.

And he’s right. They’re the most physically and directly integrated with the consumer, so they play an imperative role in the communication tree.

“The first line worker is amongst the first to see things and trends and hear from customers,” says Jack Elmore, the Microsoft Product Marketing Director. “And their ability to communicate that digitally and efficiently back to headquarters drives a whole new level of insight many organizations haven’t had previously.”

But so many businesses out there still aren’t using the right tools. Their digital platforms aren’t compatible from the CEO to the first line. But with Microsoft StaffHub, that can all change.

“Microsoft 365 is a complete intelligent solution,” said Andrew Hart, Senior Product Marketing Manager. “It scales across an organization to manage devices on the first line to deliver a digital identity to a first line workforce.”

That digital identity can easily be delivered through StaffHub. It allows first line workers to view schedules, swap shifts, request time off, find information and catch up with the team. From easy-to-read calendars, to message boards, it almost takes the place of another organizational manager.

“As any first line manager knows schedule management swapping shifts accommodating changes is one of the biggest headaches of the job,” says Elmore.

If that’s the headache, think of StaffHub as the pain reliever.  With those tasks taken care of on an easy-to-use platform that can work on any of your first line employee’s devices (and there’s clearly a huge chance that contains a wide variety of tablets, smartphones and computers), managers and executives can focus more on the product and enhancing quality.

 

 


Find Content and Expertise Across Your Company

Find Content and Expertise Across Your Company

In today’s workforce teams are spread out all over the States. In order to stay in the know and discover relevant people and important content when you need it most, based on who you work with and what you work on, SharePoint should be your go to. Read on to discover how SharePoint can help.

Discover relevant, recommended content

 

Search for and discover content when you need it most. See real-timequery suggestions and get personalized results in sites, files, and people with full-text matches across Office 365. See personalized content that Delve surfaces to you from OneDrive, SharePoint, Yammer, and other sources. In Yammer, uncover conversations, groups, and people to leverage the knowledge of others.

People and content find you

 

Be discovered and connect with other people—including by their expertise, projects, education, and contact details. Let others find and tap into your expertise with your skills and interests listed in Delve and your conversations in Yammer. Gain insights and perspective to make better business decisions by connecting with the right people and content—even if you didn’t know you needed it.

Get the right information quickly

 

See refined and relevant search results with SharePoint’s built-in enterprise search capabilities. Easily see sites you frequent or files you’ve recently viewed or edited. Take advantage of the type-ahead and smart results features as you search for sites, files, or people. Search for sensitive content and use SharePoint’s search capabilities to support eDiscovery and compliance.

6th Street Consulting is a Microsoft technology firm specializing in user productivity and collaboration on SharePoint and Office365.  Our biggest differentiator is we put business before technology in creating solutions tailored fit to your organization.

For additional information please contact:

Michelle Hollis

michelle.hollis@6sc.com

(310) 694-3844

 

 


Updates to SharePoint and the SharePoint app on iOS

Catch up with all your team’s news in the SharePoint app on iOS

If you use the SharePoint app on iOS, you get the first look at the mobile experience of team news. When you tap the Newstab, you will see a list of aggregated news using the intelligence of the Microsoft Graph from the sites you work in, the sites you follow and the sites your colleagues work in. SharePoint mobile on iOS gives you one place to catch up on the news from across your intranet. That’s your news in your pocket!

News on SharePoint mobile will come to other platforms as a future update.

Create a modern team site and an associated Office 365 group from the SharePoint home

We’re pleased to announce that soon you’ll be able to create a site and a group for your team—right from SharePoint home in Office 365. The Create site wizard will create an Office 365 group as well as a modern SharePoint team site. You will even be able add members and classify the site along the way. And if you’ve ever waited for a SharePoint site to be provisioned in the past, you’ll discover this process will create the site in mere seconds.

Create a team site right from SharePoint home.

Know who’s who, and who’s working on what, with new people cards

Teamwork is all about the people and what they’re working on. Now, when you see a person in a SharePoint team site, document library, list, or in OneDrive for Business, the value of discovering more about that person lies at your fingertips where you are already working.

People cards appear in SharePoint document libraries when you hover over a person’s name.

When you hover over a person’s name or photo, you’ll now see a richer people card. Previously, the card contained basic contact information and one-click methods to connect with the person. Now, you instantly see who the person works for and what documents they recently worked on. Powered by the Microsoft Graph, these intelligent people cards provide a personalized and actionable experience as you work with your files across Office 365.


Enriching the Mobile and Intelligent Intranet

Enriching the Mobile and Intelligent Intranet

The intranet is the publishing center of all things happening throughout your company. It is where people keep up with news and discover what’s happening around them at work. It’s time, now, to further empower employees—more precisely, give them a way to broadcast their work.

Keep the team informed and up-to-date with team news

Team news is how you keep up with and broadcast key events and accomplishments with other members of the team and extended stakeholders. You can use team news for things like trip reports, best practices, project updates, highlights of new documents and content, welcoming a new team member, sharing team goals and celebrating milestones.

To add a news item, from within the News web part on the team site home page, click + Add to create a news article. Next, add content to the news post using the toolbox—a gallery of web parts—to add text, video, documents, quick links and more. When you’re finished, click Publish and the news article will be featured prominently on the team site home page within the News web part. And when you click See All, you’ll land on a dedicated News page that serves as the team’s news archive.

Below shows how a team site with all the news—front and center—is displayed in the SharePoint mobile app:

Team news in the SharePoint app.                              News articles render beautifully in the SharePoint app.

Team news is a great way to broadcast of all the important content from your team. In the future, you will receive mobile and email notifications to help keep you up to date.


Better Together - SharePoint Tasks List plus Project

Better Together – SharePoint Tasks List plus Project

SharePoint tasks lists provide a great way to collaborate and stay up to date on the status of your projects. By using Microsoft Project Professional, you can take your project management to the next level by using more advanced features like scheduling and even create gorgeous and comprehensive reports. In a way, the SharePoint site and its tasks lists are where team members can view and edit the progress of their tasks, and Project Professional is where project managers can manage the progress of their projects. SharePoint tasks list sync empowers you to use the great functionalities of both Project and SharePoint tasks lists, at the same time.

You can create a new SharePoint tasks list that supports tasks with hierarchy, and indent/outdent those tasks while typing them in SharePoint, using the Alt+shift+Right/Left shortcuts. Then, in order to sync this SharePoint tasks list with Project, all you need to do is select the “Open with Project” button in the List tab of the ribbon:

This will open your tasks list along with the timeline view in Project Professional and you’ll even be started in a screen that walks you through 3 steps to show you how you can take advantage of the powerful features of Project:

And when you switch to the Gantt view, you can see the same tasks list as was in SharePoint:

You can continue editing the project plan in Project, and when you hit Save, Project will automatically sync the plan with the SharePoint tasks list, and also save the project file (.mpp) in the Site Assets library of the SharePoint site. Therefore, every time you, or any other project manager, open the project plan, you can view the most recent status of the project. By saving an up to date project file in the Site Assets library it makes sure that users won’t have to deal with multiple conflicting or out-of-date project files.

Accessing and re-opening a project is very easy: if you are in the SharePoint site, you can open the same project plan by selecting the “Open with Project” button. Alternatively, if you already have Project Professional open, you can find this project in the Recent Projects list in the Open tab:

Using the SharePoint tasks list feature, you can also convert standalone project plans into SharePoint tasks list and start collaborating with other team members on those plans. For instance, if you are using Project Professional to manage a special launch event, you can now go to the Save As tab of the File menu and create a new project site with an associated SharePoint tasks list:

This will create a new Project Site and save the project plan in the Site Assets library of that site. From that point on, you can open this this project plan from the tasks list and keep the tasks list and the project plan in sync.

During the SharePoint tasks list sync, the following fields between your SharePoint list and Project by default: task name, start date, finish (due) date, % Complete, resource name, and predecessors. However, if you want to map more fields to be synced between Project and SharePoint, you can do so in the Info tab of the File menu: open the “Map Fields” dialog, and pick any new fields that you’d like to sync. This way, you can have your team members report on other custom fields, or generate reports based on non-default SharePoint columns.

This is a great feature for all you project managers, try it out and let us know what you think!


Feeding the Newsfeed

Why Social?

Most companies don’t understand the value of a social newsfeed and are worried that by building one, it would distract people from getting their work done.

After I grab my morning coffee, the first thing that I do is bring up my Newsfeed to scope out what’s happening with my co-workers and projects, and to see what’s being discussed across the company. My Newsfeed gives me a sense of comfort, a reassuring feeling that I’m up-to-date on the things that I care about and the things that are happening around me.

In addition to using the feed to see what others are saying and doing, it is also a valuable tool to proactively seek out new information. Who can I ask about progress with the new media plan? Has anybody ever ran google ad words? Does anybody have any contacts on a production team? Posts reach a large audience and I’ve found that I am usually able to get answers within minutes. I can also choose to have a conversation with a smaller group of people to discuss progress on a particular project.

Sharing with Everyone

When I navigate to my Newsfeed and make a post, by default, it will be visible to everyone at my company. I’ve found that this is a key way to share broad information or to get difficult questions answered. The act of posting in the feed is simple and familiar (and we spent a lot of design time ensuring that this would be the case), but there are a few tricks to make sure that the right people are made aware of the post.
When I want to get someone’s attention in a post, I “@mention” that person. Almost every day, I see questions in the feed. I don’t always know the answer, but sometimes I know who does. I’ll often reply to a question, mentioning someone (by typing the @ sign in my reply) to make sure the question gets on their radar. This is still a public post but it appears in that person’s Mentions view and they’ll get an email to draw their attention to it.
Sometimes, when creating a post, I add a #tag to associate the post with a particular topic. As we’ve been building the feed, we’ve found (and fixed!) quite a few bugs. One common way that people report bugs is by posting in the feed with the tag #BugForThat, as in, “There’s a bug for that.” In addition to making it clear that someone’s found a bug, our team leaders can follow #BugForThat to see what’s broken as issues are reported. Or, they can click on #BugForThat and see all of the posts reporting issues. They also find it helpful when posts have screenshots and videos demonstrating a #BugForThat.

Posting to Certain Groups

I love being able to post broad questions, but sometimes I want to have smaller, more private discussions. To do this, I use a Site Feed (just like it sounds, it’s like a Newsfeed, but on a site). Only people with access to that site can read it. Since this feed lives on a SharePoint site, we can also add other apps and functionality to the site to share documents, track tasks, etc. And the best part? If I follow those sites, all of the conversations that happen on them will be consolidated into my Newsfeed, so it truly does become a single place where I can find out about all the things I care about.
After using the Newsfeed every day for the past year, I can’t imagine getting work done without it. I’m way more informed at work than I’ve ever been before, and I feel empowered to get quick answers to my questions and feedback on ideas that I share.

 


SharePoint Welcomes PowerApps and Microsoft Flow

SharePoint Welcomes PowerApps and Microsoft Flow

Microsoft Flow and PowerApps are on general availability and enables people to automate workflows and quickly build custom apps that suit their specific needs. Earlier this year, Microsoft announced integration of SharePoint with Microsoft Flow, enabling you to create and launch flows directly from a SharePoint list. They also announced that native integration of PowerApps and SharePoint would drive rich new experiences to continue reinventing business processes with modern document libraries and modern lists in SharePoint.

We know that tight integration is essential to unlocking productivity gains for the digital workplace. Accessing data from mobile devices was a first step. Bringing business processes to the same site for team documents and data is next. That’s why SharePoint is a great home for your enterprise business applications.

Upcoming integration with SharePoint

PowerApps will be fully integrated into the SharePoint web experience. PowerApps provides a great mobile experience, and now that experience is connected to the data stored in SharePoint lists. Soon you’ll be able to integrate PowerApps as the default in-browser experience for any SharePoint modern list.

PowerApps embedded in a SharePoint list.

This means:

  • You’ll be able to launch PowerApps directly from the SharePoint mobile app.
  • Modern document libraries will be made available as a data source for PowerApps and Microsoft Flow.
  • For Microsoft Flow, you’ll be able to run any flow on demand for a specific document or list item, in addition to waiting for an automated trigger to fire.
  • Using the data gateway, PowerApps and Microsoft Flow will work with on-premises data in SQL and SharePoint as simply as cloud-based data.
  • Deeper integration of Power BI with SharePoint Online. Business process requires more than data and automation. Power BI has been a leader in visualization analytics, and soon you’ll be able to embed visualizations and charts from Power BI directly into a SharePoint team site.

 


Embed Video Throughout Your Intranet

Embed Video Throughout Your Intranet

A video message that is easy to find and easy to view will be more successful than one buried in the depths of one, two, three clicks away. When you put a company message from the CxO or a status update from a project leader—front and center where employees and team members are—the information and insights will be better targeted, more fully understood and ultimately shared within the right context.

Within Office 365, it is possible to place videos (embed) in-line and in-context where people work on projects, online and on-premises. You can do this within SharePoint Team Sites, custom company portals, internal blogs, wikis and more. Using the Office 365 Video solution, it is as simple as copy, paste and publish.

Learn more about how to embed a video to your online or on-premises SharePoint Team Site from Office 365 Video.

Let’s dive into three key scenarios where embedding videos improves corporate communications.

Embedding video scenarios

SharePoint Team Sites—SharePoint Team Sites are a place for working together with a group of people. They are great destinations to emphasize your brand and information out to your peers throughout the organization. They are central locations to manage content and information, sharing internally and externally to work in rhythm across the collective group of people you work with. As you continue to share documents, team notes, project timeline information and lists of data—so, too, can you easily place important video communications within the primary experience of a team site.

SharePoint Team Site showing an embedded video among an embedded PowerPoint, a document library, a KPI web part, plus navigation to other sites and subsites.

The company portal—An important part of the modern intranet is enabling companies to build their own custom portals and sub-portals (company intranet sites) that support search, custom design and navigation and business solutions on-premises and online. Here, too, it is critical for important, company-wide video messages—like a quarterly earnings report from the CFO—to be accessible; not a link to a video, but right there, playable on the home page where the eyeballs are and the desired action lives.

An embedded video within a custom portal home page, side-by-side with news and announcements, custom navigation elements and custom design.

Internal blog post—Blog what you want to say and do it in a modern way. That is the mantra of the new authoring canvas within the Office Delve profile experience. And spice up your posts with multimedia elements, including video, like a trip report; it’s easy! And because it’s integrated across Office 365, you can embed videos from the Office 365 Video portal—with inline playback—in seconds.

A video embedded within an internal blog post (rendered from a tablet device). Video plays back inline within the post, and can go full screen.

With Office 365 Video you can take video beyond the portal. As you begin to embed videos onto team sites, portals and blogs, take advantage of the many ways to share video beyond the Office 365 Video portal and land your message to your intended audience. Share via email; post to Yammer; search and discover with Delve; make videos available on the go, accessible throughout your intranet—where users are active, engaged and ready to consume your information. Embed today, increase your reach and be heard!


Enterprise Content Management with SharePoint and Office 365

Enterprise Content Management with SharePoint and Office 365

Shaping and controlling content from creation to final disposition means many different things. Enterprise content management needs to adopt a holistic approach to managing the entire lifecycle of document creation, sharing, consumption, reuse, knowledge and records management, archiving and disposal.

Microsoft’s Content Services reflects a more focused suite of empowered capabilities than traditional ECM (Enterprise Content Management), and represent the next wave in ECM. Content services is people-centric, allowing for personal management (copy, move, hashtag) and organizational management (knowledge management, record retention, information lifecycle management). Policy and security protects content at all phases of its life. It’s a core tenet that content should supply business value throughout, instead of after-the-fact management of dormant assets.

What happens when all that content comes into SharePoint? A common, incorrect impression of SharePoint has been that it’s a great tool to manage team content, but you need an “old-fashioned ECM system for scalability” or “true records management.” Neither of those are true today, with SharePoint having incredible scalability of up to 30-trillion documents and up to 12.5 EB in a single SharePoint Online tenant. OneDrive and SharePoint also inherit Office 365’s capabilities to create record and retention policy tags that can be applied to any content (interactively or by matching a known set of content fingerprints).

Principles of content services—create, coordinate, protect and harvest

Content services is as much about document creation as consumption. In many cases, content has become less about static images and reports, and more about dynamic documents that are created and edited many times in their lifespans. This trend is something called content velocity, where the content picks up velocity as it is created, edited and reused, becoming more valuable, instead of becoming a dormant archive of little value, as was traditionally the case. This is viewed as an evergreen cycle of authoring, collaboration, control and reuse.

Create

Content velocity means documents need to be “born” managed. Newer SharePoint and OneDrive capabilities are designed to support this:

  • Creating a document using Office Lens to share to OneDrive for Business and SharePoint.
  • Using the Copy/Move functions to publish that document to a SharePoint team site and its group members.
  • Using SharePoint Content Types to assure that new documents are “born” with templates, rich metadata and retention policies.

OneDrive for Business is the best place to store and manage your documents, giving you the “My Documents” concept on any device. As you share and collaborate with others, content evolves and picks up velocity. When final, you can easily bring it to SharePoint for publishing and permanent storage.

Coordinate

Content in SharePoint is maintained in modern document libraries, making it easy to structure graphically rich, dynamic views of content and metadata. SharePoint’s managed metadata service provides a centralized way to tag and classify information. Tagging and customizing the view can all be accomplished from the library home screen, eliminating multiple clicks to open a property editing screen.

Documents in libraries can be easily shared to Office 365 Groups, and reused in other collaborative apps like Microsoft Teams. In addition, Microsoft Flow can be used to automate common actions, like collecting attachments from email or distributing documents for team review.

Protect

SharePoint already builds on a long tradition of capabilities supporting information lifecycle governance, records management and eDiscovery. Newer capabilities, developed as part of our ongoing engagement with the entire Office 365 suite, include:

  • Information Rights Management—Files can be encrypted using Azure Information Protection/Rights Management Service and can still be used at supported endpoints, including browsers, rich clients and mobile Office clients.
  • Office 365 document retention tags—This new capability offered across Exchange, Skype, OneDrive and SharePoint allows an administrator to centrally define a policy tag in the Security & Compliance Center to enforce document retention and deletion policies. Tags can be set through code, default settings or user actions, and can be auto-applied based on sensitive information types or keywords.
  • Data loss prevention (DLP)—The Security & Compliance Center provides a central point to define policies for 81 predefined information types, such as EU Financial data, and/or create other custom information types. When these types are detected, users can be advised about the policy, or even automatically blocked from sharing or distributing sensitive information based on the dynamic policy definition.
  • Auditing—When combined with unified auditing in hybrid deployments of SharePoint 2016, Office 365 can provide integrated logging of user and administrative actions on content for both on-premises and cloud-based SharePoint and OneDrive locations.

Harvest

Content shouldn’t be saved and stored and managed just to fill up storage space. Traditional ECM often concludes with document disposal or retention. We believe that modern content services are cyclical. Content exists to support a future business purpose, such as providing information on a related decision, explaining a historic context or seeding the next cycle of content creation.