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.


Accelerate Your Digital Transformation: Harness Collective Knowledge

Accelerate Your Digital Transformation: Harness Collective Knowledge

Harness collective knowledge 

As the pace of work accelerates, it’s more important than ever to harness collective knowledge by making it easier to find information and expertise, right when it’s needed, and to encourage best practice sharing.

Find people, expertise and content faster with powerful, personalized search

There is now a more personalized search that leverages machine learning and artificial intelligence from Microsoft Graph to surface more relevant and valuable results, faster. When you click in the Search box on SharePoint home in Office 365, recommendations appear instantly. You’ll see recent files, making it easy to get back to your work, as well as relevant content, sites and news.

When you’re searching for knowledge, it may be found in content such as files, sites and news. And it might also be found through your colleagues. Now, your search results will include people whose skills, interests and projects—part their Office 365 profile—are relevant to your query.

Search results activate people cards, so you can learn at a glance about a person and the content they work on. One more click activates an extended view with richly detailed information from the user’s profile. These enhancements to search will roll out over the next few months.

Find what you need faster with instant, personalized results that include files, sites, news and people.

Communities built by integrating Yammer and SharePoint encourages people to share content, knowledge and best practices across the organization, by adding a conversational layer to your intranet.

Build a community with shared content and conversation using a SharePoint communication site and Yammer.

Secure your content and manage your service

Innovation in the cloud drives tremendous business value, and it delivers new capabilities to the IT professionals who work tirelessly to support, configure, administer and secure their organizations’ content and services. 

Empower administrators with the new SharePoint admin center

The new SharePoint admin center, which will begin rolling out in the fourth quarter of 2017 empowers your admins to do more. From the homepage, you’ll notice just how much better it is, with interactive usage reports, Message Center posts and a Service Health dashboard tuned to the needs of SharePoint administrators.

The new SharePoint admin center surfaces usage, health and administrative messages. 

You’ll easily find and work with the dozens of SharePoint settings allowing  you to configure sharing, access and the service. And we know you’ll love the dynamic new Site Management page, which lets you view, filter and edit the configuration of all of your SharePoint sites—including sites connected to Office 365 Groups.

Manage all of your sites in the new SharePoint admin center.

To learn more about Yammer integration with SharePoint, read “New in Yammer: Building a More Engaged and Connected Organization” and watch Updates to Yammer: Integrating conversations into your SharePoint experiences. To learn more about SharePoint security and manageability, read “Secure your information with SharePoint and OneDrive” and watch New admin controls for SharePoint and OneDrive for Business.

 


Data Loss Prevention in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business

Data Loss Prevention in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) capabilities protect your data where it is stored, when it is moved, and when it is shared. These protection features are currently offered in Exchange, Outlook and Outlook on the web, but are now being extended to OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online, offering broader protection of your data wherever it lives.

IT admins will see new controls in your Office 365 Compliance Center, allowing you to easily set up DLP policies for SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business. IT admins also can configure their policy tips so that users can interact with the pertinent policy, for example, providing a business justification to override the policy or reporting a false positive.

New features will be rolled out over the coming months, but below are some of the key features that are available now.

  • Create automated policies with any of the available built-in sensitive information
  • Detect external sharing and apply appropriate actions
  • Cope DLP policies to specific SharePoint or OneDrive sites
  • Policies based on document properties (metadata)
  • Block or restrict access to the sensitive content
  • Customizable Policy tips and user notifications via policy tip and email
  • Admin-facing Incident reports and reporting

To learn more about DLP in SharePoint and OneDrive for Business, below is a comprehensive overview of the information protection of how DLP helps protect against data loss.

As sharing and collaboration evolve across applications and devices, DLP is in place to help protect your data, with the goal of protecting information from when documents are initially created to when they are stored or shared.


The Mobile, Intelligent Intranet

The Mobile, Intelligent Intranet

For fifteen years, hundreds of millions of customers around the world have relied on SharePoint to build rich intranets that connect people, content and processes across collaborative team sites, departmental and organizational portals and custom business applications. The most important part of a team or organization is its people. It’s not only what you know, it’s who you know. People cards, now in SharePoint document libraries and OneDrive—surface details about the people you work with and the content they work on, so you can connect with expertise and discover new resources.

People cards bring profile information, organizational relationships and content from your colleagues right into the context of your work in SharePoint or in OneDrive for Business.

An Office 365 group defines a team of people and gives them access to shared content and to the collaborative resources of the group—such as a calendar, a OneNote notebook, a Plan to manage tasks, and conversations powered by Outlook or Yammer.

Teams also need to stay on the same page, and today the SharePoint home page provides team news—modern pages to keep your team up to date and in the know. SharePoint pages have rich support for multimedia and tight integration with Yammer, can be extended with custom web parts, and are mobile by default. Team news articles are featured at the top of the team site home page. And the SharePoint mobile app’s News tab pulls together news from all your team sites and groups.

The team site home page in the browser and in the SharePoint mobile app features team news, so your team can stay informed about what’s new and what’s important.

                               

News articles offer a great reading experience in SharePoint mobile. Multimedia and embedded files can now be included and it’s all mobile by default. The News tab, now on iOS, aggregates news from across your team sites for a holistic look at what’s going on across your teams.

You can collect, manage or collaborate on data with SharePoint like never before. You’ll find the modern experience makes it easy in the browser and in the SharePoint mobile app. But the powerful capabilities you need are still there. People experiences, team news and powerful integration across SharePoint means now its all about who you can discover and what they know is what matters.


Document Management - The Modern SharePoint Document Library Experience

The Modern SharePoint Document Library Experience

Helping people share files and collaborate on content is paramount to any growing company. SharePoint’s modern document libraries offer a better experience for document management that’s faster, more intuitive and responsive. Here’s a look at what’s new:

The new, modern document library experience, showing two documents and a link pinned to the top.

User interface

Modern document libraries combine the power of SharePoint with the usability of OneDrive. These modern document libraries have an updated user interface that offers an experience similar to OneDrive, so it’s more intuitive to create a new folder and upload files in the browser. The ribbon has been replaced with a trim command bar, which provides intelligent commands relevant to the tasks at hand. If your organization has customized the ribbon with buttons that map to critical business functionality in your enterprise, those buttons will appear in the command bar as well. With this update, each new Office 365 group now gets a full modern document library, replacing the former “Files” page. Here are a few of the cool new features:

Important documents easily highlighted—Click Pin to top to add documents “above the fold” in any onscreen view.

Copy and move files from the command bar—Copying isn’t new, but the copy and move gestures are intelligent about displaying your information architecture and letting you create new folders on the fly.

Copy files from SharePoint command bar.

Import files from other libraries—You may not have to make as many copies any more. Document libraries are also intelligent about remembering other files you’ve been using in SharePoint. That’s why you can import other files from other libraries as links, without having to duplicate files between multiple sites. You still see thumbnails and metadata for native files. And SharePoint shows your list of most recent documents, so you don’t have to cut and paste a link.

Create a link in modern document libraries.

Personalization

Personalized views simplified—The new document libraries let you group files directly in the main page without clicking to a separate admin screen. You can also click and drag to change the size of your columns, as well as sort, filter and group from any column header. To make the view available to everybody else in the library, just click Save View.

Responsive and accessible design—Mobile browsers have the same features as the desktop, making SharePoint productive for every user—whether they interact via mouse, keyboard, touch or screen reader.

Metadata

Document metadata now available inline—You can now edit metadata directly from the main view in the information panel. No more clicking into multiple screens to apply an update! If you’re in a view that groups files by metadata, you can drag and drop files between groups to update the metadata. And if you miss something required, the document is no longer hidden behind enforced checkout—you just receive a reminder to enter the data when you can.

One-stop shopping for everything about your documents—Thanks to Office Online integration, you can navigate a complete document preview at the top of the information panel. The panel offers metadata, including the history of recent activity, updates to the file and who received a share to the file. You can also add more users or immediately stop all sharing. Finally, all other file properties are displayed, in case there’s anything else not already covered.

The document information panel.

Keeping it authentically SharePoint—While we enhanced the document libraries to make them as intuitive and productive as possible, we know that the power of SharePoint has always been in your ability to customize document libraries to work for your team. At the same time, there’s a rich tradition of using content types, check-in/check-out, versioning, records management and workflows in SharePoint. Modern document libraries inherit all of these.

Navigation

Modern libraries come to Office 365 Groups—To bring enhanced content management to group files, libraries belonging to an Office 365 group have a new header control at the top of the page. Unlike the old control, which included links to the group’s conversation, calendar and member management, the new control has a single link to the group’s conversation, from which users can navigate to calendar and member management.

Getting started with modern document libraries

As modern libraries rolls out Microsoft gives you full control of using classic or modern looks at the tenant, site collection and library level. Keepin’ it old school will run well into 2017 while your users adapt and adopt the new capabilities.


New FastTrack Offer for SharePoint 2013 Migrations

New FastTrack Offer for SharePoint 2013 Migrations

Are you looking to move your SharePoint 2013 on premises environment to SharePoint Online and reap the benefits of Microsoft’s cloud platform? If you answered yes, you might be aware of just how big of a task moving from SharePoint 2013 to SharePoint Online is. Dependent upon how much data you have, a move to the cloud can costs tens of thousands of dollars. Not only do you need to plan, onboard and drive adoption of the new platform – you need to ensure that data is not lost along the way.

Microsoft has announced a limited-time offer of migration services from on-premises SharePoint 2013 to Office 365—available at no additional cost to eligible Office 365 customers until March 31, 2017. This offer is available to customers with at least 150 licenses for an eligible service or plan for their Office 365 tenant. For customers who take advantage of this offer, the FastTrack team will assess your SharePoint 2013 environment, and help you build and execute a plan to migrate from your on-premises team sites and MySites to SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business, respectively.

To date, Microsoft FastTrack has enabled more than 22,000 customers, migrated 2.45 PB of data and is currently taking on more than 4,000 new customers every month. Watch this video below to learn more about the value of FastTrack from customers who have experience it firsthand:

Working with a Microsoft Partner like 6th Street Consulting will not only aid in your FastTrack migration, but can provide valuable services during and after the execution. One of the keys to any successful migration, once an organization has deployed the new tools, is to make sure people are learning and using them. 6SC offers a comprehensive range of services to aid companies of all sizes in taking full advantage of Office 365 and SharePoint Online.

6th Street Consulting, the 2013 Global Microsoft Partner of the Year Winner for Collaboration & Content, is a strategy and technology consulting firm located in Redondo Beach, California. 6SC is a company built on user productivity and team collaboration. Allow us to implement our time-tested features with years of development and user testing behind them. Our SharePoint solutions help you to get more out of each and every work day. Integrated features across applications save time and allow you to focus on efforts that add value and profitability. Set yourself apart and grow your business by sharpening your competitive edge with 6SC.

 


Better Together: Contractor Collaboration via Office 365

Workforce on Demand

Having independent contractors at companies of all sizes is the new normal. Busy seasons demand extra bandwidth; full-time employees take temporary leave or unique/temporary roles need to be filled.

Whatever the reason, getting support from contractors can provide scale, flexibility and specialized skills to your team—which is why their popularity continues to grow. For example, 51 percent of companies say their need for contingent workers will continue to grow within the next three to five years. Alongside, the talent pool is changing to match this trend: By 2020, 43 percent of the U.S. workforce will be freelancers.

Finding the right contractor for the right job is only the first step. They’ll likely be working outside of your office, but will still need to rely on the resources your internal teams use daily. If you want to enable your contractors to do their best work, you need to ensure they have the right tools to collaborate with your internal teams. Office 365 and SharePoint Online offer a flexible way to give your contractors just that.

Here are the top four reasons why Office 365 and SharePoint Online are key to set your independent contractors up for success:

#1—Streamline Communication

Make it easy for your contractors to stay in touch. Set up technology that allows them to communicate with and get to know your internal teams. This can (and should) come in the form of many tools, but Office 365 offers a comprehensive all in one solution. Enable them to send instant messages to anyone in the company via Skype for Business. Also, promote the use of video conferencing and screen sharing for efficient collaboration. Not only will this increase productivity, but it will allow full-time employees and contractors to build more personal relationships with face-to-face communication.

#2—Share Files with Ease

Depending on when and where your contractors work, coordinating across time zones and locations may be a factor in their success. Avoid a situation where a contractor is stuck waiting for a team member to come online to gain access to files. Instead, opt for SharePoint Online a cloud-based file sharing and storing platform. That way, contractors can get the files and documents they need around the clock to get the job done. And with permission settings, you can restrict and permit access to the specific files an independent contractor needs, and revoke access when a contract ends.

#3—Stay on the Same Page

Enhance collaboration with the ability to co-author (edit and work) on the same online documents. It’ll prevent excessive back-and-forth on email between team members. Digital files automatically sync and update over the internet, so your team is always looking at the most up-to-date version. And since your files live in the cloud, you’ll always know who made the last edit and can review and revoke changes if you ever need to go back to an older version.   

#4—Secure Your Data

Security may not always be top of mind for your employees and contractors—but it is for you and your IT team. Strike a balance between giving your extended team what they need while retaining control over your company’s data. The file access you give to your freelancers doesn’t need to last forever. When their contract is over, simply revoke access remotely. Even if your independent contractor has used their own device to access your data, cloud-based tools can delete your company’s files from that device.

With the right technology and infrastructure, independent contractors can become an effective extension of your team. Forget disruptions, lost files or a lack of security. Office 365 and SharePoint Online provide the right tools to solve those problems and help your teams do their best work from anywhere in the world.


6SC Teams Up with Microsoft and the Small Business Administration

6SC teams up with Microsoft and the Small Business Administration to explain how SharePoint can used for business process automation.

Play video (Channel 9 MSDN)


Increase SharePoint User Adoption

Getting onboard

 
My professional experience with SharePoint has been somewhat brief, but working for one of the top SharePoint firms in the nation has required me to get up to speed fairly quickly. For most of you reading this, chances are you’re already a SharePoint advocate. The features integrated throughout SharePoint are great. From document libraries, wikis, versioning, alerts, team sites, search, and the million other things SharePoint can do it’s easy for myself to see the benefits. Unfortunately, not everyone thinks like myself and sees SharePoint as an additional IT initiative that will only make their work day harder.

I’ve found that explaining the value of SharePoint to clients can feel a little like speaking a foreign language. The more I talk, the less they understand, and the less they understand, the more likely they are to reject it. All is not lost though, actually quite the contrary. For those that are onboard with implementing SharePoint and even those that are still skeptical, below is a few simple steps that can have a real impact on seeing the benefits of SharePoint and gaining user adoption.

Make it cool to use SharePoint
I know it sounds cliché, but I often hear about companies that are bewildered by their low SharePoint user adoption numbers. They set up their environment and had everyone come to some training sessions, but no one seems to be using it. The biggest problem here? SharePoint isn’t Facebook. It’s a great tool for managing and organizing company files, but people aren’t going to leap at the opportunity to use it. It’s not “cool.” In order to get people onboard you’ll need a well-structured plan to target the great social aspects of SharePoint and how it will make their day to day tasks that much simpler and enjoyable. You know your company and you know how your colleagues work. Get creative and build a plan that will inspire them to adopt.

Put yourself in the users shoes
I know SharePoint is awesome, but how bout your end users? Your colleagues are just trying to get their day to day job done, answer emails, find relevant information and avoid boring meetings. Put yourself in your users shoes and determine how they will interact with the site. What does Scott in Marketing need that SharePoint can provide? What are his pain points? People just want things to happen easily and if they can see how SharePoint will help them do that, they will jump at the chance to adopt it.

Starts from the top
If you want success with your SharePoint adoption, you need strong leadership. If your CEO and senior management doesn’t use it then why are the rest of your users going to? The leaders of your company need to be seen to be onboard with SharePoint and utilizing the same benefits that it’s adding to the rest of the company. If they are correctly using it and reaping the benefits then you can darn well expect the rest of the company to follow suit.

User focused training
We’ve all been a part of a company training session and upon leaving it said “well that’s two hours of my life that I’ll never get back”. Don’t get me wrong, SharePoint training sessions can be extremely valuable to your users. However, these sessions need to be targeted towards specific departments. In order for these training sessions to be effective and above all, useful, you need to show your users how the platform can be used in their day to day work. Give them specific examples so they can see just how beneficial utilizing SharePoint is to making their job easier.

In-house marketing
Getting marketing onboard with your SharePoint implementation can go a long way in upping your numbers. Get people in the company excited about SharePoint. Put up a few posters around the office, send out emails with daily tips and cool features, and hold Q&A sessions. Build some excitement around SharePoint and convey the message that SharePoint will make things easier, faster and better in their day to day work life.

Measure engagement
SharePoint offers a range of tools for measuring how engaged your users are. Keep an eye on these figures and work out where there are problems. Target departments with low engagement and listen to colleagues and implement a plan to encourage adoption.


Helping Project Teams Work Efficiently

It is critical for project teams to have a professional solution in order to work efficiently. Companies are continuously changing their work process policies, in turn adopting more team-oriented approaches. Below we will discuss the extensive amount of collaborative tools that SharePoint has to offer.

Information

  • Announcements – The Team Site comes with a built-in Announcements list, designed as a tool for keeping the entire team informed about the latest project status or changes.
  • Document Libraries – These are collections of files that team members share in order to ensure comprehensive information about a project’s objectives and activities. Usually, document libraries contain procedures, manuals or instructions.

Project management

  • Tasks – This is a feature dedicated to team managers that enables them to allocate tasks and track activity status. For each task, managers can assign it to one or more team members, select its priority, and enter the percentage of the task completed.
  • Project Tasks – A project task is a simple project management feature that uses a timeline and Gantt bars to represent the tasks in a project.

Time management

  • Calendars – A SharePoint calendar allows teams to share information about dates, events and schedules. Also, it offers users the possibility to create and integrate Meeting Workspace sites that contain tools for managing objectives, meeting agendas, guest lists, and meeting documents.

Knowledge sharing

  • Discussion boards – With this feature, team members can share information and centralize feedback about specific processes or activities.
  • Slide libraries – They help team members to share, store, and manage Microsoft Office PowerPoint slides.
  • Wiki page libraries – These libraries are designed for employees to capture and share ideas by creating simple pages and linking them together. A wiki page is useful for gathering and sharing ideas quickly.

Issues Management

  • The Issue tracking feature enables team members to track issues with a project or item. SharePoint will also send notification to users according to each issue priority.

Team feedback

  • Surveys – This SharePoint feature allows managers to ask and gather feedback from team members about issues, processes and many other topics. Users can collect the results by using several different types of questions, such as multiple choice, fill-in fields, ratings and even anonymous responses.