Author Archive Rashid Aziz

AvatarByRashid Aziz

Hire a SharePoint Consultant or SharePoint Consultancy Company

First, I need to shed some light on why your business needs to have a SharePoint consultant or need to acquired services of a SharePoint consultancy company. Then, I will explain what characteristic you should be looking for when hiring a SharePoint expert or approaching a SharePoint consultancy company.

Imagine you are a small group and you have acquired Office 365 and SharePoint Online subscription recently. Someone from IT configured OneDrive for business on employee’s commuters. Great start!

Now a person from management says, we need a central place where all company documents can reside. Again, someone from IT creates a brand-new SharePoint site and start dumping all the records from the company network drive or DropBox.This is when reality starts, as you expect SharePoint to behave in a specific way, but it does not work as expected.

At this point, you have three choices. You can keep trying yourself and see where it goes, or you can hire an independent SharePoint Expert, or you can approach a SharePoint Consultancy local to you.

Why do you need to Hire SharePoint Consultant?

Let me explain first why you need to hire SharePoint Expert or SharePoint consultancy for your business.

SharePoint is not a Company Network Drive or DropBox

People think that SharePoint document library and folder structure same as network file storage or Dropbox. Companies set up network drives, so everyone in the organisation has access to the documents. DropBox had a simple purpose, file sharing and syncing to multiple client devices and it does do the job well. 

SharePoint, on the other hand, was not designed to be a storage solution. SharePoint can be leveraged and could become a document management system. It is more about making document easily manageable, searchable, auditable and enhances collaboration at the enterprise level.

SharePoint was an Enterprise Product and not for Small Business

SharePoint was not originally designed to support small companies. It was more of a toolset for enterprises who can adapt and transform the behaviour according to the business needs. Back in 2003 till 2010, there was only SharePoint On-premises version available and to set it up you needed skilled people. Just in 2011 when Microsoft introduced Office 365 and SharePoint interest among small business has grown dramatically since then. It explains a bit the nature of this product, as it was not all about plug and plays or out of the box solution. It is instead a framework for collaboration and organisation effectiveness. It has the foundation, but one needs to invest time and money to tailor it according to their business needs.

You don’t want to Get wrong with SharePoint Implementation

You cannot just dump documents and folder into SharePoint, unlike DropBox. As a company, you need to think about and brainstorm the information architecture, site design, security model, governance and much more before you drop the first document to SharePoint site. SharePoint does require a long-term strategy which the whole organisation can take forward.

SharePoint is not a Part-time job

If someone thinks that he/she can only dump the documents and folders from network driver into SharePoint site, send the URL to everyone in the company and job done. They have achieved nothing. You are better off with Dropbox in this case and should not use SharePoint at all. Comparing DropBox with SharePoint is like comparing Car to an Airplane. Most people can drive a car, but not many people know how to fly an aeroplane. SharePoint consist of complicated pieces like site structure, Web parts, Workflows, Security, Governance etc. An expert in the field can write a book on each of these topics.

You will struggle to keep up with SharePoint Evolution

If you compare SharePoint version from MOSS 2007 days to more recent online version of SharePoint, there are massive upgrades happened in all areas. In terms of user interface, available site templates, the web part, connectivity to external systems and Integration with other Microsoft App, all have significant changes/upgrades in the recent past. For an organisation with no SharePoint expert on board, is hard to keep up with this ever-evolving product and you won’t have time to learn these things as they will require a lot of time and resources to learn and keep yourself up to date with latest updates. With SharePoint online, you won’t have a choice not to upgrade to the most recent changes, and this is not in your control. Microsoft team will push those changes your way on a more regular basis.

It is your call to decide whether to hire a SharePoint consultant or train your employee and do it yourself. Making SharePoint implementation successful depends on many factors and what I described above is just the tip of the iceberg.

What Makes a Good SharePoint Consultant?

Microsoft SharePoint widely considered among the best content management solution. Finding the right person to help you with your business needs can be difficult. It is crucial to hire a good SharePoint consultant to see the real benefits of the products and get the most out of it.

Prior Consulting Experience in Your or Similar Industry

You don’t want a SharePoint consultant with little experience in your industry. If they cannot prove their track record of some satisfied customers form the same sector, then you might need to look elsewhere.

One question you should always ask, what brands the SharePoint Consultant has worked with, what were the business challenges those companies were facing and how you addressed them. Ask for case studies with detail explanation of business challenges, the solution and approach and measurable benefits from those solutions. They are having experience working in your industry or a similar industry.

SharePoint Built-in Functionally/ Development Experience

Most of the time SharePoint consultants sue out of the box capabilities to meet the business need. But sometimes they need to customise SharePoint so that it can solve some specific business problems. And satisfied with unique requirements.

On the flip side, make sure that SharePoint consultant is not trying to push some customisation which you can get with out of the box available capabilities.

Understands the concept of Information Architecture

SharePoint is a great document management system. If you have decided to use SharePoint in your organisation, you most likely looking to manage all the information about your company. It is crucial to building the right information architecture, e.g. site structure, navigation structure, document metadata etc. If the SharePoint consultant does not have an idea about how to create useful information architecture or how to make a data hierarchy, you might not have the right fit.

Open for Suggestions and able to feedback through the Project Lifecycle

You want someone who walks into your business with an open mind and comfortable in making suggestions. They must put the project requirements forefront, but it should not stop them from providing input. A good SharePoint consultant always looks for a room for improvement and suggest other SharePoint capabilities which can enhance end-user experience.

Some Other core questions you should always ask when hiring a SharePoint consultant are:

Who will perform the work? Will it be subcontracted to another SharePoint consultants or SharePoint consultancy firm?

What are the primary skills and expertise of SharePoint consultants?

Do the SharePoint consultants have soft silks, e.g. SharePoint User Adoption and SharePoint Governance?

What is the project implementation methodology the SharePoint consultants will be using?

Hiring a SharePoint consultant can be an investment that provides a positive return on investment almost immediately. Hiring a SharePoint expert can be one of the best investments your company can make. Just sure you find the right persons and use them effectively to get better results.

How to spot a good SharePoint Consulting Company

SharePoint is used in many businesses across the globe for document management, as a collaboration platform (Intranet), automate business process and much more. More than 80% of the FTSE companies used the SharePoint platform to enhance their information architecture. If you are a big company, then the chances are you will prefer to hire services on a SharePoint consultancy company rather than hiring an independent consultant for many reasons.

Hiring a SharePoint consultancy company mean hiring a partner and work together to produce the best results. Here are a few things you should defiantly consider when looking for a SharePoint partner company.

What Kinds of Services/Solutions do they Offer?

Some SharePoint consultancies do offer readymade solutions based on existing capabilities.SharePoint Intranet, SharePoint Apps. These solutions are excellent and can deliver within budget and timeline. But, readymade solutions are not perfect for everyone. If you have a specific business need which Out of the box features are not enough to address them, you should hire a company and customise the solution. It means working with the experts to design and build a system that tailored to the precise requirements of your business.

How they do Requirement Gathering Process?

Your chosen consultancy company need to sit with stakeholders and to analyse your business need. Even if you go for a readymade solution, it cannot entirely address all the requirements. You should explore how they will collect information and how they can guide you throughout the implementation, as well as talking through the project management methodologies they will use.

Will they Focus on User Experience?

Many SharePoint projects failed in the past just because there was no work done in term of making the end user experience better. User experience should always be at the front. SharePoint offers a highly customizable user experience. If the user engagement is low, changes are the user experience designs are not suits the need of the people who actively use the system. 

Can they Deliver to your Expectations?

I think this is the question you should ask yourself at the start and repeat it at the very end of the hiring process. Do I believe that this company can deliver what is needed, and they can carry on time and within budget? You should ask for details of previous projects delivered and get a feel for the type of SharePoint expertise available.

SharePoint is a platform which opens a vast range of possibilities for businesses of any size or any industry. Getting the right people on the board is the key to SharePoint project success. You should not rush for it, take your time thing through the requirements upfront and evaluate individuals/consultancy companies to see if they have a solid track record and can deliver what they are promising. Here you are looking for a technology partner rather than one-off service.

AvatarByRashid Aziz

Why Businesses Prefer SharePoint Hybrid Environment?

One question I hear a lot, why do we even want to go hybrid?

Many companies have already migrated their exchange server and Skype for Business and Office 365 without keeping the on-premises equivalent. The reason is that the SharePoint server is not equal to SharePoint Online regarding functionality and flexibility. There are some differences in Exchange and Skype for Business that could stop a company from migrating. However, most companies nevercustomize, and most business users don’t even care what exchange is, they use Outlook.

So, moving services such as Microsoft Exchange and Skype for Business to the cloud doesn’t have as much of the impact on business users as compared to moving the SharePoint. When we compare SharePoint Server 2016 with SharePoint online, there are many differences in UI, capabilities are different, and some customisations within SharePoint on-premises cannot be migrated to SharePoint Online. But, then why not stay on-premises or go entirely to the cloud?

Let’s discuss the advantages of each platform. Let’s start with SharePoint Online.

SharePoint Online Advantages

As you know Microsoft vision is to go mobile first Cloud first and I’m sure you heard that a ton of times in the past years, Mobile first Cloud first. As Microsoft pushes updates to SharePoint Online every two weeks. It also pushes cloud only updates, for example, Delve, Office 365 Video and Office 365 groups.  These are the few examples that are only available in SharePoint online for now.

Furthermore, another significant advantage of SharePoint Online is that by default it is assessable all over the globe. You can achieve that with premises as well. However, you will need to invest in the security, the infrastructure to make it secure.

Talking about SharePoint on-premises, there are various good reasons to stay on-premises.  Few of them are listed below.

SharePoint On-premises Advantages

The first favourite reason is that on-premise allows you to customise the SharePoint to answer your specific business need. Being able to quickly develop and create custom branding and solutions on your SharePoint is the reason why it enjoyed great success since SharePoint Online doesn’t allow developers to deploy full trust code, also known as farm solutions. Also, it doesn’t give all the SharePoint out of the box tools such as timer jobs. So, it’s limited in terms of what you can do to customise your SharePoint. 

The second reason, the people want to stay on SharePoint premises is having control of data for political or legal purposes. Some companies need to keep their data in their data centre or within their geographical boundaries.

The third reason is that even with the greatest and latest updates in SharePoint Online, the on-premises version still has some features that SharePoint Online doesn’t. For example, all the BI stack like Scorecards, Dashboards, Reporting Services, PerformancePoint. Also, on the other side, you are missing features such as customer entity extraction.

You cannot create a public site in SharePoint Online. You cannot have an Internet site on SharePoint online. Other service applications missing are the word automation services, PowerPoint automation services. So if any of those enterprises got SharePoint and they’re relying on those service applications and those features for their business needs they’re never going to move to SharePoint Online and will stay on-premises to answers the business needs.

There are many limits you cannot get around in SharePoint Online. The 5000 list item threshold for SharePoint on-premises is a recommended limit, but SharePoint admins can change it anytime they want. However, it’s a hard limit on SharePoint Online, and the admins cannot change it. 

There is no public crawl schedule in SharePoint Online. So, if you have a search-based Internet or a search-based site, it can either take minutes or up to six hours before your content gets crawled. If you rely on user profile audiences to show your data, they usually compile every night and SharePoint on-premises, and you can even do it manually or can change the schedules to fit the business needs. However, with SharePoint Online it’s only done once per week (Saturday run only). So, if you add a user to an audience on Monday, they will need to wait one full week to see the expected results.

Last but not least, another difference between SharePoint on-premises and SharePoint Online is that on SharePoint Online you do not have control over the release cycle and the objects. Let me give you a realistic example that happened recently. The new document library experience, first released customers got a new document library experience, and many custom solutions broke because users were able to activate it themselves.

Conclusion

You need to use the best of SharePoint Server on-premises and SharePoint Online and decide where each workload goes depending on your business needs. By enabling a hybrid SharePoint deployment, you get the benefits of both SharePoint on-premises and SharePoint Online to address your business needs, and you get the best of both world.

AvatarByRashid Aziz

Microsoft Office 365 Enterprise Advanced Features Explained

Let me discuss the advance features available in the Microsoft 365 enterprise plan, the Big Brother version of 365. There are two versions in 365 enterprise one called E3 and one called E5. Essentially what you’re getting over and above Microsoft 365 business are enhanced security features. First, let’s discuss what windows phone system provides for the business and then I will jump to explain the enhanced security features within Microsoft 365 enterprise E5 plan.

Windows Phone System

You might think with previous versions you’ve got Skype for business, and you can call everybody. Well, that is true but, the problem is you can’t call landlines you can’t call premium numbers. We’ve replaced our client telephone system recently. What we did was implemented landline type numbers for every employee at the client site. Even though they were accessing it through their headsets which were all wireless attached to Skype for Business. It gives call queues and calls forwarding features to each employee. It allows users to record messages come in through to the phones. So, it’s a proper telephone system.

With the E5 version what you need to do with a Windows phone system is add a call plan. Each user gets 12 hundred minutes allocated to their telephone system. That is then groups by the business. So, you get a whole pool worth of minutes for the company.

Enhanced security within Microsoft 365 Enterprise E5

It is one of the strongest parts of E5 plan. It’s fantastic for General Data Protection Regulation policies and security attached to that. So, let’s start with Windows Defender.

Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection

Now the regular 365 Business contains this, but it doesn’t have the advanced elements. Windows Defender is primarily the advanced antivirus malware screening on all of the desktops. However, what the advanced element does is, it starts to look for malware that’s hit all the desktops and laptops that seems weird something strange going on and then it reports it in a dashboard in the office 365 portal. Office 365 advanced threat protection

If emails come through with attachments or certain nefarious links, they’ll send you the email first. But then it will scan the documents before it gets downloaded into the email that you’ve just received and it will also screen out any bad links or malicious links that it sees so you won’t get any of those.

Azure Active Directory Plan2

It enables you to do is connect to your Active Azure directory, but it also does some risk assessment for the administrators. It creates a dashboard for them. It enables them to have a look at what users are connecting to. With a single sign-on capability are they connected to certain types of applications that are not the company applications? So, it’s a better reporting mechanism for connection of users to Azure active directory. It’s excellent for the administrators. 

What it also gives you is the multi-factor authentication. This is great if you’re getting spam and it’s sending you to spoofed Web sites. It won’t allow that malware to get to your passwords because your multi-factor authenticating.

Azure Information Protection Plan2

One can create policies in their business that perhaps around things like credit card numbers or personally identifiable information and it will stop any of those from leaking out of the organisation without encrypting them. If something got out of the organisation, you could apply policies that automatically encrypt those pieces of information.

Microsoft Cloud App Security

What this enables you to do is to monitor the single sign-on from all of the users making sure that there’s nothing nefarious going on. Again, great for administrators.

Advanced E-Discovery

The Advanced E-Discovery feature is a critical tool for GDP. So, what it enables you to do is search all of your data but sub-search that data on separate sets of criteria and data that have different meta tags.

Customer Lockbox

Let’s assume that Microsoft is working on a case with you. They don’t automatically get access to your office 365 tenants. With lockbox what it enables you to do is to segregate a particular area that you’re working on maybe a specific set of users may be one particular area in SharePoint and you can allocate Microsoft to that so they can start to work on the case with you in that specific area of your tenants.

Advanced Data Governance

It’s all about data loss prevention. You can apply company policies to certain documents to certain types of information that will stop it from leaking out of your environment.

Power BI Pro & My Analytics

Power BI pro gives you enhanced reporting, slicing and dicing or presented through a web browser. My Analytics is like Delve, but it gives you analytics on all of the data using within your tenants.

So hopefully, that gave you a good rundown of what Microsoft 365 enterprises over and above Microsoft 365 business.

KeaPoint is a SharePoint & Office 365 consultancy based in the UK, dedicated to empowering users through smart solutions. Our experience and skill set continue to expand in many areas. We develop solutions according to the best business practices in the industry.

If your organisation needs assistance with SharePoint & Office 365 and would like to see how KeaPoint can help, please get in touch.

AvatarByRashid Aziz

Business Benefits of Microsoft Teams Application

Thinking about organisation’s productivity and team collaboration, and not exactly sure how to achieve it? There are numbers of applications and technologies available, but Microsoft Office 365 Teams app is a unique and one-stop shop for collaboration, designed to help the business to grow.

The Major Business Benefits of Microsoft Teams

Communication Tools

An organisation’s workplace is nothing without conversations. Microsoft Office Teams is a fast and powerful platform that allows team members to collaborate as efficient and instinctive as possible. All the text, audio, and video conversation can be done within the team conversation window.

Microsoft Application Integration

Microsoft made Teams app fully integrated with Office 365 Groups, persistent chat, meetings, classic tools such as Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and Skype for Business. It also integrates well with newer tools like Power BI, SharePoint Team Site and Delve etc. All the app tabs appears in one clean place which help to interact team members seamlessly. A user can work on projects, schedule a meeting, and make an audio or video call without leaving a team conversation in a Channel.

No Additional Cost for Office 365 Users

This is probably the best point of Microsoft Team app. If the organisation already own a Microsoft Office 365 license, then the Teams application won’t cost any money.  Although, it also has a paid versions (Essential and Premium) for more advanced features.

Real-Time Document Collaboration

Microsoft Office made Teams application so convenient to the users. It allows a user to work on documents without leaving a chat or meeting. Within Teams, any user can edit Microsoft Office documents and also pin the most important files, documents, resources and websites that are used frequently.

Integration with Third-Party

Besides integrating smoothly within Teams application, Microsoft Teams allow integrating with third-party services and tools. A user can add Cloud storage features like Dropbox, ShareFile and Google Drive etc. It also allows the marketing team to manage and bring the content within the channel from Hootsuite.

Useful Bots

Bots are just like your friends. They help the user to complete the tasks without leaving the conversation.  They appear like any other team member and are always online. For example, T-Bot can answer user question about Teams. And with Kayak Bot user can create travel plans, inquire about ticket price and track flights.

Mention a Team or Channel

By using ‘’@’’ sign within a Channel or conversation, the specifically mentioned team member receives a notification. A user can also use the filters tool to search or view activity or anything else according to their need in the conversation.

Anytime Anywhere Access

At present, most of the communication takes place through mobile phonedevices. Microsoft Teams has its desktop and mobile application that allowusers to have seamless collaboration anytime with team members and shareinformation, files, schedule and attend the meetings.

KeaPoint is a SharePoint & Office 365 consultancy based in the UK, dedicated to empowering users through smart solutions. Our experience and skill set continues to expand in many areas. We develop solutions according to the best business practices in the industry.

If your organisation needs assistance with SharePoint & Office 365 and would like to see how KeaPoint can help, please get in touch.


AvatarByRashid Aziz

How can small businesses benefit from Office 365?

As a small business owner, if you have been looking around for tools that would make it possible for you to manage your team more efficiently and have everyone in sync on all accounts, then it is time that you stop looking any further. Office 365 with its excellent features and model is the answer you have been seeking all along. It might just be the perfect tool but what exactly makes it so crucial for your team? Let us find that out.

24/7 availability

Considering all the significant factors that pose a threat to your business, you need to ensure that your business and the system at the backend stays running all day round, no matter what happens. As per a survey conducted by the U.S. Institute for Business and Home Safety in 2015, more than 25% of the small business owners are not prepared to handle a disaster like fire or flood. Office 365 saves all the data on the cloud ensuring that all your applications and documents are fully protect-ed at all instances.

Security of data

Because your data is safe in the cloud, Office 365 offers you a fair chance to focus on things that matter. You can now:
• Control the data remotely
• Access it anytime and even from the mobile devices
• Store the data whenever you want
• Ensure better security of your data
For added security, the online storage of 1TB of OneDrive will further secure the data and provide more space for storage.

Work remotely

Remember the times when you had to take assistance from someone who was in IT and capable enough to set you for VPN (virtual private network) services just so that you could access the work files remotely? Well, it won’t be the case anymore. With Office 365 and an internet connection, you can now work anywhere anytime without any hassle at all.

Scalable pricing model

With transparency in the pricing packages and that too with the added feature of customising the plan for your personalised needs, Office 365 lets you control your monthly budget even better. Furthermore, you are not tied into any contract and would be free to modify the package based on your business requirements.

Licensing is not a problem

Sorting through licensing and ensuring that all your employees are working on the same version of the software can be a real mess but not anymore. Office 365 takes care of it all and ensures that all the users get upgraded simultaneously, across the company, and are using the same version.
Managing the operations and workforce is as important for big organisations as it is for the small business owners. Choosing the right tools that complement and are coherent with business methodologies is the first right step you can take. Office365 with its features as mentioned above will prove to be the right choice for you. So, make the needful switch today and experience the difference for yourself.

KeaPoint is a SharePoint & Office 365 consultancy based in the UK, dedicated to empowering users through smart solutions. Our experience and skill set continues to expand in many areas. We develop solutions according to the best business practices in the industry.

If your organisation needs assistance with SharePoint & Office 365 and would like to see how KeaPoint can help, please get in touch.

AvatarByRashid Aziz

Build a Modern SharePoint Intranet using Communication Template

SharePoint is a new, modern platform for seamless collaboration, interaction and content management. SharePoint intranet allows members to set up a secure space for the document, data and information sharing, social activities, news, and events. For maximum efficiency of communication and team productivity, SharePoint communication site is the real thing. Communication sites are out-of-the-box sites where each team member can stay aware of what’s going on, up-coming events contribute to discussion and company announcements.
Communication sites are elegant, not only because of dazzling layouts, but it is genuinely responsive and mobile friendly. The communication site templates allow sharing a large amount of data and information like contents, news and events.

It’s straightforward and super fast to create communication sites. Follow the following steps to build a cool-looking site.

Create a Communication site

1. Sign in to your Office 365 portal.
2. Select the app launcher icon from the top left corner of the page and then select the SharePoint icon.
3. From the SharePoint home page, click + Create site and choose the Communication site template option.

4. You can select one of the following three site designs:
• Topic site to share information such as news, events, and other content.
• Showcase site to use photos or images to showcase a product, team, or event.
• Blank site to create your design.

5. Enter the name for the new communication site and description box.
6. Click Finish. Your site will be created and will appear on the sites you are following. Note: (Your site will not inherit the permission settings or navigation of any other sites).

Setup the Layout for Communication Site

The new layout section offers you to change the page layout to accommodate any site design with contents effectively.

As you can see In above Image, you can now use new modern site templates to make a digital workplace and leverage Communication sites for a global SharePoint Intranet. You can still request the developers to build custom web parts (using new SharePoint Framework) if you have any intranet requirements if they are not covered in the communication site template.

KeaPoint is a SharePoint & Office 365 consultancy based in the UK, dedicated to empowering users through smart solutions. Our experience and skill set continues to expand in many areas. We develop solutions according to the best business practices in the industry.
If your organisation needs assistance with SharePoint & Office 365 and would like to see how KeaPoint can help, please get in touch.

AvatarByRashid Aziz

Six Steps to Boost SharePoint User Adoption

Share Point usage in an organisation is like a relationship, needs focus, time and energy to work correctly.

SharePoint site adaptation is one of the vital points of Share Point success. Just launching the platform won’t ensure adaptation within an organisation, as it only gives a “shelfware” scenario. Implementation of any new business system like Share Point needs acceptance and adjustment to boost up benefit end users.

During the phase of Share Point customisation, involve power users who advocate share point usage to collect a great deal of information as you can’t implement SharePoint without the involvement of the adaptation team.  That will create a roll-out plan to embrace communication and training prospects. Meet them regularly and solicit feedback.  Make out “owners” that strengthen leadership’s support of the new track so that users can talk to when they need help.

As we’ve already discussed the Pitfalls of SharePoint user adoption, here are the six steps to boost SharePoint user adoption.

Pilot the program

During the SharePoint customisation, recruit a group of users who are more excited about the change to serve as your beta testers. Involve them every step in the way of SharePoint customisation before releasing it to the rest of the organisation. These Share Points advocates will serve as evangelists and as a funnel to other members of the organisation.

Do the Demonstration

Always start SharePoint implementation with a demo to keep potential users updated. Don’t ever assume that users know what the Share Point is.  Prepare a demo from their perspective, suggest the benefits and show them the out of box functionality. Convey them the logic behind the change and frame and demonstrates how SharePoint features will be beneficial for their jobs.

Look forward to the problems of users who aren’t confident with new technologies to get your point across. For example, users will feel anxiety if they are expected to understand the SharePoint quickly. SharePointusage will face problems if users are left to crack the Share Point usage on their own.

Provide Training

Another point with the central impact on SharePoint adoption is training!  You should train and form a rocking SharePoint team to ensure everyone can perform his or her duties. This training can be in the form of a quick 30- minute’s workshops or online training if users are remote.  Align this training within the framework of the work scenarios rather than just telling them the functions of different buttons.

Implement SharePoint in Segments

Usually, users are resistant to change, so support them to adopt SharePoint’s capabilities by not implementing it all at once. Divide SharePoint implementation into small, manageable segments and prioritise these segments to roll them out one by one to make it easy for users to adopt new habits.  

Respond Quickly

Be quick with the needs of the users. If employees ask for more significant search capabilities and a new tool to capture documents, don’t hesitate to look to a third party to supply this tool.

Stay Connected

Stay connected with the users regarding issues and improvements even after successful SharePoint roll-out. Use different means of communications to get your point and build a feedback mechanism that will help users communicate an accurate list of what users think and need. Send project’s updates by regular mails and create a social media group to response user’s queries.

KeaPoint is a SharePoint & Office 365 consultancy based in the UK, dedicated to empowering users through smart solutions. Our experience and skill set continues to expand in many areas. We develop solutions according to the best business practices in the industry.

If your organisation needs assistance with SharePoint & Office 365 and would like to see how KeaPoint can help, please get in touch.

AvatarByRashid Aziz

5 Great Tips to Make Intranet Portal a Success

In the era of the digital workplace, Microsoft Office 365 is one of the smartest intranet platform helping organisations to make better internal communications and to boost employee engagement. Almost all companies use an intranet portal to share information and collaborate. However, Office 365 is more than just a communication and collaboration platform; it has the power to solve organisation problems like knowledge sharing, project management, documents, and email authorisation. Office 365 and SharePoint provides features that can be built up quickly to broadcast updates and engage team members.

The following five characteristics will certainly improve employee productivity and business value.

Prioritise Content

An intranet is all about sharing and communication amongst team members within the organisation. Create a platform that is understood by all team members, and that can be improved eventually when necessary. Make a clear company plan setting out the goals, build a standard, define strategies and create content. All the above said should be based on the organisational goal. Allow every employee to share and publish content. Take their feedback and appreciate their contribution.

Consistent Navigation

It provides employees with a modern, logical and easy to use navigation structure within the intranet sites. Make it convenient for the employees to have access to the contextual and personalised information rather than searching for it and wasting time. The employees would appreciate it if they have access to all their apps and tools (like Yammer, Team Sites, SharePoint, and Groups) to get the relevant information.

One Stop Shop

The homepage of Office 365 gives users quick access to all tools and bring entire intranet platform into a OneStop Shop. Let the employees have access to these tools so that they can efficiently manage company information including documents, projects, apps, news, blog, channels, tasks and more.

Anytime Anywhere Access

Provide team members with the flexibility to have external access so they can handle their intranet portal outside the workplace at any time. SharePoint Online allows users to have access to the intranet sites, information, meetings, documents and collaboration with other team members through mobile devices, at the office or from home.

Enable Social Engagement

Each company needs to keep everyone up to date about their business news, case studies, press releases, social networking and job opportunities and much more. Office 365 allows users to share access with social channels like Yammer, Skype, are the best example of social media networking within the organisation for private communication. These features enable everyone to share, comment and contribute.

KeaPoint is a SharePoint & Office365 consultancy based in the UK, dedicated to empowering users through smart solutions. Our experience and skill set continues to expand in many areas. We develop solutions according to the best business practices in the industry.

If your organisation needs assistance with SharePoint & Office 365 and would like to see how KeaPoint can help, please get in touch.

AvatarByRashid Aziz

Sharing Office 365 Files & Folders with People outside your Organisation

If you perform work that involves sharing documents or collaborating directly with vendors, clients, or customers, then you might want to share content on your Team site or OneDrive for Business with people outside your organisation who do not have licenses for your Office 365 Small Business subscription.

You can share individual documents by inviting external users to sign in to your site using a Microsoft account or work or school account.

Here’s how you share files or folders in SharePoint:

  1. Select the file or folder you want to share, and then select Share

Click “People in your Organisation” dropdown and select Specific people (gives access only to the people you specify, although other people may already have access. If people forward the sharing invitation, only people who already have access to the item, should be able to use the link.)

By default, Allow editing is turned on. To only view your files, uncheck the checkbox.

When you’re done, click Apply.

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AvatarByRashid Aziz

Microsoft Flow using Office 365 E3 Developer Plan

I have recently came across an issue. I was trying to do proof of concept project for one of my client. I tried to create Microsoft Flow using my Office 365 E3 Developer subscription. The flow created successfully but when I ran it throws the following error.

Start an Approval

The request failed. Error code: ‘CommonDataModelNamespaceNotProvisioned’. Error Message: ‘A Common Data Service database has not been provisioned for environment ‘Default-535dc980-ce8a-49fc-8f50-9b930035e176′, or is currently being provisioned.’

Condition

ActionConditionFailed. The execution of template action ‘Condition’ is skipped: the ‘runAfter’ condition for action ‘Start_an_approval’ is not satisfied. Expected status values ‘Succeeded’ and actual value ‘Failed’.

I tried to create Common data Service from Power app but “Environments” tab was not available under PowerApp admin portal.

After talking with Office 365 support people they made it clear that Environments and Common Data Service database cannot be created under Enterprise E3 developer Plan. My question is then, how a developer can build and test flows using Office 365 E3 developer plan?