Cloud Hybrid Search Preview

December 14, 2015 Leave a comment

If you are using SharePoint Server 2010 or SharePoint Server 2013 on-premises in conjunction with Office 365 and SharePoint Online, then you probably have started to tire of having a search center for your on-premises content and a separate search center for your cloud-based content.

At Microsoft Ignite (Chicago, May 2015), it was announced that a Hybrid Search Application would be shipped that would build content search indexes for your on-premises data and ship them up to SharePoint Online so that you could rely on the one search center in SharePoint Online to be the search center source of truth for all of your content.

image

This was released a couple of months ago, in two ways. You can find it in the cumulative updates for SharePoint Server 2013 starting in September 2015, or in the Preview release of SharePoint Server 2016.

Download link for SharePoint Server 2016 Beta 2

Start link for Cloud hybrid search capability in SharePoint Server 2013

If you are running SharePoint 2010 search today, there were a few SharePoint 2010 search features that were replaced with different features in SharePoint 2013 search and others that may have been modified for SharePoint Online search. Please check the documentation in the Cloud hybrid search download for the list of unsupported search features.

Support for SharePoint 2010 and Stefan

December 14, 2015 Leave a comment

Two things to cover off in this blog entry.

Stefan Goßner is one the the Few and the Proud when it comes to worldwide SharePoint support.  His blog is the public entrypoint into his wisdom and experience regarding SharePoint.  (He works for Microsoft as a SharePoint Support Engineer in Germany). Please add his blog to your newsreader (or flipboard, if you are a millenial?) Stefan can be found online here: https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/stefan_gossner/2015/

Second, let’s finish the work with SharePoint Server 2010 byt quoting from his blog.  Still on SharePoint 2010? (extended edition).

Today is October 14th, 2015 which means that Mainstream support for SharePoint 2010 is over. SharePoint 2010 is now in extended support.

What does this mean for you as customer if you are still using SharePoint 2010?

  • We recommend to upgrade to SharePoint 2013.
  • Only security related hotfixes will be created for SharePoint 2010. Any other problems in our product will not be fixed (except for customers who purchased xtended Hotfix Support through Premier Support).
  • Support cases which are caused by problems in our product will no longer be free of charge.
  • You will still get paid-support (including pay-per-incident Premier and Essential Support) through Microsoft Customer Support Services.
  • You can still get product-specific information using the online Microsoft Knowledge Base or Support site at Microsoft Help and Support to find answers to technical questions

For more details see our Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy FAQ:

OK, now that we have that out of the way, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Categories: SPServer 2010

Live Writer is back

December 10, 2015 Leave a comment

Just a quick note to test out he new version of Live Writer.  It’s a little tool to post to blogs. An excuse for my not posting for six months? No., but perhaps it will help me get back into the mode of posting to this blog. 

Download here: http://openlivewriter.org/ image

Categories: Blogging

Mid-Year 2015

July 11, 2015 Leave a comment

It seems kind of silly that I’m opening two blog entries in a row with the comment that I haven’t blogged much about my recent job change… but that is the way it is.

I consider myself very fortunate to have been hired back with Microsoft as a Technology Specialist (Sales Engineer) in the Pacific Northwest. I am assigned to about 50 of Microsoft’s strategic customers in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, and charged with helping them understand and apply Microsoft technologies to their business operations. This means working closely with their IT Departments to plan for the adoption of new technologies as well as working with business units to understand how new technology capabilities can be applied to new and emerging market opportunities.

With the increased rate of feature development and release with Office 365, this means frequent and regular conversations and strategy meetings with our customers. And lots of training. So, I’ve been busy.

I will be maintaining two blogs – this one (owen-allen.com) will be my personal thoughts and observations, and a new blog (O365talk.com) will include my curated list of interviews, product updates, and thoughts about technologies found within and related to Office 365. I expect that O365Talk.com will have multiple authors. – If you would like to participate, please let me know!

I’ve been back at Microsoft since September 2014, and have now reached 9 years of employment with Microsoft. In between these two stints, I spent 4 years working with a great set of customers and clients, as an advisor, a consultant, a contract employee, and as a full-time employee. Each one has been a good memory and has enriched my experience. Thank you to all who I have crossed paths with.

WPC 2015 is kicking off this weekend, and this is the first year I am not attending after having attended the past six years. Microsoft Partners are a tremendous group, and I will admit there is a twinge of loss at not attending WPC this year. However, with my focus being on helping my (I consider them to be mine Smile) customers leverage the technologies that Microsoft is placing into the cloud, partners still have an important and significant role.  It is a pleasure to work with Software companies, Consulting companies, and bright individuals of all skillsets and experience, as we work together to help Microsoft customers deploy amazing applications and employee and customer services of their own.

See you online!

Categories: Blogging, Personal

Microsoft Preferred Supplier Summit 2014

I haven’t made too much noise on my blog about the fact that I joined bluLink Solutions at the 1st of March this year, and that’s been an oversight. I’m really enjoying my time with bluLink Solutions (blulinksolutions.com, @bluLinkTweets).

This is an opportunity for me to help drive business productivity improvements within business groups and departments within one of the most advanced IT infrastructures in the world.  It can be very challenging, but the people I work with and our clients (mostly internal Microsoft groups) are very smart and have great project requirements.

This week is the Microsoft Preferred Supplier Summit 2014, and it is being held at the MSFT Conference Center on Redmond Campus.  This is a great opportunity for Microsoft’s Preferred Suppliers to connect with top leadership in the Finance, Accounting, Procurement, and IT departments. We heard from some of the Top Brass today, including Mike Simms, Chief Procurement Officer (LinkedIn), and Jim DuBois, MSFT Chief Information Officer (@MSIT).  I can report that the innovation is going to continue and is accelerating. This is an exciting time to work as a vendor with Microsoft.

At the summit today they also announced and awarded the Microsoft Annual Supplier Awards.  I’m thrilled that bluLink Solutions was a Finalist in the Innovative Supplier of the Year category.  The folks here at bluLink have been doing an amazing job through the past year, and one of our projects, built to support critical business functionality in the Microsoft Consulting Services group, led to the nomination.

Congratulations to the winners!  Assembly/Edelman won the top award, Supplier of the Year, and arvato AG won the Innovative Supplier of the Year award, beating out bluLink Solutions.  Following the award, the CEO of arvato AG spoke, and it was pretty clear that their solution, powered by some of their 67,000 employees, was much larger in scope than the bluLink Solutions project (13 employees).  Smile  Was it more innovative?  The judges apparently thought so.  Congratulations to arvato AG and Assembly! 

The full of supplier award winners is here (http://www.thestreet.com/story/12716058/1/microsoft-recognizes-outstanding-contributions-by-suppliers.html)

Through the remainder of today and tomorrow, we will attend sessions covering changes and advancements in the relationship between Microsoft Procurement and Microsoft Suppliers.  I’m looking forward to it and at bluLink Solutions, we hope to be back as a Finalist next year, as well!

Categories: Microsoft Partners

Thoughts on SharePoint Conference 2014

March 10, 2014 13 comments

My thoughts on the Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2014.  The event was a great success, held Mar 3-6, 2014, at The Venetian, in Las Vegas.  Compared to previous SharePoint Conferences, SPC14 was held at a bigger venue, it was easier to get around in, the exhibition hall was more wide open, the keynote speaker was about as big a deal as could have been had (Would Hillary have been a bigger coup?) and The.WIFI.Worked.  A tremendously successful conference.  The SharePoint and Office 365 teams at Microsoft deserve to take the next 36 hours off, perhaps attend the Las Vegas NASCAR race, and then bask in the success of their conference.

The new product announcements show some good new direction. I’m particularly excited about

  • the New Office 365 APIs that bring Office 365 closer to parity with SharePoint Server 2013 as a platform for business applications (http://bit.ly/PkMEO2),
  • the new content enablement that is provided for PowerPoint, Excel, and Outlook applications (http://bit.ly/PkMEO2)
  • Improvements to Power BI across the board and the release of Power Map. (Even though this was announced a month ago, I’m adding it here (http://bit.ly/PkOvmd)
  • The concept of Working Like a Network (http://bit.ly/PkO23e). It will take a while for this to roll out, but the application ideas are already starting to roll around this one.
  • And the biggest one, for me and my new company, BluLink Solutions, will be the patterns for migrating Trusted Code solutions to the App Model (http://bit.ly/PkOXkj).

SPC14 was the 5 year reunion for those attendees of the tremendous and inimitable SPC09 conference, and it was the 10 year anniversary of the launch of SharePoint 2003, which started the enterprise-wide push and where “SharePoint” started to find its legs, as it grew into MOSS 2007 and SharePoint Server 2010.

SPC14.InfoPathFuneralOne of the things that makes for a great reunion is a strong community.  I consider myself lucky to have been able to observe the growth of the community and the depth and breadth that it contains now is fantastic.  No longer can anyone single group, or collection of groups, control, manage or “provide direction” to the community.  There are many groups within the community, and the overall group is large enough to support new groups as needed.   I attended the meetings of the MSFT Technical Communities and the SharePoint Saturday leaders and the SharePoint User Group leaders and some very useful coalitions are building helpful tools to support different locales and groups of different sizes. I heard that the Women in Technology (secondhand, as I wasn’t on the list) group overflowed its planned meeting space and that is tremendous. Impromptu activities such as the funeral procession for InfoPath, small groups such as SP FitBitters and SPRunners, or around evening events or side trips to local attractions, and countless others, are great examples of where the community is diverse enough to take care of its own.  This is so encouraging.

On the other hand, it does mark the maturation of the SharePoint community and marks the time when messages will be more and more difficult to ensure are delivered and received accurately.  The good old days of one person being able to understand all of SharePoint is gone. One person can now understand most of SharePoint, and can track most of what is goingon through diligent following of multiple blogs, RSS, and twitter feeds, but that can be difficult to maintain when we also have to work…

The early three social kings of SharePoint have changed, as well.  Mark Miller (@EUSP), it seems, has moved to greener pastures, Joel Oleson (@Joeloleson) will always continue to drive a large group of followers as illustrated by his leading a procession in a Monk’s robe through the conference, and Jeremy Thake (@jthake) has now moved to join Microsoft in leading developers to new depths. No longer are the three of them driving the community audiences (Devs, IT Pros, End Users) in a coordinated broad direction.  True, the trio has been divided for a little while now, but I think SPC14 marks the official passing of the torch back to the community as an entity.  Even at SPC12, the community booth efforts were spearheaded by a group with these three providing much of the guidance.

Moving forward, though, I think that SharePoint as a whole is too large for a single group of friends and workers and associates to be considered the leaders.  Each of us has our own path to carve out of the world of business solutions. The relay baton has been passed. SharePoint has grown up.

Where will you, as an attendee of SPC14, shine your light?  Whatever you are working on, share it. When you come up with a best practice, or a new approach to using OOB features combined in a unique manner to provide new functionality, let others know.  As you see your companies using SharePoint as a platform for new vertical applications and to support solid business processes that have been rebuilt to mash up data in a new way and expose it to new business groups who couldn’t access it before, share what you see! Talk about the impacts, and help other groups realize the potential locked within their SP OOB mentality.

SharePoint Friends Don’t Let SharePoint Friends Work Only with OOB Functionality.

I had a great time at SPC14 and I hope that all of you did, as well.  If you didn’t, let MSFT know. If you did, let the community know!    I can’t wait to see everyone again next time.

Should Microsoft Kill SharePoint?

September 18, 2013 1 comment

This is a pretty sensationalistic title.  Memeburn wrote an article based on word spoken by Gartner Analyst Jeffrey Mann (@jeffmann) at the 2013 Gartner Symposium

Disclaimer: I don’t have access to Jeff’s original words, only his words as reported by the Memeburn article, so there might be some differences in the interpretation.

The article mixes contexts like flammable fuels.

“Hardly anybody likes it” (yet, still 70% of companies see that at lest 50% of their employees use SharePoint at least once a week)

“The problem is that SharePoint is a victim of its own success”  (I’ve never understood how this comment can be applied generally to anything.  Don’t we want success?)

“It’s too big and complex”  (the implication here is that IT Pros are scared of managing SharePoint, and once it is installed it is unusable…)

These points lead to the summary datapoint that drives the fear: “As a result, many people are using versions of SharePoint that are at least four years old.”

ACK! The Horror!  The platform is dead because not everyone updated within the first six months!  AUGH!  Can you hear the anguished cries of IT Pros who don’t understand it when  SharePoint upgrades don’t roll onto server boxes as smoothly as the most recent version of Microsoft Office?  Or that, given the fact that the release cycle was 3 1/2 years in between SP2010 and SP2013, having a version that is 4+ years old at this point is actually the normal state of things?

A second line of reasoning in the article is that SharePoint “is too big and complex” and that IT shops would be better off using an entire range of point solutions to provide specific features instead of one large platform, such as SharePoint. 

Really?  What happens when you want to upgrade all 32 of the point applications that you had to install in order to match what SharePoint provided you? Certainly, all of them will upgrade at the same time so you’ll never have to worry about mismatched versions, right? 

I’ll be the first to stand up and tell a business group that if you only want to do 4 things, then you should use stand alone tools, and SharePoint is not for you. However, for most medium-to-large enterprise that I’ve worked with, the amount of integration and services that are needed to meet business requirements just simply cannot be managed more efficiently with point solutions.  If the organization does not work with SharePoint, they are probably working with another relatively large collaboration platform, from a large vendor.  Point solutions are best for small companies, but not for medium-large.

The third point in the Memeburn article is that Microsoft should kill the on-premise version of SharePoint because Microsoft wants to move everyone to the cloud.  And Microsoft will be the first to tell you that they believe that every employee can work just fine in the cloud.  We have to remember, though, that enterprises are called large organizations because they have a lot of moving parts.  It will take time.  No need to rush.

And then the icing on the cake that just caused me to shake my head.  “The installed base is so large that Microsoft will of course keep supporting it, but upgrades will be slower coming, and users shouldn’t expect the latest or greatest functionality.”

This statement is the most important of all of Jeffrey Mann’s quotes in the Memeburn article, and it is being treated as a consolation point.  Users need to have this last quote etched in their minds, and instead of getting all sensational about “Should Microsoft Kill SharePoint???”, the article should focus on the meat of the news – that is, that your investment in SharePoint on-premise is going to be supported going forward, so don’t do anything crazy, but you should be moving to the cloud as your systems and enterprise software packages and tools allow.  Moving to the cloud needs to be important.

But, please don’t shoot the horse while it is still attached to the plow. 

Categories: Cloud, SP2013 Tags: ,
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 6,247 other followers

%d bloggers like this: