Moving this blog forward

Office and business

Which path to follow?

I have been thinking and re-thinking a lot about the purpose of this blog, the reason I have this blog and how I can push it forward to the next level. Then again, I also thought a lot what the next level could be.

To make a long story short, I have decided to widen the scope of this blog and use the categories (the menu’s) to create the distinction in the content.

At this moment I am a (functional) SharePoint consultant (and business owner) and am working on a very interesting and challenging SharePoint 2013 project. Besides working on and with SharePoint during my day activity, I am also very interested in other software, applications and gadgets.
Right now, I feel like writing only about SharePoint is not the real motivator for me.  Although most people might say that it is easy to write about your passion and what you do every day, but I consider this not an easy job. Maybe that is because I read a lot of qualitative blogs about SharePoint and they are written by people who have English as their mother tongue.
English is for me a second language. So I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the vocabulary that these people know, and my limited knowledge of the English vocabulary.  And since I consider myself a SharePoint professional I engage myself to feel 100% comfortable with the articles I post on SharePoint and that is one of the reasons why I procrastinate on writing these articles.
The relation between my current professional activity and the SharePoint content of this blog is important,  but for some reason I do not feel very comfortable with it.

What are you really saying?

Well, I’m not saying that I’m going to stop writing posts. My plan is to extend the scope of this blog and write more about topics that are not SharePoint. I will still write SharePoint articles but will also write more posts on other topics that interest me. Like software, Apps, gadgets, ….

The real reason

Well, I’m not sure if this is the real reason or not, but it is something that made me think. I have written an article about the comparison of some on-line backup and synchrinization services. This article is by far the most visited page on my blog. This made me think. Yes, I know, you should not write for the main purpose of getting a lot of hits and that you should see you blog in a bigger picture about providing content that matters, but still, it is something you look at.
So my plan is to write more on other topics (where I don’t feel the virtual pressure of being judged since these articles are job related) to enhance my writing skills so I can create better content, and thus also better SharePoint articles.
To enhance my SharePoint related writing skills I have started a website about SharePoint books where I can concentrate on a specific topic (books and authors).

For the people who read my blog specifically for the posts about SharePoint, I hope I don’t let you down with this decision.

When you want to provide some feedback about this , please feel free to leave a comment.

How to get SharePoint attention from IT and business

Go get SharePoint attentionSharePoint attention

Getting SharePoint attention can be a hard thin. This blog post is written after having an very interesting conversation with Mark Miller and Sarah Haasse. It covers a small and simple yet interesting way to promote your SharePoint solutions in your organization and get management attention.

With solution I don’t mean per definition your WSP files, but I mean a solution that enables the business to do their work on a better, more efficient way. The form it is deployed to your farm or site does not matter. It can be a wsp, but also customization in the graphical interface, a workflow, or just a simple list to track non-conformities.

How to get SharePoint attention from IT but also from the business

A good way to get SharePoint attention from management and from the business is to have testimonials.
Write down, in simple language what to business problem was, how it was solved and what the (tangible) business value is. The business value can be financial, but does not have to be. Saving time and reducing stress are also very important results that improve the Return On Investment (ROI) and increase the productivity of employees.

Depending on your corporate culture, the testimonial can have different formats. It can be a Word document, one or two PowerPoint slides, a wiki page…
Also make sure, these testimonials are visible on your Intranet or Information Center, that they can be accessed by everybody without having to click ten times.

Now, to get the SharePoint attention it doesn’t stop here. Just like user adoption, you need to actively promote these testimonials.

A first line of promotion is the IT chain. Probably IT pays your wage or invoice, so use your hierarchical line of command and don’t just stop at your line-manager. Make sure the IT management team also receives this information, either on a formal or an informal way.

The second promo-tour is the line of management of the business you helped. Ask your main stakeholder or business project owner to send the document or a link to that document if you uploaded it on the Intranet to their line of command. Make sure the business knows what you achieved and also prepare for new or extra requests.

So, don’t just stop with promoting it within IT, but also include business in it. And this is a great way to start or feed the Champions network and the SharePoint community in your organization.

Summary

  • Engage the business to write and/or assist them to write testimonials
  • Promote them within the IT line of management, but also on the Business one.
  • Prepare and get organized for new requests and possibly extra workload.

 

My SharePoint links from this week (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Belgian meetup at SharePoint conference 2012 #SPC12BE

In a few days a lot of us will fly to Las Vegas and take part in the SharePoint Conference 2012. Last year there was a Belgian meetup in Anaheim. This year, there will also be a Belgian meetup at the SharePoint Conference in Viva Las Vegas.

SPC12 Belgian flag

Informal chats, good company and a nice drink (or a few drinks). The perfect setup to get to know the other Belgian participants (better) and to start or strengthen relationships.

This is a non-sponsored event :-)

We will meet at the RED SQUARE bar after the sessions on Monday. (that’s at 17:00 local time)
If I remember correctly, when you leave the conference area, you will need to pass this bar wherever you want to go.
There is no end time, but possibly some of us will go out for dinner later, or to the Red Party or to play Blackjack for a while. No obligations :-)

PS. If the bar is to small for us or fully occupied, we’ll move this meetup to the Eyecandy Bar. But first check out the Red Square bar :-)

 

Top 3 best selling SharePoint 2010 books for End-users

Since is almost Christmas I decided to create a reading list to inspire people, and to have a quick overview of available reading material on SharePoint 2010 and related products. Be early this year and buy your Christmas gift (or for your partner, friend…) now! This is the first post of a TOP 3 series post and it is all about the best-selling SharePoint books for end-users and power users.

Best SharePoint book for End-User/Power user: Top  3

1. Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Plain & Simple: Learn the simplest ways to get things done with Microsoft SharePoint 2010

Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Plain & Simple end user This is a basic book about SharePoint. However, this is perfect to teach end users on what SharePoint can do and how to do some basic things. The pictures make it very friendly to read and the step-by-step is simple and to the point. If you are a SharePoint professional, you might be disappointed in this book, but everybody who needs/wants to learn more SharePoint will be happy with this book.
More details

2. How to Do Everything Microsoft SharePoint 2010

How to Do Everything Microsoft SharePoint 2010 best selling book “How to Do Everything Microsoft SharePoint 2010″ is written specifically for end users who want to get the most out of their companies SharePoint 2010 implementation. The book offers a concise overview of everything that SharePoint 2010 has to offer, which is useful to new SharePoint use. It is not the best ‘How To’ resource, but definitely a valuable addition to other SharePoint books.
More details 

 

 3. Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2010 Step by Step

Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2010 best selling book “Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2010 Step by Step” is a solid guide for SharePoint Designer. It is straightforward, clearly written and full of very useful information about workflow, reporting and SharePoint Designer. Recommended for anyone who wants to learn about SharePoint Designer 2010 and all functionality it provides.
More details 

 

Office15 (Office2013) Preview announced and available

Today Steve Ballmer announced the release of the Preview of office 2013. This includes Outlook, Word 2013, Excel 2013, PowerPoint 2013 and OneNote 2013, Access 2013 and Publisher 2013.

The new preview version of SharePoint is also announced. Download links at the end of this post.

The Office preview training site provides some PowerPoint files with videos about the new version of office. The strange thing is that in all the presentations they compare office 2013 with office2003. Is the install base of Office2003 still that high?

Although my first impression about Office 2013 based on this information was not the best one, I must say, after seeing the press announcement I must admit that I’m quite enthusiastic about the new Office.

During the conference Steve Ballmer talked about the Surface, Windows 8, about some changes on Xbox (They will bring Internet Explorer to the Xbox), about changes in Bing before the real news is announced.

Apparently over 1/3rd of the Office users are students. This is off course interesting for a company because students will become the drivers for innovation and managers in a few years.

The Office 2013 release is the most ambitious release because they are enabling Office as a service. You can run Office from the cloud.

Office 2013 is at its best on Windows 8, BUT it also great on Windows 7. Installing it on Windows 8 will provide some extra features like:

  • Touch everywhere. Office responds to touch as naturally as it does to keyboard and mouse. Swipe your finger across the screen or pinch and zoom to read your documents and presentations. Author new content and access features with the touch of a finger.
  • Inking. Use a stylus to create content, take notes and access features. Handwrite email responses and convert them automatically to text. Use your stylus as a laser pointer when presenting. Color your content and erase your mistakes with ease.
  • New Windows 8 applications. OneNote and Lync represent the first new Windows 8 style applications for Office. These applications are designed to deliver touch-first experiences on a tablet. A new radial menu in OneNote makes it easy to access features with your finger.
  • Included in Windows RT. Office Home and Student 2013 RT, which contains new versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote applications, will be included on ARM-based Windows 8 devices, including Microsoft Surface.

Microsoft is also integrating social deep into their applications. Since they bought Skype and Yammer, this was somehow expected.

When, Kirk Koenigsbauer, a corporate vice president for Office was demoing the new version of Office, he showed a five-person video chat using Microsoft’s Lync application. In the demo, Koenigsbauer revealed how he could drag and drop someone from his buddy list into the live meeting on a giant TV display.

The newsfeed or activity feed allows you to like and reply to a status update.

On the People Card (profile page) there is the possibility to connect with people via an Instant Message or call with Lync, mail …

 

Download.

You can find an overview of ALL Office2013 preview related downloads at http://j.mp/Lt652N

 

PS. This blog post is written in Word 2013 preview J

PS2. More individual application blog post will follow