Friday, January 29, 2010

Spotlight on 2010: Documentum and LiveLink Migrations

By Errin O'Connor, EPC Group
For those of you who have a document management system or “system of record” (other than MOSS) within your organization, and may also have SharePoint 2007 running as a collaboration system, you might find your users may be confused or “hoarding” documents in SharePoint because of the usability issues of your “other” system of record.

With SharePoint 2010, this issue can be easily resolved. The “SharePoint Golden Rule”, as I like to refer to it, is starting to become an issue within organizations from two different sides.

First, you may not have a clear site provisioning process and multiple sites are being created for very similar purposes, and the same or similar copies of documents are being stored in multiple SharePoint sites. Second, you may have another document management system where “final versions” or “records” should be stored, and you may not fully understand when or how these documents should be “routed” from SharePoint to the other “system of record.” This can create a real issue -- especially in companies who worry about e-Discovery, litigation, and proper records management in connection with the legal department’s document or records retention schedule.

SharePoint 2010 can not only replace your existing system of record, but with proper planning, governance and site provisioning, you can restore the “SharePoint Golden Rule.” This means that only one version of a document exists and is stored within the proper location. It also has the proper retention schedule applied to it that will be controlled and then deleted by a related “destruction” workflow at the end of its lifecycle.

My firm, EPC Group, has been engaged many LiveLink to SharePoint and Documentum to SharePoint migration initiatives and these projects in theory are very similar.

There are several things to be aware of when undertaking a major initiative like a Documentum- or LiveLink-to-SharePoint migration:

· How much content (Gigs, Terabytes, etc) will you be migrating?

· What is the existing security model in your current “system of record?”

· How many users, where are their locations, and how can you best identifyi “power users” and champions to help you promote the initiative?

· Develop internal training (via Lunch and Learns, creating videos via Camtasia Studio, Power User training, public relations campaigns, brown bag sessions, and the like).

· What workflows exist within your current system of record? This is critical as you may need to start creating “swim lane” diagrams for these workflows to re-create them in Windows Workflow Foundation / Visual Studio

· What should be the overall Site hierarchy; how can we make improvements to what exists, and how can you do this in a way that will easily allow you to modify this in a company reorganization?

· What are the current branding standards and how can they be improved?

· What is the organization’s current retention schedule and how can you create your SharePoint content type strategy around this so that you do not have to start from scratch?

· Will content need to be accessed externally via an external security model?

I will continue to expand on these strategies in my upcoming articles and will next discuss how to build on SharePoint 2010’s ECM capabilities to build collaboration sites and allow the information worker to create workflows with Microsoft Visio 2010.

Errin O’Connor is the founder and chief executive officer for EPC Group. He is in the process of writing Microsoft "SharePoint Foundation 2010 - Inside Out" for Microsoft Press / O’Reilly Media that is set to be released in June 2010.

Errin is also the author of Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Inside Out by Microsoft Press on SharePoint 2007, and is the founder of WebPartGallery.com, an online solutions provider of SharePoint Web Parts and custom solutions.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Jeff Teper will answer YOUR SharePoint questions!

We present to you today A RARE OPPORTUNITY to have your questions answered by none other than Jeff Teper, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for SharePoint. Jeff has graciously agreed to open himself up to questions from the SharePoint-using public, and his responses will appear in the Feb. 10 issue of SPTechReport – the first of our planned “Show Daily” reports live from SPTechCon. So, if you want to ask ANYTHING about MOSS 2007 or SharePoint 2010, forward your questions to me at drubinstein@bzmedia.com, and I’ll be putting them together for Jeff to take on. The ONLY restriction is that you get your questions to me by this Friday, Jan. 29.

-- David

Monday, January 25, 2010

Microsoft, Novell team to give LDAP access to SharePoint

By David Worthington
Microsoft and Novell are collaborating on an identity federation solution that will allow LDAP directories to access Microsoft SharePoint.
The solution, which will ship in March, adds a service component to Novell's Access Manager identity management system to federate identities to SharePoint, said Joshua Dorfman, Novell's senior director of global partner marketing.
Novell will package associated client access licenses, Dorfman added. "Otherwise it's just a configuration recommendation." Microsoft partners, including Dell, are validating the configuration on their hardware.
Future scenarios for the technology will broaden identity federation to include application development, database access, and cloud computing infrastructure, Dorfman said.
It is being jointly developed at the companies' shared lab site in Cambridge, Mass. The interoperability is made possible through the OASIS WS-Federation specification.
Identities and credentials carry over from one directory store to the other, enabling single sign on, said Novell distinguished engineer Jeremy Brown.
Novell Access Manager transforms claims into Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) requests that can be accepted by SharePoint. The service component is also used to map permission from Access Manager to SharePoint.
ADFS 2.0 is Microsoft's implementation of WS-Federation and SAML 2.0. It is a foundational technology of Microsoft's "Geneva" identity management solution.
Customers may use any LDAP 3.0 compliant directory with the solution, Brown noted.
David Worthington is a senior editor on BZ Media's SD Times.

Friday, January 22, 2010

EPM Live Embraces Agile SharePoint Development

SharePoint project and work management software provider EPM Live has built out its solution with Agile Software Development for SharePoint, an application that helps organizations adopt a more agile approach to project management.

Under agile practices, development shops create pieces of applications in an iterative fashion, with requirements frequently changing and team members becoming available to take on work at different times.

Agile Software Development for SharePoint enables project stakeholders to log in and see the status of work items, and the application provides a view of all active, proposed and closed projects. Users can also drill down into each project for more detail.

The software also includes a Backlog Center, where items to be completed are listed, and from where project team members can grab approved items for specific iterations. Further, a Resource Center shows the work items allocated to the team, and each member’s capacity to take on work, helping in a more even distribution of work. And, an Issue Center lets users monitor the work of others so as to mitigate the impact of that work on a team member’s own work. The software also comes with reporting services including KPI dashboards and customized Chart Web Parts and SQL Reporting Services.

-- David


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Companies Combine to Put SharePoint Apps in the Cloud

CorasWorks, a provider of SharePoint applications and development tools, has partnered with software hosting provider Fpweb.net to deliver QuickStart SharePoint Business Suites. Users can download and use CorasWork applications, or use the development tools hosted within to create customizations or build out new applications.

“You have multiple vendors offering hosted SharePoint and others offering hosted SharePoint solutions. But none of these have the same breadth and depth as our service offering with Fpweb.net,” said Gary Voight, president and CEO of CorasWorks.

Users can gain remote desktop access to the server environment to install applications or custom code, as well as access to the CorasWorks App Store for SharePoint, from which applications can be downloaded.

“These offerings are all about immediate business value on SharePoint,” said Rob LaMear, founder and CEO of Fpweb.net. “By partnering with CorasWorks and its ecosystem of partners, we are now able to provide a comprehensive offering and really unleash the potential of SharePoint to add immediate business value in the cloud.”

-- David

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

MetaVis mitigates risk of moving content in SharePoint

SharePoint content management company MetaVis on Monday made available MetaVis Migrator for SharePoint, a tool that will enable organizations to copy content between SharePoint servers and file systems and keep the metadata associated with that content.

Migrator for SharePoint lets organizations copy sites, lists, libraries and more while retaining content types, column values and version histories, according to the company. Further, users can assign content types and column values to content being imported into a SharePoint library from a file system, and also can change the types and values for multiple selected documents or list items.

The tool does not require the installation of component or agents on the SharePoint server, the company noted.

“Today, many companies are looking to reorganize and migrate content that is in disparate SharePoint repositories into one central repository for improved manageability and search,” MetaVis CEO and co-founder Steven Pogrebivsky said in a written statement. “MetaVis Migrator simplifies the entire process by using a familiar Windows Explorer interface allowing users to drag and drop items into the new SharePoint system. This ultimately reduces the costs, time and risk with content migration.”

-- David

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Spotlight on 2010: SharePoint Server 2010 Search: New Query Syntax

By John Ross, SharePoint Server MVP, SharePoint911

Out of the box, the search capabilities of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007 are pretty impressive. It is quick and easy to get running and allows users to quickly find the pieces of content you might be looking for. SharePoint indexes not only the file names of the content and files, but it is also able to crawl the actual contents of many common document types -- including most Microsoft Office documents. Simply installing MOSS and configuring search is enough to elicit “wows” from many clients. And the reason is that being able to quickly locate content across an organization is one of the quickest ways to see ROI from SharePoint.

For all its power, MOSS search isn’t perfect. One of the more common complaints I often hear is that users want the ability to enter Boolean operators into their searches. If you aren’t familiar with the team, Boolean operators in searching allow users to have much greater control over their search queries. For example a user could enter the following query if they were trying to track down information about SPTechCon:

(“Awesome” OR “Best”) AND “SharePoint Conference”

Although MOSS has always supported Boolean operators through the API, there was no way to take advantage of these capabilities without custom code or purchasing 3rd party software.

SharePoint Search in SharePoint 2010 has a long list of great new enhancements that address many of the common issues that users asked about in MOSS. In short, the experience has been improved across the board to provide a more scalable architecture and give users the ability to get to more relevant results faster and more efficiently than ever before.

One of the big new improvements is a new query syntax that provides support for Boolean operators. This means that when users are searching, they can enter this syntax straight into any search box to help to get more specific and hopefully relevant search results. Here are a few examples of the new query syntax:

Support for Boolean operators for FreeText queries and Property queries

(“SharePoint Search” OR “Bing”) AND (title:”Keyword syntax” OR title:”Query Syntax”)

Prefix matching support for keywords and properties

Share* author:john*

Improved operators support for property restrictions to include the following

=,>,<,<=,>=

What does this mean for you? It means you should be able to find what you are looking for faster and more efficiently - especially in organizations that have a large amount of content to be searched. One other hidden advantage it provides is the ability to create much more powerful advanced searches by manipulating the Query String that is returned to the core results web part. The new query syntax can be used in conjunction with the same technique I mentioned here.

Search in SharePoint 2010 is one of the areas that have among the most improved over the previous version. The new query syntax is just one of the many improvements that users will see that allow them to make it easier to find what they are looking for. Happy searching!

John Ross is a Senior Consultant and SharePoint Server MVP with SharePoint911. He has over seven years of experience implementing solutions for clients ranging from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies as well as government organizations. John is co-author of the book, “MOSS Explained: An Information Workers Deep Dive into Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007” and was a contributing author to “Professional SharePoint 2007 Design.” Visit his blog.

Monday, January 11, 2010

SusQtech acquires social media company Live Elements

SusQtech, a provider of SharePoint training and solutions to the non-profit industry, announced it has acquired Live Elements, a consulting company that specializes in social media strategy and community-building. As both are privately held companies, terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
SusQtech last year launched MembertoMember, a social media platform play that I saw demo'd at SPTechCon in Boston last year, and WaveBoard, software for extending SharePoint discussion boards via e-mail. With Live Elements, the company plans to make available a full complement of social media services to its customers.
Rob Hustick, CEO of Live Elements, will join SusQtech as vice president of social media and digital strategy. According to SusQtech president Mike Steadman, "Live Elements has established itself as the go-to strategy company for associations and non-profits ... They're a thought leader in helping both large and small organizations understand and truly leverage social media to achieve concrete business results."
-- David

Thursday, January 7, 2010

SharePointers: Recovering Data from an Unattached Content Database

By Ryan Keller

As a SharePoint administrator, were you ever in the position of having to recover lost or deleted information from your SharePoint 2007 farm? This is something most SharePoint administrators have likely faced at least once. Most administrators resorted to building a completely separate recovery farm, where a recent backup of the production environment could be restored, exported, then imported back into the production environment, or they used third-party tools to assist with recovery efforts.

SharePoint 2010 gives administrators a very handy feature right out of the box for recovering data, and best of all it’s all done directly through Central Administration. This feature is known as the Unattached Database Recovery method. As the name suggests, it gives administrators the ability to recover data directly from a SharePoint content database that isn’t directly attached to the farm. In fact, the database can even live on a completely separate instance of SQL Server.

But what constitutes an unattached database, anyway? Well, in SharePoint terms, it’s simply a database that contains SharePoint content. It could be a production database backup restored to a new database, a database left behind after removing its associated web application, or even a database snapshot taken using SQL Server 2008 Enterprise Edition.

If you have current database backups (and you do right? Of course you do. You are a responsible SharePoint administrator!) you can use these to easily browse for and export content from Central Administration. From the Central Administration home page, you can click Backup and Restore, then click Recover data from an unattached content database. SharePoint will prompt you to provide the name of the database server and the name of the database (or snapshot) and ask if you would like to browse the content, export a site or list, or back up a site collection. Generally, you will want to browse the database for the site or list you want, and then export it. This recovery method allows for site collections, sub-sites, and even individual lists to be recovered without ever having to leave the production farm.

The export process is all done within the GUI and is pretty straightforward, but to actually import the list or site back into the farm from the file generated during the export process you’ll need to use the PowerShell cmdlet Import-SPWeb. You’ll be prompted for the few required parameters and before you know it, the data will be written back into the production environment. Data recovery now takes a matter of minutes and can be accomplished using out-of-the-box tools.

Ryan Keller is a consultant with SharePoint911.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Mossquito IDE looks to take bite out of SharePoint market

Hoping to take a bite out of the SharePoint market, a Czech company called BoldBrick has released its Mossquito 2009 IDE for SharePoint.
The tool focuses on the handling and management of data models, according to the company. Mossquito enables users to take data models created by business analysts and bring them into SharePoint as XML source, and to export data to UML modeling tools for use in application documentation, the company said. Meanwhile, programmers can create the business logic behind these data models in Visual Studio 2008, or access data using Mossquito’s built-in engine to create migration solutions. Using SharePoint Designer, companies can then create SharePoint websites based on the underlying models.
A key feature is the compare and merge engine, which lets users look at data models and merge changes between them. The IDE also gives users the ability to define data access policies, perform project management, and do data versioning. In future releases, the company plans to add the ability to manage workflow associations, roles and list security, and event handler associations, the company said.
-- David