Friday, July 30, 2010

Enhanced Mobile Access for SharePoint and Business Intelligence

By Katie Serignese

For enhanced mobile access to SharePoint, H3 Solutions released Mobile Entree 2.0, its second major release of the mobile application framework for SharePoint.

Announced last week by the Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, Mobile Entree 2.0 features several new capabilities. Utilizing an Excel add-in, users can now interact with pivot tables and spreadsheet data while surfacing real-time data to an enhanced mobile dashboard. Users can also use a new feature to theme and brand their mobile application.

"We've considered [community feedback] which helped us develop the innovative features that make it easier than ever for our customers to rapidly extend SharePoint to a mobile workforce," said Joe Herres, EVP of product for H3 solutions, in a statement.

Integrating into the SharePoint architecture, users can access their business intelligence (BI) from multiple mobile devices, such as Windows Phone, iPhone, Android, Symbian S60, WebOS and BlackBerry smartphones.

Visit the educational site for more information on Mobile Entree.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

SharePoint Certificate Program Focuses on Managing Corporate Content

By Katie Serignese

Centralized around teaching organizations how to apply strategies and structures needed to share and manage corporate information on the SharePoint platform, AIIM introduced its newest SharePoint Certificate Program today.

AIIM, a non-profit organization focused on managing documents, records, content and business processes, partnered with enterprise content and records management firm Gimmal Group to develop the program.

"While Microsoft and their partners provide organizations with technical training on the product, they don't provide guidance on the information management implications of the documents shared and stored within its libraries and team sites," said Bob Larrivee, AIIM director and advisor, in a statement.

He added, "Developed independent of Microsoft, [the program] identifies the elements of successful implementation and teaches organizations how to assess when they need complementary solutions to enhance their information management environments."

The Certificate program is suitable for information management professionals, IT professionals, business analysts, line-of-business managers and consultants, according to a statement. It is available online or in public and private classrooms. SharePoint 2007 and technologies that extend SharePoint are covered as well.

Idera Updates SharePoint Backup Solution

By David Rubinstein

SharePoint management software provider Idera yesterday made available SharePoint Backup 2.8 for backup and recovery of content. The new version provides this capability for SharePoint 2010, as well as giving admins the ability to restore data from SharePoint Server 2007 backup sets in SharePoint 2010 environments, according to the company's announcement.

Further, the new software complies with the U.S. FIPS 140 Federal Information Processing standard, so government agencies and contractors can be confident using the new version, which costs US$1,495 per server.

“As organizations make the move to SharePoint 2010, ensuring that SharePoint content is safely backed up before and after the transition is absolutely imperative,” said Rick Pleczko, president and CEO of Idera, in a statement.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

An Added Full-Day Workshop and "Microsoft Day" at SPTechCon

Microsoft has called its legions home to Washington this week for its TechReady event, and SharePoint is certainly front and center in training for the home folks. While what happens at this event in Redmond stays in Redmond, you can be certain the Microsofties are getting the lowdown on where the software is at, and where it's going.

This is good news for those of you planning to attend BZ Media's SPTechCon in October! We're adding a full-day workshop and a second “Microsoft Day” of classroom instruction to the program, all taught by Microsoft engineers with the latest, best knowledge of the software. While the presentations are aimed at Microsoft partners who have been invited to the conference, the company has said it will open the doors and make these sessions available to ALL conference attendees. Talk about getting it straight from the horse's mouth!

These sessions will make a perfect complement to the already-rich program being offered. Check the website in the coming weeks for more details on the Microsoft sessions.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Idera Updates Backup Solution

SharePoint management software provider Idera today made available SharePoint backup 2.8, for backup and recovery of content. The new version provides this capability for SharePoint 2010, as well as giving admins the ability to restore data from SharePoint Server 2007 backup sets in SharePoint 2010 environments, according to the company’s announcement.
Further, the new software complies with the U.S. FIPS 140 Federal Information Processing standard, so government agencies and contractors can be confident using the new version, which costs US$1,495 per server.
“As organizations make the move to SharePoint 2010, ensuring that SharePoint content is safely backed up before and after the transition is absolutely imperative,” said Rick Pleczko, president and CEO of Idera, in a statement.
-- David Rubinstein

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Little-Known Add-on for SharePoint Foundation

By Joshua Haebets

There has been a lot of discussion around search during the release of SharePoint 2010. Most of this has focused on FAST and FAST for SharePoint. Both of these products are excellent in the enterprise search space and well worth investigating.

There is another product Microsoft released as part of the 2010 rollout: Search Server 2010.

Search Server is an extension of SharePoint Foundation. It was available as part of SharePoint 2007 and was then known as Search Server 2008. Search Server gives you many of the enterprise search capabilities found in SharePoint Server for a small cost, or sometimes no cost at all.

These features include the ability to search across site collections—no more having to navigate to the site to be able to search across the contents. Search scopes can be defined; this allows you specify what content sources and type of results are returned, often seen in drop-down boxes or tabs in SharePoint 2007. To top it all off, you can also search across file shares, indexing all the content you haven't yet got around to moving to SharePoint, or don't want to move.

Another enhancement in 2010, which comes with SharePoint Foundation, is the capability to consume data from line-of-business systems using Business Connectivity Services. In the 2007 days, this was only possible using SharePoint Enterprise edition. Now, using Search Server, you can search across the external systems and display results to users using the friendly SharePoint interface.

Where Search Server gets really exciting is the two versions available, Express and Standard. Express is free—that's right, no cost at all. Over the past few years, anytime a client wants WSS or SharePoint Foundation now on a single Web front-end farm, I have been installing Search Server. Express allows you to have only one server running both the index and query roles. For many smaller organizations, this is perfect. Search Server Standard allows you to scale these roles out to multiple servers.

So now you are asking yourself, what don't you get with Search Server? We have scopes, file share and BCS, allowing you to search database content and custom application. Search Server does not give you people search because the profile store is only part of SharePoint Server. You also don't get the ability to use term store-based refiners on your search results page; again, this is because the Term Store or Metadata Service Application is only available in SharePoint Server.

So if you are looking for a low-cost enterprise-grade search solution, make sure you have a look at Search Server 2010. You might even be able to take advantage of the free Express version.

Joshua Haebets is the Principal SharePoint Consultant at Evolve Information Services in Australia. He can be contacted at Joshua.haebets@evolve-is.com.au.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Teleplace Supports SharePoint Virtualization

By Katie Serignese

SharePoint support for Mac and Windows users is included in version 3.5 of Teleplace, software for a secure virtual workspace. Teleplace, provider of collaboration solutions, announced the release this week.

In a real-time virtual environment, distributed teams can now review and co-edit SharePoint documents within Teleplace from behind the firewall and in the cloud. This added support also includes “storing and sharing documents in the same repositories [users] would without Teleplace,” said CEO Greg Nuyens, in a statement.

Additional features in v3.5 include expanded capabilities for building and editing 3D objects as well as automatic authorization of users in Teleplace through the Active Directory.

Teleplace is available now and includes a free 30-day trial.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Enchanced Mobile Access to SharePoint and BI

By Katie Serignese

For enhanced mobile access to SharePoint, H3 Solutions released Mobile Entree 2.0, its second major release of the mobile application framework for SharePoint.

Announced last week by the Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, Mobile Entree 2.0 features several new capabilities. Utilizing an Excel add-in, users can now interact with pivot tables and spreadsheet data while surfacing real-time data to an enhanced mobile dashboard. Users can also use a new feature to theme and brand their mobile application.

"We've considered [community feedback] which helped us develop the innovative features that make it easier than ever for our customers to rapidly extend SharePoint to a mobile workforce," said Joe Herres, EVP of product for H3 solutions, in a statement.

Integrating into the SharePoint architecture, users can access their business intelligence (BI) from multiple mobile devices, such as Windows Phone, iPhone, Android, Symbian S60, WebOS and BlackBerry smartphones.

Visit the educational site for more information on Mobile Entree.

Microsoft Packages CMIS Connector in Toolkit

By Katie Serignese

The Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS) connector is packaged as part of the recently announced Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Administration Toolkit v1.0.

This connector enables SharePoint users to interact with content stored in any repository that has implemented the CMIS standard as well as makes SharePoint 2010 content available to any application that has implemented the CMIS standard, according to Microsoft.

One feature of the connector, the CMIS Consumer Web Part, can be added to any SharePoint page. Afterwards, users within SharePoint can interact with the displayed content from any CMIS repository.

The CMIS Producer (and second feature), “allows applications to interact with SharePoint lists and document libraries programmatically by means of the interfaces defined in the CMIS standard,” Microsoft said.

This tool is not supported for SharePoint Foundation 2010.

For more information about the CMIS standard see OASIS Content Management Interoperability Services.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Women in SharePoint

A group of women working with SharePoint have come together under the “Women in SharePoint” banner, focusing on outreach to others working in the space and on mentoring. Karuana Gatimu, treasurer of the newly formed organization (its www.womeninsharepoint.org website is still under construction), said part of the mission is to show that women aren’t simply designers or trainers. “There are developers and architects, women in roles that have been seen as traditionally male.”

Meanwhile, they’re working with men on the mentoring side to gain the benefit of their knowledge and experience. After an earlier effort “went down in flames,” as Gatimu described it, such “smart, talented women” as chairman Becky Isserman (mosslover on Twitter), vice chair Kathryn Birstein (kbirstein), communications director Cathy Dew and secretary Lori Gowin picked up the ball and are running with it. The group is focusing on outreach, Gatimu said, because “there are so many areas of SharePoint to become proficient in, and we want to put out an image of professionalism and be positive role models. We [women] need to stick together.”

The group can be reached via e-mail at womeninsharepoint@live.com, or followed on Twitter at @womeninsp.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Get to Know PowerShell for SharePoint 2010

After doing some poking around, The Linker has surmised that PowerShell for SharePoint 2010 seems to be on a lot of people’s minds as of late, mostly on how to approach the task automation framework. So, she has taken it upon herself to find some links to help you all out with this process and be a little less overwhelmed. Enjoy! 


Introduction to PowerShell



Windows PowerShell basics


The levels of PowerShell


PowerShell and SharePoint automation examples


Forum: SharePoint and PowerShell


Educational and community site for PowerShell


Random entry:
Turtles in a half shell

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Nintex Updates Workflow Software

By Katie Serignese

Nintex, provider of software that extends Microsoft SharePoint, introduced Monday Nintex Workflow 2010, its third-generation SharePoint workflow product. The product includes a new drag-and-drop workflow designer as well as other workflow features.

Users can extend Nintex Workflow 2010 by creating User Defined Actions with the drag-and-drop workflow designer. This feature enables users to export workflows to Visual Studio and to package and share workflow segments within other workflows.

Adding to the Microsoft SharePoint document management and collaboration platform, Nintex Workflow also enables users to automate business processes, such as integration across external applications and data sources, and connects to other systems including Microsoft CRM and Exchange Server.

Nintex Workflow 2007 customers with software assurance agreements can upgrade at not charge. Videos and a free 30-day trail are also available.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

MOSS 2007, WSS 3.0 SP1 at End of Life

By Katie Serignese

Nearing the end its lifecycle, Service Pack 1 for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 was retired yesterday . Upgrades must be made to Service Pack 2, which is a requirement for the August 2010 Cumulative Update.

Before downloading and installing the updates, Microsoft suggests downloading the white paper “Understanding updates for SharePoint Products and Technologies,” which includes articles for deploying software updates for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and SharePoint Server 2007.

Installations of the Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Language Pack and SharePoint Server 2007 Language Pack are optional. To aid with updating, deployment roadmaps are also available.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Some SharePoint Links For You

Took my 10-year-old to see “Toy Story 3” over the holiday weekend, and I gotta tell ya, this film should win “Best Picture” at the next Academy Awards shindig. It was funny and touching, full of adventure and whimsy, with more great Randy Newman music … and a HILARIOUS Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear! The folks at Pixar create amazing computer-generated images, but it’s the heartfelt storytelling that sets their movies apart from other animated features. Even if you don’t have a 10-year-old, you won’t have a better time at the movies this year. Two links up!!

Bug in SharePoint 2010


Practical PowerShell for SharePoint 2010


Mini-MOSS: SharePoint for the Very Small Business


SharePoint Server 2007 Training on Your Desktop


Groove Web Services SDK



Speaking SharePoint: How to Get Help from IT


Not-so-random entry:
Toy Story 3

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Spotlight on 2010: Healthcare Institutions Going Full Steam Ahead

BY Errin O'Connor

Since SharePoint 2010’s launch, healthcare organizations from all over the country have expressed interest in all facets of its functionality. The EPC Group has been working not only with government healthcare institutes but also many prestigious hospital systems from all over the United States.

Electronic Medical Records are being pushed by the U.S. government as a way to get hospitals across the U.S. off paper charts, graphs and the 1990s way that paper-based documents were managed. I still shake my head that in 2010 my doctor still has to call his nurse in to pull up my chart, or have it sitting in the plastic holder outside the waiting room when they call me in.

Epic and Cerner, the two major players in the healthcare software arena, definitely don’t want a firm like mine to “crack the code” or develop the API to seamlessly bring in HIPAA-compliant data into SharePoint; trust me, we have been trying. Only the hospitals and government institutions that own versions of these tools will let us “dig in their sandbox” to develop Web services in APIs with either MOSS 2007 or SharePoint 2010 and the BCS (with custom code).

Why shouldn’t SharePoint 2010 take over Epic’s MyChart capabilities, and have the healthcare organization’s document management, intranet and Internet-facing managed with SharePoint’s seamless (easy to use and affordable) interface?

I think we are getting ready to see it happen, and I have been working with my firm and with other institutes to try to build these solutions, but I can assure you that CIOs of some of the biggest healthcare institutes in the world are very interested in this, and I am predicting this will happen in the next few years.

For more information on this topic (as it is a passion of mine), please feel free to e-mail me at errino@epcgroup.net as I am getting ready to release a white paper through this newsletter on this topic in the months to come.

Errin O'Connor is the Founder and CEO of EPC Group. He is currently in the process of writing "Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010—Inside Out" for Microsoft Press/O'Reilly Media.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Have a Management Plan, Avoid Ad Hoc Implementations

Fewer than half of all SharePoint implementations were put in place without a formal business case, and only half of those required a financial justification. These are some of the finding of a survey released yesterday by the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM).

Because most SharePoint implementations are done in an ad hoc fashion, most of them did not have a management plan for such things as which features could be used where, and who had access to what.

In small businesses, half were looking at information management for the first time, but 25% had no previous experience with ECM or document management systems, according to the report. Thus, guidance for content types and classification was sorely lacking. Further, only 15% of organizations with these SharePoint deployments had retention policies and discovery procedures in place, thus creating an environment where “content chaos” could occur.

What conclusions can be drawn from this study?

First, organizations must address SharePoint and make a commitment to it in terms of policies and procedures. If it’s going to find its way into your IT organization anyway, create rules for its use, access, data retention, and the like.

Like any new technology, a test team — whether a department, or a smaller unit within a department — should be created to put SharePoint through its paces and see how it can best support the organization’s goals. SharePoint comprises many technologies; not all will be relevant to everyone. Find the business value and put the emphasis there.

It’s important to get your users trained as to what SharePoint can and cannot do. Create a few in-house SharePoint experts who can troubleshoot as well as bring teams along with the technology. Only then will your organization be able to pull its myriad, ad hoc deployments under control.

What’s your organization’s story? How did SharePoint make its way into your team? We’d like to share it, so feel free to comment back.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Spotlight on 2010: Get Started on Your SharePoint v4 Upgrade

By Shane Young

Planning your upgrade to SharePoint 2010? Better yet, I hope you are already busy testing your upgrade.

If you are looking to get started with upgrade might I suggest you take a look at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/ff420396.aspx. IT Pro SharePoint 2010 training. This includes almost four hours of this guy talking about Upgrading from v3 to v4. I promise it isn’t too boring; it includes a fun little demo of a database attach upgrade and the visual upgrade process, including some PowerShell.

What is visual upgrade? I am glad you asked. SharePoint v4 (2010) ships with all of the v3 visual components, including themes, CSS, and master pages. This allows SharePoint post upgrade to continue rendering your site the same exact way as it was rendered in v3. Then when you are ready to flip the switch you can move to the v4 visuals.

The idea is you can separate the server/data upgrade process that requires you, Mr. or Mrs. IT person, to work all weekend doing the back-end work. At the end of the weekend you can be all done and still leave 2010 to look like v3. This avoids all of those Monday morning phone calls of “Help. I cannot find the site actions button” or “What is this fluent UI? I only speak English.”

Now that the site has been upgraded but left on v3 UI you can leave the project of switching to the new fluent UI (AKA the ribbon) to the owner of the site. They can make the change when they are good and ready and take all of the blame. And because after a while having some sites on v3 and some on v4 will annoy you and the help desk you can use PowerShell to do a mass update.

So what I would do is tell the site owners that in 30 days I am going to force everyone to v4 UI, so sometime between now and then, you need to make the move if you want to gradually migrate. Otherwise, it will just be done for you. And who says you aren’t flexible?

Here are the necessary PowerShell commands, courtesy of Todd Klindt.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Patent Wars Hurt the Customer More

Patents, and intellectual property protection, were in the news this week. First came Microsoft’s claim that Salesforce.com violated some of its patents. Then came Salesforce’s countersuit that Microsoft created SharePoint on the back of its patents. (Not to mention the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the Bilski case that cleared up … well, nothing.)

In its filing, Salesforce.com claimed that SharePoint clearly works in a way that violates its patents, and that Microsoft should have known that risk. Salesforce.com did not reveal specifics about which patents were violated.

While it’s easy to look at this as the actions of two petulant children, each looking to hurt the other, do not doubt for a second that this is serious business. Salesforce.com went so far as to hire David Boies, who successfully litigated the U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust case against Microsoft.

Each will spend big money fighting these cases – we needn’t run a benefit for either company – but the real losers ultimately will be the users of their products. If the courts rule that either violated the other’s patents, the companies will be ordered to stop offering up their products until the patent offenses are removed. That will result in changes to the software that could break from the current versions, and things that once worked well might not work so well, or even at all. Klugey fixes will be offered, and the whole implementation becomes tenuous.

All because these companies use their patents as weapons. Companies such as IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and many, many more boast of winning thousands of patents per year, making it virtually impossible to keep up with what’s patented and what is not. Then, when they see another company trying to enter into their competitive market space, they review the software and find patent violations to block the companies out, keeping a greater market share for themselves.

The courts have been no help in dealing with this issue. Some argue the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office needs to do a better job defining what is and is not patentable. Others say the courts need to make that clear. The recent ruling in the Bilski case took such a narrow view of patents that it did nothing to clarify matters.

Until someone in government has the backbone to stand up to these big software companies and define what the patent rules will be going forward, these types of bullying lawsuits and countersuits will continue unabated. The companies won’t suffer too badly, but their customers surely will.
-- David