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Doug Allen's Articles

Microsoft Ignite 2015–Day 5

imageIt’s been a packed week at Microsoft Ignite, and in this final post of my daily recaps, we’ll validate the awesomeness of Visio for dashboards and data-connected data graphics, review the common problems encountered when performing the initial configurations of Office 365 service for your organization, and finally share how search works in SharePoint 2013 plus how to scale it properly.

Microsoft Ignite 2015–Day 4

imageAs we near the end of Ignite, day 4 was still filled with some great technical sessions.  I’ll give you a rundown of everything from SQL High Availability, best practices for branding and page design in SharePoint Online to scaling SharePoint 2013 search.  One of my favorite sessions that I’m excited to share dealt with navigating the landscape of Office 365 tools. 

Microsoft Ignite 2015–Day 3

WP_20150506_08_20_14_Pro_smIf you’ve been wanting to get some more information on SharePoint 2016, today’s recap is for you!  I’ll briefly review some tips from the great duo of Todd Klindt and Shane Young on upgrading to SharePoint 2013, then I’ll dangle some awesome new not yet released tools for Dynamics CRM and Office 365 straight from the mouth of the great Girish Raja.  I then got some great insights from the master Spence Harbar himself on OneDrive for Business migrations, then rounded out the day diving deep in the new hybrid search service application for SharePoint 2013 / 2016.

Microsoft Ignite 2015–Day 2


In today's tales from the field, I take you through each session of my day, but also give you a quick look back at something I omitted from the day 1 keynote.  The sessions cover the gamut from information architecture and governance, to search, to OneDrive for Business and best practices for farm solution development. 

Microsoft Ignite 2015–Day 1 Recap

Spring in Chicago - Ignite 2015It’s still spring time here in Chicago, but it’s also time for Microsoft’s first ever all-in-one product conference named Ignite.  Throughout the rest of this week, I’ll do my best to share with you insights from the day, and highlight innovations or other content I thought was interesting.

What is Ignite?

This Ignite conference is the first (but not last I’m sure) time Microsoft is taking most of all of the other individual product conferences and bringing them all under one roof.  These include TechEd, Exchange, SharePoint, etc.  Content and information is being shared across all 5 days this week, ranging from the normal breakout sessions to hands-on lands, ask the experts sessions with the product teams, exam preparation and certification testing, live-streaming from Channel9, community theaters and of course the expo center.  New this year also is the MyIgnite mobile app, providing the same experience from the web to your mobile device with maps, session info, your customized saved calendar and other goodies. 

4 Reasons Why You Should Use Excel to Create a Survey

SNAGHTML13b5de3Maybe you didn’t even know, but if you are using Office 365 or OneDrive, you can use Excel to create a survey, share it with others, and easily get the results.  This blog details why you should use Excel to create a survey.  Using Excel won’t be for everyone depending on your requirements, but it does serve a purpose in the landscape of survey tools. Find out what you didn't know before! 

Gotchas When Using Power Query to Retrieve Dynamics CRM Data – Part 2

imageWelcome back to part 2 of my review of tips and gotchas for using Power Query with Dynamics CRM OData feeds. Let’s continue our review and talk about how ugly the option set numeric values are, and how you can improve your query times by tweaking (filtering more specifically) the OData URL used in Power Query.

Gotchas When Using Power Query to Retrieve Dynamics CRM Data – Part 1

imageIf you have been following the Excel business intelligence space lately, you are familiar with all of the slick add-ins Microsoft has introduced with Power Query, Power Pivot and Power Map.  We work with a lot of Dynamics CRM clients, and I recently set out to use some CRM Online data to create some visualizations and dashboards in Excel.  I encountered a few different situations I had to deal with, so in this post I want to walk you through some of the gotchas I found when you use Dynamics CRM data with Power Query. 

    How to Selectively Sync Folders to OneDrive for Business

    OneDrive selective folder syncWhile recently working with some users who are migrating to OneDrive for Business for SharePoint 2013, I was in a discussion about how to use the OneDrive for Business client.  After walking through the capabilities and how to use the sync client, the question was asked about how to selectively sync only certain folders from OneDrive for Business and not the entire library.  Users started uploading a lot of documents, and didn’t want to sync ALL of the files in their OneDrive for Business library.  They only wanted to sync some of the folders offline.  This is possible right?  Okay I must admit I misled you a little bit by the title.  You can’t use the OneDrive for Business sync client and only choose certain folders.  It will only sync the entire library or nothing.  But fear not, the point of this blog is to offer a few viable solutions as stop gaps until Microsoft adds this functionality. 

    How Do You Sway?

    imageIn my recent blog post “Microsoft Can Do Cool”, I mentioned a new app Microsoft has in beta / preview called Microsoft Sway.  Read on for more about Sway and to be inspired!

    Back to SharePoint Basics: Part 3–Working With Views

    It’s been awhile but I am back to continue on my SharePoint Basics series for SharePoint.  Let’s see where we are:

    Back in Part 2, I touched on SharePoint Views briefly in the context of creating content.  In today’s post I want to go a lot deeper with views and show you how to work with them while will help any SharePoint user work more effectively and efficiently.

    How to Add Existing Office 365 Users to an Azure Subscription

    Microsoft AzureMaybe you’ve heard of Microsoft Azure, maybe you haven’t.   In today’s article, I’m going to walk you through the process of wiring up your Azure subscription to work with your Office 365 Organization accounts as well as Live ID. 

    Microsoft Can Do Cool!

    Mobile SurfaceLove them or hate em, like them or not, it can’t be ignored that Microsoft has been making some big splashes lately. We've started to reflect on how the software giant has been putting out some pretty cool stuff that truly improves someone’s daily life or job. Let us share some Microsoft tech that impresses us.  Read this blog to get the list.

    8 Features in Outlook 2013 You Probably Aren’t Using

    Outlook-2013If you’ve worked anywhere and had a cubicle in the last 15 years, you likely use Outlook to get and send email.  Even though we all use Outlook, there are features (some new, some not) that if you take the time, can help your day to day be a LITTLE easier.  I’m not saying this features will make you coffee or solve world peace, but every bit helps right?  Let’s look at 8 great features in the latest iteration of Outlook (2013).   

    Making Your Visio Drawing More Valuable with Live Data and Data Graphics

    imageWhen it comes to Visio's high quality, yet static content, can we make that flat data more interactive and fresh?  Sure, with Data Graphics!  Some people refer to drawings like this as having data-behind.  You might have seen the Supply Chain example from Microsoft in a number of demos, and think that it must be some overly complicated configuration.  It’s not!

    How to Add the ID Column to SharePoint Email Alerts

    imageGenerally the out of the box provided ID column is used as the “Issue ID” since it auto-increments by default.  Invariably, users need to be notified whenever issues are created or updated, so they subscribe to alerts on the list.  When they get their notification email, they notice that the Issue ID is missing, so they aren’t sure exactly which issue got updated. 

    We can fix this by adding the ID field to the email alert file.  Let's take a look how.

    What Am I Missing from SharePoint 2013?

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    The purpose of this article is to try and compile a list of features removed or discounted features, not list all of the changes or improvements in SharePoint 2013.  This list will vary somewhat depending if we’re talking SharePoint on-premise or SharePoint online, but I’ll try to call out the differences where applicable. 

    Export and Synchronize Contacts from Outlook to SharePoint


    Export Outlook Contacts to SharePointLet's say you’re a member of a sales team and you need the ability for your sales peers and managers on your team to be able to see your contacts. Did you know you can use SharePoint to store and share Outlook contacts?  This blog will show you just how easy this is to do!

    Fix the Attempted Operation Failed in Outlook with RSS Feeds

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    This blog covers the simple fix for the common issue of no new items in the RSS feeds feature in Outlook.  Have you tried to just right click on RSS Feeds and add a new feed, only to get lovely error “The attempted operation failed.  An object could not be found”?

     

    Let Your SharePoint Users Be Heard With the C5 Insight Feedback Solution!

    SharePoint Site Feedback How do users communicate their SharePoint frustrations, feedback, and questions?  If the answer is “they send an email” or “they open a helpdesk ticket” then this is for you!  We have created a solution for SharePoint 2010 on-premise and SharePoint 2013 on-premise and Office 365 that provides a powerful yet simple mechanism for users to provide feedback.  Best of all, it's free!

    Steps to Resolve the SharePoint Error “Sandboxed code execution request failed” When Configuring CRM Integration

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    After getting a client's SharePoint available on the public interweb and thus available to CRM, we installed and activated the list component. But when we went to an Opportunity or other entity that was configured for document management, it would throw an error...

    Use PowerShell to Enable Versions in All Document Libraries in All Subsites

    powershell_iconIn this post with PowerShell, I wanted to show you how you can write a script that will enable versions but starting from a subsite instead of the entire site collection. 

    Create a Simple Time-Based Email Reminder for SharePoint Calendar Events

    imageSee if this sounds familiar:
    Someone asks you “Can I get an email reminder for these events on the team calendar?”.  You think well, we can set alerts, so you go look into the alert settings, so you go look into the alert settings, and quickly realize that alerts don’t work like that.  The alert mechanism in SharePoint will send the alert subscriber an email based on an action happening on the item (it is being created, edited, etc).  We need the trigger to be based on a date.  So what to do? 

    How to Easily Lower Opacity In Visio Shapes

    imageAs a SharePoint solution architect, when I’m not creating site columns and configuring SharePoint server databases, I'm meeting and talking to clients about their business requirements for collaboration technology like SharePoint.  On a project basis like assessing a clients desire to upgrade their SharePoint environment, this involves documenting a SharePoint environment or a lot of times just business processes.  There are many tools available for these types of drawings, and one I typically use for drawing SharePoint farms and topologies is Visio. 

    Back to SharePoint Basics: Part 2–Creating Content

    Welcome back to to my series on the basics of SharePoint.  If you've already read the first post, we covered what SharePoint is. Now we're ready to dive into how to create content in SharePoint.  (Notice I said create content, not any form of structure.)  We have to crawl before we can walk, right?  Then we can move on for the super users on how to create structure, the things that hold the content. 

    Blog Topics

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    CPR for CRM Study

    The complementary paper includes over 12 years of research, recent survey results, and CRM turnaround success stories.

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    SharePoint Readiness Assessment

    This 60-second assessment is designed to evaluate your organization's collaboration readiness.

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    CRM Self Assessment

    Learn how you rank compared to organizations typically in years 1 to 5 of implementation - and which areas to focus on to improve.

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    SharePoint Feedback Solution

    This is a sandbox solution which can be activated per site collection to allow you to easily collect feedback from users into a custom Feedback list.

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    SharePoint Upgrade Checklist

    Whether you are upgrading to SharePoint Online, 2010, 2013 or the latest 2016, this checklist contains everything you need to know for a successful transition.