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From the category archives: Customer and Employee Engagement Blog

Blog entries related to Microsoft SharePoint and Office 365 solutions such as Power BI, Microsoft Flow, Power Apps and Microsoft Teams

Using AutoSPInstaller to Build a Three-Tier SharePoint 2013 Farm – Part 2

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Welcome back to part 2 of my short series of using AutoSPInstaller to build a 3-tier multiple server SharePoint farm.  Last time we looked at all of the work we needed to do to get setup and discussed what our end goal was.  Now we can get down to business and start some installation!   I’ll walk you through the most critical part – creating your answer file, then the installation itself.

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Using AutoSPInstaller to Build a Three-Tier SharePoint 2013 Farm – Part 1

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In this 2-part series I am going to take you through all of the necessary steps to use autospinstaller to build a 3 server farm doing remote installations on Windows Server 2012 R2 with SharePoint 2013 recent CU. (When I say all, I am referring to the SharePoint relevant pieces and the autospinstaller.) Continue reading for SharePoint 2013 (2010) installation.

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Forget Technology, Focus On People

imageThe latest technology out there today is compelling and can do great things. And it’s true, a few could revolutionize the very way you do business.  But in an effort to do more with less, move faster than competitors, be agile and lean, and choose “best of breed” technology, we often see organizations forget about the very ones who will make the investment successful and worthwhile.

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Resolve Stubborn Missing Reusable Workflows in SharePoint Designer

imageHave you ever opened SharePoint Designer, clicked on Workflows, and saw nothing?  I sure did and was able to fix it.  In today's blog post, we'll do a quick primer of SharePoint reusable workflows, then I'll discuss the problem and all the troubleshooting I did to try and fix the issue.  Finally I'll review the magical steps necessary steps I took to actually resolve it.

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2 Easy Ways to Calculate Working Days Inside a SharePoint Workflow

I’m in the midst of two different major workflows for clients right now, one of them being an HR New Hire Onboarding request and approval process.  One small but critical requirement of the process was that each level of approval needed a two business day wait period. In this post I'll demonstrate 2 easy ways to be able to calculate working or business days inside a SharePoint workflow.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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. 

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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. 

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Measuring Enterprise Social Collaboration

The days of the production-line worker, the inbox/outbox process and any other repetitive task for humans to perform – are vanishing quickly. With automation, apps and robotics replacing humans at an unprecedented rate, our ability to collaborate to innovate, inspire, inform and to discover new insights might be one of the last ways to differentiate human labor from an automated workforce. But there is a problem. Most organizations have only a vague notion of how they are doing with social collaboration – let alone a vision and measurable goals for how they will make improvements.

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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! 

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Collaboration at Microsoft Convergence

A lot of exciting information is being shared this year at Microsoft Convergence in Atlanta, GA.  This post summarizes the highlights of day 1, with a focus on the sessions that discussed working together better inside and outside of the organization - customer and employee engagement.  We will pay particular attention to the discussions around collaboration in this post.

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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. 

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Why Collaboration?

Why Collaboration is Changing the Business World 

There is a lot of discussion about collaboration in the workplace, but little explanation as to why it is becoming increasingly important.  This infographic explains the four primary business-drivers behind the movement towards collaboration between employees, customers and suppliers.  

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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. 

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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!

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Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? The SharePoint Edition!

Are you a newbie when it comes to SharePoint? Are you lost in the lingo, or trying to make heads or tails of how to incorporate the tool into your day-to-day operations? If so, this blog is for you!

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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!

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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...

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Building A SharePoint Leadership Team


I know what you’re thinking: we already have a project team, do we really need another formal team?  After all, that only means more meetings, tasks, documents to write and manage, decisions to make, consensus to get, etc.  My answer is a resounding yes, you most certainly need this team.  But here’s the truth –  while extremely important to the success of the project, this doesn’t have a to be a huge undertaking. This blog entry details 3 practical steps for you to begin building a SharePoint Leadership Team today.

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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.