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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

Blogging Naturally (make it a part of your day)

There isn’t a day that goes by, where I come across some type of challenge, situation, issue, or piece of new learning that isn’t worth sharing with others. This article encourages you to blog, explains why it's important, and provides ideas on how to make it a natural part of your day.

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Better SharePoint Adoption - Listening to Your Users

In our day-to-day client work, one topic we are very passionate about is user adoption. We talk about this topic both internally and externally on a daily basis. After all, we should never forget for whom we are solving problems and building solutions. Put another way - if a car manufacturer builds 1,000 cars and no one buys them, then what was the point?

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SharePoint 2010 Taxonomy Term Changes Don’t Update Content

SharePoint 2010 Managed Metadata

If you’re like a lot of other folks, you’ve taken advantage of the Managed Metadata functionality in SharePoint. You’ve created your taxonomy group, specified your term sets, and created some terms. Then you’ve created your managed metadata column in your site collection, and pointed it to your specified term set. You’ve then uploaded a lot of documents and specified terms for the metadata column, everyone is “happy happy happy”.

But then you need to rename one of your terms currently called “Information Technology Department” to just “Information Technology”. No sweat, you go into the Term Store tool, rename the term. Done right? To your surprise, when you look at properties of various documents tagged with your term, they haven’t been renamed. Hmm … what gives?

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Does your business hinge on the government?

Does your business hinge on the government?

If you’re in healthcare, manufacturing, energy and education, the answer is definitely and in any other industry, the answer is probably so! Regardless, the government and its respective actions are initiating new laws and regulations that could not only impact but dramatically adjust a business operation. While the news may carry a story for the world to see, chances are that your business may just take some notes in an old notebook and hope to keep up with the story.

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Tracking and Approving Sales Commissions in SharePoint

As a company that provides customer relationship management (CRM) services, we’re big advocates of using your CRM system to track and approve sales commissions.  But sometimes it can be impractical to do this.  This is particularly true in complex organizations, small organizations or fast-growing organizations where you need the flexibility to quickly adapt your commission model to a changing situation in the marketplace.  Long-term, everyone should aim to handle commissions in their CRM system, but what do these organizations do in the short-term?

The good news is that SharePoint is an excellent tool for giving you all of the flexibility you need, while still having an efficient process for setting, tracking and distributing commissions.  Here’s how it can work for you.

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Update a Managed Metadata List Field the Easy Way with PowerShell

I was working with PowerShell to update a managed metadata field that accepted multiple values in a publishing page library today and it was more difficult than it seemed like it should have been, so I’m posting here what actually worked for me. It turned out to be much simpler than I was trying to make it.

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How to Delete a Service Application Database that is Not Responding

powershell_iconOn a recent project, I hit an issue with databases that was interesting. We were restoring a lot of databases over to a development environment from production, as well as the managed metadata database. I had gone through the whole deal, backed up the database in the old server, restored it to the development SQL server, etc. There was an issue with the Managed Metadata service that required to have service application re-created. This lead to a situation where the service application database was unprovisioned, but not deleted.

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Fixing SharePoint 2010 Calendar Overlays After a Move with PowerShell

imageIf you ever move a calendar from one place to another, either as part of a site move or a list move, you will be greeted by the fact that your calendar overlays no longer work because the URLs to the overlaying calendars are hardcoded into the list view. I am trying to set up an automated restore from production to development, so having lots of broken calendars isn’t great. Fortunately, all you have to do is run a few lines of PowerShell to fix this.

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Did You Know Microsoft Expression 4 Is Now Free?

expression

I don’t believe Microsoft Expression ever had a huge following from web developers and graphics designers, but it served a purpose. Whether you liked it, hated or loved it, Microsoft has done what it does best again.

In case you haven’t visited their website lately, you will notice some major changes with Expression. Basically, they are rolling the Expression products into Visual Studio 2012 and beyond, forgoing the standalone tools. For the time being, they made Expression Web 4, Expression Design 4 and Expression Encoder 4 free for download. That may not be a big deal to some, but I think it could prove useful to some.

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Excel Overload: How Much is Too Much?

excel_logo_Not a Business Intelligence BI tool

Microsoft Excel is an amazing tool both in terms of the diversity of functions that it can provide and in the depth of data analytics and business intelligence that it makes available to people at every level of an organization.  But too often businesses find that they are using it to solve problems that are much more complex that Excel was intended to solve - and paying a price in terms of employee productivity and costly decisions made using bad data.

So how do you know you've taken your Excel application too far?  And what do you do about it?

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How to Resolve the Missing Item Scheduling in SharePoint 2010

SharePoint Publishing SchedulingSo you’re going about your business in SharePoint, say when you want to publish an article page. You open the page and click on Publish, and the Schedule option isn’t there! Ack! Oh the humanity! If you’re uploading a document, the schedule items appear on the edit properties (editform.aspx) dialog.

You may be asking, what scheduling option? Well, it’s the option for being able to publish pages at a future date and time and is activated at the document library level. If you have a publishing site, this feature should already be activated on the Pages library. But it can be enabled on any site/library under the right conditions. This is very likely a simple fix. Let’s review the items to check.

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How to Configure a Filtered Calendar Overlay in SharePoint 2010

SharePoint 2010 Calendar overlayCalendar Overlays was definitely a welcome new feature when SharePoint 2010 was released. They provide decent basic functionality for being to have a nice view of multiple calendars at once (up to 10 calendars). Suppose you are in a situation where you want to do some calendar overlays, but you only want to show a filtered set of calendar entries on the calendar overlay view? This turns out to be much easier than it might sound. Now you could write a simple workflow that runs on the child list and copies the list item on the child calendar to the parent calendar, but that’s not really an overlay is it?

As I said, this is actually extremely easy to configure. It feels like it should be illegal to be this easy, so enjoy the moment! So what do we need to do? Here are the overview steps:

  • Create at least 2 calendars (one child, and one parent used to display the overlay)
  • Create items on the child calendar
  • Create a filtered Calendar View on the child calendar (e.g. only show items where category=X)
  • On the parent calendar, configure the overlay, and be sure to choose the new filtered view
  • Sit back, have a drink and bask in the awe of your coworkers and boss as they bow before you in the view of this incredible display of SharePoint awesomeness

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SharePoint 2013 - A SharePoint Conference Recap and The Exciting Road Ahead

Last week, C5 Insight attended the annual SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas. It was a very full and eventful week, which was the primary reason I did not blog each evening on the daily events as I have in the past. My goal for this blog post is to summarize the overall conference highlights and some of the features that we see as very promising in SharePoint 2013.

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Auto-Populate a SharePoint 2010 Contact List from User Profile Data

imageWhile the contacts list is usually filled out for contacts that are outside the company, there are times when you would use a contacts list to store internal and external resources. Wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to re-type your internal contacts’ information that are already in the system? Now you can with a little InfoPath customization on the contacts list.

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Cloud Computing and the Public Sector

Several days ago I wrote a post in response to the successful South Carolina cyber-attack (that earlier post can be found here).  Although the security benefits alone are enough to justify starting the move to the cloud, there are numerous other cost-saving and productivity improving reasons for state and local governments to consider making the move. 

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Free SharePoint Training and other Resources

SharePoint 2010 trainingAs I work with various clients with different skill levels with SharePoint, I have on more than one occasion needed to compile a list of training resources. Microsoft (and others) provide a good number of resources so I thought I would try and compile a list in one place. These resources can be a mix of delivery methods including blogs, whitepapers, online videos, tutorials or courses. Let’s start with resources for end users, then move to the IT Pros, then to the developers. I started writing this for the purpose of training, but the lists quickly grew to include other resources, so I hope you find it a useful resource.

For the sake of this post, all resources will be for SharePoint 2010. But with the very soon to release SharePoint 2013, I will provide some information in another post. Stay tuned!

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How the Cloud May Have Prevented the Cyber-Security Storm in South Carolina

 

Cloud C5 largeEarlier this week it was announced than an international hacker had successfully made off with over 3 million social security numbers and almost 400,000 credit and debit card numbers from the state of South Carolina.  State and local governments have collectively spent billions of dollars trying to secure their data systems.  In spite of this investment, a hacker was able to identify and exploit a weak spot in their armor.  As public sector budgets are continuing to shrink, there is pressure to add more software applications to automate tasks and lower costs; increasing pressure to cut costs on security for these applications; and increasing pressure to extend the life of less secure and aging legacy computer applications.  The result is that our government agencies are at increasing risk of successful cyber-terrorism through a greater number of applications, lower security standards, and aging applications that should be replaced.

How could South Carolina and other state and local governments cost-effectively protect vital citizen, business and government records?  The answer comes from an emerging private-sector technology: cloud computing.

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5 Exciting New Features of SharePoint 2013

By now, most of you reading this have likely heard a little about SharePoint 2013, Microsoft's next version of its best-selling collaboration platform. In this short blog, we wanted to highlight some of our favorite features that will be in the next version of SharePoint.

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Correct Empty ULS Logs in SharePoint 2010

imageIf you're unsure what ULS logs are or what they're used for, please see my previous post where I cover the basics. On a recent project, I was adding a new server to a SharePoint 2010 farm. After the join was completed, I went to go review the ULS logs to ensure all looked well and no serious errors or other issues came up. To my surprise, it was empty! It turned out to be a simple fix, but here are some things to check when this happens:

  1. ULS logging is driven by the Windows service "SharePoint 2010 Tracing". Ensure this service is started, and if it is already running, right-click on it and choose restart. Then re-check the ULS logs.
  2. If the above tracing service is started and re-starting doesn't help, it likely is permissions related. This was the problem in my case. To fix this, do the following:
    1. In this environment, the tracing service was running as the application pool account. We need to add that account to the local user group "Performance Log Users".
    2. Check the membership of this group on a working farm server, and ensure the new farm server has the same group membership.
    3. Restart the tracing service, and check the ULS logs again for entries.
  3. If you still have trouble, check the other local security groups like WSS_WPG and WSS_ADMIN_WPG groups and ensure the problem server has the same memberships.

While you shouldn’t have to, it might be necessary to either perform an IISRESET on the problem server, or even reboot to ensure new credentials take affect.

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Quick Tip: Change the “Search this site…” text in SharePoint 2010

SNAGHTML6b48e8bI recently had a client that wanted to change the default text that appears in all search boxes. By default it shows “Search this site…” and the client wanted it to be a little more customized to their environment. It turns out this is very simple to accomplish, and no code! We just need to edit 2 XML files.

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Check SharePoint 2010 Site Collection Locks with PowerShell

Awhile back I ran into an issue where I had some site collection backups that failed to complete. No big deal, but this caused the locks on the site collection to remain in place, as I curiously found my administrator account with deny permissions on all sites in the site collection. This begs the question “What other site collections could be locked?” That becomes a real problem if you have a large number of site collections. Who wants to check each one in Central Administration one by one? Being the non-developer type, I turn to my trusty friend PowerShell.

First, what are we talking about specifically? In Central Administration, click Application Management, then under Site Collections, click Configure quotas and locks. Choose your web application/site collection, and view it’s status:

SNAGHTML8b6ebc

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Follow The Top SharePoint Blogs in One RSS Feed!

RSS icon

If you’re like me, at some point in your life you have set out to search the internet for SharePoint for one reason or another. After you found what you were looking for, you take a few extra minutes to look at what other posts the site has and you realize, this is pretty useful, I want to grab the RSS feed. Or you are just building a list of your favorite SharePoint MVPs. Or maybe you’re new to SharePoint, and don’t know all the cool kids’ blogs. Well after a while, those really start to stack up in your RSS reader. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could combine all those useful SharePoint RSS feeds into one single feed?

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SharePoint 2010 Crawled Properties and Enterprise Search

5_thumbCrawled properties are metadata properties that are exposed or derived from documents, lists, libraries and anything else that can be indexed. When you search in SharePoint, these crawled properties have to be mapped to managed properties, which will be displayed in search results and refinements. While you may already know this, consider the impact on your organization, or your client’s for that matter, if something goes awry with a key SharePoint component that boasts robust capabilities: Enterprise Search.

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Keep Up to Date on Microsoft SharePoint Cumulative Updates

SharePoint 2010 Cumulative UpdatesUpdates are everyone’s favorite topic, and I just wanted to throw out a few good resources on how to keep up to date on the updates that Microsoft released for SharePoint 2010 and WSS 3.0 / MOSS 2007.

The Updates RSS Feed

First and foremost, to keep up to date on SharePoint updates, you need to subscribe to the updates RSS feed! These posts provide links to the KB articles and downloads for the various configurations (Microsoft Office, SharePoint Foundation, Server, Server with Project Server, Office Web Apps, FAST Search, etc.). Notice that this feed includes all Office products, not JUST SharePoint. Unfortunately Microsoft doesn’t publish an update feed just for SharePoint that I know of. Also, Stefan Gobner, a Senior Escalation Engineer with Microsoft support, does a bang up job also posting SharePoint CU releases on his blog, as well as when issues come up. Links:

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Quickly Find the SharePoint 2010 Configuration Database with PowerShell

powershell_iconI wanted to share this quick tip with PowerShell. Many times, we need to have an easy way to find the configuration database, and like a good SharePoint administrator, you want to try and use PowerShell. I have come across other blogs here and others that mention finding this with the registry, so this is just another way to do it.

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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.