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. 

Quick Addendum to Day 1

Now before I get into details of day 2, there was something I left out of yesterday’s post that is just too flippin’ cool not to mention.  If you know me at all then you know I get all excited when I start talking about the awesome capabilities in Excel BI and analytics with Power Query, Power Pivot and Power Map.  During the evening’s keynote, the Microsoft Research team came up and among other things, gave a demo for their new project / extension of the power Map engine named NUIGraph.  It’s extremely cool, and I’m excited to see where this will get used in other applications. 


Reviewing 40 years of tornado data in the US

Analyzing the data further


Looking at data vertically in 3 dimensions over time

Another really cool project they are working on is called Worldwide Telescope.  Ok now we have that out of the way, let’s look  at my adventures in day 2 here at Ignite.

Session – Effective Search Deployment and Operations in SharePoint Server 2013

imageWith most time slots of sessions, there are at least 2 or 3 to choose from and I chose this one.  I wanted to gain some insights from the Premier Field Engineers on Search had to say about maintaining and monitoring search in SharePoint 2013.

When it comes to monitoring, fine-tuning, tweaking, configuring and tuning search, one of the most important things to do is to establish a baseline of performance.  Be proactive!  You do this with various tools including the built-in search reports and gathering perfmon counters, but you have no idea if there are issues or not without having something to compare your current state to.  In addition, this can be severely affected by the OS and base configuration of your disks, services, network, etc.  Plan those hardware specs! 

Here’s a list of other takeaways from this session:

  • The search team provides some pretty awesome PowerShell scripts to check status and do some repair
  • The minimum recommended cumulative update for a well functioning search for SharePoint 2013 is December 2014
  • Search in SharePoint 2016 will provide options for a smaller footprint, and cloud-based search indexers connected to on-premise farms or cloud-based environments

Session – Designing and Applying Information Architecture for Office 365 and SharePoint

A great session given by frequent speaker, author and MVP Scott Jamison.  We discussed that Information Architecture is about users getting the most out of SharePoint.  To do that, you put stuff in SharePoint people want and gain user adoption.  There are 3 key parts:

  • provide clear guidance
  • make it easy
  • keep it simple

What is Information Architecture you ask?  It’s the art and science of organizing content.  He identified 4 steps to get IA right:

  1. Define
    1. What am I trying to do?
  2. Design
    1. In what matter do I want to accomplish my goal?
  3. Implement
    1. do it
  4. Govern
    1. enforce and monitor

imageThere’s no way I can boil down all the info in this session or this topic.  But we also discussed one other very important area that I think comes up in every environment, whether you know or not.  It’s the decision around folders vs. metadata / columns.  It’s not ideal to get rid of folders in libraries entirely, nor is it best to use folders like a file share.  What do you do?  Use them both!  Design your metadata columns like your document categories, etc. then create your folders.  Use views and default metadata tagging to make it convenient for both your content contributors and consumers, where the contributor gets their folders, and consumers get a flat view of no folders and just filter the content they need.

A well planned and thought-out information architecture is crucial to the success of any SharePoint implementation. 

The 7 Deadly Sins of Collaboration

Our own Curtis Hughes was extended an invitation to give a 20-minute version in one of the Lounge areas today of our popular topic called the 7 Deadly Sins of Collaboration.  Curtis can only go into each area briefly in 20 minutes, but there was standing room only with over 80 people huddled around his stage.  Obviously this is a topic that hits home for a lot of people and organizations! 

I won’t steal his thunder, but if you weren’t able to attend this session, fret not as I’m sure we will be delivering this as a webcast in the upcoming months.  If you have a strong interest in seeing this presentation or have committed one or more of these sins, contact us!  All is not lost, we’re happy to help.

Session – A File’s Future with OneDrive for Business

Vision for OneDriveThis was an interesting session, and we got some sneak peeks into the upcoming plans and changes in the OneDrive landscape.  First, they wanted everyone to know they heard you, and fully admit there have been problems.  But their #1 priority is to address the sync functionality in the OFB (OneDrive for Business) client. 

imageBasically, they are taking what everyone has been saying and using the consumer experience as a starting point for the new sync client.  They are also working to improve the core base features as well, providing co-authoring in Word Online, improved folder management and new right-click contextual functionality.  The bottom line is that they are combining the two platforms into just OneDrive, and it will talk to either the consumer cloud or your Office 365 / OneDrive for Business infrastructures. 

If you follow the OneDrive blog, you probably have noticed that the latest versions of all the mobile clients has seen some big improvements, and provided functionality on all mobile platforms. 


Bottom line is that they are planning to have the new sync client released by the end of 2015. 

Other Exciting News

There are a couple other items that are awesome!

  • Removal of the 20,000 item sync client
  • Large file support (up to 10GB)
  • For Windows Phone, use the OneDrive app, and you can add your personal OneDrive and your OFB Office 365 account in the same app.
  • Plus many others in security and compliance

Selective sync is huge, I have even previously blogged about it.  It’s been in the consumer OneDrive and no one understood why it wasn’t in the OFB client.  Well now it will be. 

Session – Future Proofing Your SharePoint On-Premises Development

imageWow this was a packed session with less than standing room only.  I’m no developer by any means, but I was interested in this session to just get a good base understanding of how we should be designing and creating solutions moving forward in SharePoint with code.  Senior Program Manager Vesa Juvonen dove into the foray of farm solutions, transitioning to the new App model, and why custom site templates, custom list definitions and sandboxed solutions are bad. 

He confirmed that by no means was the App model dead and was more alive than ever.  Also, farm solutions will still be supported in SharePoint 2016.  But when writing farm solutions, there are important points to consider when going to write the code.  One huge help when looking to transition your farm solutions is the SPCAF tool (SharePoint Code Analysis Framework) from Github. 

The basic gist is that Microsoft is recommending as much as possible to write solutions that will work in either the cloud or on-premises.  An example of this is when creating subsite templates, you use remote provisioning and javascript embedding. 

The landing site for all information related to these topics can be found here

Session - A Strategic and Pragmatic Conversation on Governance

Eric Riz What's Your SharePoint JourneyMy last session of the day was a good discussion on governance.  Here are some of my key takeaways from this session on this very important topic for SharePoint:

  • Define Your SharePoint Journey
  • How do you know when your SharePoint implementation is successful?
  • Who in your organization is leading your governance charge?
  • Good governance planning
    • Policies (what you MAY do)
    • Guidance (a suggested way TO do it)
    • Enforcement (make sure you DO it)
  • One crucial aspect of proper governance is to develop an education strategy

I thought it was interesting to hear his take on apps.  He said he’s not a big fan of apps, because apps aren’t strategic.  They are band-aids and not enterprise solutions because an individual user can have an app, which creates silos. 


Whew!  It was a long day, but a good one.  I look forward to the sessions tomorrow, including some new content on SharePoint 2016

If you'd like to go back and read the Day 1 recap, click here