Share and Enjoy !

Find this Podcast “Creating Award Winning SharePoint Intranets Webinar” on the ThreeWill Soundcloud, Stitcher, and iTunes.


Danny Ryan :Okay. So are we recording our webinar, good, good. Hello everyone and welcome to this webinar on Creating Award-Winning SharePoint Intranets. I’m here with Bo George. Hey Bo.


Bo George :Hey.


Danny Ryan :-We’re covering … this is a webinar that we’ve created out of a white paper or ebook but recently created I think the end of last year. I appreciate you taking the time to go through this. I want to welcome everybody to the webinar, so let’s go ahead and get started.


Bo George :Okay.


Danny Ryan :You had eight things that we wanted to cover with this. We’ll step through those things and talk about where they came from. Just a little bit of background before we do that. The whole idea of award-winning SharePoint intranets came from … there’s a company out there called Nielsen Norman who does an award around SharePoint intranets. A couple of the last two years some of our clients have won the award the first one being Cadwalader and then this past year, I don’t know if you saw this but Goodwill ended up winning as well.


Bo George :Oh yeah, yeah.


Danny Ryan :I know we’re nominating another one of our clients to win it for this year, so I look forward to seeing if that goes through.


Bo George :Yeah.


Danny Ryan :Let’s do it. Talk us through what our agenda is for today.


Bo George :Okay, well so first thing, the first one is establish an inspired vision. Kind of going back to title of the white paper we did in this webcast, creating an award-winning SharePoint intranet. It’s a big title, it’s a little presumptuous, it’s out there. It’s inspiring in some ways right. Most people don’t say, “That’s what I want to do is  create an award-winning intranet”. They want to create an intranet that people will love.


Danny Ryan :Yeah.


Bo George :Winning any awards is maybe just a bonus on to of that.


Danny Ryan :Most of the time, my experience has been through the years is people are ashamed of their-


Bo George :Yeah.


Danny Ryan :-so award willing, well just something I want to use.


Bo George :Yeah the flip side might be I want to create an Intranet that doesn’t suck so-


Danny Ryan :That could work.


Bo George :Yeah, yeah so over 10 years now doing portals, there’s been a lot of lessons learned big and small portals and all that stuff, so a lot of what I’ve got here came from those lessons. My agenda of course the first one is establishing an inspired vision, and I’ll get into that, but I think that’s where it all starts. I draw a lot on consumer-grade products and the leaders of those companies and some of that stuff, so I’ll probably mention some of that as I’m going through. This is not exactly step-wise, but it sort of is, after you do have a vision it’s doing some homework, deciding on a brand for your portal. Then I talk about keeping it clean and simple, which gets more into implementation time,-


Danny Ryan :Okay.


Bo George :-thinking about planning for mobile and also thinking about your users, your audience there, so that’s number six. Number seven and eight are more long term things as you’re working through the project, stay patient and persistent. Portals is a living, breathing thing, it’s not ever really done. Analyze everything, it’s that feedback loop of learning from your mistakes, improving upon ’em, incorporating them back into your portals, so I’ll talk about that stuff as well.


Danny Ryan :That’s great I appreciate everybody joining. If you look at the handout section of the go to webinar interface, I’ve went ahead and posted up the ebook up there, so they can download that from there, also this presentation as well if you want to download that and share it with others, that’s great as well so feel free to download those. Before we jump into this as well, if you’ve got any questions, we might have some time in the end that we can go through questions. Feel free to use the go to webinar interface as well. I’ll try to keep an eye out here for any questions that folks come up. Bo and I will do our best to answer those questions at the end of webinar. With that, let’s go ahead and jump into the first one.


Bo George :Okay, all right. So my first one, establish an inspired vision. This is all about setting the tone for what your portal will be. You want to do it as the first thing, you want to do it as a team. You want it to be the mantra, your marching orders. It’s got to be grand because if it’s bland, then it’s not really going to inspire people to do much. Like I said in the second, you want to bring others in because it can’t be one man’s vision.


Danny Ryan :Okay.


Bo George :It’s got to be a team’s vision otherwise you’re not only creating a vision, you’re also trying to bring everybody on and buy into your vision. The more people you help establish that, the more heads you have bought into that vision. Like that last one, being grand and almost unachievable is okay. This is one that sticks in my mind about Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook and his connecting the world vision and these grand plans for Facebook, which when he was in his dorm room 10 years ago, people would have said, “You’re crazy”. It’s that far off ness that keeps you striving and doing things and people probably think that’s a little bit crazy for a portal. If we go to the next slide, I’ll show you-


Danny Ryan :That’s my cue.


Bo George :-yeah, yeah. I’ll show you two different examples. These are obviously contrived but if you’re a very tactical company, and you just think of SharePoint as a place to store your documents then you might just say, “That’s our portal, it’s a place to store our documents”.


Danny Ryan :Yeah.


Bo George :Now we’ve got it boxed in and that’s really all it is right.


Danny Ryan :That’s very inspiring, “It’s a place to store all your documents”.


Bo George :Yeah it’s kind of like its-


Danny Ryan :It’s the new file sharing.


Bo George :Right yeah and that’s a lot of approach that people come to this, I’ll just get my files online.


Danny Ryan :Yeah, yeah.


Bo George :You look at the second one, and it’s “We seek to organize all our content into a single, unified portal where anyone at anytime on any device can access what they need to do their job”. So there’s so many facets in there-


Danny Ryan :Yeah.


Bo George :-it’s organizing your content, which speaks to metadata. It’s the word content instead of documents that says other things-


Danny Ryan :So it’s structured and unstructured data.


Bo George :Yeah, single unified is so many big company have four different portal technology projects or products, so it’s a unified portal. Maybe you’re saying, “We’re going to settle on this one platform or something”. Any on any time on any device speaks to when I’m at home on my phone or in an airport-


Danny Ryan :I could be working anywhere.


Bo George :It’s grand-


Danny Ryan :Yeah.


Bo George :-we’re getting there with just Microsoft 365 natively.


Danny Ryan :Yeah.


Bo George :A lot of that stuff would have seemed really grand five years ago but now is common place now right.


Danny Ryan :This is where we’re starting to see that more often, people are calling SharePoint the digital workspace, you’re seeing people use that term, where it’s more where people are getting things done, your workspace to go into to work together with your colleagues and actually-


Bo George :Yeah.


Danny Ryan :-doing more line of business type of applications and utilizing this more for how I get my job done.


Bo George :Yeah and the anyone, anytime any device thing is so relevant now. I work on my laptop most of the time, but I’m on my phone some of the time. I might be on my iPad another bit of the time so this portability where people used to be afraid, “If my laptop dies, there goes two weeks of my life or something”. Right now, somebody could take my laptop away, and I don’t think I would lose anything ’cause everything digital is in SharePoint, or it’s in a code repository for code or something like that-


Danny Ryan :Yep.


Bo George :-stuff like that-


Danny Ryan :Nice, very nice.


Bo George :This is the not so fun one.


Danny Ryan :Oh come on.


Bo George :Yeah and I got the little boy there doing his homework. I wanted a picture ’cause it-


Danny Ryan :You should have put Barrett up here, you should have put Barrett.


Bo George :He doesn’t do his homework. No he does it at school or whatever. But my point here is especially now with Microsoft 365 there’s this real tendency to, well we already have SharePoint stood up for us, let’s just go in and start doing stuff. Fight that tendency a little bit to do some homework, some planning, some preparation before you jump right in because you could end up with the digital file share where you can’t find anything if you don’t do your planning. So strategic planning that’s more the stuff about what do we want this to be? Is it just for documents? Where do we draw the line of what belongs in our SharePoint portal versus other potential places like a line of business application that is in a database or something like that. Absolutely everything does not have to go in SharePoint, maybe there’s some integration points between them. So that’s strategic planning around what goes where ,which feeds into a governance plan and all that stuff, one of the key things to get you going. Like I said don’t jump into implementation too quickly. Just because you have an environment out there, don’t go straight to the root of the portal, create a document library and load stuff in.


I actually had done a project last fall or last winter I guess. We were migrating somebody into Microsoft 365, turns out that the first department in to Microsoft 365 decided that their root site collection was going to be theirs. So now six months after that or whatever, the rest of the company’s coming on board and now the most obvious place that everyone should go has been taken by a single department. So that jumping in without thinking created some challenges where now what you would think is the natural place for the whole company to go is not anymore, so that sort of thing. Information architecture and taxonomy are more important than ever. I think back in our 2007 days and before we were so focused on just the coolness of being able to upload documents and that sort of stuff, we didn’t think about, “How am I going to find ’em when I have 10000 of them or a million of them?” So information architecture and taxonomy have been around forever, but they’re just getting more and more important as we get more and more digital content. I think I just wrote a blog on why I love managed metadata and turn sets.


Danny Ryan :It was a love story.


Bo George :It was a love story. My next slide-


Danny Ryan :You didn’t talk with Beth about this, that you’re in love with managed metadata.


Bo George :Yeah I just love taxonomy, I’m embarrassed to admit it but yeah.


Danny Ryan :That’s all right. I see with this it’s almost through the years it’s a blessing and a curse for SharePoint. It’s so easy to set up and get going with it and you almost skip the planning process.


Bo George :Right.


Danny Ryan :It’s like one of those things will come into the company, Joe set it up years ago and it’s sort of taken off and nobody really thought, “How are we going to use this?”


Bo George :Yeah.


Danny Ryan :It’s pretty common.


Bo George :Yeah, all too common. It’s a maturity thing for all organizations right. I listen to you and Kirk’s migration before and I think of that as a maturity right. A lot of our 2007 farms were one way. 2010 we got a little smarter and I think 2013 I think a little better and as a community of people using SharePoint, we’re all getting better. So now some of the things we used to focus on, we don’t even have to think about. So now information architecture, taxonomy, we can focus more on. This drawing I did on a piece of paper and then I scanned it in, so it looked pretty-


Danny Ryan :Oh that’s you huh?


Bo George :So it looked pretty for the white paper


Danny Ryan :Yeah.


Bo George :So all of this was straight out of my brain but what I really want to focus on is first in the center here is all of the boxes, that’s our site structure. So at the top of that portal, departments and projects and communities and this draws on a lot of experience from a lot of different customers as a very typical portal site structure. Within departments, you’ll have different sites and projects and communities. They each might have different life cycles like departments live forever unless the departments shut down. Projects probably have a fixed life cycle and communities may or may not. So you’ve got that site structure and that’s just one piece of the pie because now with the site structure, your document libraries at each of those sites can have different metadata associated with it, even automatic metadata, which was a lot of fun for one of our customers. If I upload a document to the market and department site, it might automatically be tagged with marketing and then I might have a choice of document types that are specific to the marketing department, whereas if I’m in the IT department, my choices are different, my automatic tags are different and all that site structure is your fundamental basis for how your metadata can be applied automatically or optionally based on that kind of stuff. That all in my big bubble around everything is search and so-


Danny Ryan :Yeah.


Bo George :-all of that matters in search because you have no clue where the document is, you come through your Google search box and you’re just looking for something, you just type a term. Then all those automatic data or the metadata people supplied is how you refined that content, not having a clue about where it might actually live. I love that slide as a way to communicate all of the importance of all that sort of stuff.


Danny Ryan :Can we do this for our intranet?


Bo George :Cobbler’s son has no shoes?


Danny Ryan :I’m gonna hire you, I need a solid meeting for next week right? We’re going to-


Bo George :Yeah and we’re doing things out in front of people too. We try things-


Danny Ryan :Yes.


Bo George :-and then we back off ’cause we want to be able to educate our customers so yeah.


Danny Ryan :We try a lot of things yes. Some of them work some of them don’t. Folks if you’ve got questions, feel free to ask as we’re going along here. I’m keeping an eye on that so I appreciate it.


Bo George :So in my homework, if I was a teacher in school, my students would revolt with all this homework. More homework is … So strategy, what do I want to achieve, taxonomy, metadata and what features and all that stuff to understand it. Then once you have that basis, the next obvious step in your homework is creating that roadmap. Maybe it’s your requirements, maybe it’s not that specific, maybe it’s “Well here’s my goals, here’s what I want to achieve” spelled out more specifically. Not the grand vision, now we’re getting down to brass tax, so goals or problems the things that you want to deal with today. So I’ve got two quick slides on an example of mapping a goal and mapping a problem statement. So the goal … maybe your statement is, “We want to eliminate email attachments when collaborating as a team”. I think this is a problem everyone has. I start an email, I upload an attachment, somebody wants to change it and now we’ve got version one, now we’re on version seven, even to this day we still have this problem. So that’s an obvious win for SharePoint. It’s you put the document in there and you click the share button. You type your email, everybody gets it now we’re pointed to the same one.


Now that’s a goal you could use capabilities to say what can solve that and then even a little bit of a statement about how just to get you verbal as in you can take this as far or as not as you want. The flip side of the coin is a problem statement, glass half full, half empty sort of thing. Instead of the what do we want to achieve you could also look back and say, “What do I really hate about what we do right now?” I hear this one from everybody, “We can never find documents on our network drive or our current intranet. The name of the document doesn’t help, maybe it’s a meaningless name. Everyone has their own approach to storing documents in who knows what folder right?” I hear this all the time just over and over and you hear it in your dreams.


Danny Ryan :Yes.


Bo George :It’s that same problem everybody has. I can create a folder. I’m going to name it “Bo’s Stuff”. That means something to me I know it contains these five things. Then when Danny comes and looks at my folder, he goes, “I have no clue what Bo’s Stuff is going to contain so am I going to click on it”-


Danny Ryan :Yep.


Bo George :“No that’s not what I was looking for, back out”. That’s where taxonomy, metadata, automatic metadata, all those sort of things could solve that problem. You just have to be disciplined enough to define the rules that everybody has to play by.


Danny Ryan :Excellent, excellent.


Bo George :This is actually a fun one. So the homework one not so fun. Choose your brand I’ve been involved in a lot of these where people choose their brand. So a brand in this sense is a pretty broad thing. Obviously it’s going to be based upon your vision, that’ll feed into your brand. This is your chance to get your first chance at a little bit of a groundswell. You could engage your user to do surveys. We here at ThreeWill did that here to name our Café, that’s the name we decided on. It’s not the name I picked but I’m behind it.


Danny Ryan :What did you pick?


Bo George :I don’t remember. I think it might have been the Hub or it might have been, I don’t know. I like the Café, it’s good too. I like the Hub and Lane and I were involved in a really big effort back in the day where we called it the workplace. All those names do different things and your goal with it is obviously you can just leave it called SharePoint and everybody could say, “Hey go check it out, it’s on SharePoint” and then that sounds so exciting. If you give it a name, that helps in several ways. If you have several versions of SharePoint, Prem, Microsoft 365 2010, then your new one has a name and then it becomes … it would be like if we didn’t name our children and we could say, “Well we’ve got the kid”. Well everybody’s got the kid but now that I named him Barrett, I have a little bit more relationship there, so that’s what brand is about in that sense. Then you can carry it forward into creating logos, creating T-shirts. I was on projects where we had mouse pads, pens, shirts all that stuff. If you’ve got the budget you can go all the way there with-


Danny Ryan :Sounds like you were at another company with a larger marketing budget than I have my friend, that’s what it sounds like.


Bo George :Yeah it was marketing the brand to an extreme, its got its pros and cons ’cause when you wear the shirt for your portal everyone’s like, “Where do I get one of those?” Either that or “What a dork. He’s wearing a shirt for his portal”. Yeah.


Speaker 3:You are a huge nerd.


Bo George :Yes, especially if my wife would see me wear it. The brand and how far you take it is going to be highly dependent on everyone. I’ve worked where brand meant we just changed out the logo on the top and we called it something else and others where we done some color scheme changes and they matched the corporate color. Then all the way down where you do custom master page work and all of that crazy stuff that allows you to what people say, make SharePoint not look like SharePoint so-


Danny Ryan :This is nice. I love that when you’re in a meeting and someone says, “Where’s this?” And they’re saying it’s on Café. I knew for us it seems like people will look at everyone typically has an intranet and then an extranet and would be typically named different.


Bo George :Correct, yeah correct.


Danny Ryan :So you would say, “Look in this” almost like you have a different handle for the different places you’re putting your docs.


Bo George :That’s a good point yeah so there could even, yeah. Different components or uses of SharePoint can have different names. Also, now with Microsoft 365 and how many products out there we’ve got Planner, we’ve got Groups, we’ve got Teams, we’ve got SharePoint proper, email, everything right. So if you refer to your SharePoint portal as a thing, that can help eliminate the “What in Microsoft 365 are we talking about here?”


Danny Ryan :Yeah.


Bo George :So-


Danny Ryan :That’s interesting because I think for us we’re calling the Café for the SharePoint part of this. Then we have the Yammer community. I wonder if people start naming their Yammer community something different or it’s the same or have you seen anything happen with that. I’m asking questions that-


Bo George :No I’ve seen a little bit of both. What we do with Yammer, which I’ve seen repeated several times is you have Yammer standalone and different Yammer groups and they’re topical based or department based or whatever, you can have as many or as few as you want, then we integrate those into specific components of our SharePoint so that social’s intermingled with content management sort of stuff. In that sense, Yammer stands alone in its app and it’s just going directly to Yammer but then sometimes Yammer’s in context in your portal too. Ultimately that’s what a portal is too right? Everything doesn’t have to live in that portal, the portal’s a way to get to content anywhere so-


Danny Ryan :So in chat, everybody wake up. Hello?


Bo George :We got a question?


Danny Ryan :No we don’t have a question but I’ve got a question for you guys. What have you named your intranet or extranet? What do you call SharePoint? Do you just call it SharePoint? Do you just call it intranet? I’m interested to see what people have. If you could put that in chat, that would be wonderful. We’d love to interact with you there and find out what you call it. In ThreeWill we call it the Café.


Bo George :Café.


Danny Ryan :Part of the reason why I did like the idea besides my liking coffee and tea a lot. I started with my leftover Coke Zero for lunch and now I’m switching over to my coffee.


Bo George :Yeah I’m on a constant caffeine drip, coffee, coffee, Coke, coffee, coffee.


Danny Ryan :Tommy likes tea, I like coffee so the whole idea of again, it’s an informal place where you sit down and have conversations, the idea of the Café is what we liked. A place that you can go to to talk to and interact with other people.


Bo George :Yeah.


Danny Ryan :So I think in a lot of the early days of Three Will, we spent a lot of time in Starbucks sitting around together working.


Bo George :We could have called it the Bucks.


Danny Ryan :I don’t know. The whole idea of calling it the Café seemed to work for us.


Bo George :Yeah. We don’t have to talk about this slide too much. I had some example brand names with their connotations in here like a here’s a brand and here’s a tag line or something.


Danny Ryan :Nice.


Bo George :So the next one, keep it clean, simple and consistent. I actually don’t think I had the word consistent in the white paper but I was thinking about it more and more so I added it here. It’s a bonus from that, the white paper.


Danny Ryan :Bonus word.


Bo George :Yeah. My real point here is I find this a lot with customers is there’s a natural tendency or desire to put everything where they think all the eyeballs will always be. Let’s start with your homepage. If you have 12 different departments it involved, all 12 of them are going to want three things on their homepage. Obviously when I go on the homepage and I’ve got to scroll for a day to get to the one thing I want, it’s not really a great experience. So simple means you’re going to have to make some hard decisions about what belongs on your homepage-


Danny Ryan :Okay.


Bo George :-and what might require a click to go to or a few clicks to get to and that stuff. So keeping it clean where people aren’t put off by their interactions with your system. It’s a definite case where less is more. There’s two key roles when you’re trying to strike that balance too. What I first refer to is I’m a consumer. I’m just trying to go find stuff so I don’t want a lot of noise in my way. I want to go use search to find it or navigate to it or whatever, make my life easy. The other part of keeping it simple and I think I have this is in there is I’m a contributor and I’m adding stuff. That’s the more simple thing, which a lot of customers we talk metadata, there’s this feeling where, “Okay now that I get metadata, I’m going to make everybody tell me ten things about that document and then contribute it ’cause now I’ll be able to search it by those ten things”. That creates friction and friction is bad. If you put that many barriers to getting content in, you won’t get content in. You’ve got to strike a balance.


I usually say three to five but it’s going to vary. That’s your max number of fields you want to make people provide to give that right amount of “let me know about the document but let me not create too much friction”.


Danny Ryan :Yeah, yeah, cool.


Bo George :This is another throwback. I actually think I had this as a blog post way-


Danny Ryan :Way.


Bo George :-back when and it’s relevant to me generationally I think because I started out on Myspace and I remember being so annoyed when you go to different people’s pages that things move around. I can’t find the same thing. There’s no consistency. It’s noisy, it’s loud. As a person I can express myself with flames and all that sort of stuff but as a consumer, it was off putting. I think that that’s one of the perfect examples of why people moved from Myspace to Facebook. Facebook said, “We’re going to let you socialize. We’re a content management system for your personal life to spew content. We’re going to do it in a constrained, consistent fashion so when you go to everybody’s page, everything’s the same. It’s a consistent user experience, adoption increases, all that stuff. My grandma can Facebook. She would not have Myspace. She certainly wouldn’t have been doing the crazy html and script stuff people were trying to do to customize their page. So that consistency, cleanliness and even the fact that you could do less with Facebook at the time than you could with Myspace, still it won out. So people sometimes think well flexibility is always going to win out, that’s not necessarily true. Consistency, simplicity, reduce friction are going to win out so …


The next one is input forms, which is in that same vein of reduced friction. It’s a pretty contrived example but on the left hand side, that is the out of the box contact form on SharePoint right? So if you start a contacts list, that’s what you got, which every time I show that to people and I’m like, “Are they really going to use those fields?” Most of the time they’re not. No one really puts address into SharePoint that much anymore. You’re not going to mail them a letter. On the left hand side is this monstrous form with lots of stuff, what do I fill out? What do you want from me? On the other side, on the right hand side is a simplified, clean and to the point, just give me your full name, email, mobile phone. If you have 1000 people filling this out, I would venture to guess here, percentage of people that will actually do it will be on the right hand side right, just think about that on every form what you’re requiring of contributors to do. There’s a yin and yang to this.


If you have a smaller number of trained contributors, it’s more of a content management publishing system and you have five people that do everything, you can probably require more of them. If it’s a wide open system and 1000 people might be contributing, the amount of stuff you can require for them is going to naturally need to go down-


Danny Ryan :Yeah.


Bo George :-because they’re not all going to know the same thing. They’re not going to be able to pick that one specific piece of metadata that you know about.


Danny Ryan :Yeah there’s some people, Chiman-


Bo George :I see that.


Danny Ryan :-which is good. We love interaction here.


Bo George :Cool.


Danny Ryan :But it was nice Beth had shared at the Braves what the SharePoint in Prem is called Home plate.


Bo George :Sweet.


Danny Ryan :That’s awesome, that’s great. SharePoint online, I didn’t know we had that. Well done. I wonder if they’re going to continue to call it Home plate I wonder Beth or is there going to be a new, I wonder if they’re going to have a new name for the online version. The other one said NayShare. A lot of people put share as part of the name of their … I don’t think we had many examples of that but a lot of people want to talk a little bit about its lineage, which is SharePoint but putting the name share in it.


Bo George :Yeah there’s a lot of connotations to the word share. It’s about collaboration, getting things up there and all that stuff. Home plate seems like obviously a relationship to the Braves and that it’s a home and you’ve made it around the field. There’s different things that you can just emote from a name for sure.


Danny Ryan :Awesome, awesome. Great. Thanks for the input. So nice we’re not alone.


Bo George :I’m talking to myself here. So plan for mobile. Sometimes it’s an afterthought for people but it’s got to be something you think about. One of the obvious great things about Microsoft 365 is that it is not behind a firewall, accessible on any device and that sort of stuff so that’s important. When I say plan for mobile, you might be on developing a farm, your constraints, your rules might be more challenging so you need to plan for that. Things that I think are really key to keep in mind are, some customers want to go all in on mobile and go mobile responsive, which can be costly but I think there’s a lot of advantage to that. I think on the next page I’ll show a screenshot where I’ll show the fully mobile responsive thing that we did. Microsoft 365 itself is going that way but is not fully mobile responsive now. You’ve got Modern lists and libraries and then the Modern pages feature that’s been rolling out is I’ll say pretty much mobile responsive. You get the hamburger menu when you collapse down and all that stuff. Nothing is 100% of the way there and you’re always going to have some unique challenges unless you’re fully custom.


Danny Ryan :How is that … do you have any idea … it seems like Modern pages is … I go to some pages in Modern and one of the questions I have for next week was I want to change our … I want to turn this into … you guys don’t want to ask any questions I will ask all my questions to Bo. I’ll follow up next week on this but I wanted basically for us to start to use some of the Modern pages. I wanted our home page be Modern. I just noticed it’s showing up in different places.


Bo George :Well I think Microsoft 365 right now is at a little bit of a crossroads personally.


Danny Ryan :Okay.


Bo George :This is not warranted or anything.


Danny Ryan :Everything else is warranted?


Bo George :So if I create a list I get the option Modern UI.


Danny Ryan :Okay.


Bo George :If I create a document library I get Modern UI. If I create a app, which is any other content type besides a document or a list. So a contact, a calendar, a task, a whatever, those are not yet modern.


Danny Ryan :Okay that just doesn’t make sense but that’s fine.


Bo George :I don’t know why it’s that way but that’s what I see right now. So if you’re in that scenario and you create a custom list, you can have the Modern experience. Then you jump over your contacts list and whoa, back to 1999, 2010 whatever, so that’s inconsistent now.


Danny Ryan :Okay.


Bo George :Modern UI and Modern pages is a little bit of the same way. I’m trying to push those but none of the cool things that you could do in the old pages is there yet right? So you always run into the … there’s a dozen things you could add to a modern page and then anything beyond that’s going to be a bit of custom client code or whatever.


Danny Ryan :Okay.


Bo George :So that’s hard for Power users to get the most out of it. I know that that’ll improve. The other thing people don’t seem to like is that gigantic banner at the top that you can’t get rid of that takes up 150 pixels of the top that says your page title and that thing behind it. I’m sure that’ll change over time but the other things that are great is when you use that page and you collapse it down and you get the little menu, the hamburger menu and all that stuff, it looks really nice. I think it’s too soon to tell but it’s going there.


Danny Ryan :Gotcha.


Bo George :The other thing, that middle bullet point there on the mobile that I’d like to mention is consider apps to augment and tomorrow morning I’m going to show in a sprint review the Yammer app and the Office or the SharePoint online app on my phone on the iPhone. So those are good ways to connect into your content from an app. So they’re a native app and so they have that going for them. Then there’s a lot of third party apps that have been around for a long time. Collegio,, Breezy a bunch of ’em. Each have their pros and cons. You can check ’em out. I know I’ve put some on some customers there on Premise Farm, everybody used iPads and so we went through a round of “Which app works best for the CEO, CIO” kind of thing.


Danny Ryan :This maybe plans to roll into the branding and mobile and in general, which is customers can use what comes out of the box with Microsoft 365 or SharePoint online and use that as the basis. Or there’s also probably a dozen different products now that have grown out of being something that’s on top of SharePoint online that provides better branding, more web parts, more app or apps-


Bo George :Yeah.


Danny Ryan :-maybe a better mobile experience. Then you have the whole experience where you can build your own custom thing, so you can start building your own stuff. We typically, it seems like on the projects you’ve been on we’ll try to … if it’s a smaller sized project, just use what you can out of Microsoft 365-


Bo George :Yep.


Danny Ryan :The medium sized projects are probably one that you might look at something that you could purchase and use on top maybe to get a bit more functionality for the … some clients want to customize the whole thing out and really invest a lot of time, money and energy around this.


Bo George :Yep.


Danny Ryan :And go out and build it out themselves.


Bo George :Yeah yep yeah.


Danny Ryan :Is that fair to say?


Bo George :Yeah, yeah, it’s all about your goals and your budget.


Danny Ryan :Yeah, yeah.


Bo George :So that’s this next screenshot. I guess it’s going on a year or two old now but it was a fully mobile responsive on Premise Farm and so we were already doing branding. You’ll notice in the top corner it says the Hub, so that was the name of this one. Hard style view, lots of filtering views, very content push on the home page and then collaboration on lots of other pages. On the left is a 1920 by 1080 resolution. On the right was my iPhone and it shows how everything collapsed down. You’ve got the hamburger on the top and your cards go from three across to stacked. Really fun mobile responsive, it’s angular, it’s bootstrap. It’s all those things that people use to do just normal public facing websites. This is sitting on top of SharePoint.


Danny Ryan :That seems like the direction that we’re going into right now. At least for us, somebody wants to have a more customized app, we’re using third party frameworks along with SharePoint to go build these things out.


Bo George :Yeah. Microsoft’s doing things with React now and everything, they’re embracing that … catching up to the people who have been embracing it before them-


Danny Ryan :Okay.


Bo George :-that were using it on top of the Microsoft API’s in SharePoint.


Danny Ryan :Beautiful.


Bo George :All right. So not so fun and sexy but consider your audience. What does that really mean right?


Danny Ryan :Not sexy at all. Audience?


Bo George :Yeah. Your audience. It’s a hard one but it really comes down to people who use your application are not all the same right? Part of it is experience, part of it is goals, part of it is domain knowledge. They’re not going to approach your intranet in the same way. They’re not going to know naturally where to navigate that somebody else who knows it better would. They may be trying to get something out of it that a different person doesn’t care about. Those things are going to be a challenge. The other thing is SharePoint always has more than one way to do almost anything. When you have the little ellipsis and you have the menu that hangs off of it. Then you had the ribbon in 2013 that would do the same thing and then maybe even a third way. That creates more confusion more than anything so for that I typically when I train people or show people, I only show ’em one way and if they discover the other way more power to you.


Danny Ryan :Yeah.


Bo George :With the Modern UI that’s getting better. It’s actually cut down on the ways you can do things or the options and all that stuff so definitely one of the Modern UI things is lists and document libraries that I like is that that ribbon is gone. The other thing is you’ve got to think about is how do they get to what they need and that where I was alluding to. Generally you have two types of people. They may be doing those two things all in the same activity but there’s a navigator. So that’s somebody who bookmarks a lot of things or they go to the home page and then they click the menu and then they navigate to the third level. Then they go into the document library and then to the folder and then they know right where they’re going or they can figure it out, navigators. Then there are searchers who they don’t remember it right. Maybe they can’t remember anything me, yeah. So those people are the ones who, I might have gone to Google and did the same search term and clicked on the same link 700 times. I never bookmark it and I never navigate to it and type in a URL so I’m a searcher. I actually found there was an executive on a project where I went through all of this stuff about people can-


Danny Ryan :Yeah.


Bo George :-navigate the site and all this stuff and nothing from him. The simplest page was a search box that you typed in the term, got to your results page, it could filter with refiners and that made his day. It just proves that what people want to get out whether they’re a navigator or a searcher is really going to be important.


Danny Ryan :Yeah.


Bo George :You need to support both.


Danny Ryan :Yeah.


Bo George :You need to have a navigation scheme, site structure that’s easy for people to understand but you still need a really good search experience and metadata for the people who don’t even care about your navigation.


Danny Ryan :Okay. Oh I can’t be either one of these. Realistic and methodical at the same time?


Bo George :Yeah okay so yeah I’m going faster on these-


Danny Ryan :You can pick one of them.


Bo George :The realistic thing is I work with a lot of people who say, “Yeah the portal’s going to be here on June 1st”. “Well what is the portal?” “I don’t know, it’s going to have some documents in it.” “How do you know it’s going to be here on June 1st if you haven’t needed to find what it is or any of that sort of stuff?” so that’s being realistic. I try to not get locked into immovable dates, that’s really hard but instead use milestones in the vein of, “The portal’s never done”. Say version one of the portal is due on this date and then say what does version one include. Version one might include a specific business unit or a specific set of functionality or a specific set of functionality for a business unit. You can define that and then roll it out with milestones. Going to different business units is a good way to keep it moving along, focus on one business unit’s needs at a time, the next one learn from the former and build it on there and then learn from that and reincorporate it so that you’re not trying to satisfy 12 different business units all at the same time in big portals and stuff like that.


Danny Ryan :With our public website, I say I’m going to be doing quarterly updates, so it’s almost like you just have a cadence of good practice with software is that you’re not trying to focus all on one date and what’s going on is you’re releasing software over periods of time.


Bo George :Yeah, yeah. I look at it a lot like our Agile Scrum process where you’re just developing a cadence. Honestly if somebody is not asking for something new in your portal or to do something new with it or to put something new in it and that’s six months of nothing, nobody wanting anything with your portal is probably a bad sign that nobody’s using it right? If somebody is asking for more stuff it means that they’re challenging it and that’s a good thing.


Danny Ryan :Yeah.


Bo George :So-


Danny Ryan :Awesome.


Bo George :Last one here, analyze everything and this is two fold. When you say analyze I’ll go to the last bullet first, people usually think about usage reporting. SharePoint has some so-so usage reporting.


Danny Ryan :Is it getting better?


Bo George :Yeah Microsoft 365 has a lot of cool reports and I use those.


Danny Ryan :Okay.


Bo George :Then some of the same reports that I remember from 2007 are still around in SharePoint where it’s you’ve got to turn on a few features and then the reports will start to run. Then it’s the CSV file that you pull out and it’s like … from that you got a, “Well how am I going to turn this into a pretty charts and all that stuff?” THat’s where something like Google Analytics, people on Web trends or there’s Adobe or Azure Insights, maybe plugging in one of those for that usage stuff will help you just get a sense of what are people using, not using, doing, that sort of stuff. That’s the tactical what’s going on there. The one above it is equally important, which I said user feedback but as I think about it, I think about it more as user sentiment. That is sending out surveys, actually a customer of ours sent out a survey they had, it was a portal that was built before they were there but they said, “Well it’s been a year since the portal’s here, can people send us feedback on what’s going on?” I think that stuff is very valuable to determine sentiment. It may take bribery, gift card for filling it out or whatever but you get people to give you their honest opinion.


I have some example questions like to show you how that survey might go. So maybe it’s a simple survey and say this is a year post launch and you got two questions in here that are directly related back to our goal mapping and our problem mapping. You could say, “Hey the portal was reduced or eliminated my need to email attachments” and let people rate that. If you get back a bunch of ones you’re gonna, “Well we did something wrong there”, if people say ten then you can learn from that. That system, simplistic questions and ratings from your users can help you figure out what you need to tune, what you’re doing wrong and doing right because we’ll never do everything right the first time.


Danny Ryan :Just use MPS and ask would you recommend your intranet to a colleague?


Bo George :Would you tell your friend to come work here because of our portal or not? Yeah.


Danny Ryan :Right now I don’t want to know the answer to that question but yeah.


Bo George :Yeah.


Danny Ryan :So good. Anything else for this last one before we get questions or any conclusions that we want to take away from this? Maybe looking at all you had eight of them-


Bo George :Yeah.


Danny Ryan :-and looking at all of this, any insights? I know I think the way I look at this is there’s smaller organizations who are trying to get the most out of getting things onto Microsoft 365, getting the most out of, it seems like it’s just been such a fast moving … Microsoft’s putting stuff out all the time it’s almost difficult to stay on top of what’s going on.


Bo George :Yeah.


Danny Ryan :So it’s almost like in a lot of ways we’re just trying to help companies keep up and utilize what’s there-


Bo George :Right.


Danny Ryan :-then with some of the larger companies we work with, they’re really looking at this as this is our workplace. It’s our place where we’re delivering, if they’re a professional services organization, it’s a place where we go and we work on projects together. It’s a core business asset that they have.


Bo George :Yes, yeah. It’s really a commodity now right? It’s ubiquitous putting documents in there, I’m sharing them, I’m doing stuff, that’s the goal is where it just becomes second nature, you don’t really think much about it except for that it enables you and you can quicker do any other things that matter. I can get to what I need and every thing else that matters I can focus more on that you know?


Danny Ryan :Yeah.


Bo George :One other thing that came to mind in my eight things. When I was talking about the more homework, one that I hope I didn’t convey, which is don’t get in an analysis paralysis scenario. Don’t spend a year and a half to defining your taxonomy and never moving forward. It’s okay to move fast and break things. We’ve been brought in to help people and people can always adjust their taxonomy after the fact or move their site structure around. So it’s a balance of doing the right amount of homework but not preventing yourself from moving forward so think about that too. I didn’t mean to come off like, “You cannot start until you’ve done these”.


Danny Ryan :Until you’ve done x, y and z.


Bo George :Yeah and I think it’s well with a scrum approach is you are all the time looking at that sprint and trying to release software at the end of that, to constantly be thinking about-


Danny Ryan :Yeah.


Bo George :-iterations and getting things out for people to take a look at so you’re never sitting on something for too long.


Danny Ryan :Right.


Bo George :We do it in the development of software sense but it could be the development and roll out of a portal sense. What comes out in each sprint can be releases to business units or turning on or education on different features whatever so-


Danny Ryan :Excellent. Any other questions folks might have you can go ahead and ask them I’ll keep an eye out for that. Anything that we’ve brought up if you want to in the question too. Was there anything that was insightful that you’re taking away from this maybe we can share internally? Any other questions that folks might have about this? Before we get off just a reminder, if we want you can go ahead and you can download this presentation. If you look in the handout section of the go to webinar interface, you can download them from there. Also, I’ll take a recording of this if you want it to share with colleagues. I’ll have a recording of this available depending upon how the video turns out we may or may not.


Bo George :Post it on YouTube. Make air bubbles with our faces.


Danny Ryan :We may just have the audio for this with our faces on it. I don’t know if I like looking at my bald head too much here. We may just have the audio we’ll see how that goes. We just wanted to experiment here a little bit. We’re all about experimenting and just wanted to do the video and see our smiling faces.


Bo George :I’m the lucky first one to try it and maybe the last right.


Danny Ryan :So thank you everybody for the questions. Got a lot of people chiming in here saying thanks, appreciate it. Again the last little bit on this, if you want to follow up with me that’s great, this is my email address. The website is a great place. We try to constantly put new content on there. We also have a podcast that if you’re interested in that as well it’s a great place to stay on top of what we’re thinking about.


Bo George :You should read the white paper to people in a podcast and they could just listen to it as they go to bed.


Danny Ryan :As they go to bed.


Bo George :Sounds of Danny.


Danny Ryan :Well great, thank you everybody for chiming in and saying thanks. We appreciate everybody taking the time to do this. Have a wonderful weekend and take care everyone. Bye bye.


Bo George :That’s all that time up there but I guess that we started a little bit before. Cool.



Share and Enjoy !

Related Content: