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How to Assign ThreeWill as Your Office 365 Partner of Record

Danny serves as Vice President of Business Development at ThreeWill. His primary responsibilities are to make sure that we are building partnerships with the right clients and getting out the message about how we can help clients.

Over the last 15 years we’ve been fortunate to help hundreds of customers.  If you’re a customer of ThreeWill and you want to do us a huge favor, please assign us as your Partner of Record.  This enables us to keep our Gold Certification and to serve you better because we have more resources from Microsoft to help you on projects.

Step-by-Step Instructions to Add ThreeWill as Your Partner of Record

  1. Go to the Office Customer Portal at https://portal.office.com/adminportal/home#/homepage.
  2. Log into your account using your user name and password.
  3. In the left navigation pane, select Billing, then Subscriptions (screenshot).
  4. Select your subscription and click on More actions in the bottom right corner under the price per user/month.
  5. In the More actions drop down menu, click on Add Partner of Record. This is where you will attach their Partner of Record (screenshot)
  6. Enter 566560 for the Microsoft Partner ID.
  7. Click Check ID to verify ThreeWill and Click Add this partner to all of your subscriptions without an associated partner.
  8. Click Submit to complete assigning their Partner of Record (screenshot).
  9. After you customer assign us as your Partner of Record, we will receive an email notification that lets us know that we have been assigned as the Partner of Record.

To Change or Remove Your Partner of Record

  1. Follow steps 1 to 5 outlined above.
  2. In the More actions drop down menu, click on Edit Partner of Record.
  3. On the Partner information local pane, the Partner of Record ID assigned to the subscription will be shown. Click the “X” inside of the field to remove it.
  4. Click Submit. The Partner of Record has now been removed for this account and the subscription no longer has a Partner of Record.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is a Partner of Record?

The Partner of Record for an Office 365, CRM Online, or Azure subscription is the partner who is helping the customer design, build, deploy or manage a solution that they’ve built on the service. It is not the partner who sold the subscription.

What are the benefits of specifying a Partner of Record?

Customers benefit because it provides the partner access to usage and consumption data, so they can provide better service and help customers optimize their usage for their desired business outcomes.

Who can attach a Digital Partner of Record?

The administrator role, also known as the owner, is the only role within the customer’s tenant or account that can attach a Digital Partner of Record. Service admins, co-admins, and partners designated as delegated admins do not have the ability to change the Partner of Record.

When should a Partner of Record be added to a for Office 365, CRM Online, or Azure subscription?

Microsoft recommends a Partner of Record be assigned to subscriptions right away. Partners of Record can also be assigned for Azure subscriptions in the admin portal for that service.

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Danny RyanHow to Assign ThreeWill as Your Office 365 Partner of Record
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How to Assign ThreeWill as Your Azure Partner of Record

Danny serves as Vice President of Business Development at ThreeWill. His primary responsibilities are to make sure that we are building partnerships with the right clients and getting out the message about how we can help clients.

Over the last 15 years we’ve been fortunate to help hundreds of customers.  If you’re a customer of ThreeWill and you want to do us a huge favor, please assign us as your Partner of Record.  This enables us to keep our Gold Certification and to serve you better because we have more resources from Microsoft to help you on projects.

Step-by-Step Instructions to Add ThreeWill as Your Partner of Record

  1. Go to the Microsoft Azure Portal at http://azure.microsoft.com/.
  2. Click on the My Account icon on the upper middle of the screen.
  3. Click on Usage and Billing.
  4. Log into your account using your user name and password.
  5. In the left navigation pane, select Subscriptions.
  6. On the Summary Subscription Page, click on Partner Information on the right navigation. This is where you will attach your Partner of Record.
  7. Enter 566560 for the Partner ID.
  8. Click Check ID to verify ThreeWill.
  9. Click Submit to complete assigning their Partner of Record.
  10. After you customer assign us as your Partner of Record, we will receive an email notification that lets us know that we have been assigned as the Partner of Record.

To Change or Remove Your Partner of Record

  1. Following the steps outlined above, log into the Microsoft Azure Portal.
  2. On the Summary Subscription Page, click on Partner Information on the right navigation.
  3. Highlight the Partner of Record field and delete the Partner of Record shown in that field.
  4. Click the check box. You have now removed the Partner of Record for this account and your subscription no longer has a Partner of Record.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is a Partner of Record?

The Partner of Record for an Office 365, CRM Online, or Azure subscription is the partner who is helping the customer design, build, deploy or manage a solution that they’ve built on the service. It is not the partner who sold the subscription.

What are the benefits of specifying a Partner of Record?

Customers benefit because it provides the partner access to usage and consumption data, so they can provide better service and help customers optimize their usage for their desired business outcomes.

Who can attach a Digital Partner of Record?

The administrator role, also known as the owner, is the only role within the customer’s tenant or account that can attach a Partner of Record. Service admins, co-admins, and partners designated as delegated admins do not have the ability to change the Partner of Record.

When should a Partner of Record be added to a for Office 365, CRM Online, or Azure subscription?

Microsoft recommends a Partner of Record be assigned to subscriptions right away. Partners of Record can also be assigned for Office 365 subscriptions in the admin portal for that service.

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Danny RyanHow to Assign ThreeWill as Your Azure Partner of Record
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ThreeWill is a MetaFest Silver Sponsor at Microsoft Ignite

Danny serves as Vice President of Business Development at ThreeWill. His primary responsibilities are to make sure that we are building partnerships with the right clients and getting out the message about how we can help clients.

ThreeWill to Join with Metalogix as MetaFest and MetaHero Awards Silver Sponsor at Microsoft Ignite

Awards to Celebrate Innovative Microsoft SharePoint and Office 365 Superstars

Alpharetta, Georgia – September 6, 2016 ThreeWill, a leading SharePoint partner, today announced that it will join together with Metalogix®, the premier provider of unified software to migrate, manage and secure content across enterprise collaboration platforms, to celebrate the superstars of the collaboration industry, as a Metalogix MetaFest and MetaHero Awards Silver sponsor during Microsoft Ignite.

The annual Metalogix MetaHero Awards recognizes the teams and individuals who stand as true leaders in innovative and effective Microsoft SharePoint and Office 365 deployments. The MetaHero Awards winners will be announced on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 during Metalogix’s highly anticipated MetaFest 2016 bash, taking place at the Centennial Park District in Atlanta, GA from 6:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m., featuring thirst-quenching beverages, lively games and a broad range of entertainers – like the Blackfoot Gypsies, The Yawpers, and Jared and the Mill (with more to be announced soon).

ThreeWill will also be an Exhibitor at the Ignite Conference (Booth #472). They will be located close o the Sweetwater Beer Garden and have a special gift for people dropping by the booth. “ThreeWill is excited to join with Metalogix at one of the industry’s premier events,” said Danny Ryan, VP Business Development and Co-Founder for ThreeWill. “It’s great that Metalogix is recognizing individuals in the community who are excelling at supporting SharePoint communities with the MetaHero Awards Ceremony.”

“We are delighted to welcome ThreeWill to our world-class roster of strategic partners joining us for MetaFest and the MetaHero Awards ceremony,” said Mike Lees, CMO, Metalogix. “Their sponsorship helps celebrate the amazing men and women working tirelessly to ensure that their collaboration environments meet today’s business requirement.”

Want to attend the hottest party at Ignite 2016? Request your MetaFest 2016 invitation here: http://www.metalogix.com/Events/ignite16/party.

Tweet this: .@MS_Ignite News: @Metalogix welcomes ThreeWill as Silver Sponsor of MetaHero Awards – https://threewill.com/threewill-is-a-metafest-silver-sponsor-microsoft-ignite/

About Metalogix

Metalogix is the premier provider of unified management software to migrate, manage and secure content across enterprise collaboration platforms. Over 20,000 clients trust Metalogix to optimize the availability, performance, and security of their content across the collaboration lifecycle. For more information visit us at www.metalogix.com or call us at +1 202.609.9100.

About ThreeWill

ThreeWill helps teams work together better by building solutions on SharePoint using an agile process. We are ranked in the top 5% of Microsoft partners based on four independent surveys. For more information visit us at www.threewill.com or call us at +1 678.513.6930.

ThreeWill is a registered trademark of ThreeWill, LLC. Metalogix is a registered trademark of Metalogix, Inc. All other trademarks used are the property of the respective trademark owners.

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Media Contacts:

Danny Ryan
ThreeWill
[email protected]
(678) 513-6930

Sabrina Sanchez
The Ventana Group, for Metalogix
[email protected]
(925) 785-3014

Nicole Gorman
The Ventana Group, for Metalogix
[email protected]
(508) 397-0131

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Danny RyanThreeWill is a MetaFest Silver Sponsor at Microsoft Ignite
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2016 Ignite Conference

Tommy serves as the President at ThreeWill. In this role, he works with his leadership team to hire the best people, find the right business opportunities, and ensure that ThreeWill delivers for our clients on projects.
Danny Ryan:Hello and welcome to the ThreeWill Podcast. This is your host Danny Ryan, I have Tommy here with me for our weekly get together. Hello Tommy.

 

Tommy Ryan:Good morning, Danny.

 

Danny Ryan:How’s it going?

 

Tommy Ryan:It’s a good day.

 

Danny Ryan:It is a good day, so let’s get us kicked off quickly, let me see your socks here.

 

Tommy Ryan:I’m just kind of rotating.

 

Danny Ryan:You are rotating. I know what you need for Christmas, huh?

 

Tommy Ryan:Yeah, the pressure’s on.

 

Danny Ryan:Still, it’s nicer than my black socks. We’ll take them. I have asked for some crazy socks for my birthday which is on Monday, so let’s see if that ends up happening. We’ll see. I’ve asked for that from the kiddos, so let’s see if they come through for me.

 

What I wanted to do was maybe just have a quick conversation today. I know we’ve been doing a lot of planning for an important conference coming up which is Ignite, which is coming up in September, sort of sneaking up on us here, and fortunate that it’s here in Atlanta, so they moved it from Chicago here to Atlanta. What’s the thought behind us going to this? I’m going to ask you some marketing questions just so you-

 

Tommy Ryan:Oh boy.

 

Danny Ryan:Why are we going to this conference? Besides it’s in our back yard.

 

Tommy Ryan:I think Ignite is that conference that used to be the SharePoint conference. They combined several conferences into one so if there is one conference we go to that’s related to SharePoint, that is it. There are the build conferences, more technical, but to reach our customers and to have conversations around the solutions that we provide, that’s the best venue we see for the Microsoft conferences is the Ignite conference.

 

Danny Ryan:Very nice. We were looking at sort of who are the sponsors, who are the other exhibitors, those types of things, and really you do have people from all sorts of backgrounds. You and I were talking about this before the podcast, which is there’s not a whole lot of who we are, which is more of a SharePoint consultancy that are going to be there, but a lot of ISVs, a lot around the different Office 365 products which are now probably over a dozen products, but they keep adding one on each week it seems like.

 

A lot of pretty- a diverse group of people or diverse group of products in the first place that’ll be there. I looked at it, and a lot of people I think who are going to this conference are interested in hearing from Microsoft what’s the roadmap for these things, where are they going, what’s the evolution of Office 365, which I know we’re all sort of interested in hearing about.

 

Tommy Ryan:Yeah, it’s going to be a diverse story. I think we’re having some of our technical folks go there to go to the Azure and SharePoint related topics. It’s a good time to refresh around the concept of what is the roadmap, we get to have more visibility into that these days, but this is where hopefully you hear some of the things that get you excited about the next year with the platform.

 

Danny Ryan:We’re going to have 4 people there, we have a smaller booth, a 10-by-10 booth, we’ve got you, myself, Bruce, and Bob going. That’ll be at the booth, so if you’re going to be there plan to come and drop by and see us.

 

Tommy Ryan:Where are we located?

 

Danny Ryan:If you pick one- Oh jeez. Go look at my OneNote Notebook. Really, go look at it right now. If you pick one of the bald guys it’s Tommy or I, pick one of the non bald guys- Unless Pete’s in the booth. That throws us off. Although he’s probably going to be at most of the sessions. He and Kirk will be there so start talking so I can go look up the booth number.

 

Tommy Ryan:Not the booth number, where’s the booth located next to.

 

Danny Ryan:Oh, that’s a easy one. Easy one. Right next to SweetWater. There’s a big brewing beer garden thing, so if you happen to go, you don’t even need to know. See Tommy, you don’t even need to know the booth number.

 

Tommy Ryan:That’s right.

 

Danny Ryan:You just need to know we’re going to be by the SweetWater Brewing BrewHaha, and come and drop by. We will have a special gift for you that related to what they’re handing out there.

 

Tommy Ryan:Some nice goodies, planning on that. I think when you come in you go to the right and keep on going down the side of the booth area towards SweetWater and there she is right across from SweetWater.

 

Danny Ryan:Go grab something, come by, come chat with us for a while. It would be great to see you. We’re working right now on … I know we’re putting a couple of brochures together. Just one that’s sort of an overall one of what ThreeWill does and then some of the other sort of focus areas for us. I know some of the stuff with Salesforce will be there, so we’ve got a couple of integrations between Salesforce and Office 365, so if you’re interested in that topic come by and see us and we’ve got some interesting things to show you there.

 

I know we also want to focus on as well is the complex SharePoint migrations, so another partner, great partner of ours. Metalogix will be there and we can talk a little bit about the more complex migrations that we’ve done, may even be able to pick some time off Kirk of Pete if they’re round as well.

 

Tommy Ryan:There’s a special event from Metalogix too.

 

Danny Ryan:Yes, MetaFest on Wednesday night. I’m crossing my fingers, I hope I got that right, but if not you can go to Metalogix site and go register there to go to a great event from them, and we’re hoping to sponsor that as well. It’s too early in the morning for me to remember dates, Tommy. I need my second cup of coffee. Yes, it should be a really fun event from Metalogix, hope you’re able to make that. I think they’re planning on like 3,500 folks going. Great entertainment, a real good time, just time to decompress after a long day of learning all these new things about Microsoft products. It’ll be fun.

 

For folks if you’ve never been to Atlanta, we use the work y’all a lot. Don’t let that throw you off. We’re generally very kind. People say hello to each other on the street. It’s kind of a nice thing, and in general most of the folks down here in Atlanta are very easy to get along with, very nice folks, so hopefully they’ll be very hospitable, hopefully they won’t send you to the hospital. I know we’re all looking forward to everybody coming down and seeing us here in Atlanta.

 

Any other things as we prepare here for Ignite to come?

 

Tommy Ryan:It’s just going to be interesting to see the type of conversations and people that drop by the booth. Before being at the SharePoint conference, you’re seeing a lot of conversation and focus around it’s SharePoint, but now that it’s more Office 365. There’ll be some interesting conversations. Really looking forward to seeing what strikes a cord with people in terms of the problems they’re trying to solve as they look at through the lens of what Microsoft has to offer today, so it will be different. When we’re looking at the booths and we’re looking for some familiar faces or names and didn’t see a lot of those names, some are competitors for say. We did not see some of those names there, so it’s going to be a place that I think we’ll explore, is it where we have those conversations and I think it is the right place so I’m excited to see the people that we meet and the conversations that we have.

 

Danny Ryan:472 is our booth number, but yeah. I think looking for the SweetWater sign is probably the easier route.

 

Tommy Ryan:Yeah, I’ll forget 472, I’ll remember SweetWater.

 

Danny Ryan:The party is on Wednesday night, so it is in the dress casual centennial park district. It starts at 6:30 so look forward to seeing people there. Again, you can preregister for it off of, just go to Metalogix site and follow the links there and register there. For everybody who’s coming down, definitely come by and see us at the booth. Look forward to meeting you, look forward to having everyone in Atlanta, and thanks for doing this Tom.

 

Tommy Ryan:All right.

 

Danny Ryan:Everybody have a wonderful day. Take care, bye bye.

 

Tommy Ryan:Bye.

 

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Tommy Ryan2016 Ignite Conference
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ThreeWill Supports Complex Office 365 Migrations w/ Metalogix

Danny serves as Vice President of Business Development at ThreeWill. His primary responsibilities are to make sure that we are building partnerships with the right clients and getting out the message about how we can help clients.

SharePoint Solutions Expert Delivers Customized Cloud Migration and Sustainment Services With Confidence Using the Metalogix Software Development Kit

(cross posted with http://www.metalogix.com/News-Detail/2016/07/11/threewill-supports-complex-migrations-to-microsoft-office-365-with-metalogix )

Atlanta, GA and Washington, DC – July 11, 2016

ThreeWill, an Atlanta-based SharePoint expert, and Metalogix, the premier provider of unified software to migrate, manage and secure content across enterprise collaboration platforms, today announced that ThreeWill is a founding member of the recently expanded Metalogix Advantage Partner Program (MAPP). Using Metalogix solutions at the core of its SharePoint practice, ThreeWill can deliver customized cloud migration and sustainment services by building customized solutions on top of Metalogix Content Matrix using the newly launched Metalogix Software Development Kit (SDK).

“Over and again customers ask us to evaluate products to support very complex SharePoint migration projects and every time we find Metalogix on top,” said Danny Ryan, Vice President Business Development, ThreeWill. “No other product can do what Content Matrix from Metalogix does. What’s equally important is that by using Content Matrix, we are able to support customers with sustainment services to maintain what we build. Metalogix has a tool to help us with this along with a flexible platform we can build on top of to provide customized solutions to meet even the most complex customer requirements.”    (Hear it in his own words – please visit: http://www.metalogix.com/Partners/Partner-Program-Overview.aspx to watch Danny Ryan’s video commentary.)

“ThreeWill takes an innovative approach to meeting customer requirements,” said  Joe Sullivan, Director Global SIs, Cloud Alliances, Metalogix “Their expertise and hands-on know how make them an ideal solution partner for large organizations with demanding SharePoint requirements. We are pleased to welcome ThreeWill as a founding partner of our expanded SharePoint migration ecosystem.”

The newly expanded MAPP enables partner-powered migration services with a comprehensive package of critical information, training and content to quickly create a repeatable and profitable migration practice. Members of the program also gain access to the Metalogix Content Matrix SDK to simplify complex customization and migration projects. The packaged program also includes access to Metalogix Content Matrix through the Metalogix Learning Management System, a sample statement of work, a sample project plan and pre-migration assessment and analysis tools and guidelines as well as sample code and scripts.

The newly enhanced MAPP is available now to qualified partners. For more information, visit http://www.metalogix.com/Partners/Partner-Program-Overview.aspx.

Tweet this: .@ThreeWill supports complex migrations to @Microsoft #Office 365 with @Metalogix http://www.metalogix.com/About/News.aspx/2016

About Content Matrix

Metalogix Content Matrix simplifies the planning, migration and management process for SharePoint and Office 365 while enhancing their permissions, auditing, and reporting for assured security and compliance. Content Matrix offers expert pre-migration planning, assures zero downtime with unlimited movement and management and even migrates everything, in one hop, eliminating the need for intermediate SharePoint versions or on-premises staging. With Content Matrix and the Metalogix SDK, solution providers can benefit from the following features:

  • Simplified setup which easily connects to SharePoint farms, sites, or databases based on each project’s migration scope
  • No server-site installation for direct connection to SharePoint 2013 and 2016 on-premises farm or SharePoint Online site collection using Microsoft’s API
  • Multiple migration options to provide flexibility and granularity of control
  • Ability to migrate while keeping current SharePoint farm running to minimize user impact

About ThreeWill

Ranked in the top five percent of Microsoft partners based on four independent surveys, ThreeWill helps teams work together better by building solutions on SharePoint using agile processes. Established in 2001 and based in Alpharetta, Ga., the company is a Microsoft Partner with Gold Application Development and Gold Collaboration & Content competencies. For more information, please visit www.threewill.com.

About Metalogix

Metalogix is the premier provider of unified management software to migrate, manage and secure content across enterprise collaboration platforms in the cloud and on-premises. Over 20,000 clients trust Metalogix to optimize the availability, performance and security of their content across the collaboration lifecycle. For more information visit us at www.metalogix.com or call us at +1 202.609.9100.

Metalogix is a registered trademark of Metalogix, Inc. All other trademarks used are the property of the respective trademark owners.
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Media Contact:

Sabrina Sanchez
The Ventana Group
[email protected]
(925) 785-3014

Nicole Gorman
The Ventana Group
[email protected]
(508) 397-0131

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Danny RyanThreeWill Supports Complex Office 365 Migrations w/ Metalogix
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A Partner’s View of “The Future of SharePoint”

Tommy serves as the President at ThreeWill. In this role, he works with his leadership team to hire the best people, find the right business opportunities, and ensure that ThreeWill delivers for our clients on projects.
Danny:Hello and welcome to the ThreeWill Podcast. This is your host Danny Ryan and I’ve got Tommy here with me as well. Hey, Tommy.

 

Tommy:Good morning, Danny. How you doing?

 

Danny:I’m doing wonderful. I wanted to take today and go through what we heard about yesterday with the future of SharePoint. First of, it’s wonderful that SharePoint does have a future.

 

Tommy:It’s very bright. It’s very bright. I’m excited.

 

Danny:When I started seeing the little S in the Office 365 menu changed over to Sites, I was worried about SharePoint for a little while there. It’s going to be in the background and it’s just another commodity service. It looks they’re going to actually call it SharePoint and then in the menu as well. I saw that yesterday. That’s good to see. Man, there was a lot of stuff introduced. At a high level, what were some of the big takeaways that you got from yesterday’s event?

 

Tommy:What I saw is there’s been a lot of experimentation in Office 365 where you see things like Delve, and your personal profile in Delve, the cards in Delve, the blog capability for your personal blog in Delve. It seems like they were experimenting with that, and getting people’s feedback, and getting the usage of that and testing it out there. That’s starting to move over to the mainstream within SharePoint. For me, that’s exciting to see that they’re making investments trying to improve it, innovating quickly and then incorporating that into SharePoint, not just putting it in SharePoint, but making it extensible in SharePoint.

 

I saw two sides of the coin. One is let’s make the user experience as simple as possible. Let’s bring the best of re-concepts that are outside of SharePoint and other platforms that have been helpful, test that out and then we’re going to get into the fold. Then give the developers the capability to do it as well as the SharePoint development team at Microsoft. We’re working off the same framework and using the standard technologies and tools out there like Gulp, and Git, and Node.js, and Angular to take those things where those have matured over time and not come up with something different but embrace what’s out there that is in the mainstream. As that continues to get better and innovate on its own cycle, we’re not left in the SharePoint world building on five-year-old tools and technologies, but we’re using the latest and greatest.

 

Some great things on both fronts. I think from the user front in terms of cleaner, better UI that’s mobile responsive that takes into account some more advanced features that are simplified in the user experience to the extensibility and the development capabilities that you have today and moving into the future.

 

Danny:One of the parts that I like is where they were talking about the different types of Sites that SharePoint is addressing like team sites, publishing, recognizing that some people are using it for more general get the message out types of sites for team collaboration and then for apps. It was kind of neat to see them recognizing how different folks are using SharePoint.

 

Tommy:Right. I think they’ve simplified that for the user where there’s two templates. There’s the team site template and there’s the publishing versus having 52 templates to deal with or to choose from. They’re looking at what’s that 80-20 rule. What are people really using SharePoint for? They’re using it for team site. We’re using it for landing page where they want to control the content there. I think that’s a good thing.

 

Also, what I saw … I don’t know if you noticed this is I’ve seen a lot of innovation in the Office 365 groups. As they were showing team sites, I said, “I wonder if they’re going to bring into the fold groups as a part of that team site experience.” They provisioned a group when they create that team site which I thought was awesome because that ends up giving you a really rich experience that you can follow that team site across the whole Office 365 platform. That this team site is not just a separate thing that just sits in SharePoint, but it blows out the infrastructure across the board on Office 365 to allow that team to collaborate, and discover other people, and discover content.

 

Danny:You sounded pretty excited by that.

 

Tommy:Yeah.

 

Danny:You sounded like you were glad to see that they had made that connection which was cool. Some other things, what’s the deal with … I guess, what we’re seeing with PowerApps. I mean, we’ve heard of PowerApps before yesterday. Then this new … What showed up this morning in my Office 365 menu, I saw Flow. That was, for me, a new thing. What’s with some of these new apps that … I’m not even sure what I should call them, but these new features that are coming out.

 

Tommy:I’m not the most well-versed on those but the way I look at it in my initial understanding is when you look at Flow, Flow has some aspects of it like IFTTT, if this then that, where you can take an event that ends up kicking off another action. It’s very similar, to me, from a workflow perspective where you can allow something to happen when a new document is added. What are the common things that I would do manually post adding a new document? What notifications will I want? Some of that capability that you saw in SharePoint, designer workflows, now you’re getting capability on the multi-tenant Office 365 environment to do some light weight workflow and integration with other platforms and making that a little bit more point and click, and WYSIWYG-like.

 

Then I see the PowerApps is a way to launch over into Azure and have some customizations there that you can hook into. That’s kind of the story I see as it relates to some of the custom applications that we build can be as PowerApps.

 

Then the SharePoint framework is where it gets exciting. Now, that’s where we can do what have been web part development in the past customizations to the SharePoint user experience versus something that’s sideloaded to SharePoint. That framework is something that we’ve been looking for. We’ve anticipated in some sense that had to come sooner or later. Now, that is out there publicly, there’s a roadmap. There’s a vision there that we know that it’s going to be in place. As we build things, we can fit into that future of building things that will easily adapt to the SharePoint framework.

 

Danny:It’s not out yet but the SharePoint app, how excited are you about that?

 

Tommy:I think that’s nice. I think one of the things when you would go browse SharePoint within a mobile responsive UI that comes with SharePoint or you’d use some of the apps that are out there, it’s just over complicated. It didn’t lend itself to a good user experience.

 

There is a sense at SharePoint, some commoditization of that where you’re trying to make it a simple basic experience, having a team site and a publishing site versus having 30 templates. If that is simplified and shrunk down than some of your standard consumption of SharePoint, you can have richer apps that allow you to get to the content that you have there.

 

As you can see, the ability to go in and drive down to your content or that content to discover you, the whole Office craft, where I’m interacting with you, I’m viewing certain documents and, all of a sudden, it says, “Base on this relationship and the content you have, let’s show you something else that might be of interest to you.”

 

With organizations, content is just … You just think about how much electronic documentation that goes on in organization. Just even the organization our size that have a technology and machine learning that goes into building something like Delve where that’s getting integrated into your SharePoint experience versus going off to Delve. I’ve been a big Delve proponent. Then our morning brews, I’ve been showing that every once in a while. It’s separate. Now, they’re taking some of those rich experiences, making those into the SharePoint experience and then allowing the surface all the way up to their native apps that you take on the go.

 

I think it becomes a good balance of what the things that are held in tension which is making it simple for the user, predictable for the user, easy to get going with it, point and click and run. You can use the platform with an extensibility story. When you get into other products that are out there, SharePoint hasn’t been as polished as other collaborative platforms. Now you’re seeing that polished on the UI but they’re not abandoning the developer capabilities. That’s tough to do. I’m excited to see how Microsoft is doing well and holding those two things in tension.

 

Danny:It was funny. You and I talking this morning about the mobile app experience and how this is quite similar to some of the things that we saw like from Jive several years ago with internet on your mobile device. I think it’s one of those things I know we hear time and time again for the projects that we do. We cover what’s sort of mobile access do you have to this content because it has become one of the most, arguably, more important than your desktop. How are people accessing this information?

 

For them to see it … I think we’re seeing it a couple of ways. One is the recent improvements to the OneDrive app and accessing site content from that app, which you’re showing me this morning, to just being able to go browse your intranet through your mobile device and having a really nice experience with doing that. That’s really important to people.

 

Tommy:Right. Yeah. To take it on the go. We’re in that mobile era. That everything you want to do, you want to be able access it from your mobile device. I’m looking at my son last night. Alex is sitting there. We’ve got the TV on but he’s spending all of his time on this small, say, five-inch screen consuming everything on the internet. I’ve got this large TV and I’ve got a laptop in my lap. The next generation consumes things on the go. They want this one device to do everything from taking pictures and video to being their phone to being their internet device.

 

Danny:It sounds like some good quality family time, too.

 

Tommy:How many screens has everybody have up in their room? We have got more screens than people. That’s awesome.

 

Danny:Right, right, right right. That’s a different podcast.

 

Tommy:That’s a whole-

 

Danny:We shouldn’t go down that path.

 

Tommy:I’m sorry. I’ll leave that one alone. Before we wrap up here, any other things that you took away from yesterday’s announcements at all?

 

Danny:A lot of exciting things. I think, at the end of the day, all of the background that we have with SharePoint is so relevant to continue to build into that investment in SharePoint that has that bright future. Our challenge is holding the ability to grow into all those new tools and apply the right technology at the right time along that roadmap. We’ve got some folks who are very excited and very champing at the bit for all these new tools.

 

We’ve been talking about Gulp, and Yeoman, and all of those kind of buzzwords that you saw in the presentation two and three years ago. With our ThreeWill Labs effort, we’re building things that look like Delve backed with Popcorn. We’ve been hungry for it. Now, it’s becoming a reality. That’s very exciting. I think it’s going to re-energize us as a company to see there’s a bright future in SharePoint.

 

There were times that you wonder, “Are we totally kicked out of building anything that’s a custom experience on SharePoint or is it becoming email?” It’s never going to be touch. It’s going to be very plain Jane. That’s all you get: SharePoint, a document library and that’s it. We’re excited. I think our customers are going to see so much more value out of their collaboration experience because there’s so much that’s coming with the platform as a starting point and you’re not stuck with what you get. It’s extensible and that’s a great story.

 

Tommy:I love any device, I love the fact that they’re embracing other services as we all. They’re not just saying, “Hey, you need a pure Microsoft experience.” Actually, I think that puts them in a better position for companies who might want to consolidate services where they feel like they have the option of using other … It’s one of those things. It’s going to say, “Are you going to go to the world and say, ‘Consumer, you have to use all Microsoft services to play in our platform.'” You’re going to say-

 

Danny:It’s amazing.

 

Tommy:Just by taking that approach, it’s almost like you’re more open to their services because of that. I’m glad to see them do that.

 

Danny:I think Microsoft has swung that pendulum and swung it well. I don’t think they’re too far in the other direction. I think they got a right balance of providing strong capabilities for their platform, but also going out there and building the best iOS apps out there and allowing developers to use Mac OS and Visual Studio code to build solutions and provisioning Linux environments. They’re very open so they’re really focusing on cloud first and services. I think Microsoft is heading in a great direction and showing that they can reinvent themselves. That’s hard to do for a company of that size. It’s amazing to see.

 

Tommy:I even see it with the services, such a great support for Salesforce where you can tie into it and they’re not treating it like you can’t access that data. It’s a more mature view of the world, I think.

 

Danny:It is. It is.

 

Tommy:It’s saying, “You know what? In a typical large enterprise, you’re not going to have a pure environment. People are going to be … You have different departments. You have different teams. You have different reasons for using different products and services out there. Can we make all of these things work better together better?” What a great-

 

Danny:Yeah. It’s all mindset, right? We’ve created 12 different commercial integrations with SharePoint because we believe it needs to be an integrated world. You need to be able to take best of breed and make it work well together.

 

Tommy:Awesome.

 

Danny:Well, this is great. Thank you for taking the time to do this. We definitely have some good material for followup podcast as well as we jump into some of the new products that are coming out. Anybody from Microsoft listening to this, you did a good job yesterday. Overall, you got us as excited as a partner. It was great to see that SharePoint really does have a future. Thank you for listening in. Thank you, Tommy for being here.

 

Tommy:Sure, Danny.

 

Danny:Absolutely. Everybody have a great day. Take care now. Bye bye.

 

Tommy:Bye.

 

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Tommy RyanA Partner’s View of “The Future of SharePoint”
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Introduction to Content Matrix

Danny serves as Vice President of Business Development at ThreeWill. His primary responsibilities are to make sure that we are building partnerships with the right clients and getting out the message about how we can help clients.
Danny Ryan:Hello and welcome to the ThreeWill Podcast, this is your host Danny Ryan and today I have Khanh Hoang with me, I’m going to butcher your name I apologize about that.

 

Khanh Hoang:That’s okay.

 

Danny Ryan:I’m sure I’m not the first person to do that, right?

 

Khanh Hoang:That is correct.

 

Danny Ryan:Okay, that is correct. Khanh is a senior consultant, got that right too?

 

Khanh Hoang:That’s correct.

 

Danny Ryan:All right, I remember that from our first episode, which was, I’m surprised that you’re back in this room again, that you’re willing to come in here and do this again. I appreciate that though.

 

Khanh Hoang:No problem.

 

Danny Ryan:I wanted to do a follow up. I know one of the things we’re real excited about was your experience with SharePoint migrations. In particular I know you’ve got some exposure to some of the different tools that are out there. For this episode I wanted to focus in on Metalogix’ Content Matrix as a product. Can you get us started with a high level what is the product? What does it do? What it’s sweet spot?

 

Khanh Hoang:Okay. There are many ways of doing migrations in SharePoint. If you’re on premise you can do database attach, which don’t require a tool. But if you go into SharePoint online, or if you’re skipping versions, migrating from SharePoint 2007 to SharePoint 2013, then you need to leverage a migration tool.

 

Danny Ryan:Okay.

 

Khanh Hoang:Content Matrix is a migration tool that basically points to the source where the original site is and then it points at a destination, and then with the configuration in between it moves the data, the workflows from one environment to another.

 

Danny Ryan:Okay, great. It’s a migration tool that allows probably, I guess, for more complex migrations you would it as a product to do those migrations.

 

Khanh Hoang:That’s right. Yes.

 

Danny Ryan:Describe to me what’s typical. You’ve used it on projects before in the past to help clients migrate.

 

Khanh Hoang:Yeah that’s right. Yes I use on a number of project in the past to help with migrations.

 

Danny Ryan:Tell me what does that look like? The process of using a tool like content matrix, starting that project off are you doing something where you get an inventory of the environment first to get a peek at it? Can you use it to do that?

 

Khanh Hoang:Yeah. When you point it to your source environment it will display a hierarchy of your site structures, different site collections, different sites, your lists, your libraries, your actual documents inside your libraries. You can see at a high level what your content layout would look like.

 

Danny Ryan:Okay.

 

Khanh Hoang:Then you can pick and choose from which sites, or which libraries, you want to move, or you want to move the entire site collection. Then it’s pretty much drag and drop, or you setup your path for the data flow. You can even export it out as a script and then schedule it to run. You can do the migration off hours, that way you don’t take up the bandwidth for the network.

 

Danny Ryan:Nice, very nice. It sounds a little bit, I guess like you do a little analysis of what the environment is and then depending upon what type of migration, I’ve heard people use the term like lift and shift versus more of a … I don’t know what the alternative reorganizing your data. You probably have to work with clients to figure out what’s the right approach for them to go after.

 

Khanh Hoang:Yeah there’s some company invest in the time upfront to go and reorganize their structure for their SharePoint data, and then they go in with a tool to migrate, and then there are some companies that want to do a reorg because it disrupts the business. They will just pick up everything, move it over there and then they’ll clean it up later, before they go live for the release to users.

 

Danny Ryan:Does it do anything with people who have current links to the site, when it moves over to the new site how would you handle remapping URLs and stuff like that?

 

Khanh Hoang:You can do redirections. There are some intelligence built it, it will do a link correction. If there’s any hard coded link it will try to correct that, it’s not 100% foolproof so you want some kind of verifications afterward. Generally you either reuse the URL, that way the users feel like it’s a seamless transition, or you try to use the link correction tool and then verify manually and correct where you can.

 

Danny Ryan:Okay. You end up scheduling these over a time at which you won’t impact I guess the business as far as the migration itself. Those you usually schedule on weekends, or what would be the typical thing? Could it … migrations will they typically take hours, days? What was a typical migration wide?

 

Khanh Hoang:It depends on the size of the environment and the amount of data you have. Larger companies, usually they would roll it out and do the migration in phases. Say HR department they will do a migration on weekend, and then the next weekend they’ll do IT and operation. On smaller migrations that can be done either after hours, or one of the weekends, you would want to set your old environment on read only Friday night 5:00pm, 6:00pm, whenever business closed, and then run the migration and then redirect the URL on Monday morning, that way when users comes in on Monday morning it will take them to the new site.

 

Danny Ryan:Mm-hmm (affirmative). Very nice. I know we’ve been using Content Matrix on a big project here. That was even before you started here, where we did a lot of scripting and a lot of I think communications to site owners and lots of things along those lines. I know one of the things that seems to be key is, once you’ve done the migration is going through, to have a remediation or a keyway type of process that you’re going through once it’s been moved over. That’s a pretty common thing for you to go over.

 

Khanh Hoang:Yeah, that’s typical. For a migration you want to come back and do a verification. Generally we call it post-migration clean up. There are going to be some custom development that was put into a site or change of a master page or something like and it will cause problems on a particular site. You go through and verify and manually either fix it or do the migration for that particular site over, make sure you have all your document counts correct. You’ve got a hundred documents from the source library, you want to make sure you have a hundred documents on the destination. There are quite a few post-migration activities that have to take place before you can release it live.

 

Danny Ryan:Okay. Very nice, very nice. From using it all across multiple projects, any tips that you have maybe for someone … I want in this episode to keep it at a high level, just for someone who maybe started using Content Matrix that you would share with them.

 

Khanh Hoang:Yeah. The best thing to do is planning, go and see what you have, see what you want to migrate because you want to communicate that to the user, make sure they are prepared for the new release, that there’s no interruptions in the business. The more you can understand about how much data and what type of data you have that you want to migrate, the better. That way you can plan for a successful migration.

 

Danny Ryan:Very nice. Does it tell you, let’s say if you’re trying to do maybe a little bit of pruning like when the last time someone accessed this site, or sort of some analytics around some of the different sites, does it give you any of that type of information at all?

 

Khanh Hoang:Content Matrix doesn’t do that, Metalogix do have other tools that can provide that kind of statistics on a site or a particular document. You want to look at that. You want to see high traffic areas and you want to see, that way you can plan for business interruptions. The other tools we can talk about another time.

 

Danny Ryan:Good. Okay, our next episode we can talk about maybe some of those tools. That’s awesome. That’s a good point. This is one of a series of tools from Metalogix for different purposes. You’ve got some experience as well with some of those other migration.

 

Khanh Hoang:Yes.

 

Danny Ryan:It sounds like they’re, I guess some of the materials it’s not just migration, it’s other things as well.

 

Khanh Hoang:Yeah. Content Matrix is just one of the tool from Metalogix. They have Control Point, they have other tools that can do a wide variety of specific purposes for SharePoint.

 

Danny Ryan:That’s great. This will give us a good … Maybe we’ll do one on Control Point, or whichever you wanted to do next.

 

Khanh Hoang:I just signed up for another podcast, didn’t I?

 

Danny Ryan:I’m sorry, yes you did. Maybe you did. That’s great. Some of the resources that you used maybe to learn more about using it, was it just Googling and finding what people put out there? Where there any particular resources that you used

 

Khanh Hoang:Content Matrix does pretty well out of the box. It’s pretty easy to use, but Metalogix has a great support team, they have forums, they have their help section on their site that’s great. I always try to Google when I get stuck on something but you have to be careful with what you try, what you found on Google and simply try it out. You want to this in a dev environment, you don’t want to do this in a final production environment.

 

Danny Ryan:I don’t want this to become a comparison, but what’s the difference between, I know you’ve probably used Sharegate quite a bit as well and AvePoint. Have you used AvePoint at all in the past?

 

Khanh Hoang:A little bit.

 

Danny Ryan:A little bit. If you had to classify, again at a high level for someone like me, how would you classify them as being different, the different products? Are they more suited towards different types of migrations, or what would you say?

 

Khanh Hoang:Every tool is designed for migration purpose. They’re all in the same class, they will all move your documents, your library, your permissions. Sharegate partner with Nintex, so if a client has Nintex workflows they tend to lean toward Sharegate because it’s supported natively. But Content Matrix support moving of workflows as well. The licensing is different on each side. There’s one advantage over the other to go depend on the amount of data and your licensing. Configurations, they’re similar but there’s some advanced capability from one side versus the other.

 

Danny Ryan:Okay. Yeah, I know for us I think we ended up using Content Matrix because some of the scripting stuff that you were mentioning earlier. Because we had to really … and also they had something about some pipeline or something. Tommy mentioned this I think on a past episode, but it was just we felt like we were going to get the throughput, more of the throughput that we needed. That was more looking at AvePoint versus Metalogix. Yeah I think it’s funny, you may be on a project just like that large project where the client’s going to ask us, “Which one do you lean towards? Which one would you say we should use for this project?”

 

Khanh Hoang:Yeah, that’s where the planning would come in. You would take a look at your environment, what you have, what you want to move, the amount of data, and then you would pick the tool based on the requirements.

 

Danny Ryan:Yeah, very good, very good. Anything else through the years that you’ve picked up that if you were trying to give some advice maybe to someone starting out with Content Matrix that you’d give them?

 

Khanh Hoang:There’s one particular scenario that came to mind. If you have Bamboo Lookup Selector, which is the cascading dropdown selections, that causes a little bit of issues back when I was using to migrate 2007 to 2013 for one the clients, because it’s a custom columns that it require extra effort to make it work. But eventually we got it to work, it’s just a little bit more effort and time put in. If you have third party solutions, or customizations, you want to look out for those and make sure you plan ahead and make sure you address them properly.

 

Danny Ryan:Yeah, I think that’s probably stopping right now a lot of folks from moving over to the cloud, is because they’ve got third party web parts or different products that they’re relying upon, even some of the products like Nintex, this isn’t about Nintex but it does more stuff on prem versus in the cloud, so waiting for the point in which it’s right for you to make that move keeps a lot of people on perm right now

 

Khanh Hoang:You want to make sure your current environment is not using a deprecated feature in the new environment. The migration can only do so much but if the feature is not there in the new environment there’s not much you can do about it.

 

Danny Ryan:What’s interesting is, is this seems like what this migrations, which we’re definitely doing a lot of and is a hot topic right now for us, we’re trying to get people to move to the cloud, where there is no more migrations. It’s one of those things that’s a little bit like, this is the final migration. You’re moving people over for the last time, we’re not going to have these 3 years cycles where you’re going through these, sometimes very painful migrations. You’re looking forward to that day where everybody’s moved over? You want to move on to different things, or you really enjoy this type of work?

 

Khanh Hoang:I enjoy migrations but going to the cloud, it’s new, it’s exciting, it’s less maintenance but the customizations you have to do to get you back to equivalent of on prem because there are some limitations with SharePoint online. It won’t be the last migration I hope. There will be other works outside of migrations after that.

 

Danny Ryan:I think we’re still seeing, especially with the size of the clients that we’re typically working with, they’re really going hybrid. They’re still having some on prem and some in the cloud. Therefor there will be some migration work for the on prem peaks.

 

Khanh Hoang:Exactly.

 

Danny Ryan:I don’t think it’s going away anytime soon but we may not shed too many tears too when smaller clients have moved over and we now … Maybe you can focus in on the Nintex workflow stuff a little bit more and spread out to different types of activities. I know for us, it’s funny, we’re more app dev so we in the past have done a lot of app dev and this whole move shift over to the cloud has stopped people from doing a lot of app dev, because the uncertainty of, where do we build it? What type of app do we build? And all that sort of stuff.

 

I know Microsoft’s prescribing certain things for us to do, but in the meantime we’re having to migrate, we’re really trying to get people over so that we can build these apps. That’s coming, and it’s still coming in a couple of years. The sweet spot for what a lot of people around here are looking for too is the day that they are moved over to the cloud. I appreciate you helping us with getting this, helping clients make the move over. Thank you for taking the time today. We definitely have a follow up on some of the other Metalogix tools. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this Khanh.

 

Khanh Hoang:Thank you.

 

Danny Ryan:You bet you. Have a great day everybody. Take care. Bye bye.

 

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Danny RyanIntroduction to Content Matrix
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Handshake Software Extends the Power of SharePoint and Works for Any Industry

Bo is a Principal Consultant for ThreeWill. He has 18 years of full lifecycle software development experience.

Handshake Software Introduction

I recently had the opportunity to get a deep dive on some the products and solutions available from Handshake Software and I thought I would share some insights from that experience.  Although I have been involved with SharePoint as a developer and consultant since 2007, I’d never had the opportunity to work with Handshake, and I feel like I’ve really been missing out on a really great suite of products to customize and extend SharePoint.  Admittedly, I haven’t worked in the Legal vertical much and that’s where Handshake really has a foothold.  Coming at the product with exposure to clients in all sorts of other verticals, I can see lots of use cases where Handshake Software would have really helped.  Below I’ll cover just a few of the features that really captured my imagination during my deep dive.  I’ll concentrate on the Portals product which is just one of the products available from Handshake.

Line-Of-Business Application Integration

For me personally, this is without a doubt one of my favorite features.  There is a Handshake Relationship Framework with pre-defined integrations to many common legal applications and you can configure an integration to just about anything else.  I really like that there is a starting point that you can take and customize so that you are already a long way down the road on integrating your LOB systems.  This can solve a big challenge many customers have where they have many off-the-shelf systems but want to be able to provide a unified experience for users in a single portal regardless of the back-end system.

In my world today, I’ve typically had two main options to integrate LOB applications each with their own pros and cons.

  • Business Connectivity Service (BCS) – While this product has evolved and improved over the different releases of SharePoint, I’ve never felt like it was the easiest to use. From the days of rolling your own metadata to now using SharePoint Designer there are just several areas where you can encounter some pitfalls.  Additionally, and probably most key, are the options for how you want to render your external system aren’t the most flexible.  Don’t get me wrong I’ve always liked the BCS concept, but I haven’t seen it evolve as much I’d hoped from 2007 until now.
  • Custom Development – This is the obvious catch-all when OOTB SharePoint just can’t fit the need. This approach gives you the ability to really create anything the budget allows and you can really tailor a solution to a customers need to get the LOB data and present it in a way that makes sense for the customers need.  The downfall is that custom development can be expensive and it going to need someone to maintain and enhance the solution over time.

Content Designer

In a very close second to LOB application integration is the web based Content Designer tool which allows users to build out templates that render as HTML5 inside a Handshake SharePoint web part.  I really don’t think I can do this tool justice with my description but the absolute power and flexibility it offers really had me enamored.   The way the tool works also really seems to help guide users so that it’s easy to use.

You can use the tool to leverage your LOB application data and define how it is rendered by defining a template (aka skin) for it.  The template can really be any UI paradigm that you can think of from a grid to a chart to any sort of template HTML you decide.  What I can really appreciate about this is the separation of definition for the integration to an external system from the way (or ways) in which you wish to render that data.  I’ll cover this more a little later, but you can obviously define how you use context in your template so that things like user security are enforced.  While defining how to render LOB data is one big use case, in Content Designer, the template does not have to leverage data from external systems either; you can define an HTML template for anything you want all in the web based interface.

SharePoint Web Part

Up until this point, the products have all been outside of SharePoint, but where the rubber meets the road (so to speak) is in the SharePoint web part.  Notice I’ve said “web part” and not “web parts” which is testament to how flexible Handshake really is.  With such a small footprint inside of SharePoint for rendering content, it can really help alleviate migration concerns that stem from a huge footprint of server side code to worry about.  But enough about migrations a topic for another day.

The Handshake web part is responsible for acting as the glue on a page.  You add the web part to the page and configure it to select things like the skin you’d defined in the Content Designer and what to do with various context inputs like the user, the query string or URL path.  You can even establish relationships between multiple instances of the web part on a page to determine things like rendering order.  I think the best way to understand how powerful it can be is just to describe some examples I saw of it’s uses.

  • Simplifying a taxonomy by having the same SharePoint site and pages rendering differently simply based on a user and/or query string. You have to let that sit for a minute I’m sure, but the implications are really amazing.  Taxonomy and site structure are always a challenge to define since they can be organization based, client based, or something else.  Using these web parts could allow for the ultimate in flexibility
  • Replacing the out-of-the-box navigation by using a SharePoint list which allowed for a more cohesive navigation experience across sites which (as we all know) typically requires custom development if you want it to be cohesive across site collections
  • Creating a dashboard experience with grids and charts in a tabbed interface to get a holistic view across LOB systems that is personalized to a user and their role in the organization.
  • Enhanced Search experience with additional metadata options and faceting.
  • Surfacing documents from other systems in a unified user experience along side other content in the SharePoint portal.

Conclusion

The three features I mentioned above are just a few features that are available in Portals and it’s just one of the suite of products available from Handshake Software.  However, they all work together to help create some amazingly powerful SharePoint portals.  As a SharePoint Consultant who is always looking for ways to help customers create solutions on SharePoint, I feel like Handshake is something that I can use to provide the best solutions without having to resort to developing an entirely custom solution.  If you are interested in learning more, reach out to us or Handshake Software – I’m sure they would be glad to hear from you.

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Bo GeorgeHandshake Software Extends the Power of SharePoint and Works for Any Industry
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We Value People and Partners Over Competition

Tommy serves as the President at ThreeWill. In this role, he works with his leadership team to hire the best people, find the right business opportunities, and ensure that ThreeWill delivers for our clients on projects.

One thing you will rarely hear us mention at ThreeWill is the word competition. Yes, there are situations where we are “competing” for a project opportunity, but you will not see a strategy like “take out xyz competitor this year” in our business plan. If anything, you will see a list of partners and strategies around creating unique partnerships that put ThreeWill in a unique situation to serve our customer’s needs.

As a company, we would rather focus on our people and the relationships we have with our customers, than worry about competition. We care about how can we serve customers to the best of our ability in the intersection of:

  • What we are deeply passionate about – using an agile software development process to collaboratively build long term solutions that our customers love
  • What you can be the best in the world at – helping enterprises and software companies build cloud based applications on the Microsoft and Salesforce platforms
  • What drives our economic engine – working with customers that seek a partner that treats their problem as though it is their own and have a deep desire to make a positive impact on their company’s bottom line and overall health
THESE PHRASES FOR PASSION, SKILL, AND ECONOMIC ENGINE MIGHT LOOK FAMILIAR. THEY COME FROM THE BOOK “GOOD TO GREAT” BY JIM COLLINS AND ARE THE ELEMENTS OF A “HEDGEHOG CONCEPT.” WE READ THIS BOOK AS A COMPANY SEVERAL YEARS BACK AND EACH YEAR WHEN WE PLAN FOR THE UPCOMING YEAR, WE REVISIT OUR “HEDGEHOG CONCEPT.”

What we like about not focusing on competition is that we can define what is being great and set new standards in excellence, not in terms of competition, but in terms of what we think best serves our people and customers. We are not trying to be just good enough, we are looking to provide a service that our customer’s love and is not like anything else they experience. We believe you achieve this excellence by focusing on people and customer relationships and not competition. If we do this, we can do something that can have a true impact. We also believe that this difference will keep the right people at ThreeWill and attract and retain the right customers. Customers that we treat as partners where together we are both successful.

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Tommy RyanWe Value People and Partners Over Competition
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5 Things You Need to Know About the New Salesforce App for Outlook

Danny serves as Vice President of Business Development at ThreeWill. His primary responsibilities are to make sure that we are building partnerships with the right clients and getting out the message about how we can help clients.

ThreeWill was fortunate to work with Salesforce to bring integrations like the SharePoint Connector for Chatter. It’s exciting to see even more collaborations between Salesforce and Microsoft. The latest product from working together is the Salesforce App for Outlook.

Watch this overview video to get started:

Here are 5 things you need to know about the app:

1. It Works with Outlook 2013, Office 365, Outlook for Mac and the Outlook Web App (OWA).

Yes, Outlook for Mac is no longer a second class citizen. Hopefully Microsoft will bring Apps to the new Microsoft Outlook for iOS app.  Regardless, having an App that will work across your laptop, tablet, and phone is…

2. Easy Install

Toggle one setting in Salesforce (done by your Salesforce Admin) and users step through the OAuth process and a couple of clicks and you are done. No server or client installation software required. This is an exciting new world of integration possibilities.

3. You Will Need Enterprise Edition or Higher to Use

API access is required. Professional Edition users can purchase API access.

4. Click the + Get more apps Button

In the preview pane in Outlook, click the “+ Get more apps” button to start the install.  This is located in the upper right corner of the screenshot below.

get-more-apps

5. The Salesforce for Outlook Plug-In Remains Supported

It looks like there are no issues with using the app and the plug-in together. I heavily use the Contact syncing in the plugin so I’m glad that it’s staying around. In fact, on the blog post announcing the App Salesforce mentions that they are going to add new features in every release.

* Cover photo courtesy of Salesforce

Are you looking to build an App for Outlook? Contact us and let’s talk.

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Danny Ryan5 Things You Need to Know About the New Salesforce App for Outlook
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Feeling Grateful for a Colleague? Write a LinkedIn Recommendation

Danny serves as Vice President of Business Development at ThreeWill. His primary responsibilities are to make sure that we are building partnerships with the right clients and getting out the message about how we can help clients.

Last week we had an event at Microsoft Alpharetta office – it was on moving to the cloud on your terms. Pete Skelly did an excellent job presenting on the New Business Operating System covering subjects like Top 5 Benefits of Moving to the New Business Operating System (including Office 365 and Azure) , Three Perceived Barriers to Moving to Office 365 and Azure, and The Business Impact of a Continuous Delivery.

The second part of the event was a Panel discussion on moving to the Microsoft Cloud. We were fortunate to have a great panel that included leaders from Ernst & Young, Atlanta Braves, McKesson, and PGi.

We had about 80 people register for the event, but last week mixed two things that are like oil and water – (the chance of) snow and the SouthEast. All of the Panelists were able to make it to the event (miraculously), but we had a lot of cancellations because Fulton county cancelled school for the day – if you want a good laugh, here is the weather for that day.

Yes, 0 inches of precipitation (snow).

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Image Credit – Christy3514165 

Friday afternoon after the event, we were feeling pretty thankful for the panelists and discussed how we could show our appreciation. After some discussion, we thought that it would be good to write a LinkedIn Recommendation for each of the Panelists.

I was writing my recommendations this morning and noticed that a majority of the recommendations that I had received almost stopped after 2010. I used to love to go look at my recommendations if I was having a bad day. Recently, I find myself going to the testimonials section of our website to feel like we are making a difference if I’m having a particularly challenging day.

I think when endorsements came along, people stopped taking the time to write recommendations. It’s easier to click than to take the time to put your thoughts down in words.

Here’s my challenge to you (if you’re setting goals for this year). Next time you are feeling grateful for a colleague, why not take the time to write a recommendation? Chances are that you will get a recommendation in return. I’m definitely guilty of this – I’ve stopped writing as many recommendations.

You could probably set the goal of writing one LinkedIn Recommendation a week? Set apart 30 minutes on Friday afternoon to write this.  Put this down in your calendar as an appointment for yourself.

Of course, for my connections (probably the only people who will read this ;), write a recommendation for me and I’ll do one for you in return.

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Danny RyanFeeling Grateful for a Colleague? Write a LinkedIn Recommendation
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As a Microsoft Partner for over 10 years, here’s our vote for the next Microsoft CEO…

Danny serves as Vice President of Business Development at ThreeWill. His primary responsibilities are to make sure that we are building partnerships with the right clients and getting out the message about how we can help clients.

With each passing day, it seems like there is a better chance for an outsider to come in as the next Microsoft CEO.

Not that we have a vote, but if we did, we would cast it for Satya Nadella.

Here’s The 5 Reasons Why

1. He’s an engineer at heart…

This reminds us of the Gates days when it felt like the engineers (and not  Sales/Marketing) were in charge.  Nothing against Sales/Marketing (that’s my role) – but the ethos of a company matters.  Steve Ballmer called him “a right mix of leadership, vision, and hard-core engineering chops.” And getting back to the days where the engineers called the shots would be refreshing.  Probably not what the street would want, but as a partner this would be a welcome change.

Microsoft's Satya Nadella2. He is likable…

I feel like we could get behind him as the next CEO.  I’ve heard him talk at a number of events and he’s the type of person that I would be proud to associate with…as a partner, this is important.  Having a charismatic leader does mean something.  I want someone we can look up to and trust.  He seems like that kind of guy.

3. Enterprise, Enterprise, Enterprise…

As a partner it’s frustrating at times to see Microsoft try to be all things for all people.  No one would disagree that Microsoft has been making huge strides in the enterprise, and it seems like the last couple of years have been a series of mistakes in other parts of the business.  Why not focus?  We’ve been focused on the SharePoint space and this has grown into a multi-billion dollar revenue stream for them.  That’s a lot of Surface Pros.

Hot off the press from Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet from earlier today – Microsoft is still an enterprise software company (And that’s ok.)

4. Cloud, Cloud, Cloud…

This is a multi-year transition (not just because of Microsoft – but because of their customers and their partners).  Satya has been leading up this transition.  We’ve been really impressed with the speed of innovation we have seen with Azure (this past year we built a new SAAS/mobile/social product on Azure and it was a great decision for us).

5. He knows Microsoft

My concerns about bringing in an outsider (especially one with little understanding of Microsoft’s core business) is that we will have more of what it looks like as an outsider looking in over the last couple of years – re-arranging chairs, renaming products, reacting to mistakes, and offering what sometimes seems like a confusing vision for the future.

Hey, we love Microsoft – one of the first things that we did as a business was to register as a Microsoft partner.  To this day, we are grateful for the investments that they have made in platforms like SharePoint and the fact that they really do rely on their partners.

That’s why we care so much about the next CEO.

Learn more about Satya Nadella from a recent interview by Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet – Microsoft CEO candidate Nadella: Here’s what Ballmer taught me

What do you think? I’d especially be interested to hear what other Microsoft Partners think about the subject.  Leave your comments below.

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Danny RyanAs a Microsoft Partner for over 10 years, here’s our vote for the next Microsoft CEO…
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What do SharePoint, Jive and Salesforce have in common?

Eric Bowden has over 19 years of software development experience around enterprise and departmental business productivity applications.

And the answer is…iframes.

Really?

Not too far back, using iframes on a web site was all taboo, but as of today at least three major cloud products have embraced it as part of their integration/customization strategy:

  • Jive – Jive apps are hosted on a server separate from Jive and are rendered using an iframe.
  • SharePoint – SharePoint 2013 apps render custom applications hosted outside of the application using an iframe.
  • Salesforce – Salesforce Canvas Apps render custom applications outside of Salesforce using an iframe.

While Jive is using an iframe approach for apps, I’ll have to let them fall away from the conversation at this point. Reason: Though Jive apps are hosted outside of the Jive application server and rendered in an iframe, you cannot host your app entirely outside of Jive. You must host your Jive apps on a special Jive server. They’re on the right track, and I suspect they’ll be following the others, allowing apps to be hosted outside of Jive.

So, what’s new? What’s the big deal?

  • The big deal (for an integrator, admins aside) is that the host application is providing a method for the remote application to issue authenticated requests back to the host. (Sounds like a tongue-twister, and it is. Hopefully the illustration below will help).

Previously, yeah, you could pop in an iframe and render one app inside another, but there was no way for the app within the iframe to issue requests back to the host.

To solve this, Salesforce and SharePoint are both providing two methods for the iframe hosted application to authenticate back to the host:

  • Method 1: A login token is included as a query string parameter on the url source for the iframe. The remote application performs some manipulation of this login token and then uses it for calls back to the host.
  • Method 2: A certificate is shared between the host and remote applications. In SharePoint, this is called a high-trust application. In Salesforce, it is called the SAML Bearer flow.
Note: A disadvantage of Method 2 is that it usually requires identity mapping. Therefore, we would like to see Method 1 more often, to simplify deployment. As of now, it looks like this method will only be available for SharePoint 2013 on-prem and not for cloud.

Let me start by illustrating a simple example for how an integration might work, using Azure.

In the example below, a SharePoint 2013 app hosted in Azure is being used to render Chatter feed contents from Salesforce. I could argue that this approach is acceptable and is approximately what we might expect., but it has some significant disadvantages:

  • Requires identify mapping for calls out to Salesforce.
  • Requires that the UI rendering of the Chatter feed be duplicated, re-coded, in Azure.

IntegrationPatterns1

So, let’s get rid of Azure. I like the concept of Azure, and I’d like to brag that I’m using it for an app, but it may just be creating extra work.

IntegrationPatterns2

Salesforce, like many platforms, has it’s own method for customization called Visualforce. Visualforce pages are a lot like asp.net pages and are nearly as powerful. So, instead of hosting our app in Azure and then connecting to Salesforce, let’s host the SharePoint app directly in Salesforce.

Advantages:

  1. Identify mapping is not required because the user is directly authenticating to the iframe hosted in Salesforce. (Note: Salesforce is typically configured with Web browser SSO, so users do not need to manually authenticate.)
  2. The Visualforce page, hosted in Salesforce, can use many of the Chatter building blocks so that the UI/html need not be recoded in a middle tier, like Azure.

And, btw, since Salesforce has it’s own iframe apps strategy, we can reverse this pattern for hosting a SharePoint app within Salesforce.

IntegrationPatterns3

So, this looks pretty good on paper, but it may or may not be a reality for all integration projects, today. There are going to be good reasons for including a middle tier like Azure, so I wouldn’t want to rule it out, but there are some advantages to a more direct connection.

Some questions to consider when deciding if a middle tier is beneficial:

  • For both Salesforce and SharePoint, some server side coded is required in order to process the login token provided on the url string. Can the remote application provide the processing required?
  • If using certificate based authentication, can the remote application access a cert and sign a request.
  • Is SSO configured for the remote application or is the manual login process acceptable?

In summary, this method of integration seems highly useful, and I’m expecting to see more of it in the future (e.g. Jive).

And, if we agree that cutting out the middle tier, Azure, is a good idea, then I think we’ll see more integration projects which require us to be coding in the native language:

  • A drop box integration with SharePoint may very well be coded in the technology native to Dropbox.
  • A YouSendIt integration with SharePoint may be coded in the technology native to YouSendIt.
  • And as illustrated above, a Salesforce integration may be coded in the technology native to Salesforce.

Have you noticed any other trends in cloud integration? Leave a comment below if you have so we can discuss.

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Eric BowdenWhat do SharePoint, Jive and Salesforce have in common?
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ThreeWill Hero – Jason Jones

Danny serves as Vice President of Business Development at ThreeWill. His primary responsibilities are to make sure that we are building partnerships with the right clients and getting out the message about how we can help clients.

Ending with a Bang

Wow, we’re at our last ThreeWill Hero. In this final post, we want to recognize both a special person and a special company. The person that we would like to recognize is Jason Jones and the company is Microsoft. Jason epitomizes all that is good about partnering with Microsoft. He’s a great communicator, he’s energetic and aggressive at the right times, and he looks for opportunities that make sense for both Microsoft and ThreeWill.

A Microsoft Partner Since the Beginning

One of the first things that we did as a business was to register as a Microsoft partner. Besides the generous licensing offered from partnering with Microsoft, this gave us the confidence that we were not starting our business alone. We felt like our company was starting out with one of the best brands in the industry and gained credibility that comes only by working with a company that has a strong reputation like Microsoft.

How Many Thousands of Companies Have Started Because of Microsoft?

It seems like sometimes it’s fashionable to take shots at Microsoft (I think it’s a part of human nature for people to try and knock success). But there is one thing that is undeniable about Microsoft – they are a partner focused company. For all that is said about the greatness of Apple and Google, Microsoft has provided thousands of companies like ThreeWill the opportunity to start and succeed because they are partner focused. For that, we are extremely grateful. We wouldn’t have started ThreeWill without Microsoft – they gave us a business model that helped us grow and thrive.

Deepening the Relationship

About five years in (and lots of conversations to convince certain people) we became a managed partner for Microsoft. We have had a number of Partner Account Managers (PAMs). We started out with Trey Kimbel, another real gem at Microsoft. Trey provided a great introduction to working well with Microsoft. We learned that PAMs have one of the most demanding and difficult jobs out there. Lots of responsibility with little authority and the difficulties of trying to serve multiple masters.

Partnering as a Systems Integrator

As a systems integrator, your business is making things work together. We’ve built a business around making SharePoint work with other platforms and key emerging technologies (including Enterprise Video with Polycom, Mobile with Rover Apps, and Social with Jive Software). Although sometimes these integrations might lead to competitive situations, most folks at Microsoft understand that all Microsoft solutions might not be the right solution for all companies (I said most). No one can deny Microsoft’s success in focusing on the Enterprise over the last ten years, and a key part of this success is their willingness to work well with other products/platforms. Kudos, Microsoft.

Back to Jason

I’ve been talking a lot about Microsoft in the last couple of paragraphs, but many of the positive attributes could also be said about Jason as a person. Jason is always looking out for us – talking to us about how to improve what we do based on what he learns from other companies like us. Part advocate, part mentor, part friend – he checks in with frequent calls to make sure things are going well and he looks to connect us to people both inside and outside of Microsoft that have the potential to make an impact on our business. Jason is also a man of faith – the highlight of every Microsoft Partner Conference is attending the Partners in Christ meeting that Jason helps lead. He’s got his head set on straight and knows what is important – another reason why we enjoy working with him and trust him. Jason is also very involved with his local Church serving in the middle school ministry which shows Jason has a heart for his community as well as his business.

Our PAM is a Celebrity

Jason is a bit of a celebrity — or at least his family is…his daughters, Mary-Charles Jones – http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2325460/ and Maggie Elizabeth Jones – http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1369619/, are successful young actors. Mary-Charles has been on Grey’s Anatomy and she plays the recurring role of a younger version of Hanna Montana. Both girls were in the recent remake of Footloose. In December of 2011, Maggie will star opposite Matt Damon in Cameron Crowe’s “We Bought a Zoo” which is sure to be a big family hit! I’m not sure how he does this, but for a good part of the year his family is in Hollywood to meet the demands of success. Pretty amazing.

The Future

We recently brought on a twenty year veteran of Microsoft (Kirk Puffenberger). Kirk will be taking the lead in building our partnership with Microsoft (working quite a bit with Jason) and other companies that we are aligning with for success. We look forward to seeing where this partnership leads us and what the next 10 years has in store for both companies. Like any healthy relationship, we’ve had our share of disagreements…(we’re still waiting for an app store for SharePoint) But, by pushing each other, we have learned to grow stronger.

A Word from Jason

Jason had the following to share upon hearing that he was a ThreeWill Hero…

”I am truly honored to be featured as a THREEWILL HERO. It is working with companies like THREEWILL that truly make my job a joy each and every day. ThreeWill has shown unwavering commitment to not only Microsoft but to building great relationships with everyone they work with. Over the years I have seen how the ThreeWill team has positively impacted customers with their innovative approach to technology and knowing them has certainly impacted me personally over the years as well. I know that the next ten years will hold tremendous success for the entire ThreeWill team and I am excited to watch it happen.”

Thanks for being our final ThreeWill Hero Jason and thanks Microsoft for your support through the years!

Follow Jason on Twitter
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Danny RyanThreeWill Hero – Jason Jones
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ThreeWill Hero – Owen Allen

Danny serves as Vice President of Business Development at ThreeWill. His primary responsibilities are to make sure that we are building partnerships with the right clients and getting out the message about how we can help clients.

ThreeWill and Microsoft

ThreeWill has been a Microsoft Partner pretty much since we opened our doors in 2001. They have been a great company to work with and there have been a couple of key people that have made a big difference in the success of ThreeWill. This month we want to highlight one of those people – Owen Allen (LinkedIn, Twitter).

Our Introduction to Owen

For those of you who don’t know Owen, he used to be in charge of the SharePoint ISV ecosystem for Microsoft (his official title was Sr. Product Manager – SharePoint ISV Partners at Microsoft). And, yes, it is “used to” because he left Microsoft last year to start his own company (more about that later). We first started working with Owen when we were finishing up the initial version of the SharePoint Connector for Confluence. Although Owen wasn’t the one to introduce and recommend us to Atlassian (thanks to Lawrence Liu and Deb Bannon for that), he was the one that showed us the support we needed to grow and go after SharePoint Product Development opportunities.

Working Together

As many of our readers know, we have been fortunate to work with some pretty fantastic companies through the years, one of the biggest highlights has been Jive Software (another account referred to us by Microsoft). During the design of Jive for SharePoint, Owen met with us a couple of times and provided great input on the integration. He was able to provide crucial guidance about which platform aspects were safe to incorporate on and which were safe for us to extend. It was helpful to get his insight on the integration and have him provide a sanity check. He’s worked with so many varied companies to provide strategic guidance on SharePoint that having his input has been invaluable.

Connect, Extent, Build On

Tommy and I attended the SharePoint Conference in 2008 where Owen had a presentation on building products and the SharePoint Ecosystem. One of the key concepts, Connect, Extend, Build On – stuck with us. This probably happened because we could classify almost all of the work that we were doing with SharePoint into these buckets. It made a lot of sense to us. In the weeks following the session and after a few conversations with Owen, it was apparent that we both were thinking of writing a white paper on the topic. Here’s the result of that collaboration – Benefits of SharePoint 2010 as a Product Platform White Paper. To this day, we have 3-4 people download the white paper each day.

Starting SharePoint Directions

Owen has quite a following in SharePoint circles and he is highly regarded as the go-to expert on the SharePoint ISV ecosystem. So, as he parted ways with Microsoft last year he had many options to choose from for his next move. Fortunate for us, he decided to start his own company, SharePoint Directions. This has allowed us to work together with ISV’s and product companies. Owen is a master at the strategic (and tactical, if needed) moves required for product management decisions to be made. And ThreeWill loves to work with people like Owen — his skills complement our implementation skills and our passion to ship new product features and successful field deployments.

Thanks Owen!

Owen is a ThreeWill Hero – he understands what we do and where we are going better than anyone else…like a number of the other ThreeWill Heroes, he has been a strong advocate for us through the years. Everyone at ThreeWill wishes him continued success with SharePoint Directions. I have no doubt he will – please take a minute to learn more about his services at his website.

More About Microsoft

There are a lot of people that we could recognize at Microsoft as a ThreeWill Hero. Anyone from our current Partner Account Manager, Jason Jones, to our good friends Rob Bohm and Emilio Matt (we love you guys 😉 ). We’re grateful for the years of commitment from people at Microsoft. We feel lucky and grateful to have the chance to ride the SharePoint wave that has been building for years.

A Word From Owen

Owen had the following to say about being recognized as a ThreeWill Hero…

It has been a pleasure to work with ThreeWill, and I’ve always been happy to represent them as a development company with integrity when other software companies ask about them. ThreeWill understands that helping software companies build a SharePoint-compatible product that can be shipped is different than helping a SharePoint customer with an implementation. It requires a slightly different approach to the project. The focus has to be on the long term sustainability of the product and has to take into account the culture of the client with much more depth. ThreeWill gets this, and works hard to work well with software companies. I look forward to seeing their list of clients with SharePoint integrations continue to grow!

Thanks again for being a ThreeWill Hero Owen!

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Danny RyanThreeWill Hero – Owen Allen