Find Anything in SharePoint with Amazon-Like Faceted Search Webinar

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




Hello everyone, and welcome to this webinar on finding anything in SharePoint with Amazon-Like faceted search, wow I got that out.


This is Danny Ryan, I’ll be your host for today, and I am the co-founder and VP of Business Development for ThreeWill. I have here with me a partner, Ross Leher, he’s the CEO and chairman of WAND INC. I’ve also included in on this conversation as well Bo George. Bo is a principal consultant for ThreeWill. He leads up our portals practice lead. I wanted him in on the conversation as well.


The way this is set up today is, it’s set up as a conversation. I wanted to have Bo just be able to chime in, maybe on some recent project experience, or some things that we’ve seen, and have him chime in that way, and look forward to showing this to you guys today.


Thank you everybody for joining. A couple of logistical things, before we jump into the content … we will be recording the webinar, so you can share it with colleagues. We’ll send a link out to it, so look for a followup next week, with the link. I think we might also be putting this on the podcast as well.


The deck for the webinar is available, it’s in the downloads panel … let’s make sure we’re all set there. You should be able to see … actually, it’s in the handouts. You can see in the handouts panel, you can download it from there, a PDF of the presentation.


If you’ve got any questions at all, I’ve got our producer here, Oliver is behind me. Today’s Oliver’s birthday, it’s his 21st birthday, happy birthday Oliver. He’ll be handling your questions, or if you have anything you’d like to chat about as well, he’ll keep an eye on that.


You’re not drinking yet, are you? You’re 21 years old … not til tonight. Okay, he’s going to wait til tonight.


So if you’ve got anything there, just let us know, and we’ll respond to the questions towards the end of the webinar. So that gets us kicked off with a little bit of logistics.


The agenda for today … what we wanted to start off with is our perspective and the backstory on this, which is why we wanted to share more information about what Ross and his company does, and why we think this is so important to our customers and to people in general who are using SharePoint and things. So I wanted to give a little bit of a backstory to get us started out with the webinar today. The next part, I’ll let Ross take over, and he’ll help define for us what the enterprise need is, around findability. I also want him to give a little bit of a background on sort of how WAND fits into the picture, what they do. And then, for some people this might be a new topic for them, as far as what taxonomy is, so I just want to give sort of an overview of what that is, and really just be able to make sure that we’re all using the same vocabulary when we’re talking. And then, sort of looking at what this overall webinar’s about, we’re looking at trying to create something, like Amazon-like faceted search.


We all know, the net time you go look for a new pair of shoes within Amazon, it’s amazing how quickly you can narrow it down to the correct ones. So we wanted to say, “How can we do something similar with the content that we have on our intranets, inside of SharePoint?” And then he’s going to go through and just share a little bit about the business functions in industries, the different taxonomies for those, and then I’ll ask him to do a demonstration of their taxonomy portal.


And then from there, sort of like, “How do you get started with all this stuff?” There’s a two-to-three week quick-start project, which we’ll talk a little bit about, and what does that look like, and how do you get this whole thing started out in the right way?


And then we’ve got a case study that we’d like to review about Goodwill industries, and review what some of the things were that we found out from that case study.


Then we’ll wrap it up with, I’ve just got some conclusions, just some things, what do I want everybody to walk away with from this webinar, and just some of the conclusions. At that point in time, we’ll go through and see if there’s any questions that folks have, and we’ll answer the questions at that time.


I’ve got it open right now. I like sort of conversational. I’ll hand it over, after I’m done with the backstory, over to Ross. But Ross or Bo, feel free to jump in, if there’s anything that you’d like to add to the conversation.


Hey Bo, how’s it going?


Bo:Good, good. How are you, Danny?


Danny:Good, good, good. And Ross, you’re there?


Ross:We are here in the mile-high city of Denver, Colorado. It’s a beautiful day.


Danny:It is? Okay, awesome. Great to have you guys here.


Let’s get started with the backstory. For folks who are on the line, I ended up inviting a lot of people to this who are current client, or folks that we have interacted with through the years. Most people know we’ve been working with clients on building intranets and extranets on SharePoint for a while now. It’s been a while.


One of the most common complaints that we hear from people is, “I can’t find anything in SharePoint.” Bo, you hear that quite a bit?


Bo:Yeah, for sure. I was thinking, as soon as you have two people working on a single document, you’re going to have the, “I can’t find anything in SharePoint.” That’s how simple it is, is two people working on something in SharePoint.


Danny:Never mind an organization with thousands or hundreds of thousands of people.




Danny:So the taxonomy is going to enable ways for us to present and find content. Bo, I know you wanted to specifically call out these things: search, navigation, automatic tagging, and document routing.


Bo:Yeah. When people talk about, “findability,” immediately you gravitate towards, “search,” and that’s kind of the most obvious thing … conversational search, your Amazon scenario, is clicking things and refining your results. So that one’s a huge one with taxonomy. The other thing that I think taxonomy enables in SharePoint that people don’t think about as much is navigation, which could be search, or it could be other things. And then automatic tagging, so where I put a document, it could be automatically tagged with terms and taxonomy stuff, which reduces the need for people to fill out metadata, because it’s done for them, auto-magically.


And even document routing features in SharePoint, which I think are awesome, like … I upload it, I tag it with something, and it puts it in specific places, so that it’s organized based on how I tag it.


So it’s not just search, but that’s a huge part, but it also enables all kinds of other features in SharePoint.


Danny:And all this is going to be missing if you don’t have a common taxonomy that’s been defined.


Bo:Exactly, yep.


Danny:You seem as though this is a daunting task, ’cause this is not typically something that we learned in school, or people taking this on. I just wanted to mention, I know a recent example where you were working with a client and asking for, “Give us your top 20 document types,” and even that was a difficult thing for them to go through.


Bo:Yeah, and it’s been my experience, not many of us have graduate school with a degree in Information Sciences, that talk about classification systems and things like that, that’s just not our day job. So when you say, “Give me your top 10 document types,” on the surface it sounds like an easy question, but it may not be.


Some customers will just punt on it and not do anything, which is maybe the worst thing to do. The other flip side is, I’ve worked with customers that, they’ve taken on that daunting task, and it’s taken them years, potentially, to define a taxonomy, because they started with a blank slate and di all that work.


So it can be daunting to the point where you just don’t do anything, or it just takes forever. I’ve seen both sides for sure.


Danny:And Ross, not everyone’s like you, where they eat taxonomy for breakfast.


Ross:Well, it’s not that difficult, but we’ll have some fun today. Look forward to it.


Danny:Awesome, appreciate it.


So starting with what we found, and this is a ley thing from meeting up with Ross, is really understanding … if we can start with a pre-defined taxonomy, a lot of … you just do this in general, consulting-wise, instead of starting with a blank slate, having something that is in initial skeleton for you to work with, or a straw-man that’s out there, it’s really a way to make this a reality.


This is why we wanted to … we didn’t have this webinar initially scheduled for this year, but as soon as Bo and I met up with Ross a couple times, I was like, “We’ve really got to share this with folks in the ThreeWill community.” That sort of brings us to where we are today, and why we wanted to share what Ross has for you.


Ross, I’m going to go ahead and switch over and make you the presenter. I’ll give you control, and if you want to turn on your webcam, that’s fine as well. It’s up to you.


Ross:Sounds good, I hope I’m not dominating the screen too much.


Danny:No, you look great.


Ross:Well, thank you.


Danny:You don’t look that great. Wait a minute.


Ross:Listen, first things first. I want to thank Danny and his team for organizing everything today. It’s terrific. Hopefully we’ll have a little bit of fun today.


The Enterprise Need – The Pain Point. What the heck are taxonomies, and what does it mean to all of us? The problem, I think as Danny just talked about, is search. We can’t find stuff. If we think about the physical assets of an enterprise, we have inventory control systems for all of our physical assets, we know where every component is, if we’ve got a manufacturing line … all of the physical assets, they’re on our ballot sheet, real estate, equipment, so on and so forth.


All the physical assets of an enterprise have been tagged and classified. Why? So we can find them. The macro-problem, 75% … and this is probably understated, 75% of information workers say that finding the right information, not the physical assets, but the intellectual, the information assets, is critical to the organization’s success. We would suggest taxonomies as one of the key success factors for effective search and findability.


What are the obstacles to finding our information, our intellectual assets well, everyone knows poor search functionality, inconsistency in how we tag content. Lack of adequate tags. We waste a lot of time when we can’t find the documents we’re looking for, and we get very, very frustrated. When we can’t find the documents that we’re looking for, we either do without them, or we try and recreate them. But in every case, it’s extraordinarily frustrating. So how do we solve this problem?


Little bit of background about our company first. WAND has been building taxonomies since 1983. We began to build taxonomies a long time ago, because we had large insurance companies here in the United States that we provided software programs to, that required taxonomies. Taxonomy libraries that we’re going to look at today, there’s 128,000 curated terms, address virtually every industry vertical and all of the operational areas of an organization. For some of our clients, we’re necessary. We provide taxonomy professional services. Our client base all over the world, taxonomies can be used in SharePoint, but they can be used in big data applications, eCommerce cataloging … search, as we’ve discuss, BI analytics, the list goes on and on and on.


Out of the box, the taxonomy term store in SharePoint is empty. There’s nothing in it. WAND provides taxonomies that are formatted for direct input into that empty term store. But the enterprise may have many, many applications into which taxonomies can be imported, BI analytics, big data, the list goes on and on and on. We format the taxonomies for direct import into those various applications.


Taxonomy is a mystery for most people. I think most of the folks on this call know what they are. I hope I do, but we all face the burden of explaining to people in our companies what the heck that word, “taxonomies,” means, and what difference it makes to what we’re doing.


Say, for the sake of argument, we’ve got a company that’s got 2,000 employees. I’m going to put those 2,000 employees into a room, and I’m going to ask them the question, “Everybody that knows what a taxonomy is, raise your hand.” Not too many hands go up.


Then I’m going to say to those folks, “Everybody that’s used, raise your hand.” Now everybody raises their hand.


I’m going to say to the people, “When you do a search for the word, ‘shoes,’ on Amazon, you’re going to get 550,000 results. On the left-hand side of the screen, are taxonomies. A taxonomy of size, I want a size 11. Taxonomy of colors, I choose black. Type of shoe, I select men’s dress shoe. Taxonomy of brands, I choose Allen Edmonds. 550,000 results, narrowed down to the five that are relevant to the user.”


I say to those 2,000 people, “As long as you’ve been using Amazon, you’ve been using taxonomy. You’ve just never put that word to it before. It didn’t matter whether you were searching for a pair of shoes, a computer, a television … the taxonomy’s always on the left-hand side of the screen, to enable you to find the results that are relevant for you.”


I’d say to the folks, “Think about the feeling of control we have over our search when we use Amazon. We know we’re going to find what we’re looking for, because those taxonomies are there to help us navigate the result sets. Imagine having the same feeling of control over the search for our enterprise documents.” This is what the WAND taxonomies, in conjunction with SharePoint, enable.


The analogy is a very good one, and if you think about the problem that Amazon had when they started, they had stacks of shoes, stacks of computers, libraries of televisions, so on and so forth, and they needed taxonomies to be able to tag those various libraries of merchandise to enable that taxonomy-driven search.


The enterprise has the same problem. Instead of libraries of shoes, computers, televisions, the enterprise has libraries of HR documents, accounting documents, IT documents. If you’re in the building and construction business, building and construction documents, so on and so forth. And WAND provides taxonomies to tag those various libraries of documents.


The analogy is another good one if we think about a content type. We might think that, “shoes,” is a content type. If we have a library of HR documents, let’s say they’re compensation documents. We may say, “HR compensation documents.” That’s a content type.


So, remember that analogy. It explains everything.


One slide we like to show folks, you can show this to the business side, the technical side, and people immediately get it. Everybody knows what the Amazon experience looks like. Do a search, you’ve got refiners … let’s see what this actually looks like.


In this case, Amazon decide they’re going to have a library of shoes. What we decided is, we’re going to have a library of HR documents. A library of documents, nothing confidential, just documents, insurance plans, company handbooks, time off forms, so on and so forth. And when we check documents into that library, we tag them with the appropriate taxonomy terms. The same terms that we use to tag the documents, navigation trees, in the search process.


When we do a search for the term, “HR,” in that library, you can imagine we’re going to get everything on the left-hand side of the screen, just like Amazon. There’s the refiners … and I need an expense form. Instead of calling my manager, instead of calling HR, I can now find all of the documents that are relevant, open-source documents for employees.


The reason we always like to start with a library like this is because it’s a success story, and it’s relevant to every individual in your company. We like to break taxonomies down even further to their absolute basic levels.


We would suggest taxonomies are the data model for unstructured text. Now I’m going to say to everyone, there’s no such thing as unstructured text. If I put a ThreeWill brochure on the table, if I put a Wall Street Journal article on the desk, everybody’s saying to me, “Ross, two perfect examples of unstructured text, what ar you talking about?”


And I’d say to everybody on the call, “Every one of us can read the ThreeWill brochure, we understand it perfectly. We can all read the Wall Street Journal article. It’s not unstructured text for the human brain.”


So make a small modification to this first statement. Taxonomies are the data model for unstructured text that we can use in computer programs like SharePoint, to tag documents in a structure that replicates how the human brain organizes the domain of information.


We would suggest implicit taxonomies are how the human brain organizes information. These implicit taxonomies have been developed ever since the day we were born.


I have a five year old granddaughter. The first terms she knew were the terms, “wet,” and “dry.” The terms, “hungry,” me stomach is full. She didn’t put words to those concepts, but from the day she was born, she started organizing her knowledge base.


She’s five years old. She knows there’s a top-level term of, “food,” a narrower term, “fruit … apples, oranges, bananas … ” Narrower term to food, “Baked goods, cookies, brownies.” She’s organized that domain of information, “food,” into logical, broader, narrower, narrower, narrower terms.


We do the same thing with geography. Continents, countries, states, cities, districts. And we do the same thing with all the enterprise domains of information. The explicit taxonomies that WAND has developed are simply representations of how the human brain and enterprises organize information. These explicit taxonomies are used with enterprise applications like SharePoint for tagging documents, for taxonomy-driven search and libraries, and of many, many other applications for text-to-knowledge purposes.


We want those 2,000 people to say to themselves, “Boy, four or five minutes ago, I had no idea what the heck a taxonomy was. But I’ve been using the all my life. Been using them when I use Amazon. Heck, I’m going to the grocery store after work tonight, there’s taxonomies everywhere … meat department, dairy department, milk, cheese … different types of cheese. There’s no mystery about that word, ‘taxonomies,’ except one … why have I never used it before, to describe how information’s organized?”


The reason I spend time on this, four or five minutes, is because we find, within our clients, when everybody understands, it eliminated the mystery of that word, they see, “Boy, we’re going to a great search, it’s going to be just like Amazon.” It creates a tremendous amount of momentum, and it makes your jobs a lot easier to implement a great search, and to implement these types of processes within SharePoint.


We take every document, we’ll say [inaudible 00:28:09] your telecommunications company. If we take every document in your telecommunications company, we say, “We’re going to put al those documents, we’re going to put them into one room, just like Amazon did. They decided, ‘We’re going to put those into stacks, we’re going to put them into libraries.’ We’re going to have libraries of accounting, environmental, HR, IT, libraries of documents, every organization has, WAND provides taxonomies that address all those libraries of documents.


Also going to have to have libraries of documents that address the business activities of your organization. Telecommunication documents, a lot of telecommunications companies have retail store, sell retail stores. Going to have real estate documents, going to have building and construction documents, every company build and constructs assembly lines, remodels, whatever it might be.


In a nutshell, WAND provides taxonomies that address all of the domains of knowledge for an organization.


With that, we’re going to go to a demonstration of our WAND Taxonomy Library Portal. What this provides is online access to all of our WAND taxonomies, our client can browse, download the taxonomies in formats that can be directly imported into SharePoint. We provide regular updates, release new taxonomies on an ongoing basis, and the library can be licensed for a single application, or it can be licensed for any, many applications that the enterprise might have.


I’m assuming that everyone on this call has an understanding of where taxonomies reside within SharePoint, and that’s the taxonomy term store. We’ll go to the taxonomy library. Each one of our clients gets a username and a passcode. This particular user, Ross Leher, is licensed to download taxonomies that can be imported into these various SharePoint applications. Just for context, we format the taxonomies for about 100 different enterprise applications, BI analytics, big data, the list goes on and on and on and on.


We partner with many of these application providers, probably our highest-profile partner, WAND provides taxonomies that can be imported into the [inaudible 00:30:34] engine applications.


Taxonomies improve the performance of many, many enterprise applications, and they’re a very, very necessary ingredient. What our users are able to do is, go to the taxonomy library and browse the various taxonomy titles.


Because there’s so many of them, we’ve grouped them into industry verticals. We’ll take financial banking organization, investment bank organization … we’ll say to them, “This is a list of all of the domains of knowledge within your organization. You’re going to have real estate documents, libraries of procurement documents, libraries of finance and investment banking documents, customer service … every organization provides health insurance, life insurance have to have casualty insurance, accounting documents, libraries or facilities management.”


These represent all of the libraries, all the domains of knowledge. And always start with IT for the demonstration. I’ll explain to you why in a moment.


User is able to click into any one of the taxonomy titles and explore the various taxonomy trees. Numbers of terms in a taxonomy hierarchy on the right hand side, in parentheses.


We’ll drill down on IT administration. Many of our clients are using the second and the third-level terms as a basis for setting up libraries. I want to set up a library for all of my IT policies, make sure we’ve got them all. When we set that library up, these are the terms that we’ll be able to tag documents with, when they’re checked in. And just like that HR search we were looking at, these are the terms that will be used as the refiners on the search process in SharePoint.


Some of our clients will come back and say, “Ross, we didn’t have a smartphone policy, we didn’t have some of the access control policies,” soon and so forth. We began to checklist, because in a lot of cases, they had a lot of these policies, but they were in this file share, they were over here, they were someplace else, or they hadn’t formalized them, or they hadn’t updated them. So a great byproduct, it became a wonderful checklist to make sure that they did have everything.


The reason I always start with IT, I make the argument, and every day when you read the newspapers, IT security, most important taxonomy for any organization. We don’t have documents, we don’t have workflows … if we don’t have expertise within the organization that we can tag with these terms, we may want to take a second look at our IT security policies.


What the user is able to do is explore the various taxonomy titles. We can then highlight at any level, and whatever we highlight, we can click on Download. Or, if I want to take all of IT administration at one time, I highlight that, click on Download … select the application into which it’s going to be imported. I confirm it.


Starting to add multiple languages select our language. Click on Continue To Download, and what’s taking place now, IT administration is being formatted for SharePoint. It takes three or four minutes for the formatting to take place. The user can continue browsing, or we can go to our delivery page.


We formatted this just yesterday, IT administration formatted for SharePoint. We can download the file directly to our desktop, and then proceed to import that term set directly into the taxonomy term store in SharePoint, and proceed to use it in our SharePoint implementation.


You kind of want to think about, the taxonomy portal represents like a grocery store. Everything’s there, you can pick and choose what you need, and if you want to think about … go back to that Amazon analogy, each one of these represents … shoes, computers and this and that, all the different domains of knowledge, and I may want to have a library for … just like we look at, employee benefits, and the library for company policies.


This is kind of our menu. What libraries do we want to set up? I want to set up an IT policy library, I want to set up a library for all of our IT infrastructure, all of the different components within that infrastructure, the documents, so on and so forth.


Danny:Ross, quick question as we’re looking at this. From your experience, is there a specific executive inside of larger companies that owns the overall taxonomy of the company? I know there’s certain departments, like an HR department where they can sort of define their own. Who’s the person responsible, overall in these large organizations, who’s responsible for defining the taxonomy? Is there typically an executive?


Ross:It’s not a matter of defining the taxonomy per se, but it’s a matter of realizing, recognizing, we have intellectual assets. We have knowledge within the organization. I don’t think it’s the IT department. What we’re seeing more and more, there’s an increasing … frankly, increasing sales, because there’s a recognition of, Chief Information Officer, we’re seeing new officers, Chief Knowledge Officers, Chief Innovation Officers … and they look at the requirement and say, “We’ve got all this information, and no one can find it.” It’s crazy.


Danny:And then they would work with the different departments, or they would work with their industry specialist to go out and define these taxonomies.


Ross:That’s it. What we’re seeing is … and we call these, “foundation taxonomies,” our clients tell us, it gets the 85%, 90% of the way there. Our client are telling us, it literally saves them months and month and months and months. They’re able to customize the HR taxonomy list in a day. Our clients tell us, “It gets us 85%, 90% of the way there.” Some of our clients tell us, “It’s got us 140% of the way there,” because there’s terms and phrases they would have never thought about, had they built it from scratch.


This is the key point: people are expert at what they do, not experts in taxonomy building, editing … the pre-built taxonomies provides an easy, contextual reference.


Danny:It’s almost like when you hear, “I know it when I’ll see it.” Like you have to see it first. And as I mentioned earlier, it’s commonly. From a consulting standpoint, “Never show up with a blank slate.” Show up with something that you can at last work with, and take apart and build up. This provides that to you.


Ross:I’m going to do, cause we’re in the finance area, “I need a taxonomy for risk.” Huh. Risk. Risk can have many, many meanings. The search result on the left-hand side of the screen, the terms and phrases. On the right-hand side of the screen, the taxonomy they’re located in, from a contextual point of view.


I don’t care about insurance, I can are about credit risk in context of banking. I click on that term, and it takes me directly to that term, “credit risk,” in the banking taxonomy.


Some probably need to have a library for risk management processes. And a library for internal process, and so on and so forth. A library for the various bank regulations, so we don’t have to go searching for them, so on and so forth. A library for the different bank products.


Remember, we can tag a document with more than one taxonomy term. We can have a mortgage product, and a brochure about that mortgage product.


I’m going to show you one other search. This is an example or a multi-faceted search. What we’ve one here is, we’ve indexed a number of SharePoint conferences. When we were looking at the HR library, we just had one refiner. Now, when we tagged the documents that went into this library, we tagged them with the type of document, the conference locations, and the event.


And now I want to find document, conferences in Chicago. I don’t care about SharePoint Fest, I care about Microsoft Ignite. And I don’t care about sponsor schedules, I need to get my registration form.


So if we think about this we have a mortgage product … and we have different types of mortgage products, credit cards, so on and so forth. We may want to tag the various products that we have, and because we’ve got a great sales and marketing team, but they can’t find stuff … when we check that document in, it’s about a mortgage, and the document could be a case study, it could be a data sheet, it could be a sales brochure, it could be a testimonial.


When a salesperson is looking, “I’m trying to sell this product to my client … ” Well, here’s the product, here’s all the documents for the product, and here’s the lead-behinds, and here’s the product data sheets, and so on and so forth. It could be the price list, the price list exist in here, so on and so forth.


And the marketing people … I’m focused on marketing mortgages in the Georgia area. I probably want to be able to find my research, demand forecasting. Or maybe I’ve got the international, I want to see demand forecasting for the UK marketing, so on and so forth.


You want to think about, “How do I organize information?” At the grocery store, how do they organize stuff? They’ve got meat in one area …


Think about your house. You’ve got a kitchen. We’ve got different things in the kitchen. We’ve got a place where we put our spices. We’ve got a place in SharePoint where we put our sales collateral documents. It’s the same kind of a concept.


It’s not difficult because we do it every day. We just have not thought about it, in these types of a context.


Danny:What if your house is not that organized? You see how you could benefit from it.


Ross:This is where you have to start. You’ve got to recognize … and I say this to people, if you’ve been living in your house for 20 years … and this is a great time for a migration strategy, and you’re moving. When you move from House A to House B, you make an evaluation on House A, “What don’t I want to move? What have I not used?” And then, “Where do I want to put it in House B?”


I want to be very straightforward. WAND is a company, we provide great taxonomies. But experts like ThreeWill, they provide the How. Our clients, they want to have great search? Why? “Because we’re wasting a lot of time, a lot of frustration.” But every environment is different, every organization is different.


I don’t know how many engagements, hundreds if not thousands of engagements ThreeWill has been involved in, they’ve done it a bunch of times. Hundreds of times, so this is the expertise, and this is how we integrate with folks like Danny and his team.


Danny:A couple of other things Ross. You just mentioned migrations, and that’s probably a good time … when I think about organizing. We’ve been doing the latest, everybody’s moving typically to SharePoint Online, so I think that’s a great time for you to … a lot of customers want to do cleanup at that time, probably reorganizing, and it’s probably really a good time for you to introduce that taxonomy to the company.


Ross:Absolutely. At the end of the day, we want to be able to find stuff.


Danny:The other thing is, I noticed … if you go back to that search page that you were on, is that Microsoft is starting to, based upon things like the document type and the author and created date, they’re trying to implicitly start to create some facets for you. If you look at the bottom of it, it’s almost like there’s certain things that Microsoft can do like the author and modified date. I think this is something relatively new to SharePoint Online.


There’s been some things that have been around for a while, but there are some new stuff. I find this incredibly helpful, to have that modified date, ’cause I’m looking for a document I know I worked on last week, and it’s not even fining things that other people have created, it’s my own stuff. It’s a huge help.


Ross:I think what you want to think about, when we think about metadata or taxonomy is, we could call this, “administrative metadata.” It tells us that it is an Excel document, it tells us who the author is, and it tells us when it was modified. But it doesn’t tell us what the document is about. This is what we would call, “descriptive metadata.”


When we go back to our slide on the shoes, this is the descriptive metadata. It tells us the size, the color. It tells us what’s in that box of shoes. This is telling us, what’s in that Excel document that Danny authored on June 26th. This describes what it is. Or if it’s a specification sheet on XYZ computer that I’m a salesman for. So this is the descriptive metadata versus the so-called administrative metadata.


Danny:And that administrative data, although helpful, it’s definitely helpful in that, along with sort of a free-text search is helpful … it just doesn’t get people to where they really need to be. It’s like one of those things, if you don’t take that last step, the experience is just … commonly what we’re running into, which is, there’s and time spent towards this, and they’re trying to use that administrative metadata, and they’re trying to use what’s inside the content of the document, but it just doesn’t get them to a place where they can easily find things.


Ross:Another aspect of search … and the guys at ThreeWill, they know I’m not a SharePoint specialist. That’s the first thing I tell people. But in the term store, we call these foundation taxonomies, and in your company, you may have a special location, Georgia, rule and regulations. So you can add terms, you can delete terms, so on and so forth.


Another important point is … we may think of the concept, “leave and time off.” Or, HR. I call it HR, Danny calls is Human Resources, Bo calls is Personnel. So, within SharePoint, we can add synonyms. Retirement plans, whatever the synonyms …


Danny:A real word, for reference, is we would call it, “People.” We sort of call our HR, “People.”


Ross:There you go. But this is where the customizations, the adding of additional terms, adding vocabulary that’s used within the organization. Call it Information Technology, call it IT, so on and so forth. You simply add synonyms.


Bo:Ross and Danny, I wanted to jump in on, when you guys were talking about the administrative taxonomy versus the descriptive taxonomy. Another thing that it made me think, where we help a lot is, taking WAND’s taxonomy and, like Ross said, you apply it to a company, and every company is different in terms of what they call stuff. But they’re also different in terms of their people and their people’s willingness to tag things with the descriptive metadata part.


Administrative metadata, I also, internally, call it the, “free metadata,” the stuff that it doesn’t require a used to anything other than upload it. One of those areas when I was talking earlier is, simply by virtue of where you put something, that could give you the ability for more free metadata, i.e., if you uploaded a document to an HR document library, we might automatically tag it with some level of that HR taxonomy, versus if you had uploaded it to an IT one. So your SharePoint site-structure, document libraries and so on can enable getting some free descriptive metadata, I think is what that kind of boils down to.


Ross:I think that’s a great point, Bo. If we think about our houses … again, I use this metaphor, the house. I use this analogy, here’s the spice rack, and in the garage we’ve got our tools. We’ve got wrenches, screwdrivers, so on. It’s a pain to tag things, it’s a real pain when I do some work in the basement on the water heater, to get all the tools back and put them back where they belong. It’s not a lot of fun, but at the end of the day, if I don’t put those tools where they belong, if my wife doesn’t put the spices where … we can’t find them.


When people realize, “This isn’t that difficult, and I’m going to be able to find my stuff, I’m going to be able to find document that Bo checked in, that Danny checked in, we’re all going to be able to find … we’re going to start to eliminate this frustration.” Then, there’s a lot momentum, because it dues alleviate a lot of frustration, and it enables us to do our work a lot better.


Overview For a Successful Managed Metadata Project. We always tell folks, “Get a quick win.” And what we want to be able to say to our organizations, “We’re not going to have deliverable results in two to three years, not two to three months … two to three weeks is what we’re looking for.”


Danny:Now you’re talking.


Ross:And our goal is findability. We want to tag our documents. Why? So we can quickly find them in search. How do we get that started?


And if we go back to this financial organization, the folks do a library on banking, the banking folks are going to be interested in that. The procurement people ae going to be interested in the procurement libraries, the accounting people the accounting libraries. So there’s going to be a limited group of people interested in these various libraries … with that one exception. Every employee at the bank, from the CEO to the latest new hire, wants to quickly be able to find their policy documents, benefit documents … again, nothing confidential.


So, that’s the group we start with. We download the HR taxonomy, get somebody from Human Resources to help customize it, generally that takes three to four hours. You’ve got a limited number of terms there. Takes 30 minutes to configure the SharePoint taxonomy columns and libraries, search refiners. Have that same person from HR assist in the tagging of the documents. Generally, there’s 250, 300 documents of that character, three or four hours to do that, maybe a little longer.


Then we announce to every employee in the company, “Library’s open.” And they see that search works, and they look at this and they say, “My goodness. If search can work for this library, why can’t they do that for my sales documents?” And the IT people the IT documents, and everybody starts to project what this is going to look like in their day-to-day world, within the organization.


It’s not an IT project anymore, it’s not a SharePoint project. It’s a project that everybody sees, “What’s in it for me?” It generates a huge amount of enterprise momentum … and then your problem is going to be, everybody’s going to be tugging on your shirt, prioritizing additional groups for implementation. Deliverable results, two to three weeks, and now we want to replicate it enterprise-wide.


Nice case study, and there’s a link to this … I’ll see if I can find it here. Nielsen Norman selected the 10 best intranets every year, and Goodwill Industries International was selected as one of those. In the real world, we all know this, we want to be able to find our stuff, we want to be able to find our documents, we want to be able to find the things we have in our houses. Search, findability, findability, search … it’s part of what living is all about, and SharePoint’s a great environment for that. We think we’ve got wonderful taxonomies. The folks that organized this, ThreeWill, Danny and his team, they’ve got the expertise to show you how to get it done.


Danny, I’m going to turn it back to you. I think I’ve talked enough.


Danny:That was great Ross, thank you so much. I’m sure everybody got … it’s such a great presentation that you do, and I really wanted to share that with everyone else.


Just to get us wrapped up here, we’ve got about 10 minutes left before the start of the hour. I wanted to just go through some of what I sort of took away as the conclusions, when listening to Ross and to Bo, and talking with Bo about this.


The key component to addressing a findability or search problem is to define a common taxonomy for organizing information inside your company. We have to do that. Taxonomy enables … and I pulled this from Bo, Bo ha pointed this put before the webinar, which was, it provides powerful ways to present and find content, including not just search, it’s also navigation, it’s also automatic tagging and the document routing.


Coming back to the overall webinar and what we were trying to present in this webinar, which was, how do you turn SharePoint and how this Amazon-like faceted search available to you? It’s there so that your users can find a document the same way they find their next pair of new shoes.


As part of that defining that custom taxonomy from scratch, we’ve just found, is a really daunting task for most companies. The companies who do go after it, as Bo mentioned earlier, they might spend a couple of years doing that. So it’s really a daunting task, and from a lot of what we’ve seen, it’s just commonly not done, and all they’re using is the administrative taxonomy.


Starting with a pre-built taxonomy, it’s an effective way to jumpstart this process, and to get to the point where, if you’ve got 75%, 80% of the way there and you’re going there, and you’re culling and you’re adding, and you’re just making it your own, is really the route that we would recommend doing.


Also, one of the things that’s sort of the last point here is, taxonomies do change over time, and one of the neat things that I saw about Ross’s product is, it will also, over time, as industries update and business changes come, you can keep those taxonomies up-to-date, which is really important, because the business changes.


Anything else to add to that, Ross or Bo?


Ross:I think the updates, we have six masters of library information science taxonomists that review each of the taxonomies on a quarterly or semi-annual basis, deepening on the volatility. If we just think about, 20 years ago, the vocabulary that we were using. We weren’t talking about, “online,” we weren’t talking about, “internet.” Al the vocabulary that didn’t exist. Today, machine learning, artificial intelligence, internet of things, so on and so forth, it’s just all new technologies that we keep an eye on, and we add them to our vocabulary sets.


As you can tell, I’m an older guy, and you can think about … when I was going to high school, they had computer card. You think about your kids, the technology you grew up with, and then think about the technology your kids are growing up with. It’s really remarkable, the changes that take pace. Sorry for pontificating. Back to you, Danny.


Danny:That’s great anything else that you’d add, Bo?


Bo:No, the only thing I was thinking is, for those who are on the fence about pursuing a taxonomy, I would say go for it. I think the worst thing you can do is be complacent and do nothing, and somewhere down the road have hundreds or tens of thousands of documents that aren’t tagged, and then you want to do the taxonomy, it’s probably harder. The sooner you start with something, the sooner you’ll get benefits from it.


Danny:One of the great points … in the chat window, I shared one of the neat things that Ross and his company does is, they do make available to everyone a general business taxonomy. It’s sort of a starting place that has general business terms, and a taxonomy for that. So if you wanted to download that there, as an example, I think that’s a great place for people to start as well.


Ross:If I can just expand on that a bit … Microsoft announced SharePoint 2010 in 2010. We developed the genesis of this general business taxonomy, it’s also available on three blog postings on the Microsoft site. We developed it in conjunction with Microsoft, as a partner. What they wanted to do is, they wanted to provide their client base something for their clients to download to put in that empty term tore for this new feature that they just developed. We’ve actually had about 8,500 downloads over the last five, six years. Danny, that’s a great idea. That gives you a start, give you a flavor of what you can do.


Danny:Awesome. Any questions that folks have? And if you’ve been waiting until now, feel free to ask them now. I don’t think … what do you have, Oliver?


Oliver:Can it help fine-tune an existing taxonomy?




Bo:I was going to jump in and answer. I saw the question in the window, too. I don’t know if it would necessarily help you fine-tune an existing taxonomy. I think it might show you a general taxonomy for your particular needs and user input, but I think the tuning of your taxonomy is probably going to be more closely-aligned with your specific company and needs. But I don’t know what your thoughts are, Ross.


Ross:What I would say is, companies that have developed taxonomies, there’s not very many of them. They generally develop them based upon file plans, the terms that they use for file plans. If we think about a file plan, a file plan is an analog way or organizing information. So, while those exiting taxonomies can be interesting, the formal curated taxonomy that’s designed for digital tagging of documents is much more effective, but you can fold the terms in as synonyms, and that can be helpful in the transition.


Danny:Awesome. Anything else? I think that’s it. I appreciate the question, that was great. It looks like we are getting to the end of the hour here, so again, we’ll send this deck out next week. If you want more information, feel free to follow up with myself or Ross. Here’s our websites.


Ross, thank you so much. It was really informative. I really appreciate you taking the time to do this.


Ross:It’s a pleasure. Thank you, and thanks to all the people that have attended, and to Bo as well.


Danny:Absolutely. Thanks, Bo. Thank you everybody for attending, look for an email next week, and have a wonderful weekend, everyone. Take care.


Ross:Have a great Fourth of July. Bye bye now.


Danny:Absolutely. Bye bye.


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Bo GeorgeFind Anything in SharePoint with Amazon-Like Faceted Search Webinar

Migrating from Jive to Office 365 Webinar

Kirk Liemohn is a Principal Software Engineer at ThreeWill. He has over 20 years of software development experience with most of that time spent in software consulting.

Danny:Welcome to this Jive to SharePoint/Office 365 webinar. I appreciate you taking your time out of your busy day to come join us and talk about this subject. What we wanted to talk about today was sort of ten things that folks should know about migrating from Jive to SharePoint Online. In general, I’ll just say SharePoint Online meaning a part of Office 365. I have two of my experts. I’ll call you guys experts, is that okay?


Kirk:You can call Chris an expert.


Danny:Oh, I have one expert here. I have Chris Edwards, who is a Senior Software Engineer for ThreeWill, and he is the chief architect of the initial version of the tool, and sort of was the grandfather of the migration tool and has helped it grow through the years. We also have Kirk Liemohn here with us. Kirk is a Principal Software Engineer. Kirk is the practice lead for our migration practice. Kirk has been very involved in various types of migrations, and more recently has been doing some job migrations himself, right?


Kirk:That’s right.


Danny:Awesome. I felt like getting us kicked off with, and maybe let me do a couple of logistical things before we do this. If you’ve got any questions, you can ask some questions in the go-to-webinar interface and I’ll look over there and check for them every once in awhile. If we’ve got some time in the end, which we probably will. I’m assuming this won’t go for the full hour. I’ll check those questions and ask you guys on the fly. I’ll make sure they’re not too tough questions. You guys were both looking at me like, “You didn’t pay me enough to do that.”


Kirk:Bring it on, bring it on.


Danny:We’ll see. If you have any questions, ask them. We’d love to have some interaction with you guys as you’re watching the webinar. So first off, I thought the, there’s a book that’s called “Begin With Why.” Why don’t I start with the why question. Why are companies doing this? Why are they moving from Jive to Office 365/SharePoint Online? Kirk?


Kirk:Sure, I’ll start, if Chris wants to add stuff he can. I think the main one is to save on costs. So, Jive is not cheap, not that SharePoint Online is super cheap, but Jive is not cheap. It has a recurring cost every year, and a lot of times companies want to go to SharePoint, they might already have SharePoint in house, or they might already have SharePoint Online. Of course, SharePoint Online, a lot of people think is relatively cheap. So I think when you look at that cost standpoint, you see, “Oh, well can we do a lot of what Jive does in SharePoint?” You can do quite a bit of it. So they think, “Well maybe we should save on costs by having everything in SharePoint. And another aspect of that is if they’re going to SharePoint Online, they see a lot of what it has to offer. There’s kind of new features coming out over time with teams and Delve, and just different types of things that are coming out, groups, those things. So they want to take advantage of that. They think, “Well, if we just start having that as kind of our main place to collaborate and not have a separate Jive environment, then we can hopefully take advantage of more of those features that are out there at SharePoint Online.”


Danny:And there’s even, I mean there’s a lot of redundant features with Yammer too, with people seeing what Jive does with the whole activity feed. I think probably a lot of people are saying, “Well do we want to use Yammers with our way of interacting with each other socially?”








Danny:It’s probably they’re, they also see a lot of, it seems like a lot of the features that are coming down the pipe from Office 365 seems to be getting faster, not slower. I know for us it’s one of those things, and this, initially, when you were looking at Jive versus SharePoint, it was, Jive was coming up with quarterly updates, so they were pushing software out quicker, and SharePoint had the three-year cycles. And it was like you’d wait every three years to get your new set of features, but I think in a lot of ways it’s reversed a little bit. You’re getting pushed out more features from SharePoint. So you’re not having to wait the three years. You’re constantly getting updates, so as far as innovation goes, there’s a lot of things that Microsoft is really pushing with regards to SharePoint Online. Yammer seems to be pretty-


Chris:Nah, Yammer is not changing that much I don’t think.


Danny:Yeah, it’s pretty stable. Tommy and I talked about that a lot. We think the Yammer team probably had more to do with changing how they deliver software than the actual Yammer software itself.




Danny:You’re really seeing a lot of people saying, “Well, I want to take advantage of the latest software, or whatever the latest software trends are,” I turned into Elmer Fudd there. The latest trends are in software, and we’re seeing a lot of those come from Office 365.




Danny:There’s also, folks, if you search on our site, or Google business case Jive three wheel, you’ll see a blog post that I put out which was sort of the business case behind why I see people doing this. That gets updated all the time, as far as what the story is around that. Numero two, let’s go with, with these projects, we like starting things with a workshop. Describe to me what goes on during one of these workshops.


Kirk:Yeah, and Chris, if you want to chime in, feel free, but I’ll start out, this is Kirk so. The first thing I think we want to do is understand what the vision of the client is, what do they want to get out of this, why they want to move, what is it they want to move. And then, after you kind of understand that overall vision, then you want to dig in deeper, so you understand their current environment. What do they have currently in Jive, what version of Jive are they using? Is it the one that’s up in the cloud? There’s hosted versions of Jive, there’s on-prem versions of Jive. And ideally, before we even do the workshop, and this has happened many times, there’s sometimes it doesn’t happen before the workshop, we can do an inventory of what they have in Jive before the workshop.


That’s the ideal scenario. And if we do that, we can review what we know about their inventory. Our inventory will give them counts of different types of contents, counts of places, and we can kind of slice and dice that different ways, and that’s very, very useful. So if we see, for example, they’re heavy users of Jive collaborative documents, then we can kind of tailor the migration, or at least tailor our discussion in the workshop on here’s what happens with a Jive collaborative document when you migrate. We want to understand what customizations they have. Do they use heavy branding in Jive? Is that what they kind of want in SharePoint? Do they use Jive plug-ins, or widgets, or tiles? Those are important points to discover. And with all this stuff, you need to understand user identities and how that’s going to transfer from Jive to SharePoint. Typically, you have the same email address as your log-in. If you’re going to SharePoint Online especially you’ll use an email address, but Jive can or doesn’t have to. And so you want to understand if that’s going to match and how that’s going to work.


So you also want to understand their current state in SharePoint. Are they going to a Greenfield SharePoint? Are they going to SharePoint on-prem, Online? What version of SharePoint? Do they have a lot of site collections already? How do they do search in SharePoint, if they use it already? And of course, user identity is there as well. I’m going to continue talking, I’ve got more things to talk about. In this workshop, you want to show them a demo, at least screenshots of what the tool can do. So we’ve got a set of tools we’ll talk about, I’m sure, and these, we want to show them what, start setting expectations early of what the tool can and can not do. And what are the supported types of contents from Jive that we can migrate, and what are the types that aren’t supported, and does that meet their needs? And finally, with the workshop, we want to come out of that, getting a good understanding of scope. What is it they want to migrate. They aren’t going to have all the answers right away. What is it they want to migrate, what types of content they want to migrate, how quickly they want to migrate, and do they have anything that they want migrated that our utility doesn’t cover, or certain aspects of it that it doesn’t cover. So that will help us come up with a timeline and budget for the whole project.


Danny:Nice. That’s usually, I know one of the first things I ask folks to fill out, if possible, is a pre-migration form that’s up on our website, and one of the things that drives along these projects is the timeline, because typically you have a hard-date that’s out there that you’re trying to get people migrated over by for that date. And we like to be eight to ten months out before that date, but more realistically, you guys have seen, it’s been, you know, we’ve got a date set three to four, or even sometimes less than that. And so you’re almost trying to decide, you know, really trying to deal with, normally our projects aren’t this way, but you have a hard, basically you have to do something by a certain date. You have to make sure that key things are done by that certain date, and that probably modifies a little bit as far as how we go after these projects.


But just interesting to see that that’s typically for us, the timeline is driving a lot of this. Now, from our workshops that we’ve done with the Jive stuff, have you noticed any, have people been using a lot of plug-ins? I know way back when, we created an app for Jive. It was like a SharePoint list app for Jive. Are people, you know, do they have a lot of customizations and are they wanting to move those customizations over, or is it pretty much we just want the core content and that’s all we’re interested in moving?


Chris:From what we’ve seen, there’s been very little customizations of Jive that we’ve had to be concerned about.




Chris:For the most part it’s the pure content, the documents, the discussions, the heavy content that people don’t want to lose. That’s really what we’re trying to retain in SharePoint.


Kirk:But I’ll add that our, what I’m working on now, they care about these homepages and these overview pages, and tiles, and widgets that Jive has that can be on these pages, and these are very custom things. So that’s significant customizations to be concerned with.


Chris:We’ve thought about some of that stuff and how we deal with it. Every customer is going to look at that a little bit differently.


Danny:One of the things I don’t see, you probably also talk about, I know with some the migrations, we’re not only just moving them over to SharePoint, but we’re also, they’re using something like BrightStarr’s Unily, or some other sort of UI that’s on top of SharePoint as well. It’s probably, you’re starting to set some of those expectations as well during the workshop.


Kirk:Yeah, that’s a very good point. We need to understand if there’s other parties involved that you care about, some of the third-party missions, Unily. Do you care about Yammer? Do you have a different media server or something for your videos? We’ve definitely seen that more than once. So those are things that do need to come up during the workshop so we understand what the real requirements are.


Danny:So we come out of that with a scope, timeline, budget, decision to be made about going after this project, and then the phases are sort of the workshop, and then we have a pilot phase, and then a production phase, and then a sustainment type of phase that we go into. Good stuff. Next question about our own utility. I was calling it a tool earlier. I can’t call it a product, because it’s not a product. Tell me about this utility that we use for migrating customers.


Chris:Actually, we’ve got a set of utilities that we like to use. The first one I think is actually available for download on the website, the migrator utility. That’s kind of the initial one we like to get folks, essentially in the Windows-based utility, someone can put in their Jive URL, put in their username and password, and essentially hit the run button, and it goes off, and it basically uses the same public rest-API that Jive puts out there that our other utilities use. Then it gives us a sense, is there any issues with running commands, running the API with your username. Is there any issues with running that? We find issues quickly. But it also gives us a list, an account of how many places, how many we basically, how many repositories or places that a particular customer has in their Jive. So it gives us an overall size. What are the counts of different types of groups and spaces, and projects, blogs, those are the main containers or places, if you will, in Jive.


Danny:That’s the trial version of Migrator, which is downloadable off of our website, correct?


Chris:Correct. That’s kind of the initial utility most folks will see, just to kind of get that initial sizing. The main utility that we have is JtoSP, for Jive to SharePoint. It’s a console-based utility, it’s originally written to keep things simple, very console-based. Doesn’t need a UI, because it’s designed to focus in on purely getting content out of Jive and getting content into SharePoint. What it actually does, quite a bit of the work of our process. One of the things it does, I mentioned the public API from Jive. It does leverage Jive’s rest-based API, so I use the public API, which is important. One of the first things we go after, and we kind of mentioned the workshop earlier, one of the key things it goes after is it produces an inventory of detail from Jive. Things like a list of all the people that are in Jive, all the places, again, places are the groups, spaces, projects, blogs. Then, within the places, it actually does what’s called a shallow pull of content for those places.


And I’ll leave the term shallow, deep, I’ll kind of explain that here in just a minute. The whole idea is that we want to be able to get that content in a form that can be presented in the workshop or presented to the customer, and actually really detail out when content was last touched per place, how much content is really out there, really kind of helps us understand how to plan for the migration itself. Shallow is basically saying, “I want to go after the content.” By shallow means it just pulls, at the API level, it just basically pulls some of the basic information about the places. It doesn’t go down deep and do multiple calls. It doesn’t like, if you’ve got a person, it may find that person, but it may not find what roles that person is a part of. It doesn’t make the extra calls to do that. It’s designed to do a quick hit against Jive to find that information so we can do


Danny:And the output of this is an Excel spreadsheet for the shallow?


Chris:Yeah, so that’s part of it. The primary output is it builds our database.




Chris:One of the things we do, you kind of mentioned earlier about this whole timeline aspect. A lot of customers come to us during the last minute trying to migrate off of Jive, right? What we try to do is we pull this content, this inventory content into the Jive, into a SQL server database, and into the file system. And we do that so that we can quickly get the content out of Jive. Let’s say someone is being turned off in the next week of Jive. We can get that content in our database in the file system, and then we’ve got what we need to do the migration.


Danny:And that’s doing a deep or shallow?


Chris:Well that’s more of the deep side, but the shallow pull is going to get that inventory piece. The deep pull that you’re talking about, that’s when we go after and get all visible binaries. That’s where we get all the sub-calls. Like, as I mentioned earlier, we go get a person, we get their roles, we get all the different aspects of it. But I mentioned this, because more from an architectural perspective is that we are able to use this utility to go after, produce this database, produce the file system. We can go after that stuff first, get everything off of Jive, and if for some reason they’re shut off in the next day or two, we’ve done everything we need to do for the migration. It kind of ties into, oh someone’s, they need to get this done quickly, we have the ability to do it.


Danny:So a pull usually takes a couple of hours, a day?


Chris:It really depends on how many places. It can take days.


Kirk:Yeah, it can take days.


Chris:It can take days depending on how many places we’re talking about and how much content we’re talking about. But we’ve got ways of kind of going after that. The utility does try to do things in parallel, does try to do things as efficiently as possible to pull that information off of Jive. So that’s one aspect of what the utility does, this JtoSP utility. Another aspect is what it is also designed to do is it’ll, it’ll take that inventory, let’s assume the customer has gone through and done what’s called a mapping exercise. You mentioned the spreadsheet earlier. We do produce a spreadsheet for that inventory that kind of says, “Here’s all the stuff, all the places that are out there. Here the customer needs to see this inventory.” The customer typically goes to and says, “I want these particular places, and I want them to be mapped to this place in SharePoint.” There’s an exercise we work on with the customer on to do that, so that mapping exercise. Then, the utility takes that mapping and says, “Okay, I need to validate, do these SharePoint sites, these target SharePoint sites we’re going to push content to, do they exist?” The utility verifies that where we are intending to push content, does the site exist, and do I need to push permissions or adjust permissions on these sites, it can do all that work.


And then, two other main pieces of activity that this thing does. We do what’s called a transform phase. So we take the content, as it was pulled from Jive, and we do what’s called a transform. What that basically means is saying it’s preparing the content to be pushed to the SharePoint. So you may find in this content, you’ll find a lot of links to, from Jive content to other Jive content, or links to Jive profile information. Things that reference Jive in general, we take and convert that to SharePoint versions, or SharePoint speak. A Jive person profile URL may go to now to a Yammer profile, or it may go to a specific SharePoint URL that we care about to represent that person, as well as all of the documentation and all of the links get converted into something that SharePoint understands.


Danny:Nice. I love how each time you said transform; you were doing it like a robot.


Chris:Yeah, you like that you can’t see the phone, but I’m moving. I’m moving as I’m talking here.


Danny:You can’t see it but, we were doing a bit of transforming with his hands in the air.


Chris:Transformers, no.


Danny:Sorry, go ahead. Number four.


Chris:Yeah and so the last main thing that the utility does, and I know this is a lot of information, the last main thing is it can take in this prepared content, and it actually will push it to SharePoint. And so it actually, that’s when the actual content makes it’s way. A couple other variations on this. We are able to do what’s called deltas. So let’s say we push this content to SharePoint, and folks are still using the same place for their content in Jive. We may want to stage this up in SharePoint. We can do what’s called a ‘true up’ or a delta, which basically says, “Okay, right before we’re ready to switch it over to using SharePoint, give me whatever deltas and whatever changes have taken place in Jive, let’s get them into SharePoint. So we can kind of hit it multiple times to make sure it’s in sync, and then someone can turn off Jive.




Chris:So that’s there. And there’s a few other miscellaneous actions that probably more detailed than anyone really cares about in this particular call. Some other utilities that we do, we have a couple, actually three PowerShell utilities that we use. One is called New Sights, and it’s really helper PowerShell that kind of helps customers basically provision their SharePoint site collections, things that we’re going to be targeting for the deployment from Jive to SharePoint. Folks don’t necessarily have to use this. It’s just something we provide, and we provide scripts that basically provision those site collections. And then, we’ve got another set of utilities that kind of work hand-in-hand. One is called Validate Hyperlink. It’s also a PowerShell. And Replace Hyperlinks.


So, Validate Hyperlinks, what it does is it goes after, after we’ve migrated, post-migration, pushed up to SharePoint, we run this Validate Hyperlink to say, “Okay, all of the links that are present in the content, we look at all the images, all the links, do all they jive? Do they all work?” term in there. Do they all work and do they not rely on Jive anymore? Do they work without Jive in the mix? If they don’t, we find the report for those that are failing, and we use the Replace Hyperlinks utility to make fixes. That’s kind of our remediation efforts. That’s our main remediation, and then we go through, there’s another set of processes, more processes and queries that we use to validate counts and make sure that things that were in Jive are now in SharePoint. We make sure that the counts match and things match up properly. That’s the gist of it.


Kirk:Just to mention there that, a huge thing that this tool does is dealing with links that you have inside of Jive. So if you’re writing a Jive collaborative document, it’s very, very normal for people to create a link in there that points to some other Jive content that’s not that, that’s you know, it can be pointing to another Jive collaborative document, or a Jive blog post, or something. And something within Jive, the moment it does that, our utility, that’s part of the transformation process Chris was talking about, it transforms those URLs to be the URL that’s going to be or already is in SharePoint. It can be inside of a totally separate Jive place, going to a different SharePoint site collection or site. But that’s what these links are all, they’re all fixed for.


Chris:Clean all that up.


Danny:Impressive. Well done. I know this has grown through the years. It’s sort of the tool, you know, starting off, it started a long time ago, and it’s sort of growing, but it’s amazing how far along it’s gotten. So good work there. So for you, Kirk, what type of contents, we’ve been talking a little around this, but what are the types of contents that we migrate?


Kirk:Yeah well, first off, Chris has already alluded to the different types of places in Jive. There’s spaces, groups, projects, and blogs. There’s some differences with those and how they work, but inside of those, you can have what we call content, or sort of first-level content. The big ones are collaborative documents, which are kind of like a Wiki page in SharePoint if you aren’t familiar with Jive. There are binary files, which are just files like word documents or PDFs or Excel files. There’s also videos and photos, and then there is discussions, so it can be similar to like a Yammer discussion, or a SharePoint discussion, list discussion, those types of things, that’s in Jive, and then, blog posts. And we migrate all of those.


So those are the big content types. And there’re some other minor content types that we currently don’t, but those are the big ones that people use a lot. And we do migrate those, and then, within each of those you can have comments or messages. For whatever reason Jive basically says if you’re commenting on a discussion it’s called a message. But you’ve got comments on these blogs or collaborative documents, or what have you, and we migrate those. You might have attachments or embedded images on them. We will migrate, if we’re migrating a whole Jive group, we’ll migrate the members of that group, and put people into basically different SharePoint groups for that SharePoint site. I just talked about links, so we migrate those links that way to Jive content so they’re now transformed to the new SharePoint links. And then, things like timestamps, items, and the created-by, modified-by, those types of things.


Danny:Those are migrated?


Kirk:Yeah, yes.




Kirk:So when you’re looking at SharePoint, and you see the blog post was created by so-and-so at such-and-such time, that’s going to be when it was created in Jive. And you know there’s cases where the user may not map over for whatever reason, maybe it’s a user that’s now left the company, they’re no longer an active directory, so there’s some weird scenarios like that you have to get around, but for the 99.9% of them, things are going to migrate over with the user and the timestamp. And then we will archive some things that we don’t migrate as well, an example of that is Jive has the concept of categories and tags. We archive that, so we have that information, currently we don’t migrate it.


Danny:Okay, let me do the last little part. The part that we don’t migrate, I’m going to do this like a lawyer speak at the end. This is the very last part of the commercial right now. Won’t migrate-


Kirk:We’ll both say it. Many times, our customers don’t care about these things, and these are usually not used a whole lot. An example, one of these items, I think, is a poll, sorry, I’ll let you say it.


Danny:No, no, no, go ahead.


Kirk:[crosstalk] like polls, the last inventory I was on, I think in their whole Jive, I could be saying this wrong, but I think they had two polls. You know, they didn’t have many of them, but polls might be the wrong one, but they had a very small number of one of them.


Danny:Are they stored in the SQL server database, or are any of these things available for later on? If they need to go.


Kirk:Some of them are, yeah.


Danny:If someone said, “We had a poll, what did we ask in that poll?” Or yeah, those sorts of things? So some of them are.


Chris:Why don’t you rattle off the list?


Danny:Sure, okay, here we go. We’re going to see how fast I can do this. Ready, on your mark, get set. Polls, tasks, calendars, status updates, private messages, shared links, bookmarks, announcements, streams, overview pages, home pages, tile switches, category stacks, properties, personal documents, space, members, security. Ding!


Chris:Of that list.


Danny:We’ll migrate any of these for the right price.


Chris:But we are capturing.


Danny:If somebody needs to migrate this, we need to add it to the tool, then we can add it to the tool. It’s just a lot of these, the value of doing the migration hasn’t been worth the cost, right? That’s typically what we’re talking through.


Chris:Well, it comes down to, and I think we’re probably going to talk about this in more detail later is that SharePoint and Jive are not the same animal. Right? These things don’t really mean as much, or don’t mean actually anything in SharePoint, right? And a lot of them are, like for the case of a poll, that’s very time-sensitive, you know, a lot of times these things are done, they’re done. They’re completed, they’re done.


Kirk:Status updates are the same way.


Chris:Status updates we actually do capture in the database. We do capture tasks in the database and the categories we capture in the database.


Kirk:Shared links.


Chris:Yeah, yeah. Shared links as well. Those we actually archive, if you will, or capture them. We just don’t have any mechanism at this point to play them forward in SharePoint, because they really don’t translate into SharePoint. There are ways of representing them there, but nothing has been compelling enough to our customers to say, “Yeah, I want to go ahead and do that.”


Danny:It looks like we’ve branched over into question number five, which is, “Do we create an archive?”




Danny:Basically we do.


Chris:We do. That’s kind of what I alluded to earlier is, the way the utility, the way the whole architecture has been designed is that the archive is kind of banked in. So when we pull content out of Jive, when we do that deep pull of content, we can essentially do that for all places. And essentially, what that does is it puts it into a SQL server database, and for all the binary files, things like images, word documents like Kirk said earlier, Excel files, PDFs, that sort of thing, they’re stored in the file system in a very structured way. The database actually has pointers to those files. Typically what we do is we put all that together, we ensure that the customer has enough space to be able to retain all thos information, and that we can potentially walk through it with the customer, so they can understand how the database is organized, what the schema is of the database, how do we actually find these collaborative documents, or these discussions, or individual images. If someone wanted to know how to go after that. Maybe they didn’t migrate something to SharePoint, but they’ll want to actually look at some content that was pulled out of Jive at a later date. How do they go about doing that? So we sit down with a customer and show them actually how to access the database and be able to find that content in the database and their files.


Danny:So we sell them the database at the end of the project, right?


Chris:We just hand it over? What is wrong with us.


Kirk:It’s already there. It’s already done paid for.


Danny:Yeah you done pay for it, cool.


Chris:So that’s how that’s done. Again, we try to get the content. We want to be able to do stuff with it and be able to migrate it, but at the same time, why not use that same phase to archive it, so same process.


Danny:Question six, good, we’re half, we’re 30 minutes in. We may use up the full hour. Nice, okay, that’s fine. But this one I was sort of queuing it up a little bit earlier, which is the different phases of the project. I mentioned, workshop, which we covered in some detail, and then the pilot, and then the production, and then sustainment. Tell me more about these.


Kirk:Sure. First off, before the workshop, we like to do an inventory, as I mentioned. That, sometimes there could be issues getting connectivity to work, and stuff like that. So that can take two to three days sometimes. If there’s no connectivity issues, it can be a day, basically, it’s not as bad, but many times, there’s connectivity issues. And that’s just because of the security and how things are set up for some of our clients, but it just depends. And then, the workshop itself is two to three days. We want to sit down with you and discuss what this is going to be. It’s a lot of, like I’ve seen three, four hour sessions as one way of doing it.


Chris:Not two full days. Not two to three full days.


Kirk:No, they aren’t full days, right yeah. And it helps us, as we learn something from the first day, maybe we can show you different parts of a demo or something the next day. Then, after that workshop, that’s when we’re going to kind of come up with our scope and budget, hopefully. And one of those things that may be part of that and may be in scope is maybe updates to our tool. So that takes time, right? And what those updates are totally depends. You rattle off that long list of items that are not supported right now, and you get the big ones that we think people really care about, and those other ones, maybe they’ve got an idea of where they want that to go.


And We could talk about what that would mean. So then, after that, or at some point, it could be before or after those tool updates. If there’s significant updates, we’ll want to actually do more than one PoC, but at some point we need to do a proof of concept. And that may take a week or two. That’s going to verify, access, complete access to Jive and SharePoint. We’re basically going to be running sample migration of several places from Jive to SharePoint, and we’re going to basically, end to end, we’re going to see what happens.


And then, some people will get to see that from the client. They’ll want to take a look at that PoC and what the output is. But after that is a pilot, and that’s where you really get the business users and get them to, get their input. That’s usually a couple of weeks to do a pilot. That pilot may have iterations within itself, right? So a pilot, you might do one, you really want customer’s eyeballs on that. You want to make sure that people are seeing what they expect to see. Do they agree with it. Is there any issues, is any content missing. Really make sure there’s nothing that’s going to surprise the end-users of this particular. And if there is, and a lot of times there’s stuff that we have to tweak or adjust, we typically do another iteration of a pilot to make sure things are corrected just so they’re happy. It’s all part of the process.


Yep and then finally is production. Now, if there are a lot of tool updates and there can be like multiple pilots and multiple PoCs. You can be certain that we’ve seen that, but in production that’s where you kind of want to be full on moving stuff from Jive to SharePoint. But you know, if you’re going to SharePoint Online, SharePoint Online can throttle you if you’re going too fast, so. And Jive’s going to have some limitations on how quickly you can hold their content as well so Chris talked before about a shallow pull. We also, when we do a deep pull right when we’re about to go to move a Jive place from Jive to SharePoint. So that’s when we pull from Jive further, if we don’t pull everything way before hand. If you want like the latest update to Jive when you’re moving someone over, you’d do that last minute. And that time totally depends, you know. I think of, one way of measuring is say 300 to 500 places, Jive places, per week, but we’ve seen, I know we’ve seen one place that took, I would say it was three days. That’s just to move one place. Now you can do stuff in parallel, but that was a huge place. It depends. when we get inventory we’ll have a better idea of what’s possible.


Chris:And I guess the key thing here too is that it comes down to that timing, right. You want to have enough time to be able to move this stuff, you know, from our transform database and then into SharePoint. Sometimes it takes a while because of the throttling, because of other things that can affect your performance. The nice thing though is that we’ve got the time, we move this stuff into SharePoint. We let folks tweak the tires a little bit. We can do that delta process with that true up process to kind of bring over the changes, so that allows that kind of like, “Let’s get everything up to speed. Let’s get everything in place.” And maybe the weekend before you’re converting over, you do your true up process and flip switch. There’s ways to do it now.


Danny:I know, sorry this is a bit sideways, but I know some of the customers, they get it sort of as the wrapping up, using Jive to get a back up of their Jive database and have we ever looked at, have we ever had to use that sort of as the thing that we’re pointing to to migrate data at all?


Chris:The actual Jive database?


Danny:Yes, the actual Jive database so pointing that the, that database as opposed to a rest API.




Danny:We haven’t had to do that?


Chris:No, that’s more of a, you know, we typically recommend that other guys still ask Jive for that back up just to have that.


Danny:Just to have it around?


Chris:Something extra. Yep, just to have it. Cause that allows them to spin Jive back up, right? If they ever, for some reason needed to. It’s more of that extra guard. But, no, we’ve never had to.


Danny:I just wonder if that ever is going to be the situation for us with in depth occurring to us. Who knows? We haven’t had to exercise it quite yet.


Chris:Well so, this is from an experience perspective we originally, this set utilities was usually written for us to do our own Three Will migration.


Danny:It’s where all good things come. You scratch your own back.


Chris:Right, so when we were first doing this we had the . We did miss some stuff, right? We didn’t catch everything so I had to go into the Jive database back up and learn how to do that.


Danny:Oh really? Interesting.


Chris:So I’ve got some experience doing that, but we’ve tried to, we’ve worked hard to not have to do that. I’ll tell you that much.


Kirk:And if Jive Cloud you’re not going to have access, direct access to that database, so.


Chris:You definitely have to have


Danny:Yeah you would have to have them create the archive.


Kirk:I don’t know what that process it, but they’ll do it for you.


Chris:If possible, but we try hard to make sure that that’s not necessary.


Kirk:But one thing we do do, is we have to had projects before, and I know Chris has done this directly, is we come back to a client and they say, “You know what, we want these other 500 places to be migrated now, I know you didn’t migrate them before, but you archived them, so you can migrate them, yeah, right?” And then we say, “Yes we can.” Cause as long as you got our database, the database migration tool uses, then we can migrate to SharePoint later as long as we did archive that content.


Danny:Nice, that’s great to know. It’s good to know you don’t lose it, that it’s still available for you. So I get the easy one, of course I give the easiest question to myself, right, which is how much does it cost to do these migrations. Simple answer, we do the workshop is a fixed price, right now it’s $7500, subject to change, I’m going to have my own lawyer speak to that, it might go up, especially if we’re getting large backlogs of these workshops then we may end up increasing that price. The typical migration, since we’re doing a bunch of these, the average size of these, is the cost for the pilot and the production phases is around $150,000, so what that tells me is that typically we’re working with mid to large size Jive implementations. For the smaller implementations I usually will coach them through or talk them through doing some manual migrations or, “Do you really need this.” Or we’ve been somewhat staying away from them and looking at only some of the larger clients who need to do these migrations.


So if you ask me right away, which a lot of people do, they ask me, “Can you give me a quote for doing this number of sites.” If we don’t have the time to do the workshop first, which the workshop gives us an updated estimate, I’ll just tell them, “Use 150K as the number.” Given the limit to the amount of time, and especially we end up, that’s around 1000 places when we’re working with that. If it’s more I’ll end up jacking that number up, but at a high level that’s what I want people just to have sort of an overall sense of what the budget is, and if that’s too high of a budget and doesn’t seem to make sense, it’s probably cause you have a smaller implementation of Jive and I completely understand, but I think we’re more focused around large implementations, right. So done with that one. What are some of the, and if you need to create a business case for this, or talk through why people have done this and some of the benefits, or want to talk to a customer about the benefits of doing this, we have all of those things so feel free to reach out to me through the contact us page, we can hook you up with the right people.


What are some of the biggest takeaways from these type of migrations? And I guess this is open to the two of you guys, from doing these for now years, what have you seen as, are some big take aways?


Chris:So I mean I would say one of the big things is just to understand that Jive, I mean I’ve said this already before on this call, Jive and SharePoint are just not the same. They are different animals, they have a lot of the same elements to them. It is a, SharePoint offers a great opportunity to consolidate a lot of this Jive content, but they’re definitely not the same. So you have to make sure you plan for, understand your content types very well so that you know kind of where the stuff is going to go. And that comes down to, I know we’re going to talk a little bit more about this, but it comes down to just time. Give yourself time to understand this stuff. I can keep going, Kirk, unless you want to-


Kirk:Well along those lines, you just need examples. Jive has something called streams, SharePoint doesn’t have really that concept per say. Jive has shared content where you can share stuff from one place to another but it only exists in one place but it’s just available from two places. SharePoint doesn’t really have that, I mean they have links but ideas, missed ideas on the dot cover list that think some cool ideas. SharePoint-


Chris:And you usually don’t see that, you just pretty often end up seeing that really affecting.


Kirk:So they’re not, like for like is a term I heard a lot and I don’t like it. They are not like for like.


Danny:We don’t like “like for like.”


Kirk:Yeah, it is apples and oranges. There’s some stuff that makes a lot of sense to move over and there’s some stuff that just doesn’t work well, you’re trying to force it in when you want to put it in SharePoint. And if it’s something that’s very important for you, then you got to really think hard about, “Well does this even make sense for us to move to SharePoint.” Or, “What are we going to do with this content we need, we can’t do this with SharePoint.” Segway to.. So you really have to think hard about those things if they’re important to you. So I mean we can talk about-[crosstalk].


Danny:Other takeaways you guys have?


Chris:I mean we’ve got one here, but there’s another, there’s opportunity to let us clean up the content too. When you’re moving from a system that’s been around for a while, there’s going to be some content to.. a lot. And there’s things that may make sense to bring together from multiple places, multiple spaces in Jive into one location in SharePoint, it’s basically a consolidation exercise. So this is an opportunity to be able to do some of that, not that you have to, but it is an opportunity for us to take advantage of if you indeed want to do that.


Kirk:Yeah and finally when you do these migrations you’ve got to make sure you’re communicating with, not only IT, but the users and I mentioned this before on SharePoint-SharePoint migrations, just you want to get your stakeholders involved. Everyone needs to be notified as to what’s going on here. And we’ll say it several times, communication is key. I mean you’re moving people’s around, so people don’t tend to like it when you move their stuff and so you want to make sure they, everyone’s on the same page, everyone knows what’s going on and we have ways just kind of helping with that as well. So some of the stuff we can kind of share in the workshop and also in the actual migration, how do you actually, when do you communicate with folks, how often do you do so, we have techniques that help with that.


Danny:I think that’s good that you mention that, I mean one of our brand promises is around control which is we want the client to feel like they’re in control of what’s going on. I think a lot of this types of things are important cause it feels, it does feel like you’re moving somebody’s, you’re moving the place where they collaborate from one place to another and it can, we can do these projects technically correct, but if we don’t get the communication piece down and also along with that communication, the expectation management from folks, then it can definitely fail. You can do a perfect technical implementation but then it fails if you don’t get the communication and expectation management right. Yeah if they expect to see what, “Here’s what it looks like in Jive, I expect it to look exactly the same in SharePoint.” That’s the wrong expectation.


I know we’ve also, along those lines, we to address that issue, have done stuff where we’re working with the Unily’s of the world or other products to make it a little bit more Jive like and also done, I know some of the clients had us do some branding or some things to make it feel a little bit less jarring as you make the move. So I think if that’s something that’s important to you, that’s something we would talk about as well, is if this expectation of moving from this to this doesn’t work, what are the things that we can do to make it work for you guys.


All righty, number nine, getting there. What advice would you give someone who was looking at this, this is probably similar to insights, but what advice would you give to someone who’s doing this? Besides, “Don’t do this alone.”


Kirk:One you kind of already mentioned, is starting early and make sure that we have time to make this happen for you. If we are rushed too much, then we’re going to have to start cutting corners. “Oh, maybe we won’t move over this type of content.” Or, “These places that haven’t been touched in the last year, we won’t move those because you’re giving us a month to do things.”


Danny:If you come to us a month ahead, it’s like my kids say, “You get what you get, and you don’t throw a fit.”


Kirk:So you want to start early.


Chris:And we mentioned the communication portion, it goes back to that again, we’re going to keep reiterating the same thing. I have another thought related to this one, but I lost it so I’ll let you pick it up.


Kirk:That’s fine, yeah I mean we’ve gone over communication. I mean the other one that we’ve already talked about several times is a proof of concept and a pilot, these are key pieces of our process and we can’t cut those. And they’re going to happen whether you say they need to happen or not, because we’ve got to basically prove that we can communicate in your environment and pull stuff from Jive and push into SharePoint. And then we got to actually do a site or two that we get some feedback from before we start the full on migration. So that’s got to happen, and we need to plan for it, we need to make sure you’re aware of that part of the overall timeline.


Chris:Yep, and then a couple of other things. So understand the content types. So you really need to understand what Jive content types are out there. What are people really using them for. What are they using, what are they using them for, understand what your actual user base is doing in Jive, right? So that really kind of in the work shop we try to find out, “Okay do we need to have the customers, do we need to make customizations to SharePoint and or the migration utilities to be able to handle those .. or those very specific use cases.” I think customizations to the tool, I mean realistically someone can go and build, cause we use the public Jive REST API, someone could go build something that’s very, something similar to this. But I mean there’s quite a bit to understand and it’s very easy if you’re not careful to make mistakes, based on how they structure their things back out of Jive and you’ll, you can build it yourself I guess is what I’m saying, but you’ll run into some in that process.


Danny:I already have two examples of where someone once tried to build out the tool themselves and they failed. So it’s not, I’m not saying it can’t be done, it can be done.


Chris:Oh yeah, it’s a public API, so yeah.


Danny:But there’s been years we’ve been doing things with Jive, for now over five, six, I don’t know how many years, we probably been longer than that. Probably seven years where we’ve been exercising stuff with first building the connector and just sort of working with it through the years that there’s a lot of built in knowledge that has gone into it as well.


Chris:I mean it’s kind of giving us just a little plug for why would you choose us to do this, I mean we’ve done it. We’ve pulled, we’ve migrated quite a few customers now and we’ve got some experience and the code has been poked at quite a bit.


Danny:And I didn’t go through this earlier with the cost, is that we end up packaging in the cost of the tool into our services and so when you’re engaging us, you’re engaging us, what I want to say is for a solution, which is to migrate you from Jive to SharePoint Online and we end up, the pricing for all of this, we’re not a product company, we are working with a product company right now to see about transitioning what we have as a tool over to them, so it could be bought more like it’s a tool, but we’re in the middle of doing that right now. As it stands right now, you’re engaging us, our expertise, our tools that we have, and hiring us to do this migration and the pricing is based off of what our services cost is.


Last one, we’re 10 minutes left, we have one question left. Well done guys. You’re working on a, and I also saw a question, which I’ll have a question for you as well, which is great, wonderful to see that. If anybody else has questions, please go ahead and ask them through the go-to-webinar interface. You’re working on a white paper, I’m plugging your work, white paper here, plugging it. You’re working on a white paper back complex migrations, how do these types of project, the Jive migrations, influence what you’re writing in the white paper?


Kirk:So the white paper is focusing on SharePoint to SharePoint migration, but there’s plenty of similarities between when you go SharePoint to SharePoint and when you go from Jive to SharePoint. And they’re usually the big idea or process type of thing, so your overall process has to, you want to start with a workshop, cause we want to understand what you’re all about, what you need, where you are today and we want you to understand what we can do for you and what some of the caveats are and maybe what things we can’t do for you.


And you know I’ve talked about PoC and pilot several times already over the last hour, that’s true in both cases, and it’s extremely important and we talk about those and all of this in the white paper. And just we might word things differently in terms of our process when we’re doing SharePoint to SharePoint we tend to use terms like assess, plan, verify, and execute. But those transition over to the same stuff we’re doing here. And as Chris has said several times, the need to communicate is top on the list and that’s true in the white paper as well. That’s pretty much it.


Danny:So guys, couple of questions for you, and the first is, “Do you guys have an intranet in a box, that’s atop SharePoint Online that we can map and migrate our selective Jive content into.” Great question and up to this point the answer is no to that, we don’t have something where we’ve built something on top, basically an intranet in a box on top of SharePoint, the reason being there’s probably four, five, maybe six different options that are out there that we’d love to talk you through as far as what’s available out there on the market place for this sort of intranet on top of SharePoint. We’ve mentioned one that we’ve been working with on a couple of projects, which is BrightStar’s Unily. There’s also other intranet in a box products that we’ve been talking to those companies as well. So rather than having something that competes with those, we’ll work with whichever one you want to select and so we will go through the whole process, as part of the workshop we’ll talk through the process of, “How do we migrate that content.” Maybe not just into SharePoint but also into some other data stores, so some other places that you want to have the content go into.


So, great question, one of those things that we’ll be, we will work with another third party to, if you want to build out, use one of the intranet in a box products, then we’ll sort of work with you to select the right one if you want some help with that, or just point you to the ones, and I’ll actually follow up with an e-mail on what some of those options are. I’ve been meaning to write a blog post on what’s on there, I know there’s a CMS Wire paper that’s out there as well that has sort of the different options. Great question and good, the answer is you don’t have to use what we, if we did create something, you don’t have to use what we created. We will do some, after we’re done with the project, we can do some customization, we’re all about that so if you want to make some changes to the way that SharePoint works, we can do, I know some good people who can do that for you.


Great question Scott thanks for asking that and I’ll also follow up with you on an e-mail with that. Another question from Tom, “What are the biggest user issues from moving from Jive to SharePoint, for example, training, management, use.”


Kirk:Well people are used to using Jive in a certain way when they’re using Jive, and then SharePoint you don’t use things the same way. It’s just a different look, and so yeah there’s definitely some user training aspect to this where you want users to understand how to use SharePoint, what their stuff is going to look like once it’s in SharePoint, I would think that’s a big deal. From an IT perspective, totally different way of managing the product too. SharePoint’s got a lot more to think about.


Chris:I mean it’s also an opportunity to unite with your users and get in front of them and say, “Okay we’re switching to something, we’re moving your, but we’re switching into something that’s really powerful that’s going to give you a lot of capability.” Most users find SharePoint pretty easy to pick up and use, you don’t have an issue with that. But it gives you an opportunity to actually schedule some time with your users and get in front of them and say, “This is where the stuff is going to, this is how you actually take advantage of this now.” There may be things you couldn’t even do before but you can do now.


Danny:And this may go along well with communication, which is as your rolling this out, for years we’ve written about SharePoint best practices, sort of how do you do this the right way and what we see in different organizations. And it really is a competency thing, which is, you want to grow the competency of the organization as far as how it manages the information inside the organization. And if you’re using SharePoint as a platform to do that, there is, there’re training aspects of it. There’s just, what ends up happening in a lot of these larger communities is you have power users that end up showing up, you have different people who are really take initiative in building out their own solutions on SharePoint and you just have to nurture and cultivate those people and really grow it into something that everybody is using.


And so we have probably 10’s of blog posts that are out there as far as training types of things that you can do for building applications, and Microsoft has lots of materials on that as well, but you’re moving somebody to a new platform which is a very powerful platform, but with that it requires training and building up an internal competency around it.


I appreciate, looks like that’s the last question, I appreciate everybody taking the time to do this. I will, I’ve been recording this, I’ll send out the recording of this to everyone so that you have it. And it’ll be up on our website as well so that you can share with others who might not have been able to attend this. Chris, Kirk, you guys, phenomenal job, well done. I look forward to doing more of these with you guys. I think it’s giving people a choice, they don’t have to feel like they’re locked in and that they have a choice that if they want to keep what is important corporate IP, that knowledge that we have within our organization, that they can take it with them. That’s a really empowering type of thing, so I appreciate what you guys are doing.






Danny:Thank you everybody for listening, feel free, you can always reach out to me if you go to the contact us page on our website. That comes to me and I’ll get back to you really soon and if there are any other questions or anything else, feel free to reach out to me. And I appreciate you taking the time to do this and have a wonderful day, thank you so much, bye bye.


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Kirk LiemohnMigrating from Jive to Office 365 Webinar

New Webinar – Managing Video Content in Office 365 and SharePoint 2013

Danny serves as Vice President of Marketing 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.

Managing Video Content in Office 365 and SharePoint 2013 Webinar

The world increasingly runs on video content. Whether it’s for training, product demonstration, marketing, or simply a fun video from the company outing, information workers are more frequently finding themselves in a circumstance where they need to share or collaborate around video content. In this webinar we’ll look at the new capabilities for managing videos in SharePoint 2013 and take a broader look at how Office 365 supports sharing and consuming video content.


Software Architects, Developers, and Business Stakeholders

Date and Time

Date: Thursday, August 28, 2014
Time: 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM EDT


Register Now
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Danny RyanNew Webinar – Managing Video Content in Office 365 and SharePoint 2013

New Webinar: Putting the “Extra” in SharePoint Extranets

John Underwood is a Technical Evangelist at ThreeWill. He has nearly thirty years of software development experience. He is an experienced technical instructor with superior presentation skills and is proficient in delivering standard curriculum as well as developing and delivering custom curriculum.

Putting the “Extra” in SharePoint Extranets

At ThreeWill we use SharePoint Online to share our SharePoint 2013 project management extranets with our customers. Tune in to this webinar to see how it works, how we did it, and what we learned along the way.


Business Owners, IT Management, IT Technical Staff


Title: Putting the “Extra” in Extranets
Date: Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Time: 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM EDT

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John UnderwoodNew Webinar: Putting the “Extra” in SharePoint Extranets

SharePoint Webinars Rewind – Recordings Available on Vimeo

John Underwood is a Technical Evangelist at ThreeWill. He has nearly thirty years of software development experience. He is an experienced technical instructor with superior presentation skills and is proficient in delivering standard curriculum as well as developing and delivering custom curriculum.

SharePoint Webinars

Have you missed out on some of our recent SharePoint webinars? Not sure where to find the recordings? It’s as simple as visiting the ThreeWill channel on Vimeo. Included in our catalog of videos is our latest offering, “SharePoint 2013 Migrations”.

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John UnderwoodSharePoint Webinars Rewind – Recordings Available on Vimeo

New Webinar – SharePoint 2013 Migrations

John Underwood is a Technical Evangelist at ThreeWill. He has nearly thirty years of software development experience. He is an experienced technical instructor with superior presentation skills and is proficient in delivering standard curriculum as well as developing and delivering custom curriculum.

SharePoint 2013 Migrations

If your enterprise uses SharePoint then sooner or later you’ll have to answer the question of how to migrate to SharePoint 2013. Join us on Thursday, March 27, 2014 at  3:00 PM EDT and we’ll talk about opportunities, pitfalls, and best practices based on our experience with customer migrations to SharePoint 2013.


Business Owners, IT Management, IT Technical Staff


Register Now
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John UnderwoodNew Webinar – SharePoint 2013 Migrations

Updated – SharePoint 2013 Hybrid Environments

John Underwood is a Technical Evangelist at ThreeWill. He has nearly thirty years of software development experience. He is an experienced technical instructor with superior presentation skills and is proficient in delivering standard curriculum as well as developing and delivering custom curriculum.

For those that missed our recent webinar Hybrid Environments in SharePoint 2013… the video replay is now online and available.

Video Replay


As companies consider moving to the O365/SharePoint Online environment there will likely be scenarios where companies will maintain some portion of their SharePoint data in an on-premise instance while simultaneously placing other content in the cloud. In this webinar we’ll explore such “hybrid” environments with an eye toward integrating them as tightly as possible.


Business Owners, IT Management, IT Technical Staff


  • Identify and understand basic moving parts of a hybrid environment
  • Highlight opportunities for integration
  • Indicate limitations and pitfalls of current hybrid environment
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John UnderwoodUpdated – SharePoint 2013 Hybrid Environments

SharePoint Workflow Webinar – Document Generation & Business Process Automation

John Underwood is a Technical Evangelist at ThreeWill. He has nearly thirty years of software development experience. He is an experienced technical instructor with superior presentation skills and is proficient in delivering standard curriculum as well as developing and delivering custom curriculum.

SharePoint Workflow Webinar

Many departmental and corporate processes require employees to collaboratively create spreadsheets, presentations, and other documents that are used to support business reporting, executive overviews, or shareholder meetings. However, in many cases these documents are created using email as a collaboration tool and “tribal knowledge” as the enforcement mechanism for business processes.

In this webinar we’ll look at the building blocks provided by SharePoint to create these documents in a controlled, correct, and repeatable fashion, and see how ThreeWill can help you achieve these results in your organization.


IT Leaders and Innovative Business Stakeholders


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John UnderwoodSharePoint Workflow Webinar – Document Generation & Business Process Automation

New Webinar – Mobile Solutions for the Enterprise

John Underwood is a Technical Evangelist at ThreeWill. He has nearly thirty years of software development experience. He is an experienced technical instructor with superior presentation skills and is proficient in delivering standard curriculum as well as developing and delivering custom curriculum.


Trying to support BYOD? Does your mobile sales force need access to sales intelligence on their phone or tablet? In this webinar, you’ll see how ThreeWill can help you meet the needs of the mobile professionals in your enterprise.


IT Leaders, IT Resources, Business Stakeholders


Thu, Sep 26, 2013 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM EDT

Register Now
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John UnderwoodNew Webinar – Mobile Solutions for the Enterprise

August 22nd Free Webinar – Enterprise SharePoint Search

John Underwood is a Technical Evangelist at ThreeWill. He has nearly thirty years of software development experience. He is an experienced technical instructor with superior presentation skills and is proficient in delivering standard curriculum as well as developing and delivering custom curriculum.


SharePoint at it’s best can be a useful repository of company information, but in some cases it can be difficult to find the right data at the right time. This presentation looks and SharePoint Search capabilities for SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013, and provides insights that users and technical resources alike can employ to make search a valuable tool.


SharePoint Users/Power Users, IT Personnel


  1. Asking the question correctly
    • Basic search terms
    • Using refiners
    • Qualifying search queries
  2. Search-driven applications
    • What is a search-driven application?
    • Search-driven apps for users
    • Taking it to the next level
  3. Customizing the results UI
    • Search results web parts
    • Using Display Templates in SharePoint 2013
  4. Extending and enhancing search
    • Integrating with external data sources
    • Custom security trimming
Register Now
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John UnderwoodAugust 22nd Free Webinar – Enterprise SharePoint Search

SharePoint Cloudshare Webinar

Danny serves as Vice President of Marketing 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.

Join CloudShare’s Guillaume Vives, VP of Operations, and SharePoint Server experts from ThreeWill – John Underwood, Technical Evangelist and Danny Ryan, VP of Business Development – in a live discussion on how to unlock the power of the cloud to stay ahead of the IT training curve and reduce the time and cost of physical training labs.


Using a real-life case study with the SharePoint developer boot camp as an example, this one-hour webinar will highlight:

  • The challenges of physical IT training lab set-up and tear-down, and the advantages of cloud-based training environments
  • How instructors can instantly create, provision and deliver cloud-based training
  • Benefits to trainees of hands-on access to IT environments anytime, anywhere – just use a Web browser
  • How virtual training labs work, and the ease of getting started

The session will be interactive, and the speakers will take questions during and at the end of the session. The session will be held on Tuesday, March 29th, 2011 from 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM PDT. We look forward to having you join us!

Register Now

SharePoint is a web application platform in the Microsoft Office server suite. Launched in 2001, SharePoint combines various functions which are traditionally separate applications: intranet, extranet, content management, document management, personal cloud, enterprise social networking, enterprise search, business intelligence, workflow management, web content management, and an enterprise application store. SharePoint servers have traditionally been deployed for internal use in mid-size businesses and large departments alongside Microsoft Exchange, Skype for Business, and Office Web Apps; but Microsoft’s ‘Office 365’ software as a service offering (which includes a version of SharePoint) has led to increased usage of SharePoint in smaller organizations.

While Office 365 provides SharePoint as a service, installing SharePoint on premises typically requires multiple virtual machines, at least two separate physical servers, and is a somewhat significant installation and configuration effort. The software is based on an n-tier service oriented architecture. Enterprise application software (for example, email servers, ERP, BI and CRM products) often either requires or integrates with elements of SharePoint. As an application platform, SharePoint provides central management, governance, and security controls. The SharePoint platform manages Internet Information Services (IIS) via form-based management tooling.

Since the release of SharePoint 2013, Microsoft’s primary channel for distribution of SharePoint has been Office 365, where the product is continuously being upgraded. New versions are released every few years, and represent a supported snapshot of the cloud software. Microsoft currently has three tiers of pricing for SharePoint 2013, including a free version (whose future is currently uncertain). SharePoint 2013 is also resold through a cloud model by many third-party vendors. The next on-premises release is SharePoint 2016, expected to have increased hybrid cloud integration.

Office 365 is the brand name used by Microsoft for a group of software plus services subscriptions that provides productivity software and related services to its subscribers. For consumers, the service allows the use of Microsoft Office apps on Windows and OS X, provides storage space on Microsoft’s cloud storage service OneDrive, and grants 60 Skype minutes per month. For business and enterprise users, Office 365 offers plans including e-mail and social networking services through hosted versions of Exchange Server, Skype for Business Server, SharePoint and Office Online, integration with Yammer, as well as access to the Office software.

After a beta test that began in October 2010, Office 365 was launched on June 28, 2011, as a successor to Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite (MSBPOS), originally aimed at corporate users. With the release of Microsoft Office 2013, Office 365 was expanded to include new plans aimed at different types of businesses, along with new plans aimed at general consumers wanting to use the Office desktop software on a subscription basis—with an emphasis on the rolling release model.

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Danny RyanSharePoint Cloudshare Webinar

SharePoint 2010 Webinar

Danny serves as Vice President of Marketing 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 2010 Webinar – Benefits of SharePoint 2010 as Product Platform Webinar

Presenter – John Underwood, Technical Evangelist, ThreeWill

Date – Fri, Sep 24, 2010 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM EDT

Format – Webinar

Cost – Free

During the 2009 SharePoint Conference, Christian Finn, Director of SharePoint Products for Microsoft, commented that given current trends, building products on the SharePoint Platform is the “new black.” To make his case, he cited the momentum of the SharePoint platform along with significant announcements from companies building integration with SharePoint into their products and services.

This webinar, based on a popular white paper from Microsoft and ThreeWill and designed for Independent Software Vendors, software architects, CIOs, and other enterprise technology leaders, picks up this discussion by addressing the perceived limitations that may cause development companies to discount SharePoint as a development platform when drawing up a technology roadmap – and illustrating the value of leveraging SharePoint as a Web Application Development Platform for those organizations.

Register Now

SharePoint is a web application platform in the Microsoft Office server suite. Launched in 2001, SharePoint combines various functions which are traditionally separate applications: intranet, extranet, content management, document management, personal cloud, enterprise social networking, enterprise search, business intelligence, workflow management, web content management, and an enterprise application store. SharePoint servers have traditionally been deployed for internal use in mid-size businesses and large departments alongside Microsoft Exchange, Skype for Business, and Office Web Apps; but Microsoft’s ‘Office 365’ software as a service offering (which includes a version of SharePoint) has led to increased usage of SharePoint in smaller organizations.

While Office 365 provides SharePoint as a service, installing SharePoint on premises typically requires multiple virtual machines, at least two separate physical servers, and is a somewhat significant installation and configuration effort. The software is based on an n-tier service oriented architecture. Enterprise application software (for example, email servers, ERP, BI and CRM products) often either requires or integrates with elements of SharePoint. As an application platform, SharePoint provides central management, governance, and security controls. The SharePoint platform manages Internet Information Services (IIS) via form-based management tooling.

Since the release of SharePoint 2013, Microsoft’s primary channel for distribution of SharePoint has been Office 365, where the product is continuously being upgraded. New versions are released every few years, and represent a supported snapshot of the cloud software. Microsoft currently has three tiers of pricing for SharePoint 2013, including a free version (whose future is currently uncertain). SharePoint 2013 is also resold through a cloud model by many third-party vendors. The next on-premises release is SharePoint 2016, expected to have increased hybrid cloud integration.

Office 365 is the brand name used by Microsoft for a group of software plus services subscriptions that provides productivity software and related services to its subscribers. For consumers, the service allows the use of Microsoft Office apps on Windows and OS X, provides storage space on Microsoft’s cloud storage service OneDrive, and grants 60 Skype minutes per month. For business and enterprise users, Office 365 offers plans including e-mail and social networking services through hosted versions of Exchange Server, Skype for Business Server, SharePoint and Office Online, integration with Yammer, as well as access to the Office software.

After a beta test that began in October 2010, Office 365 was launched on June 28, 2011, as a successor to Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite (MSBPOS), originally aimed at corporate users. With the release of Microsoft Office 2013, Office 365 was expanded to include new plans aimed at different types of businesses, along with new plans aimed at general consumers wanting to use the Office desktop software on a subscription basis—with an emphasis on the rolling release model.

read more
Danny RyanSharePoint 2010 Webinar