Long overdue update

Time to knock the dust off the blog. I only have 1 post on the year. But I have good reasons. LOTS of change at work and home. Let’s replay everything month-by-month.

March

In March I was given the opportunity to manage the Trek Helpdesk. My plan was to combine the Enterprise Collaboration team (team of 1: me) with the Helpdesk (team of 5). There were a lot of synergies (see what I did there?) between the types of work the two teams were doing. I was trying to get people to use collaboration tools, but was limited in my reach. Now with the Helpdesk I can educate far more people about collaboration tools while marrying that with even better technology experiences (read: hardware). We started testing all kinds of new platforms: tablets, touchscreen laptops, ultrabooks, high-end desktops. Very cool, slick stuff.

April

Dawn and I welcomed our third son to the family; Shane. Check out photos here: http://1drv.ms/1zTEv5V. We couldn’t be happier. That said, 3 kids is a LOT of work.

May

May was a particular busy month for me. Filmed a pretty cool case study for Microsoft. Check it out:

In May I also got to migrate Trek’s sister company Trek Travel to SharePoint Online. We moved about 180GB of content using Sharegate‘s Migration tool from their on-premises fileshare to SharePoint online. Worked like a charm!

What I’m especially proud of is how fast SharePoint has permeated their day-to-day work. The other day one of their Mac users called in and their laptop had to be rebuilt. One of the helpdesk guys asked “how much content do you have stored on the laptop?” Know what the user said? “None, it’s all on SharePoint.” Score one for SharePoint!

June

Even busier month! Traveled to Vista, CA and New York all in the span of 9 days. Needless to say my sleep schedule was busted.

Electra bikes is based in Vista. I took Ben with me so we could take inventory and get a handle on the place. The office is really chill and all about having fun. The weather was awesome too.

I visited NYC for the first time. I was invited to speak at Microsoft’s “Future of Work” event. The panel of invitees included Jamba Juice, Delphi, Herman Miller, Trek, and a couple of industry analysts. We all gave our take on what the future of work will look like and how we’ll get there.

I got to stay in Times Square for a few nights. Here’s the view from my hotel room:

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July

A good chunk of family time in July. I actually started drafting this blog post in July…

I started ordering Surface Pro 3’s in July and the feedback has been outstanding. The best part about the Pro 3 is the keyboard cover. We experimented with the Dell Venue 11 but the biggest complaint was the keyboard cover. Users said it just wasn’t going to work tactile-wise no matter how much they liked the tablet itself.

August

My wife and I took the family to Florida.  For the last 3 years we’ve gone down to Siesta Key. There’s nothing to do but sit on the beach and watch the day go by.

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Technology-wise I’ve been focusing on two things at home: decreasing my Cable bill and scanning all our paperwork. Both will be the subject of upcoming blog posts.

September

So far this month the biggest focus has been on Records Management (RM). It’s been awhile since I’ve had to do any work around RM. SharePoint 2013 has come a long way with RM. I’ve also noticed that the SharePoint community doesn’t have a lot in terms of resources so I’ll be posting about that soon too.

Finally, I had the opportunity to visit Herman Miller’s Design Yard last week. They take things to a whole different level. They’re all about making the most of a space’s purpose and driving every ounce of value from that space. I know I’ll never look at a conference room the same way again.

http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isVid=1&isUI=1

I hope to get back in the swing of posting regularly again. See you soon.

sharepointwookiee.com is now inhifistereo.com

Living in Wisconsin we get snowed in from time to time. It’s nowhere near as bad as this Russian town (Real Russian Winter) but this weekend we got about 6 inches. With ample time on my hands I figured it was time to do some internet housecleaning.

Consolidated Twitter handles

Managing @spwookiee and @inhifistereo was a lot. I have used inhifistereo as a handle since the days of AOL so I feel a pretty tight attachment to it. But spwookiee had the following. Did a swap similar to THIS and I was off and running.

Renamed Blog

Along the same lines as the Twitter handle swap, just wasn’t feeling sharepointwookiee.com. I had always planned to do something Star Wars-esque with the site but never got around to it. Additionally, I’m doing more BI and CRM work these days on top of my SharePoint work. Felt kind of weird posting CRM stuff on a blog that had SharePoint in the title. Plus, choosing another domain made the next change a little easier.

Goodbye GoDaddy, Hello WordPress on Azure

I use Windows Azure a lot at work. I fall in love a little more every time I log in to the portal. So why not use wordpress on azure for my blog hosting too? I get way more control and it’s a little cheaper too.

I wanted completely out of GoDaddy’s grip so I transferred my domains to gandi.net. I’m way happier because I get everything included in the purchase price with gandi.net that GoDaddy charges ala carte for. So take that GoDaddy:

Pros and Cons

As with any decision, there are pros and cons. I listed most of the pros above. I can think of 2 Cons. 1) Dip in viewership/following. New URL means folks will have to update their RSS readers. Hopefully I can find a way to redirect. 2) New tech. I do use Azure fairly often, but I don’t know everything about it. I’ll assume there will be a learning curve of some sort.

The whole switch took me about 8 hours over the course of 2 weeks. I did a little here and there when I had the time. But the biggest chunk happened over this weekend. Pretty happy with the results so far.

Week of January 21 update (late)

Due to a publishing glitch this post didn’t make it out last week. So pretend it’s last week and we won’t have any problems. Winking smile

On Wednesday (January 23rd) I presented my SharePoint/Yammer Case Study presentation to the UW E-Business Consortium. I got some really interesting questions and folks seemed genuinely interested in what I was talking about.

One thing that struck me from the start was that many of the decision makers in the room – the folks that are responsible for setting the collaboration and social strategies at their organizations – don’t have Facebook or LinkedIn profiles. This is akin to your dentist not having gone to dental school. I can’t stress this enough: If you’re responsible for setting policy or direction on something at your organization you need to know something about the tool. The best way to learn these tools is to actually use them. There is no Easy button here.

That Dilbert comic pretty much sums it up…

Some other points that struck me:

  • Governance and Compliance is a big point for most – everyone is paralyzed by making a decision because they’re concerned things will get out of hand, or worse, no one will use the tools. Understandable but I’d say the concerns are generally overthought.
  • Cisco vs. Lync runs RAMPANT! A lot of organizations – mine included – are using Lync for IM but Cisco for all the other communication tools (tele-presence, phone, etc.). I think most people overlook Lync as a true Unified Comm tool.
  • Collaboration tools are being used by almost everyone, every where – at least it’s good to know we’re not stuck in the 1990’s anymore with Outlook and File Shares.
  • Confidential vs. Secure vs. “I-don’t want-you-to-know-what-I-know” is a pretty common theme – I even heard one organization utter the comment “We don’t want our internal competitors choosing a tool before we choose it.” Aren’t you all on the same team?!

At the end of the day, we’re all in the same boat dealing with the same problems so you can at least take solace in the fact you’re not alone. Don’t be afraid to take some calculated chances on these tools. Start small and work your way out. Never underestimate the power of the Proof-of-Concept.

Update!

I know I promised you the "Mother of all test environments.” But I’ve been busy. Let me tell you what I’ve been up to:

  1. Taking on new responsibilities at work:
    • Taking over Dynamics CRM – Our CRM resource decided to leave Trek a few weeks ago. Our team will be taking over the administration of our deployment and I’ll be one of the main points of contact. Hopefully I’ll have some good blog posts coming out around the topic. Does that make me the Dynamics Wookiee too? (har har har)
    • Working more with Active Directory – cool stuff going on here
    • SSRS Integration with SharePoint – I could write an entire blog around this subject alone, especially my experiences around making SSRS talk with DB2
    • More and more training, especially around Excel Services
    • Learning more about SQL and the inter-workings with SharePoint
    • More developer type experiences
    • Yammer integrations
  2. Getting ready for SQL Saturday St. Louis. I had the pleasure of speaking there last year and it was a blast. Well sort of, my CloudShare environment died on me 3 hours before my session, but that experience aside, it was definitely a highlight for me. I’ll be speaking about SharePoint and Yammer at Trek so stay tuned there.
  3. Blog challenge at work – gotta write 1 blog post a week so I ‘m getting my ducks all lined up so I can pwn.
  4. The holidays [nuff said]

  5. Getting my head wrapped around SharePoint 2013 – so many cool things there it’s not even funny.
  6. And finally, planning world domination

On a completely unrelated side note (and because I need to get to 300 words in for this post due to point 3) I did all my holiday shopping through Amazon. Muuuuuuuch better way to go when it comes to getting everyone’s Xmas gifts. Amazon Prime was money too. Highly suggest you give it a try.