Five Reasons Why SharePoint Online is Great for Small and Medium-sized Business

http://community.office365.com/en-us/blogs/office_365_community_blog/archive/2013/09/26/five-reasons-why-sharepoint-online-is-great-for-small-medium-business.aspx

The Grid is full of Office 365 experts that are brimming with great information. The Grid User Post blog series will expose some of The Grid’s best content to the entire Office 365 Community. The Grid User Posts are written by third party contributors and are not necessarily the opinions of Microsoft. Are you interested in contributing to The Grid? Click here to apply.


Our latest Grid User Post was written by Jethro Seghers. 

Recently over the last months I have been trying to persuade Small Medium-sized Businesses (SMBs) to try out SharePoint Online, and upon using it they all loved it. It intrigues me that a solution that has been noted as an Enterprise Solution, became so popular in the SMB market. But Why?

In this post I’m going to try to give 5 different reasons why I think SMB is a Grow Market for SharePoint Online.

1. SMBs have structured data they need to store somehow and somewhere.

It doesn’t matter how SMBs are structuring their data now, they have a structure. The structure that they use is based upon the systems that they have running. If you take the physical folders, the storage room, etc, a well trained professional will find his or her documents in their own classification system. The problem is that everybody knows their way in their own little box, but not in the big world outside.

The way that they structure their documents is not different from how we do it in SharePoint Online, it’s just not digital. But they have folders, meta data, content types and even security. In some organization they tried to translate their physical structure to folders on a File Server, with varying degrees of success. They understand and realize that entering the digital world is necessary. But the system they chose to translate their structure upon has to be able to cope with the same requirements as their offline system and SharePoint Online is able to do that.

2. Small and Medium-sized Businesses have Line of Business Applications

SMBs have line of business applications, maybe not in the traditional way as we see them, but without a doubt they have them. It’s not because SMBs are small that they are under educated or not technologically advanced. On one of my recent visits to a small business, I saw a line of business application that took in an order and based on the different order lines it created kitchen doors from a raw piece of wood to a magnificent detailed kitchen door. The machine operators did every check digitally, every settings was recorded in a detailed follow-up system. At the end of the day the system knows exactly how many kitchen doors were made, how long it took, what it cost for the company. When I showed them SharePoint they were enthusiastic but they have one very important question, “Can it be integrated with what we are using today?” That’s another big advantage of SharePoint Online, because Yes it can. Integration possibilities are (almost) endless.

3. Digital Collaboration Efficiency is at the tips of their hands

Digital Collaboration is finally possible for SMB. They don’t have to mail every document to each other, they can use version control and they can simultaneous work on the document. SharePoint Online provides multiple tools to increase your business efficiency including ease of finding documents which takes care of the issue of reproducing documents. Easy communication through SharePoint makes sure that people know the company’s regulations, policies and guidelines. This helps decreases the number of accidents and increases the knowledge of Business Logic.

And these are just the basic features of a SharePoint Online. If you broaden our view to Office 365, we can introduce Lync, Yammer and Office 2013 as an additional collaboration source.

4. Inter-SMB Relationships

SharePoint Online (and Office 365) makes it easier to collaborate with suppliers and customers, which increases the ease of communication between businesses. This results in more business and more business results in growth. If multiple SMBs have that same growth, that will result in an increase of the economy. SharePoint Online makes it possible for these businesses to focus on the company and not  IT.

5. SharePoint Online is affordable

When we look at the resources an On Premises Environment needs to be active, it’s massive. This results in a high cost in hardware, software and licenses. At that point we’re not even operational yet. We still need to setup our SharePoint environment suited for the business that we want to support, which results in additional costs. Our setup has to be operational for the maximum number of accounts that we are going to support, again, more money. When you make the sum of all these costs, it’s just too expensive for some businesses. The licensing model of Office 365 and SharePoint Online, allows SMBs to just pay a fixed price per month for the number of users that are working on their SharePoint Online environment. If they are fortunate and grow in employees, then they can just purchase more user licenses against a fixed price per month. Do you need more storage, a fixed price per month per GB. So at the end, the price if very low for the use of an ENTERPRISE platform.

The bottom line is that Office 365 lets Small and Medium Businesses have access to an Enterprise Platform at SMB Pricing.

Image

Design Pattern Diagram

Design Pattern Diagram

Design Pattern Catalog

1. Structural Patterns Creational Patterns

  • Abstract Factory
  • Builder
  • Factory Method
  • Prototype
  • Singleton

2. Behavioral Patterns Structural Patterns

  • Adapter
  • Bridge
  • Composite
  • Decorator
  • Facade
  • Flyweight
  • Proxy

3. Conclusion Behavioral Patterns

  • Chain of Responsibility
  • Command
  • Interpreter
  • Iterator
  • Mediator
  • Memento
  • Observer
  • State
  • Strategy
  • Template Method
  • Visitor

How to creat a Quality Plan

Most Project Managers are aware that delivering projects within “time, cost and quality” is critical to success. However the term quality can be elusive and is often not clearly defined. In this issue, we describe what it really means to deliver quality within a project and we will help you to understand the:

4 critical steps to creating a Quality Plan

So what does the term “quality” mean? Method123defines quality as producing deliverables which meet the requirements of the customer.

To ensure that your deliverables meet your customers requirements, you need to create a Quality Plan, by taking these 4 steps:

Step 1: Define the Quality Targets

We all know that its pretty impossible to meet your customers expectations unless you draw a line in the sandbefore you start. By asking your customer to state upfront exactly what it is that they require, you will greatly improve your chances of success.

Ask your customer to provide a list of their requirements for a solution to be delivered by the project. Then help them to list the key deliverables which once produced, will satisfy their requirements. For each deliverable, list its components and then go one step further – by describing the detailed quality targets (i.e. quality criteria and quality standards) to be achieved by each component. This will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of exactly what it is that must be produced by the project, to meet the expectations of your customer.

Step 2: Create a Quality Assurance Plan

The next step is to create a plan to assure your customer that you can meet the quality targets set. By scheduling a suite of Quality Assurance Reviews to be undertaken by an independent person to the project, your customer will be provided with a “trusted view” of the overall progress of the project and the likelihood of the deliverables actually meeting the quality targets agreed.

Step 3: Create a Quality Control Plan

Internally within the project, you need to create a schedule of “Quality Control” measures to control the actual level of quality of each deliverable, as it is being produced. Examples include putting in place peer reviews, deliverable reviews, documentation reviews and end-of-phase reviews. Each review will measure the deliverables produced and identify any deviations from the quality targets set.

Step 4: Define the Quality Process

Of course, creating plans for assuring and controlling the quality of deliverables is a good start. But you also need to put in place a Quality Process to ensure that each of the actions listed in the Quality Plan are undertaken as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Download a Quality Plan template to take these steps. Or download the Project Management Kit which includes all of the templates you need to manage quality on projects

Getting started with OMPM 2010

To celebrate the release of the Office Migration Planning Manager (OMPM) for Office 2010, I will be creating a series of blog posts that describe OMPM installation, basic and advanced usage, Q&A, and any other topics that come up. Do you have OMPM (or Office Environment Assessment Tool [OEAT]) questions that you’d like to see answered in this blog? Please leave your ideas in the Comments of this blog post for future consideration.

For this first post, I’ll walk you through a basic installation of OMPM using SQL Express 2008 R2 as the database back end. I’ll also scan my laptop to assess my old Office files and go over some of the initial scan results.

Let’s get started!

  1. For this walk-through, I will be using the Access reporting tool to view the OMPM scan data.  Therefore, make sure that you have Access 2007 or later installed on the computer where you install OMPM.
  2. Download and install OMPM from the Download Center. The download process extracts the OMPM files to a folder of your choice. I will be using C:\OMPM for this walk-through.
  3. Install SQL 2008 R2 Express. You can choose either the 32-bit or 64-bit edition. Remember which edition you install so that you can choose the same edition for the components you install in Steps 5 and 6.
  4. The setup process for SQL 2008 R2 Express takes a while to download and extract files. Accept the various prompts and wait for the opening page of SQL Express 2008 R2, called the SQL Server Installation Center, to appear after extraction is complete. Then, follow these steps:
  5. In the SQL Server Installation Center, click New installation or add features to an existing installation.
  6. In the SQL Server 2008 R2 Setup wizard, read the license terms and accept them, and then click Next.
  7. On the Feature Selection page, accept the defaults (all checkboxes selected). Click Next.
  8. On the Instance Configuration page, create a named instance called OMPM. Click Next.
  9. On the Server Configuration page, accept default service accounts. Click Next.
  10. On the Database Engine Configuration page, accept the default authentication mode (Windows authentication mode). Your user account will be shown as a SQL Server administrator. Click Next.
  11. On the Error Reporting page, click the check box if you want to send error reports to Microsoft. Otherwise, just click Next.
  12. Wait for the installation process to finish, and then close the wizard and the SQL Server Installation Center.
  13. Install the Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Backward Compatibility Components in the Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Feature Pack. Accept the defaults for all options.
  14. Install the Microsoft SQLXML 4.0 SP1 pack, also in the Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Feature Pack. Accept the defaults for all options.

 

Now that you have the SQL components installed, you are ready to create a database for storing OMPM results. Take the following steps:

  1. In an Administrator command prompt window, navigate to the folder where you installed OMPM, and then open the Database folder.
  2. Type the following command to create a database called ompmdb for the ompm SQL instance:

    createdb.bat .\ompm ompmdb

    When you execute the command successfully, you will see the following results in the command prompt window:

    C:\OMPM\Database>createdb.bat .\ompm ompmdb
    Microsoft Office Migration Planning Manager version 2.0
    Database Provisioning Tool
    Copyright (c) 2010 Microsoft Corporation.  All Rights Reserved.

    Database ‘ompmdb’ was created successfully.

    If you are running the command prompt without administrator privileges, the command will fail.

You are now ready to configure OMPM settings in the Offscan.ini file, which is located in the Scan folder where you installed OMPM. Navigate to the Scan folder and double-click Offscan.ini to edit it. I’m only going to change a handful of settings for this walk-through, but I will also point out some new settings in case you want to experiment. You can find more information about each setting in Offscan.ini in the OMPM Technical Reference.

Note: If you have permissions issues when trying to save Offscan.ini, add yourself to the permissions list for the OMPM folder and let me know via this blog if you encounter this issue.

The table below shows various parameters in Offscan.ini that I will use in this walk-through. Any parameter in boldindicates that I’ve changed the default.

[Run]

;Run ID is a unique ID for this distribution of the scan.

 

RunID=1001

 

Each time you run a scan, you must increment this number, otherwise the scan won’t start. When you view your OMPM scan results by using the Access report viewer, you can view all runs or a selected run.

 

;Description can be used to describe any extra info about the Run. I.E. Month/Year

 

Description=”ORK team blog OMPM scan.”

 

The description also appears in the OMPM Access report viewer. I highly recommend that you use a unique description for each run.
[Scan]

;SkipOldAccessedFiles:  if set to 1, offscan will skip files with a Last Accessed Date less than OldAccessedDate

;if set to 0, offscan will not skip old files based on Last Accessed Date

 

SkipOldAccessedFiles=0

 

;OldAccessedDate:   files with a Last Accessed Date before OldAccessedDate will be skipped if SkipOldAccessedFiles=1.

; Date format should be “YYYY/MM/DD”

 

OldAccessedDate=2005/01/01

 

;SkipOldModifiedFiles:  if set to 1, offscan will skip files with a Modified Date less than OldModifiedDate

;if set to 0, offscan will not skip old files based on Modified Date

 

SkipOldModifiedFiles =0

 

 

;OldModifiedDate:   files with a Last Modified Date before OldModifiedDate will be skipped if SkipOldModifiedFiles=1.

;Date format should be “YYYY/MM/DD”

 

OldModifiedDate =2005/01/01

 

 

OMPM 2010 now offers a way to limit scanning to only files that have been modified or accessed within a specified date period. These settings are not enabled by default, but we recommend enabling them to keep the scan results manageable. Work with your business groups to determine if scanning every old file is necessary, or if you can limit the scan (and eventual conversion) to files that have been accessed or modified after a specified date.

 

For this walk-through, I’m not going to skip files by accessed or modified date because I want to ensure that I get a variety of scan results.

;ScanMacros:  if set to 1, offscan will attempt to scan macros in scanned filetypes for API or Object Model compatibility issues.

;if set to 0, offscan will not attempt to scan macros for API or Object Model issues

 

ScanMacros=1

 

ScanMacros is another new setting for OMPM 2010. For this walk-through, I’m going to enable macro scanning (the default is 0-disabled).
;ScanMacrosX64: if set to 1, offscan will attempt to scan macros in scanned filetypes for x64 compatibility issues

; if set to 0, offscan will not attempt to scan macros for x64 compatibility issues

 

ScanMacrosX64=1

 

ScanMacrosX64 is another new setting for OMPM 2010. For this walk-through, I’m going to enable X64 macro scanning (the default is 0-disabled).
FoldersToScan]

;Folder=C:\

;Folder=\\server\share

 

Folder=\\jillT400\C$

 

I’m going to scan my remote laptop’s C drive. You can specify multiple clients to scan here.

 

After you’ve completed and saved your offscan.ini edits, it’s time to execute a scan.

  1. In an Administrator command prompt window, navigate to the Scan folder and type the following command:
    offscan.exe
  2. You can watch the progress as each file is scanned. Most files are scanned quickly, but some can take a few seconds to complete. When the scan is complete, you’ll see the final lines of output, which are similar to this:

Start:  2010-08-04 12:33:59
End:    2010-08-04 13:01:18
Seconds: 2068
Total number of files scanned: 133770
Total number xml logs created: 5253
Scan Complete

 

 

 

After the scan completes, your next step is to import the scan into the SQL database.

  1. At an Administrator command prompt window, navigate to the Database folder, and then type the following command:
    ImportScans.bat .\ompm ompmdb c:\ompm\scandata
  2. Wait while the scan data is imported into the SQL database.

 

 

Now you are ready to use the OMPM Access Report Viewer. Follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to the c:\ompm\report folder and double-click the ompm.accdr file. (Update: A new version of ompm.accdr is available here.)
  2. In the Microsoft Access Security Notice dialog box, click Open.
  3. 3.       On the Welcome to the Office Migration Planning Manager screen, enter the following information:
    Server: .\ompm
    Database: ompmdb
  4. 4.   Click Connect. You’ll see new links appear at the bottom of the page, like this:

 

 

 

5. Click Office 2010 Compatibility, which takes you to the Overview tab of the report viewer:

 

6. Click the Issue Summary tab to view a summary of the scan results. Depending on your scan results, you’ll see issues that are classified as Green, Red, and Yellow.

 

7. Now let’s view the Scanned files tab to take a closer look at the red and yellow issues.

 

  1. Click the DOWN ARROW next to the Max Level column to filter the list to show only red and yellow issues. (FYI, if you don’t have any Red issues, they won’t appear in this list.)
  2. In the filtered list, click the file name link to view more details about the issues detected during the scan. Here is one example of a PowerPoint file that has both red and yellow issues:

I’ll wrap up this first blog post here to give you time to experiment on your own. For my next post, I’ll review the results from macro scanning.

How to write an action plan

http://www.time-management-guide.com/plan.html 

 

When writing an action plan to achieve a particular goal or outcome, you can get much help from the following steps.

  • Clarify your goal. Can you get a visual picture of the expected outcome? How can you see if you have reached your destination? What does make your goal measurable? What constraints do you have, like the limits on time, money, or other resources.
  • Write a list of actions. Write down all actions you may need to take to achieve your goal. At this step focus on generating and writing as many different options and ideas as possible. Take a sheet of paper and write more and more ideas, just as they come to your mind. While you are doing this, try not to judge or analyze.
  • Analyze, prioritize, and prune. Look at your list of actions. What are the absolutely necessary and effective steps to achieve your goal? Mark them somehow. After that, what action items can be dropped from in the plan without significant consequences for the outcome. Cross them out.
  • Organize your list into a plan. Decide on the order of your action steps. Start from looking at your marked key actions. For each action, what other steps should be completed before that action? Rearrange your actions and ideas into a sequence of ordered action steps. Finally, look at your plan once again. Are there any ways to simplify it even more?
  • Monitor the execution of your plan and review the plan regularly. How much have you progressed towards your goal by now? What new information you have got? Use this information to further adjust and optimize your plan.