Digital Workplace Today

Digital Workplace Today
By Portal Solutions
About this podcast
Brought to you by Portal Solutions, the Digital Workplace Today podcast brings you the latest trends and top insights of the digital workplace world. Technology is rapidly changing and it is our mission to help organizations break through cluttered email boxes to find better ways to communicate and share ideas. Host and Portal Solution's top marketer, Jenny Lynch gets the right people talking about the issues that matter to your digital workplace.
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Latest episodes
May 27, 2016
  On this episode of the Digital Workplace Today Podcast, we talk again with Dr. Dale Tuttle, COO of Portal Solutions, on the challenges and opportunities of deploying Office 365 in the developing world. We discuss how not just governments but also aid organizations and others involved in these countries can (and already do) use the capabilities of Office 365. Cloud based solutions present some unique challenges in developing world, and some are easier to overcome than others. Listen to this episode to hear it all, or read the show notes for an overview of the conversation and links to some of the key items discussed.    SHOW NOTES The Portal Solutions Moment of the Week: Microsoft Flow and Power Apps Jenny: Right at this moment [at the time of recording -Ed.], a virtual event is going on with Microsoft announcing the release of SharePoint 2016. It's a very exciting announcement. A lot of eyes are glued to it. Dale, what do you think of it? Dale: It's pretty cool. They announced some new features and they're building more workflow tools into the Office 356 experience. One in particular is called Flow. The other new thing is Power Apps for Office 365. They're essentially providing, via Office 365, the ability to create your own lightweight applications. These are part of the SharePoint 2016 release, but they'll be released on Office 365 and SharePoint Online first. The roll out will take place in stages throughout this calendar year. Jenny: Okay, that's exciting. We are going to be doing a follow-up blog post on that to give more information. Re-Introducing Dr. Dale Tuttle, International Relations PhD Jenny: Today we're talking deploying Office 365 in the developing world. Dale, I know this is something that's very near and dear to your heart. I think that you have a lot of experience with the developing world and what's going on. Dale: Yeah, believe it or not, I have a PhD in International Relations from the University of Maryland. I did a lot of studying about conflict processes, but also on issues relating to development activities in the developing world, and the politics of aid and how it's most effective. That sort of stuff. Now that I think about it, I spent most of last year traveling to several developing countries, helping them figure out how to deploy cloud-based knowledge management solutions to help them in their endeavors to improve operations.  What is intriguing is the capabilities that Office 365 brings to the table. These capabilities are needed by both the governments in the developing world as well as the aid organizations, the recipients, and everybody involved in providing and receiving development assistance in these countries. Cloud Opportunities: Bypassing the Infrastructure Gap Jenny: So, what do you see as the biggest opportunities in these countries in adopting cloud-based platforms like Office 365? Dale: Traditionally, the thing holding these countries back from adopting advanced technologies is they do not have either the money or the capability to host infrastructure. They can't go and easily buy servers. Even if they did, where would they put them? Electricity becomes an issue. Then, of course, they really don't have the resources for sustaining software licenses. Cloud technologies bypass those two things right out of the gate. They don't need infrastructure. They don't need software licenses, per se. Cloud services, or software as a service, these things are now available to developing countries, and that's a big deal. Working With or Without the Cloud Jenny: Currently, remote workers around the world in developing countries that need to stay in touch with many of their colleagues here in the states... how are they currently doing this and where do you see the big enhancements in using the cloud? Dale: When we think about leveraging these tools for developing countries, there are really two different communities that we're talking about. The first is someone in a city. They'll probably have internet access. They'll probably have electricity, more or less, most of the time. But then what happens is you go farther out into the field, so to speak, and you find the second community. You start losing access to internet, and then you may lose access to your cellular zones as well. Electricity becomes even more of an issue. We have to think about delivering tools to these different communities. Then, also, what devices are hosting the resources that need to be accessed? Again, without cloud technologies, it's almost impossible for people in these countries to truly share information and collaborate, because there is no way to host solutions. As we talked about earlier, they don't have the infrastructure and they don't have the software. But they can get these capabilities from the cloud. Then, essentially, you can provide all of the benefits that advanced technology has provided in our world. We've been using these things for so long now it becomes second nature. But now, because of the cloud, folks in these countries can start using the same tools.  Cloud Challenges in the Developing World Dale: There is another dimension that I haven't talked about yet, and that challenge is bandwidth. Even though you may have access to the internet, you may not have the fastest connection. This makes user experience extremely important. You want to deliver cloud capabilities in these countries, but also how you deliver it becomes important. It needs to be a lightweight footprint from a UI/UX standpoint. You also have to be very careful about what you're delivering. They only should get what they really need to do their job. That experience may be segmented, for instance, if I'm in a city, the big city, and I have access just like we would here. You may be in Jakarta, Indonesia. You may be in New Delhi. You'll get more or less the same experience as you would in Maryland. However, when you start moving out into the field then bandwidth starts becoming an issue, and the device that you're using comes into play, and then the speed of the internet and the ability to deliver that experience is a critical factor. Jenny: Say there is an organization that has these challenges, and they do have workers in the developing world, and they also have US-based workers. How should they even go about designing the platform and how it needs to work in connecting them? Dale: It would be a mistake to try to deploy Office 365 without customizing the UI for these low bandwidth users, because they wouldn't get the benefit of it. The other thing you have to do is not just make the UI mobile friendly, but you have to actually then make sure that you're only delivering the things that they need when they're in the field. We have to create special experiences for these people. Using me as an example, if I was in Jakarta, my experience would be just like Bethesda. However, if I were to move out not too far out of the city, I would still have my cellular network but it would be expensive and have a very low bandwidth experience. I need only those five, ten, or fifteen things that are essential, to keep data flow under control. Listen for More… Listen to the full podcast to hear our full conversation with Dale. We continued to discuss infrastructure and collaboration challenges in the developing world and how systems like Azure are helping bridge the technology gap.  WISH LIST ITEM OF THE WEEK Jenny: This is our wish list item of the week. Dale, if there was something you wish Microsoft would do, it would be what?  Dale: I really wish we would get essentially Microsoft Data Center coverage in Africa. Africa is one of the largest areas where donor agencies are spending a lot of their efforts and time, and even a lot of companies have more operations in Africa. But Microsoft Azure and the big players at AWS Amazon and others, they don't have data centers in Africa yet. Africa's a huge continent. I don't know if you've checked the map lately, but it's pretty big. Jenny: It's pretty large, mm-hmm. Dale: It needs more than one of these centers. The lack of this right now means that in the big cities, even to connect and use Azure or Office 365, you'll have to go through essentially an ISP that will then connect you out to data centers that are outside the continent. While most people don't realize it, geography still matters, distance still matters in terms of your connectivity and the performance of the Cloud. Performance is kind of an issue. I would hope that they would deploy a data center, more than one to the continent in the near future.   DON'T FORGET... If you missed our last episode, head over and listen to our conversation (also) with Dr. Dale Tuttle on Public Sector Adoption of Office 365 and Cloud Technology. In the podcast prior to that, we talked with Dale All About Azure. Lots of podcasting lately with Dale!   JOIN THE DISCUSSION Do you enjoy listening to our conversation on the latest trends and insights in the digital workplace? Consider subscribing to the Digital Workplace Today podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.  And if you can, take a moment to review the podcast. Your feedback is helpful, and we’d love to hear what topics you would like us to cover in future episodes. 
May 13, 2016
On this episode of the Digital Workplace Today Podcast, we talk again with Dr. Dale Tuttle, COO of Portal Solutions and multiple-episode guest of the podcast, about public sector adoption of cloud based tools like Office 365. Discussion of this topic on our blog and podcast is far past due. This episode gives some insight into how the public sector is beginning to embrace all the benefits and cost savings that are out there and available with adopting cloud services. Listen to this episode to hear it all, or read the show notes for an overview of the conversation and links to some of the key items discussed.    SHOW NOTES The State of Public Sector Cloud Technology Adoption Today Jenny: Dale, can you go ahead and shed some light on the public sector and how they're embracing new cloud technologies? Dale: Absolutely. There's an interesting duality here where the federal government has a mandate to use cloud services as much as possible, and that mandate is over five years old. The federal government started to lead in the adoption of the cloud, at least in their policies. The pace of adoption, thought, is quite slow. That's really what we're talking about today, the slowness, but lately we're starting to see the public sector adopt more and more cloud services. Office 365 is one of the most popular ones being adopted. Jenny: Are there restrictions with different public sector agencies adopting Office 365? Because I know sometimes, like you said, the government, no fault of its own, can be slow in adopting new technology.  Dale: Yeah, the different agencies have different rules, but there is something called the Microsoft Gov Cloud. What happens, or what has happened, is the federal government will certify, through a program called FedRAMP, that a particular cloud platform conforms to certain standards,. There are federal information protection standards, NIS standards, and all these things. What Microsoft does, and other cloud vendors do as well, is they will certify their cloud platforms. They call them their "Gov Clouds." So there's a Microsoft Gov Cloud. There's an Amazon Web Services Gov Cloud. All the vendors have their own. These things are certified to a certain security standard, and that means they are then available to be used by public sector agencies. Now, we should differentiate between certain types of agencies. The EPA, or Department of Labor, or FDA: these are civilian agencies. The military or the NSA has a whole different standard and security model, which typically is not covered by FedRAMP. How Do Organizations Get Started? Jenny: So how would a public agency or organization get started? What typically is the first entry into the Cloud environment for the public sector? Dale: What we're seeing is more and more RFPs coming out for Office 365 support. We're working on one right now, and we're actually seeing several more coming out with our federal partners. What that means is that they're finally getting comfortable with committing to Office 365. Within Office 365, the first tool most organizations start using is email. The second is SharePoint Online. And the third is often Skype or OneDrive for Business. One tool that is not yet certified for the public sector is Power BI. I can't wait for that. That'll be huge, because the data analytics capabilities of that tool are really astounding, and it would be so inexpensive and available to Office 365 users. Once that comes to the public sector, I suspect that our own data practice will have even a whole new market to start working with. The Benefits of Adopting New Technology Jenny: What we've been talking about, in terms of the Office 365 pricing model, stands to be a huge cost savings for government, right?  Dale:  Needing only one subscription will get you so much more capability. When you're talking about Office 365, one subscription will get you all the different tools and apps that are on Gov Cloud, of which there are tons. What the government wants help with is using the big tools better, like SharePoint Online. But they also need help understanding how to introduce the additional tools that are available, like Office Video. Video's a big one. Delve, how do they use Delve effectively? How do they use Skype? How do they use Planner? They don't know how to do this, so what we're finding is these agencies are setting up what they call their Office 365 "Center of Excellence." They have commercial vendors, like Portal Solutions, come in and help them establish best practices, or set up something like SharePoint Online, and review how to introduce the usage of Office 365 videos into their organization. It's a new tool set for them, and they need help in implementing it. Jenny: Is there special pricing for licensing for the government? Dale: Yeah, there are different price points and subscription models for public sector customers. Microsoft, and all the cloud vendors, they have both commercial teams and public sector teams. They have their own prices, and there's pretty much a wall between those two parts of the firms. They'll share information, but they have their own metrics, their own targets, and that's not just Microsoft. That's every vendor, Oracle, Amazon, VMware, Rackspace, everybody. That's how they do it. There's a public sector team and there's everybody else. The Benefits of the Cloud Jenny: What would you say are the high level benefits for the government moving to the Cloud? Dale: Really, it's the same stuff you'd see in the commercial side. You're going to see cost savings. You get out of the business of hosting infrastructure and maintaining software licenses. There's a huge management overhead that goes with that, not to mention the direct cost of buying servers, and keeping the electricity on, and all that sort of good stuff. Then, you have to manage your licenses, and it's a pain. It's hard to do over time. It's expensive. When you move to the Cloud, the software and the hardware costs are rolled up into your subscription cost. Now, but the gotcha...not so much with Office 365, but if you start adopting Azure and you're moving your infrastructure to the Cloud...is you need to manage your costs very carefully because you'll stand up these virtual machines, and you'll stand up all this capability. The length of time these things run and how much data are running through your Azure tools and services, that's what you get charged on. What happens is you start standing up these environments and you stand up more, and more, and more, and you lose track of the ones you've stood up. Then all of a sudden you get that monthly statement.... Actually, this has happened to us, and it happened in my previous life at another company. The point is, you need to manage the costs. A human needs to track the usage and manage these costs.  Listen for More… Listen to the full podcast to hear our full conversation with Dale. We touched on many other points including an expansion of our discussion of the speed of public sector adoption, how to control cloud costs effectively, and some of Dale's best tips on cloud adoption.   WISH LIST ITEM OF THE WEEK Jenny: This is our wish list item of the week. Dale, if there was something you wish Microsoft would do, it would be what?  Dale: Fast track Power BI onto the Gov Cloud. Jenny: Fair enough. I think the government would definitely agree with you. I think it's coming. I can't say a date, but I think it's coming.    DON'T FORGET... If you missed our last episode, head over and listen to our conversation (also) with Dr. Dale Tuttle All About Azure. In the podcast prior to that, we talked with Cat Norris on The State of Workflows in 2016.   JOIN THE DISCUSSION Do you enjoy listening to our conversation on the latest trends and insights in the digital workplace? Consider subscribing to the Digital Workplace Today podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.  And if you can, take a moment to review the podcast. Your feedback is helpful, and we’d love to hear what topics you would like us to cover in future episodes. 
May 6, 2016
On this episode of the Digital Workplace Today Podcast, we talk with the one and only Dr. Dale Tuttle, COO of Portal Solutions and many time guest of the podcast, all about Microsoft Azure (and D.C. hailstorms). We have not talked about Azure, Microsoft's integrated cloud services platform, a whole lot on the blog or this podcast before, but be on the look out for more posts like this in the near future! Listen to this episode to hear it all, or read the show notes for an overview of the conversation and links to some of the key items discussed.    SHOW NOTES   Kicking off with the Portal Solutions Moment of the Week Jenny: Before we get started, I'd like to talk about our Portal Solutions Moment of the Week. I would say, and Dale, see if you echo my same sentiments, this the big thing this week was the SharePoint Fest conference we participated here in Washington D.C. Dale: Well, I think that and the hailstorm yesterday. Jenny: Yeah, they were definitely good rivals with each other. Dale: Yeah, so SharePoint Fest was fun. We met a lot of people. Customers were there, newer customers, existing customers. As usual, it's a lot of fun. Organizationally, we get a lot out of it, and it met expectations. The hailstorm definitely was a surprise, though.  Getting Started with Azure Jenny: Let's get started with the show because I know we have a lot to cover in the whole Azure ecosystem. How about we tee it off like this: A lot of people are unsure of how to get started with Azure. What would your advice be to them? Dale: The first thing to do is to take a step back and figure out what fundamental activities your organization (or self) can move to the Azure platform, and look at which of these have true business value. One of the most common ways to get started with Azure is with development. Instead of procuring new hardware and software every time you need to do something new, you just stand up those resources in Azure. It's much cheaper. You do it much more quickly. You get a lot of business return on investment very quickly if you offload your development activities off to Azure. Jenny: Is a separate license needed? How does someone work that out with Microsoft? Dale:  It's based on your consumption. It's how much Azure you're using, so to speak. You'll stand up several virtual machines. It might be the amount of data that you're using. Essentially, as you create these services in Azure, you start getting charged, usually by time increment. "You used this much data over this time span." That's how you get charged. How Does Azure Compare?  Jenny: Let's look at the competitors to Azure. Are people using Amazon Web Services [ed: AWS] or other services? What are the benefits of using one over the others? Dale: AWS is probably the most common one people will use. Frankly, if you are just wanting to do development, there's not a whole lot of difference between different platforms. Where people should use Azure over AWS is if you're a Microsoft shop. The Microsoft platform as a service, which is part of Azure, you know it. You understand it. All the familiarity you have with developing using Microsoft tools, they are made available to you on the Azure platform. Are they available on AWS? Yes, but not to the extent that they are in Microsoft. The costs are going to be about the same between platforms. They all kind of converge, AWS and Azure, and even the Oracle Cloud now and Rackspace and VMware. Their Cloud costs are all coming to this convergence point. It comes down to: what are you most familiar with? If you're a Microsoft shop, go with Azure. It just makes your life a lot easier. What role can and should consultants play? Jenny: Can organizations get started with this on their own, or should they look to a consultant for guidance? Dale: They should only look to us for guidance. I mean, let's be real here. You know, you can do it on your own. In fact, you can get free/test subscriptions to Azure. You can, literally, play around with it. I really advocate people do that, right, and figure out kind of what it is you want to know. Only then would I suggest getting some consulting on best practices about working in Azure and development best practices. That sort of stuff. Because development is a little different in the Cloud than it is on-premises. That's a biggie. If you use a consultant, you'll actually save time and money, over the long run, instead of trying to figure it out yourself. The important idea is you do it in a structured format. Don't just start doing stuff without...   Jenny:  Like willy-nilly! Dale: Right. A lot of people do it willy-nilly. That's the technical term is that we call it. When you start doing it willy-nilly, your willy-nilliness actually becomes how things get done in the future. You need to have a strategy in place to really take full advantage of the benefits Azure can offer.   Listen for More… Listen to the full podcast to hear our full conversation with Dale. We discussed Azure much more in depth and addressed other some other related topics as well. WISH LIST ITEM OF THE WEEK Jenny: Well now it's time for our wishlist item of the week. If there was one thing that you could wish that Microsoft would change, that would be? Dale: I really wish there was a more cohesive bundling of Office 365 capabilities. Microsoft calls them "workloads." They're really separate now. In fact, one of the only ways to combine these workloads into coherent experience is something like OneWindow Workplace. Jenny: Absolutely. OneWindow is our turnkey internet solution, and yes, it pretty much rolls all of the Office 365 workloads up into a single digital window. Dale: Yeah, a core bundle of them. There are so many, and Microsoft is adding new ones all the time. We can't easily bundle all of them together, but at least we bring the core ones together in a single experience with custom intranets built on Office 365.   DON'T FORGET... If you missed our last episode, head over and listen to our conversation with Cat Norris about the state of workflows in 2016. In the podcast prior to that, we talked with Jill Hannemann and special guest Adam Levithan about how Office 365 can benefit your organization (and is a little bit like strawberry shortcake!).   JOIN THE DISCUSSION Do you enjoy listening to our conversation on the latest trends and insights in the digital workplace? Consider subscribing to the Digital Workplace Today podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.  And if you can, take a moment to review the podcast. Your feedback is helpful, and we’d love to hear what topics you would like us to cover in future episodes. 
March 11, 2016
Digital Workplace Today is a podcast bringing you the latest trends and top insights of the digital workplace world. On this episode of the Digital Workplace Today Podcast, we talk with a first time guest- Cat Norris, UX Developer at Portal Solutions. We discuss all of the latest news and updates regarding Nintex and workflows. A lot of exciting things are coming up on the workflow front, particularly with SharePoint 2016 coming out this year. Listen to this episode to hear it all, or read the show notes for an overview of the conversation and links to some of the key items we discussed.    SHOW NOTES Kicking off with the Portal Solutions Moment of the Week Jenny: We hear so many times from perspective clients that they have Office 365 but are struggling to figure out how to use all of the advanced functionality. What do all the workloads do? How do they experience it? How do they get training on it? I'm excited to say that just in the last couple of days the Office training team at Microsoft developed tutorials to address some of these pain points. They're going to be covering five core Office 365 scenarios, which is fantastic. Check out Microsoft's blog post about the tutorials here, or go straight to the training tutorials here. The World of Workflows: Nintex and InspireX Jenny: To kick things off, let's talk about InspireX, a recent Nintex conference. I know there were a lot of people in attendance, a wealth of experience. Cat, can you lay the foundation of what was the purpose of this conference? I think it was the first annual conference that they've ever had.  Cat: Absolutely. Something I noticed about the InspireX conference was lots of bright folks in attendance, lots of partners and it was really great to have direct access to the Nintex product team for the first time. The purpose of the conference was to partially reveal some roadmap items, but many of the sessions were about how to work with what's already in place. I know they will posting the sessions soon online to their Nintex learning center for conference attendees. Something that I noticed, there was lots of great questions in the sessions that I attended. I'd imagine there's lots of great questions in the sessions I did not attend so we'll have access to all those shortly.  New Features on the Horizon  Jenny: Were any big announcements made at InspireX? Cat: Yeah, there was a lot of ground that was covered, lots of announcements, lots of exciting things coming for us. I can just go down kind of my laundry list of things that I was really excited about. First off, better documentation. That was clear that they were paying attention to that. There was that feedback that they know that they need to be better in that area and they're like, "Yes, we are definitely going to have better documentation all around." From a high level, they're going to have improved hybrid support. This includes changing their licensing model so you don't have dual licenses for online and on-prem. For on-prem, easier installation, configuration. That means more powershell commands and again documentation surrounding that. For forms, by far one of the most exciting things is management of data for forms. Anytime this was mentioned in any of the sessions the crowd literally applauded. I think at one point there was somebody that gave a standing ovation. Lastly, and I thought this was such a great idea is this thing called Exchange. I got the opportunity to talk to the guy that's kind of championing it. Very smart guy, very motivated to get this tool off the ground. It's basically a central repository for Nintex assets and it's partner driven. There are going to be some Nintex Solutions on there, but it's going to be mostly a tool for partners to add the developments that they have done. It's sort of the Nintex App Store and we're going to be able to package functionality that we've developed and share that with other partners and also pass that on to customers. I think that's going to be a great area for partners and customers to connect and I'm really excited for that to come out.  Nintex 2016: What's the Scoop? Jenny: Nintex 2016- when is that slated to be ready? Cat: Typically they're pretty good at releasing Nintex Workflow and Forms as soon as SharePoint comes out with their version. When SharePoint 2013 came out I think it was something like four weeks until they were out with Nintex Workflow and Form 2013. The Toolbox is a part of Forms. It's like the Toolbox for Forms. It's more organized. The icons are smaller. The demo that they did of 2016 just seems like it's much better than the 2013 version. They're also rolling that back int 2013 as well. Jenny:  Educate us on Nintex and how the transition process works. Should people be upgrading from 2013 to 2016, or is the new version something mostly for new clients that are just starting to use Nintex? Cat: My guidance with any client that's looking to get the latest and greatest is the same as for SharePoint: if you have the budget for it, definitely upgrade because there's going to be so much more functionality available. You're going to get more efficient, better environment. If you have a lot of processes in Nintex 2013 right now, maybe wait it out. See what the feedback is. Wait until the second round of functionality comes out. There will be some testing, they get the bugs out because there's always going to be a certain level of kinks that are worked out with the first release. That would be my advice around that. Mobile-Readiness Getting a Boost? Jenny: Let me know more about mobile ready because I know it's all the rage, and for good reason. We're always on the go, we're remote, we're busy, we use our mobile devices all the time. Are there any enhancements for the mobile aspect coming? Cat: Yes, there are lots of really cool stuff coming out with that as well. The mobile app is now going to have a lot better offline functionality. Projects that really use mobile app like site visits, that's really important. You also have the ability to elect to post back only when connected to wifi so that will save you money with data usage. Geolocation and signature capability for mobile app which was recently added, they did a demo on both of those and that's really powerful. Apparently this was a major item in the User Voice. I haven't known about it. I don't think I've really worked too much with Nintex mobile, but apparently a major feedback item was the ability to upload certificates so that your app is signed and safe. Privacy is always a huge issue for customers. The ability to upload certificate I could imagine how that would be a very important thing. Also ability to scan QR codes and link directly to the mobile app. They did a demo on that. That was really cool. Some other mobile roadmap items are hybrid support and the ability to see submitted forms and tasks and having a dashboard for that. Forms-based authentication just for mobile app specifically extended branded and customization. Now they're going to do Bluetooth support and Office 365 task support. Another thing was enhanced device notifications so those right time notifications and line approval, just immediate pop ups. I thought that was a great idea. Closing Thoughts Jenny: Is there anything else you would want to discuss? Any final thoughts for our listeners? Cat: I would just say that if you can, attend next year's InspireX conference because they did a great job of providing a lot of information, giving a lot of really great demos. Especially if you're a Nintex customer or a potential customer, they really did a lot of deep dives on how to use their product. They had an open session open all day so you can actually get in and use the product. They had that open all day on the second and third day. Somebody to guide you along and use the product. I know some of the partners had break out sessions in there where they worked with their customers to work and do demos sessions themselves. I thought that was really cool that they did that. Listen for More… Listen to the full podcast to hear our full conversation with Cat. We discussed InspireX in depth a bit further as well as a few workflow tips and tricks. WISH LIST ITEM OF THE WEEK Jenny: Well now it's time for our wishlist item of the week. Cat, I'm going to be directing this to you. This is our chance at Portal Solutions to swing for the fences. What is the thing you wish Microsoft would do next? Cat: This is actually for Microsoft and Nintex. I really really wish they would both address resource throttling for performance for Nintex Workflow, for SharePoint Workflows and Nintex Forms. Resource throttling is how admins designate server resources in the cloud to site collection. With your plan you purchase a certain amount of server power so to speak when you get an Office 365 plan. They give you X amount of resources and you're able to go in and configure server resource quote per site collection. Right now, honestly, in my opinion it's a pretty arbitrary number and we have had some issues with Workflow. I would like documentation guidance on what do these resources equate to. THE PORTAL SOLUTIONS PS: SHAREPOINT FEST DC Jenny:    We want to remind you again that our team will be at SharePoint Fest DC. That is at the end of April (the 27th to 29th). We're very excited. We have about four or five of our digital workplace experts speaking at this event, and we're also sponsoring as well. If you attend, please come out and say hi. Would love to meet you! DON'T FORGET... If you missed our last episode, head over and listen to our conversation with Jill Hannemann and special guest Adam Levithan about how Office 365 can benefit your organization (and is a little bit like strawberry shortcake!). In the podcast prior to that, we talked with with COO Dale Tuttle as we talked about our recent Roadshow Events with Microsoft.  JOIN THE DISCUSSION Do you enjoy listening to our conversation on the latest trends and insights in the digital workplace? Consider subscribing to the Digital Workplace Today podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.  And if you can, take a moment to review the podcast. Your feedback is helpful, and we’d love to hear what topics you would like us to cover in future episodes. 
March 1, 2016
Digital Workplace Today is a podcast bringing you the latest trends and top insights of the digital workplace world. On this episode of the Digital Workplace Today Podcast, we talk with Jill Hannemann, Director of Advisory Services at Portal Solutions, and special guest Adam Levithan, from Metalogix, about how Office 365 can benefit your organization (and how Office 365 is a little bit like strawberry shortcake!). Listen to this episode to hear it all, or read the show notes for an overview of the conversation and links to some of the key items we discussed.  SHOW NOTES Kicking off with the Portal Solutions Moment of the Week Jenny: I find it really interesting. Microsoft is committing to new functionality. They are putting promotions in place to get you to move. This is good for existing Office 365 E3, E4, and ECS customers. They're putting out there, you can take advantage of a fifteen percent promotion to move up to E5. It's something to take a look at, and we'll go ahead and post that in our show notes links to more information. Check out the promotion here. What is the Microsoft Cloud? Jenny: Jill, would you define what the Microsoft Cloud is? Jill: Microsoft has made it no secret that they have a cloud first, mobile first strategy. Honing in on the cloud first aspect of that strategy during this podcast, we are really talking about the Azure cloud services that they are providing, and as an output of that, Office 365. This cloud ecosystem is really designed and optimized to support organizations at its peak of complexity, providing redundancy, providing a high level of service level agreements to customers, security and all sorts of other levels of compliance that should make consumers comfortable with trusting Microsoft to host their data. It really is a very robust network, and having heard from a number of different Microsoft employees who have had a chance to see some of the plans about the data centers, we're talking basically these data centers will exist even if there is a nuclear fallout. When should organizations consider the cloud? Jill:    We are seeing a huge trend. Office 365 has been out for about three years now. Azure has been out for longer than that. What we're really seeing is that adoption is picking up rapidly and exponentially with Office 365. I think a lot of organizations are realizing the benefits of cloud. Some of these benefits that a lot of people talk about, probably the most common benefits, are just the ability to be agile, speed to market, the ability to spin up new hardware, new resources, at the click of a button. It's just so much easier for organizations to organize their internal IT infrastructure leveraging cloud services. It allows them to have the time then, and the resources, to focus their attention on what the real business problems are, and what it is that they need to do with those systems. That speed to market, allowing organizations to be agile, and there are also a lot of really important potential cost benefits and cost savings to overall IT organizations. I think that is another piece to the overall puzzle. Jenny: What's your experience with a lot of the clients you're working with? What would you say their number one reason for moving to the cloud has been? Jill: It really has kind of been a combination of those three things. They are just realizing that managing their own data centers, or managing their data centers, on premises in some of the locations where these companies are. Very expensive, high-valued real estate markets, you know, downtown city centers. They are realizing that maintaining these data center, leveraging real estate that costs so much, is really a drain on the resources. So what was that about Strawberry Shortcake? Jenny: Adam, can you define, "What is Office 365, and what's the value of it?" Adam: Sure, and I'm going to refer to an article I wrote for CMSWire, and I hope people aren't too hungry out there because I want them to picture a multilayer strawberry shortcake. This is just one of my passions. Jill has never made it for me, but you know what? Jenny: You had to go there, the strawberry shortcake, huh? Man, now that's all I'm going to be thinking about. Adam: So if you think of a cake, you think of the base, the wonderful cake itself. That takes a mixture of timing, baking, temperature, all those crazy things that Jill does know and I don't. I started there because people think of the word "cloud," and they get a little frustrated and scared because it seems like such a big and different thing. In truth, when you're talking about Office 365, it all starts with services as I call them that we know, and I would hesitate, not to say love, but know and use almost everyday. If we think of the services like Exchange. We think of the services like Skype. We think of the services like SharePoint. Those are the underlying, the base, the cake, within the strawberry shortcake, that supports Office 365. Now, the cake is good and all, but what you really want is the sweet stuff. What makes the cloud different? With Office 365, it is different than any other cloud system out there. We know that there are other good ones, I hasten to add, to mention Google and Amazon. They are cloud providers that provide some semblance of productivity solutions, but nothing near the breadth of Microsoft, and also this sweet, the whipped cream. Got to be hand-whipped, by the way. Any of this automatic stuff just doesn't count. What that is, I like to call it cloud processing. Jill described those gigantic centers that, not too positive there, Jill, of the nuclear strike, but they are running about a two percent power utilization. They're at a set size of two and a half 747s long, and as wide as the 747 wingspan. That's a football field plus. Millions of servers passing information. While we think we can have server-farms to do some of this processing, only the top probably hundred organizations in this world could do that, or could even rent that amount of processing power. It's built in Azure for Office 365, and that comes in the form of Office Graph. We talked about it on our webinar. Here, Office Graph is that cloud processing that's really taking all that data and understanding it and putting pieces together. Also, because Office 365 is within Azure, you have services like Azure Active Directory. You have Azure Media, and other platforms of service that's connected seamlessly in that Microsoft itself is going to be utilizing that you don't even have to worry about. They do it for you. It is a strawberry shortcake, right? So, we have to talk about the strawberries. In this sense, I call the applications. These are the applications that we've known and love. Usually, I would go by an application is one that you install, but you could even argue that Yammer, which is a completely cloud application, is an application. So Yammer, Outlook. Remember, Outlook is an application that connects to Exchange OneDrive for business. Those types of things are in this application layer, so it adds to the sweetness of the whipped cream. It is the main star, but there are relatives to that, which I'm calling apps. I know that application versus apps is a little difficult. These are those wonderful half-strawberries sitting on the top there. These are things like Groups. These are things like Delve. Delve is a app to me that is built on top of Office Graph, and then things like the new video portal. You get all of these levels. You get the services that you expected. You get the cloud processing that is changing all over time. You get your traditional applications, like Word, Exchange, Outlook, but then on top of that you get the apps that Microsoft is constantly building and adapting. That's what comes with a true cloud model; they can make one change that affects everyone, hopefully for the good. Jenny: Right, and I like your analogy. Jill: Let me clarify really quickly, Jenny. So now we're talking about Office 365 as dessert. Adam: Yes. Jill:            Strawberry Shortcake equals Office 365. Adam: I think it's saying that you can have dessert for lunch everyday, if you have Office 365. Listen for More… Listen to the full podcast to hear our full conversation with Adam and Jill as we discuss in more detail the business value of Office 365, hybrid scenarios, and how to plan an Office 365 rollout. WISH LIST ITEM OF THE WEEK Jenny: Adam, before you go, it's now time for our wishlist item of the week. This is our chance at Portal Solutions to swing for the fences. The thing we wish Microsoft would do next is what? Adam: I know this won't be timely for a podcast that can be listened to at anytime- Come out with SharePoint 2016. We're close with the last release candidate, and I can't wait for it to be fully out there and definitely interested to see the pace for updating on premises. That will be really interesting to see. Jenny: That will be interesting. Is it still slated for release in the second or third week in March? Adam: Yeah, we've heard two different things. A product marketing manager said the second week in March, and the original statement was by the end of Q1. So I guess you could safely say the tail-end of March. Either way that would work. Yep, so not too far away. THE PORTAL SOLUTIONS PS: SHAREPOINT FEST DC Jenny:    Thanks for joining us today. For our final thought today, we want to remind you that our team will be at SharePoint Fest DC. That is at the end of April (the 27th to 29th). We're very excited. We have about four or five of our digital workplace experts speaking at this event, and we're also sponsoring as well. If you attend, please come out and say hi. Would love to meet you! DON'T FORGET... If you missed our last episode, head over and listen to our conversation with COO Dale Tuttle as we talked about our recent Roadshow Events with Microsoft. In the podcast prior to that, we talked with Jill Hannemann, Director of Advisory Services, about the "Top 5 Office 365 and SharePoint Governance Mistakes" JOIN THE DISCUSSION Do you enjoy listening to our conversation on the latest trends and insights in the digital workplace? Consider subscribing to the Digital Workplace Today podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.  And if you can, take a moment to review the podcast. Your feedback is helpful, and we’d love to hear what topics you would like us to cover in future episodes. 
Feb. 19, 2016
Digital Workplace Today is a podcast bringing you the latest trends and top insights of the digital workplace world.   On this podcast, COO Dale Tuttle joins us on the Digital Workplace Today Podcast to talk about the recent "roadshow" events that Portal Solutions held jointly with Microsoft in southern Maryland and Northern Virginia over the last month. The central theme of the roadshow events was using Office 365 to its maximum potential. Dale and I look back at all of the presentations and discussions that took place, the feedback we received, and we dive deeper into some of the capabilities of Office 365. Listen to this episode to hear it all, or read the show notes for an overview of the conversation and links to some of the key items we discussed.    SHOW NOTES A Brief Overview of the Roadshow Events Each roadshow started out with a keynote talk by Microsoft, followed by presentations by Dale, our Director of Advisory Services Jill Hannemann, and our CEO Daniel Cohen-Dumani. We discussed getting started with Office 365, how to get the most out of the complete capabilities of Office 365, what are some best practices when it comes to cloud governance, developing an overall cloud strategy road map for your organization, and how turnkey intranet solutions like OneWindow can bring everything together in a seamless interface.  What is Discussed in the Podcast? This podcast is wide ranging, but here are a number of things that are discussed: Considerations before starting with Office 365: Why a hybrid environment is necessary during the transition to a cloud intranet and how to plan for this. Timing your migration to maximize cost savings and avoid unnecessary cost increases. What license options are available for Office 365 depending on an organizations's needs and which features come with which licenses. Office 365 Features: For those with data analytics needs, Dale reminds us that Power BI integration  is a capability of Office 365, and in fact a trial version comes free with all Office 365 packages to showcase some of Power BI's abilities. The ability to use SharePoint in Office 365 for simultaneous document collaboration. Getting Started with Office 365: The starting of the journey: migration of email and Lync, which Microsoft handles for free, then the migration of SharePoint, which Portal Solutions assists with. Learning to use the tools - a concern that is cropping up more and more as organizations make the transition to Office 365. Microsoft helps with much of the technical aspects, while partners like Portal Solutions focus on leveraging the features/solutions for clients. The Office 365 waffle! How turnkey intranet solutions like OneWindow transform Office 365 to bring many features together into a single interface, and eases the dilemma of trying to leverage all of the different capabilities. Dale's top three roadshow takeaways. Listen for More… Listen to the full podcast to hear our full conversation with Dale. Learn about the waffle, and discover Dale's big roadshow event takeaways! WISH LIST ITEM OF THE WEEK The one thing Dale wishes Microsoft would do next is......make the partner incentive programs easier to understand. "I have a PhD, and I can't figure this stuff out!" In all seriousness, Dale says that it would be great if Microsoft explained the incentives in plain English, to go along with the more detailed legal-style documentation that typically is provided to partners and can be tough to digest. DON'T FORGET... If you missed our last episode, head over and listen to our conversation with Jill Hannemann, Director of Advisory Services at Portal Solutions, as we talked about the "Top 5 Office 365 and SharePoint Governance MIstakes". In the podcast prior to that, we talked all about workflows with Tatiana Baquero - Senior Knowledge Management Consultant at Portal Solutions. JOIN THE DISCUSSION Do you enjoy listening to our conversation on the latest trends and insights in the digital workplace? Consider subscribing to the Digital Workplace Today podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.  And if you can, take a moment to review the podcast. Your feedback is helpful, and we’d love to hear what topics you would like us to cover in future episodes.   
Feb. 5, 2016
Digital Workplace Today, is a podcast bringing you the latest trends and top insights of the digital workplace world. On this podcast, Jill Hannemann, our Director of Advisory Services, joins us on the Digital Workplace Today Podcast to talk all about Office 365 and SharePoint governance, including: What is governance? What are some best practices? What things should be avoided? SHOW NOTES What is Governance? When we talk about governance in the context of Office 365 and SharePoint, what we’re trying to ensure is that whatever we design, from a governance perspective, is going to support the natural growth and management of these systems. With governance, we're talking about is establishing roles and responsibilities, establishing policies, and setting the “rules of the road” for people to use these systems. The goal of all of these things is to support the end users, with a good handle on and control of the types of content being put into the system, and that it remains manageable and clean so that users continue to want to use it. Has Governance Always Been an Issue?  Governance has been a hot topic since its inception - for any portal or information management solutions, really. A lot of the problems and challenges have not simply gone away as technology has improves. It is still fundamentally a people problem, and organizationally it is a change management challenge to adopt a solution like Office 365 and make it work and have it continue to provide value over in the long run. What Is the Right Direction for My Governance Plan? One of the things we really encourage with governance is to find a model that fits with your ways. Don’t introduce change where you don’t need to; instead follow the beat of the drum that you’ve been marching to. Managing and minimizing change are core strategies of making sure your governance really speaks to your organization but also that it is going to work. Who Should Develop Governance Plans for New Technology? The ideal scenario for implementation is a combination of the line of business and IT (or corporate communications). Fundamentally with a platform like Office 365 or SharePoint you are looking at two different channels of governance that you are implementing with this very complex system. So you are looking at the way your users use it, and policies and guidelines should really be defined by the business. So What Are the Top Five Governance Mistakes? First, the notion of “If you build it, they will come” and prioritizing beautification over functionality. Second, making governance too loose or too tight. Beyond that? You’ll have to listen to the podcast for the full list and key discussion points. Listen for More… Listen to the full podcast to hear our full conversation with Jill, as we dive deeper into the top five Office 365 and SharePoint governance mistakes and the best ways to avoid them. MOMENT OF THE WEEK Microsoft has extended their adoption incentive for Office 365. It used to include only organizations adding 150 seats or higher. Now it include 50 seats and higher. We suspect this will be a very interesting incentive for smaller organizations. Find out more here. DON'T FORGET... If you missed our last episode, head over and listen to our conversation with Tatiana Baquero - Senior Knowledge Management Consultant at Portal Solutions, as we talked all about workflows. In the podcast prior to that, we spoke with COO Dale Tuttle about democratizing data analysis with Power BI.  SIDE NOTE: Microsoft’s legal team created a product called Matter Center which is a legal focused extension of SharePoint in Office 365 to allow the management of legal matters and documents. Microsoft has decided to open source this product, and it is available on GitHub. If you’re thinking about using SharePoint for legal, for an attorney, or for a law firm, it’s an excellent, very affordable alternative.   JOIN THE DISCUSSION Do you enjoy listening to our conversation on the latest trends and insights in the digital workplace? Consider subscribing to the Digital Workplace Today podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.  And if you can, take a moment to review the podcast. Your feedback is helpful, and we’d love to hear what topics you would like us to cover in future episodes. 
Jan. 27, 2016
Digital Workplace Today, is a podcast bringing you the latest trends and top insights of the digital workplace world. On this Digital Workplace Today Podcast Tatiana Baquero - Senior Knowledge Management Consultant at Portal Solutions talks with us all about workflows. This is Tatiana's first appearance on the Digital Workplace Today Podcast and we're excited to share her workflow expertise with our listeners. SHOW NOTES Setting the Stage: What are Workflows?  Our show this week begins with Tatiana going over the basics of workflows. "In order to understand what a workflow is," she says, "it's important to understand what a process is." Processes are simply series of steps that have specific objectives, goals, and roles that are involved in order to complete the process. Workflows are the automation of these processes, often by using powerful solutions such as Sharepoint Online or Nintex. By implementing SharePoint workflows, organizations can much more efficiently achieve their ultimate process objectives. When Do Workflows Work Out Best? In order to successfully create and execute a workflow, Tatiana tells us, "a business process" must be "well defined from the start." Things like roles, specific steps, documents and forms needed, when and to who notifications must be sent all must be as clearly planned out as possible from the start. Without well defined processes it can become much more difficult to build out successful workflows. What Are Some Ways to Avoid the Biggest Pitfalls When Building Workflows? Tatiana tells us about three main things to do to avoid problems when building workflows. First, she says, it is very important to document your process from the beginning. Focusing on that and each of the different elements of the workflow is key. Second, organizations need to understand that implementing a workflow takes time. It takes multiple iterations to get to a final state, because it is important to check that you have all of the different things that you need to achieve your desired functionality. Lastly, test test test. A lot of testing is needed to make sure that a workflow works as expected. Listen For More… Listen to the full podcast to hear our full conversation with Tatiana including discussions about how workflows help businesses save money and time, the importance of workflow user training, the most common complaints about workflows both from the developer and user side, a dive deeper into using Nintex for workflow building, and more!   MOMENT OF THE WEEK Recently, Microsoft announced the availability of SharePoint Server 2016 Release Candidate. Over 5,000 people tested out the beta and helped give feedback to improve Sharepoint Server and move it from beta testing the release candidate stage. Tatiana also reminded us that Microsoft Sharepoint 2016 now has a specific release "period" set for Spring 2016. The release is nearly here!   DON'T FORGET... If you missed our last episode, head over to listen to our conversation with COO Dale Tuttle about democratizing data analysis with Power BI. In the podcast prior to that, we spoke with CEO Daniel Cohen-Dumani about the evolution and future of Sharepoint. Microsoft’s legal team created a product called Matter Center which is a legal focused extension of SharePoint in Office 365 to allow the management of legal matters and documents. Microsoft has decided to open source this product, and it is available on GitHub. If you’re thinking about using SharePoint for legal, for an attorney, or for a law firm, it’s an excellent, very affordable alternative.     JOIN THE DISCUSSION Do you enjoy listening to our conversation on the latest trends and insights in the digital workplace? Consider subscribing to the Digital Workplace Today podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.  And if you can, take a moment to review the podcast. Your feedback is helpful, and we’d love to hear what topics you would like us to cover in future episodes.
Jan. 15, 2016
Digital Workplace Today, is a podcast bringing you the latest trends and top insights of the digital workplace world. On this Digital Workplace Today Podcast, Dale Tuttle, COO of Portal Solutions, talks with us about how Microsoft's Power BI data visualization tools are helping democratize business analytics. Dale has over 15 years of experience building and operating IT services firms in the DC area and holds a dual Masters and Ph.D from the University of Maryland at College Park. SHOW NOTES The Big Data Backstory  Our show this week begins with Dale discussing the backstory of business data analysis. He’s been doing data analysis and data consulting services for 10-15 years, and he’s always been taken back a little bit by how complicated it is to get started with true analysis of enterprise data. It's usually done by big consulting companies. These are the folks that are able to do big data and big data analysis, largely for cost and expertise reasons. “Big Data” was not the realm for small and medium size businesses and even a lot of large businesses couldn’t do it. They certainly couldn't even do it for themselves. They almost always needed a partner. Firms that Dale’s been with, hey says, usually medium sized firms, could never afford to get to the level of advanced analytics that they wanted to have with their own data, let alone provide those services to their customers. Power BI literally changes the game.  Pieces to the Puzzle “Golden Data”, as Dale puts it, requires a lot of steps of the analytics process to be highly functional. There must be high quality data in the first place. Then the data must be transformed. Then modeled. And those steps all need to be done before any analysis can even be run. It has always been very expensive to capture good quality data and run high quality analytics around that data. Power BI really gives that capability to pretty much everybody. Dale says that the first thing it does is level the playing field for small and medium sized business firms. "Everybody can do it, and you don't need IT to help you anymore. Your business analyst can learn how to use this tool very easily and start taking control of the data they want to see." Power BI Capabilities Over time Power BI has evolved to add more and more features. The tool does a bunch of new things that really empowers a business analyst. It now connects and integrates with over 40 data sources.  You can connect to cloud resources like SalesForce, Google Analytics, and CRM tools. The connection to the data is great, but so is the visualization of the data. Dale tells us, “It’s really stunning frankly.” The quality of the dashboards you can create, the quality of the reports you can generate, and how visually appealing they are, are awesome. The data behind them is sophisticated and you can do great things and truly understand what's happening with your business. And, if you’re providing these services to another company, you can easily show them what's going on with their business. Listen For More… Dale and Jenny go on to discuss much more about how Microsoft's Power BI can impact your business, how Portal Solutions helps with Power BI implementation, using Power BI for web analytics, and the importance of having quick and responsive data analysis in the rapidly changing business landscape.Listen to the full podcast to hear Jenny and Dale dive deeper into the exciting rise of the democratization of data!   MOMENT OF THE WEEK On a different note, there has been a lot of talk about OneDrive for Business and that they are going to be rolling out unlimited storage, which is pretty neat for 365 Business customers. Dale tells us that Microsoft has been going back and forth about how much storage they should offer, but the regardless of the amount, it is definitely good news. For more information about this change, see Microsoft's blog post here. The change will be rolled out to Enterprise, Government and Education plans over the next few months and should be completed by March.   DON'T FORGET... If you missed our last episode, head over here to listen to Daniel and Jenny's conversation about the evolution and future of SharePoint. In the podcast prior to that, Daniel discussed the history of SharePoint. Microsoft’s legal team created a product called Matter Center which is a legal focused extension of SharePoint in Office 365 to allow the management of legal matters and documents. Microsoft has decided to open source this product, and it is available on GitHub. If you’re thinking about using SharePoint for legal, for an attorney, or for a law firm, it’s an excellent, very affordable alternative.   Also, we encourage you to test drive SharePoint 2016 and let us know what you think about the new features.     JOIN THE DISCUSSION Do you enjoy listening to our conversation on the latest trends and insights in the digital workplace? Consider subscribing to the Digital Workplace Today podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.  And if you can, take a moment to review the podcast. Your feedback is helpful, and we’d love to hear what topics you would like us to cover in future episodes.
Jan. 8, 2016
Digital Workplace Today, is a podcast bringing you the latest trends and top insights of the digital workplace world. On this podcast, Daniel Cohen-Dumani takes a look at the current state of SharePoint and where it is headed. Daniel is the founder and CEO of Portal Solutions, and he has been a part of the SharePoint world since its beginnings almost 14 years ago. He joined us today to help us understand the present and future of SharePoint.