Author Archives: David Lozzi

About David Lozzi

David is a lucky husband and proud father of 4 beautiful children. He's a Microsoft Certified Professional and works at Slalom Consulting as a SharePoint Architect. He is an avid do-it-yourself'er, self proclaimed chef, all-around-technology geek, Christ follower, Lego builder, and desires to be more of an outdoors-man.

Some great customer service with @Spotify

Everyone once in a while you come across fantastic customer service, and I really wanted to highlight this experience.

I posted:

2 minutes later, I posted:

@SpotifyCares replied:

spotify

Yup, created me a playlist, just for me… Note the time the songs were added, when they posted it. My son, he’s 5 by the way, was blown away too.

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SharePoint Hybrid Search and Crawled Properties

Hybrid search with SharePoint and Office 365 is key. It’s an integral piece in any large migration strategy as well as creating an enterprise search experience by letting users search for on-prem content in O365 when setup correctly.

Hybrid search has been out for quite some time now, but it appears a problem, new or not, has arrived with your crawled properties. (I think it’s a newer issue, but no one else thinks so.)

The problem is that any fields/properties which are crawled on-prem, from SharePoint sites or custom sources like Salesforce (through BA Insight’s sweet connectors), any custom properties, may not appear for you in Office 365.

In my case, crawling Salesforce highlighted this problem. I could then recreate the problem with an on-prem SharePoint site.

After a successful crawl, going to the Search Schema in Office 365 Search doesn’t show the properties as expected. You can check the properties in the search center on-prem and see them there, but not in Office 365. I opened a ticket with Microsoft SharePoint Server team, not the O365 team (anything outside of O365, even hybrid, is outside of their purview). They spent a couple of weeks recreating and troubleshooting this to find the fix.

The solution is to log into Office 365 with the service account your on-prem search service is using. In my case, logging into O365 Admin with domain\spsearch allowed me to see these missing properties. I could then create Managed Properties and then all users could use the data. That’s it! Your service account doesn’t need any licenses, just admin privileges.

I don’t like this solution since it’s a service account, and as a service account, it’s for services, not users to actually use. So I posted the issue on UserVoice, I’d love your vote!

Also, if you have a minute, up vote my other UserVoice about the overall hybrid experience.

‘Til next time, Happy SharePointing!

5 Years! #ImWithSlalom #LoveYourFuture

This is not a fluff piece. I wasn’t asked to write this or prompted to share my thoughts. Like everything on my blog, this is my own view and opinion. I want to share the why behind “I’m with Slalom”.

I’m very pleased to share I’ve been with Slalom for 5 years today! It’s been a great 5 years out of the 20 in my career. I started in the Boston office at number 14, and now we’re up over 180 people! It’s been an awesome ride.

If you get an offer from Slalom, you’d be stupid not to take it.

Said to me by an interviewer just over 5 years ago. He was right! I’ve come to appreciate and love this company, and our people.

When someone asks: “Where do you work?”

I get excited to say: “Slalom! Like the skiing sport, not Salem or shalom, and no I don’t ski.”

I go onto sharing what my role is and what we do as a company, but then I get to share what we do as a company. I love to share stories of our impact in Boston: working with Cradles to Crayons, Boston House, Greater Boston Food Bank and others. I get to share the fun we have at our events and retreats. People are encouraged to get plugged in and push their passions to the limit, bringing along their coworkers.

It’s awesome to work at a place that isn’t all about the work, but the people. Seriously.

We have some core values at Slalom, you can see them here, which look great on paper, are nice to talk about and are good for sales and marketing, but for us it’s more than that. They’re real. These are values I’ve seen brought into conversations on projects among our peers and with clients. We do our best to live and work by them. You’ll see they’re primary people focused, which is what makes Slalom awesome.

I’d like to highlight my top 3 I’ve witnessed and appreciate over my last 5 years. This is what has attracted me to Slalom and why I remain.

 

Do What is Right, Always

Do What is Right, ALWAYS

Top of my list is my all time favorite value that I’ve witnessed, put into practice, and had great debates about. Do what is right. Do what is right for our clients. Do what is right for our people. This is the order in which I tend to think, as a consultant I am client focused, clients are my bread and butter, without them I don’t have a job.

Doing what is right for the client isn’t always easy. I know you’ve heard:

The client is always right

Lies. The client is not always right, if that were true then why would they need me? The client is king, and deserves the respect and honor as such. My job is to bring them what’s best for them, be their counsel, consult them into the best decisions they can make. Sometimes this is hard, sometimes we have to reason, push, and prove our point before it’s accepted.

Sometimes what’s best for a client is not Slalom, sometimes its to push internal people to get it done. We’re okay with that.

I’ve witnessed many consultants, architects and program managers, (even myself) go toe to toe with clients to do what is right. Always in a professional manner, always polite and respectful of the king.  These clients tend to appreciate us more. 

Doing what is right for our people can be very tricky. Given the client comes first, sometimes we do have to work 50-60 hours in a week to meet a deadline and knock it out of the park. It’s rare, but it happens. It comes with the territory of being a consultant, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Doing what’s right for our people at the client is having leadership in the project focused on the solution we’re delivering with an eye on our people. Vacations, kids’ graduation from 1st grade, sick dog, a daughter made the national team, nanny quit unexpectedly, husband got into a car accident. Life happens. Setting expectations, having clear communication, and being transparent wins the day with both the client and our people.

Internally, Slalom does a great job of keeping their people healthy, for lack of a better word. They encourage work life balance (heck we’ve won awards for it!) in a way I’ve never seen. We are encouraged to limit our work weeks to stay under 45 hours.

I had my sights on working a 60 hour week given what needed to get done. My manager reached out to me when they heard and asked why and wanted to make sure I was okay with it. They wanted to check to see if I was burning out. I assured them I was okay with it, and I wanted to get in a feature prior to the release of the client’s MVP. That was an awesome feeling to know my leadership has my back. As lead on projects, I watch for the same thing of my team, and have those conversations to ensure we’re keeping a healthy balance.

The focus on people has proven itself. We have a strong camaraderie in our office, people actually like to hang out with each other, and there are plenty of opportunities for us to do so. I know close friendships have been made. Check my Twitter feed, you’ll see many team outings, lunches, retreats, etc. We do a lot together.

Finally, as a Christian, I’m a firm believer of always doing what is right. I love being a part of a company that follows this same value. I find this value trickles into the others, you may see some resemblances.

 

Take Ownership and Get it Done!

Take Ownership. Get it DONE!

Taking ownership is key to doing what is right. If you don’t take ownership, you don’t care, if you don’t care, you won’t care to do what is right.

This should go without saying, to be half decent at your job you need to own it. Half hearted attempts are painfully obvious. As a consultant it’s even more important since that is what makes us.

Nothing worse than coming into a new project after the last vendor and see a half hearted attempt. Knowing that going the extra mile would’ve saved the day but they decided against it.

This hasn’t been much of a value to discuss among my peers. We all seem to get it. People are all too eager to go the extra mile for a client and their teammates to get the job done. Doing so allows us to take pride in what we’ve accomplished. This mentality is contagious and sometimes becomes a competition on a team. Who can do more?

I love this value because it’s what makes Slalom, Slalom. In my 20 years of experience with other firms and vendors, this is not a common sentiment. We’re not punching a clock, making sure to hit 8 hours a day. We are partnering with clients, impacting their organization, and at the end of the day that feels great.

I had one project where the client said “you can do whatever you want, build it”. We introduced new technologies (AWS, Angular.js, Gulp, and others) and program management methodologies like agile. Our project was not just technically successful, but we impacted their project management team by illustrating successful agile. It was a win-win.  
Inspire Passion and Adventure

Inspire Passion and Adventure

This sometimes feels like a silly one, it’s not. This is an area I think Slalom takes care of its people, by encouraging passion and adventure.

We have little collections of people called interest groups. They range from animal friends and bad jokes to foodies and wellness. There are over 60 groups. Don’t see one, we are encouraged to fire them up as we like! The latest one I saw added was cricket (who knew that was a real sport). This one gentleman created it and it’s gained members already. It’s peaked my interest too. Some of these passions inherently bring adventure like hiking, which hits Mt. Washington yearly, skiing, and a separate group for winter sports, for us non-skiing types, and more.

We have a Scotch drinking group too. We have tastings every once in a while. This group has changed me from a casual Scotch drinker to a fan, trying to learn more about the craft of Scotchy Scotch Scotch. 

Our leadership leads the trend here by bringing a passion for our community. We have open sign ups to volunteer monthly at Boston House (formerly Ronald McDonald House), quarterly at Cradles to Crayons and the Greater Boston Food Bank. We have active participation in Movember, Junior Achievement, and hold an annual food drive across all the Slalom offices, with our office’s proceeds benefiting the GBFB. Leadership has asked for 100% participation from our office in the community through volunteering (in or out of Slalom events) or donating. And we meet it!! Really! Awesome right?

This passion trickles into our clients as well. We rub off, it’s contagious. I’ve had the opportunity to go cook at the Boston House with the CIO of my client! How awesome is that!

We inspire passion in others by expressing and sharing our own. It’s pretty sweet to see in action.

 

What about my job?

Funny, I haven’t spent much time talking about my actual job, my day to day. I love that too! I love working with clients, supporting them through big decisions on how to best implement a new business process and solution. I love working with my team on delivering great, fun, and challenging solutions.

I learn a lot with each new team I work with, not just technology but about our people. They impact me in real and tangible ways. I learn new ideas, methods, and concepts that I can churn on and try myself. We can have (heated) debates on anything and still come out professional and friendly (see 2016 Elections :o ).

They even impact my life outside of work. My family (all six of us) has connected with other Slalom families. I have grown close to a few others, and have come to rely on them in and out of work. It’s awesome when you know going to work means your seeing other friends and family and meeting new people focused on the same things you are.

For all of this, I’m grateful. I’m glad I said yes 5 years ago and glad they haven’t let me go.

Note: the sentiments are real!

I’m Speaking at #SPSNE! You should come!

If you haven’t heard yet, SharePoint Saturday New England is coming October 28th! Registration is now open, so get over there!

SharePoint Saturday New England SPSNE

Join New England area SharePoint architects, developers, and information workers for SharePoint Saturday: an educational, informative and lively day filled with sessions from other SharePoint professionals, MVPs, and Microsoft employees. SharePoint Saturday is FREE, open to the public and is your chance to immerse yourself in SharePoint right here in New England!

My session, IT Pro intro to Office 365 Dev PnP PowerShell Commands, is going to focus on the awesomeness of the open sourced patterns and practices PowerShell commands for SharePoint Online.

Did you know there is an entire library of PowerShell commands ready at your fingertips to streamline and throttle up your Office 365? Leave your developers home (don’t they have a sprint to finish?) as we will talk IT Pro tasks and use cases for you to use PowerShell with Office 365 and SharePoint Online. We will walk through some of the core commands and components of the Office 365 Dev PnP PowerShell library and show off how this incredible free library can help you as the IT Pro. We’ll cover site creation, library management, content inventory, automation tasks and more!

Is there a specific use case you’d be interested in seeing? Leave a comment below and I’ll see if i can squeeze it in!

Hope to see you there!

PowerShell isn’t just for Developers, IT Pros can rock the awesomeness in Office 365

I had the pleasure to co-present PowerShell and Office 365: ITPro #Awesomesauce with my friend and colleague Mike Dixon at the Boston Office 365 User Group yesterday. It was a great session with a lot of good questions. It was recorded so I’ll share the link to the video once it’s available. Big thanks to Hitachi Consulting for the sponsorship too!

I really enjoyed this talk because it kind of went against my natural thread. I’m a developer at heart, been a developer since graduating high school in 1997. I went from IT role to IT role but stuck with development. I’m an architect now (I feel all grown up), and I help teams design some pretty amazing solutions spanning technologies. However I won’t let go of the code. I support my team by pushing the best code practices, code reviews and writing my fair share of code. I like to learn new code in my spare time. I just love it.

This session was targeted to IT Pros: the non-developer type, “those guys” that used to make us developers’ lives harder with their governance policies and limitations on servers (I’m dating back to 2000’s, no one does that now, right? :| ). Given the huge push to cloud: SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, etc. the IT Pro’s role has increased dramatically in my eyes. In a lot of cases, when we come into a company to help create a solution on Office 365, it’s usually been lumped on top of the IT team, who already have their full time job. Going to the cloud is sold as easy and cost effective, but it does take dedication and training to do it right. Generally, new solutions are spun up in the cloud, but the legacy systems remain intact, full production ready with the same SLA for months after they’ve moved to the cloud. It’s not fair to IT.

This session helps bridge the gap a little between developer and IT Pro by providing some real value to IT. PowerShell doesn’t have to be scary or looked as a developer “thing”. It’s awesome, and can do some amazing things that once was only for development teams. Any IT Pro (admin, grunt, wire jockey) can type in commands and build something beautiful. That’s what it is, just commands. This is why I enjoyed this talk, enabling the IT Pros to do more and hopefully bolster them up to do their jobs in Office 365 more effectively and less tediously.

By the way, here’s the deck!