Tag Archives: Google

Speaking at SharePoint Saturday New Hampshire Oct 24, 2015

I’m excited to announce I’ll be speaking at this year’s SharePoint Saturday New Hampshire!

Microsoft has deprecated the SharePoint Online Public Website offering, leaving companies to find a new solution. We at Boston Office 365 User Group are also using the SPO offering. In this session we will walk through what your options are and some of the best practices for migrating to a new website provider. Microsoft recommends GoDaddy or Wix as great new hosting providers, is this true? Let’s find out!

Hope to see you there!


Is it too much to ask for a single cloud instead of a storm?

If I may, I would like to take a few minutes away from SharePoint (it won’t be long) and talk to the techno-savvy-geeks out there who want more from the cloud.

As I move more and more into the cloud, I am more and more hesitant, and I’m curious to see if you share in my anguish. The cloud appears to be very young and viewing the several dozen different providers and apps available on the cloud, I would say some providers are fighting to become a sole solution, but no one is there, yet.

Here’s my issue, tell me if you relate

  • I want a service where I can easily upload all of my files, photos, videos, and music.
  • I want a service where I can easily browse my files, photos and videos online.
  • I want a service where I can play my music when I want.
  • I want a service where I can easily share my files, photos, videos and music.
  • I want a service where I can bookmark web sites and RSS feeds.
  • I want a service where I can blog.
  • I want a service where I can store and retrieve passwords for websites.
  • I want a service where my wife and I can share our calendars, contacts, and even the grocery list.
  • I want a service where I can do ALL of this on my Windows computers (at least 3 at any point in time), Android phone, iPhone/iPod, and possibly a Mac if I get bored.

Did I miss anything?

And let’s throw in some social networking (keep tabs with friends, tweet, locational check-ins, rating and reviews, etc).

Is this too much to ask? Instead, I have a pile of services and providers in an attempt of doing it all:

  • I use DropBox for synchronizing my files between devices, and it’s pretty easy to access online.
  • I use Evernote for storing and synchronizing notes, and allows me to get wireless keys, CD keys, registration codes, recipes, etc. from my phone or computer. Their online experience mirrors their desktop application. Not great for actual files (word docs – music) hence using DropBox.
  • I use Gladinet Cloud Desktop with my web site hosting provider. Gladinet allows you to make a drive on your computer to cloud storage, like an FTP server, or Amazon’s cloud services. Their application has a sync option to synchronize desktops, but doesn’t appear to have a mobile app available.
  • I use Amazon Cloud Player for storing and playing my music on my computer and Android.
  • I use Google Calendar to share with my wife.
  • I use Windows Live SkyDrive to share files with others instead of emailing the file.
  • I use LastPass to store my logins and passwords from websites.
  • I use WordPress for my blog (this blog).
  • I use ReadItLater to bookmark websites and articles I come across.
  • I use Google Chrome to also synchronize bookmarks.
  • I use Google Reader to track my RSS subscriptions including podcasts.
  • I use Facebook to share images, but store images on my FTP server.
  • I use YouTube and Facebook to share videos.
  • I use two different email providers, one for work and one for personal.
  • I use my company’s Exchange service to synchronize contacts between my computer and my phone.
  • I use Foursquare, Yelp, Facebook, Google+, Hootsuite, and Skype to be “socially aware”.
  • And since I’m on the topic of cloud, I also use Netflix for TV/Movies.

Even with all of that, I still don’t get what I want. However, now that I compile my list, it does look like a lot to ask… or is it? From what I can see, Google is slowly becoming that resource, and they’re taking it a step forward and including social networking. With some work, I think Google could easily take, or at least unify the storm into a single cloud which would be a lot more manageable.

  • Use Google Docs for file synchronization and sharing, they just have to get an app to install on desktop to help file upload and sync (good bye DropBox, Evernote, Gladinet, SkyDrive)
  • Use Google Calendar for calendaring.
  • Use Gmail for contacts and emails, allow it to easily download emails from my personal (non-gmail) and my work (also non-gmail) accounts. (Good bye personal accounts, and possible corporate accounts)
  • Use Google’s YouTube for video storage and sharing, and online TV and movies. (Good bye Netflix)
  • Use Google Music (currently in beta) for storage and playback of music. (Good bye Amazon Cloud Player)
  • Use Google+ (currently in beta) for social networking, location check-ins and reviews. (Good bye Facebook, Foursquare, Yelp, Hootsuite, and Skype)
  • Use Google’s Blogger for blogging. (Good bye WordPress)
  • Use Google Toolbar for saving website passwords and logins, and manage bookmarks and RSS feeds. (Good bye LastPass, ReadItLater)

A little terrifying, but wouldn’t it be nice? One spot for EVERYTHING you ever need, one service to rule them all. I know they’d get sued left and right as they crushed the little guys. I’m not even a Google fan, but if they can pull something like this off, I’d use it.

Is there anything close? I’d be happy with a breakup of

  • File share to include files, photos, videos, and music synchronization on desktop, retrieval on mobile devices and browse online (with playback). Allow for easy sharing as well.
  • Data share, not unlike files, but more free-formed data like calendars, contacts, bookmarks, and allow ad-hoc lists as needed like grocery lists.
  • Social share to post to ALL networks (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, etc), read all streams/feeds, read and manage RSS, and of course share it all.

And let there be hooks between the three so files can be shared via social networks, and social networks can auto-post data lists if needed.

(now back to my blog topic) Breaking it down into the three groups feels familiar, almost like an existing product available from Microsoft could service these with great success, maybe some tweaks here or there, and a great mobile app and nothing could stop you!

A pipe dream, maybe, but I say go big or go home.

What do you think?

Google+, a business collaborative tool, almost…

After reading the article Google+ and the Enterprise, and the experience I’ve had, I tend to agree with the statement

“if Google+ can create an effective toolset for businesses internally – marrying email, with news streams, with video conferencing, with screensharing, with whiteboarding – it could be a huge win”

I just came off a project for a customer where we stood up a proof of concept solution using SharePoint. It was a real fun project. This customer got me on Google+ and at first it was just for fun, I invited my friends and uploaded my pictures. Got it to post updates to my Twitter and Facebook, it was yet another social network.

Before we knew it, Google+ became a method for us to connect with each other about the project. Using circles, I was able to send notes, links and status updates to my team, and not to my friends. I checked it out, I looked on my wife’s computer and saw that she couldn’t see anything I posted to my colleagues, therefore not bogging down her stream with stuff she could care less about.

One of our team members was halfway across the country, using Google+ hangout capabilities proved easier than some of the video conferencing industry leaders. We were connected and chatting in less than 5 seconds, 5 SECONDS! It normally takes 30 seconds just to get the video conferencing app installed, then you wait for the other user to figure out how to get video to connect. With the Google+ app for Android, I was able to take pictures of whiteboards which had schedules and diagrams and get them shared with the team in about a minute (I had bad cell signal in the room, no 4G was available). Google+ truly stream lined a lot for us.

The one thing that wasn’t available easily in Google+ was document sharing. Google has their Google Docs service, but at the time it was not integrated with Google+. If we could’ve uploaded documents and simply specified which circles to share with, I don’t think I would’ve sent one email during the entire engagement!

Where does this leave SharePoint? Some might say in the dust, but I would say that SharePoint is still a vital piece for the enterprise. Google+ is feeling a lot like Yammer, a collaborative space for chatting, news feeds, and sharing. SharePoint is so much more. As an internet or extranet solution, SharePoint provides awesome capabilities for companies to connect with and serve their customers and potential customers. As an enterprise content management system on steroids, SharePoint can not only provide a simple website or portal, but a real robust tool for providing customers a self-service tool for getting what they want when they want it.

As an intranet, SharePoint provides an endless world of possibilities. Some of the coolness of Google+ isn’t there (like instant video chat and mobile app), yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see open source applications or 3rd party vendors to fill some of these gaps. What SharePoint does well, it does better than most others. Calendaring (that actually links to Outlook), ad-hoc list creation (go ahead, make a list, any list you want: tasks, contacts, calendars, meeting agendas, product info, HR resources, etc.), document management (with workflows, permissions, metadata, retention, versioning, etc.) which tightly integrates with the Microsoft Office suite, wiki pages (quite easily throw together pages and pages of content like marketing info, knowledge base, etc), integration with other Microsoft applications like SQL Server Analysis Services, SQL Server Reporting Services, PowerPivot, Excel and so much more. SharePoint isn’t a simple file share.

Unlike the cloud, a locally deployed SharePoint provides something really important: peace of mind your sensitive data isn’t floating in cyber space. This is a big concern for some industries like finance and government. Your data isn’t sitting on someone else’s server, its on your own local servers behind your security. This is a huge factor and one that is slowing the jump to the cloud.

The second biggest reason to stay local instead of cloudifying your solution is integration with other existing systems. On the cloud, integration is near impossible. Displaying and interacting with information, reports and KPIs from your other systems like your CRM, your ERP, your email, your data warehouses, your business intelligence solutions, your reporting tools, your… is virtually impossible on the cloud and exceptionally easy on SharePoint. Out of the box tools are available to integrate your other systems with SharePoint, without needing to know code or how to write an application.

It’ll be a trip to watch Google+ expand and see how it will be accepted and adapted into the enterprise. Possibly the best fit for Google+ is to assimilate into existing enterprise solutions and enhance what others are already doing really well, instead of reinventing the wheel. Provide SharePoint users with the space they need for instant collaboration, video chatting, shared whiteboards, etc through Google+, but keep your information safe and organized in SharePoint.