Tag Archives | Microsoft

Concept Searching Announces Availability of New Release of conceptClassifier for SharePoint for Office 365

Concept Searching Continues to Lead the Market with Microsoft Office 365 Metadata and Document Classification Solutions 

Concept Searching  is pleased to announce the immediate availability of major enhancements for conceptClassifier for SharePoint for Office 365.

The new version of conceptClassifier for SharePoint for Office 365 addresses the current shortfalls of seamlessly managing unstructured and semi-structured content in any environment including on-premise, cloud, and in a hybrid environment. It is currently the only solution available that runs natively and bi-synchronously with the SharePoint Term Store in any SharePoint environment and affords clients the powerful industry unique features of the Concept Searching’s Taxonomy Manager component.

New enhancements and features now available in the Office 365 environment include: preservation of term GUIDs; native Term Store integration regardless of environment; improvements to managed metadata properties; new event handlers; enhanced re-classification features and information transparency; and replication of Taxonomy Manager features currently available in the on-premise version of conceptClassifier for SharePoint.

To read the press release, click here.

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Concept Searching Forms Partnership with C/D/H

Concept Searching has entered into a partnership agreement with C/D/H, a technology consulting firm with the largest SharePoint development practice in Michigan.

This arrangement brings together Concept Searching’s expertise in semantic metadata generation, auto-classification, and taxonomy management, and combines it with more than a decade of experience C/D/H brings designing, developing and deploying powerful Microsoft SharePoint intranet, extranet, and public web solutions.

Technology from Concept Searching will complement C/D/H’s extensive experience in SharePoint enterprise content management, taxonomy, and search. Utilizing Concept Searching’s Smart Content Framework™ and intelligent metadata enabled solutions the partnership can address key challenges in enterprise search across disperse boundaries, records management, data privacy, migration, and content management in secure and complex environments.

To read the press release, click here.

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Concept Searching Partners with Liquid Mercury Solutions

Combining best of breed technology with premier provider of Microsoft and SharePoint design and solutions.

Concept Searching has entered into a partnership agreement with Liquid Mercury Solutions, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and premier provider of design and solutions authored for Microsoft, SharePoint, and related technologies.

This arrangement brings together Concept Searching’s expertise in semantic metadata generation, auto-classification, and taxonomy management, and combines it with Liquid Mercury Solutions’ experience in custom SharePoint development, using both coded and out of the box functionality for a variety of industry verticals of equally varying sizes, including IT companies, private businesses, not-for-profits, and government agencies.

conceptClassifier for SharePoint and conceptClassifier for Office 365 from Concept Searching will complement Liquid Mercury Solutions’ extensive experience with the design and development of SharePoint and related technologies. Utilizing Concept Searching’s Smart Content Framework™ and intelligent metadata enabled solutions, the partnership will address key challenges in enterprise search across dispersed boundaries, records management, information security, migration, and content management in secure and complex environments.

To read the press release, click here.

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Yammer – Putting the Cart before the Horse?

Is Microsoft’s Yammer a push for social or a hammer over the heads of customers stating we will indeed use Yammer? According to Jared Spataro, who heads the Office Division at Microsoft called it Microsoft’s ‘big bet’ for social. That may very well be. Only time will tell. The newest change – at least that I know of – is the ability to replace the SharePoint News Feed with the Yammer News Feed. Pretty innocuous. Over time the plan is to combine social, collaboration, email, instant messaging, voice, video, and line of business applications. That is assuming customers are willing to participate in a multi-tenant cloud service.

So what’s my point? Right now, social is not a high priority with customers, nor is it necessarily embraced by typical upper management. At the other end of the spectrum user adoption is a huge problem. I believe that you cannot compare a ‘consumers’ use of social to a ‘business’ use of social. In a previous blog I received a lot of great comments on LinkedIn commenting on within the walls of a company, end users do not behave the same as they do outside of those four walls. That change will take time. I participated in an independent Yammer group of topic experts just to get the feel of it – and one day a participant asked if they could start a different group as there was too much noise going on. The same can actually more easily happen within the organization. For this person, over time it was losing value.

Being from the ‘old school’ I still don’t see the ROI. Maybe there isn’t meant to be one. It is just a transition step to get us from where we are today to where the Microsoft’s of the world want us to be in the future. Although I still say show me the ROI, increase my rate of adoption, and prove the value. Let’s put the horse in front of the cart and not behind it.

Thoughts?

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Microsoft Cloud Services – We were just having a bad day. Oops, days.

Despite the fact that Microsoft has multiple datacenters located worldwide, with globally redundant, enterprise grade reliability with automatic failover and a strict privacy policy and a 99.9% financially backed Service Level Agreement (SLA), accidents do occur.

Moving to cloud based services is still considered risky, but the benefits seem to be outweighing the cons. But the cons can’t be ignored. Let’s first look at hackers. The increase in hacking is on the rise with nefarious gangs of hackers springing up globally and targeting the largest organizations. Major breaches at Google, Salesforce.com, Twitter, and Amazon have all proven that there are hidden costs and repercussions from compromised data.

But some outages and problems can be directly attributed to carelessness within the organization. Not to pick on Microsoft, February 23, 2013 was not a good day inside the walls of Redmond. First the world wide Azure cloud service went offline due to an expired security certificate. If that wasn’t bad enough, they discovered a malware infection on internal computers (already discovered and fixed by Twitter, Facebook, and Apple) had crept into Microsoft in-house systems. Add to that the continuing woes of security holes in Java. Although Java 7 was supposed to address these holes it appears that they continue.

A week or so later, Microsoft users went through a similar ordeal which mostly affected Hotmail, Outlook.com and SkyDrive — three of Microsoft’s more essential cloud services. The service interruption was caused primarily to Hotmail.com and Outlook.com when they “suffered from a service interruption caused by a firmware update which failed “in an unexpected way”, according to Microsoft’s Vice President Arthur de Haan. The failed firmware update occurred in one of Microsoft’s datacenters, in a “core part” of its physical plant, subsequently leading to a “substantial temperature spike in the datacenter”. The heat was “significant enough” causing the “safeguards to come in to place for a large number of servers in this part of the datacenter”. In that area of the datacenter Microsoft houses “parts of the Hotmail.com, Outlook.com, and SkyDrive infrastructure”.

In a just released update, Office 365/Outlook users and administrators are experiencing transition problems. The ‘fix’ for this supposedly non-disruptive transition is to verify the configuration on every device, which could be extremely cumbersome. Microsoft’s guidelines to Partners state: “In an effort to keep your service upgrade experience as seamless as possible, we suggest that you take a few minutes to validate that your current environment is configured properly. Prior to upgrade it is important that you verify your Autodiscover and MX records in DNS, as well as ensuring that your clients are up-to-date with the versions listed below. Failure to do so could result in your Outlook clients being unable to connect to their mailboxes after the Service Upgrade occurs.”

This isn’t necessarily indicative of Microsoft cloud services, as they are in the same boat as others. Should we just chalk it up to the organization having a few bad days? Or is oversight somewhat lax? Do these types of potential issues impact your decision when selecting a cloud application vendor?

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Successful SharePoint Stories or Tales of Woe?

Recently I read an article, ‘SharePoint Faces a Challenging Future’, posted on InfoWorld that references a new report from Forrester where SharePoint has come under fire as not all it’s cracked up to be. Interesting food for thought. This made me start thinking about ‘real live’ organizations many of which have their own SharePoint success stories to tell (or tales of woe). Just thought the points mentioned were worth thinking about. The article above references a new research report issued in February from Forrester. This report uses data from Forrester’s August 2012 Global SharePoint Usage Online Survey to analyze the current and likely future state of SharePoint adoption in enterprises.

Some of the observations concluded that SharePoint has a long way to go and is at a cross road. I must also emphatically state that it wasn’t all gloom and doom for SharePoint. But we are going to concentrate on the gloom and doom just for the sake of conversation. See if you agree with some of the points made by the authors.

“The gap in satisfaction between IT pros and business managers — SharePoint met the expectations of 73 percent of the former, and of 62 percent of the latter — is of concern, according to the authors.” (I actually don’t think these are necessarily negative stats. One point not made was the maturity level of the SharePoint installations – have they been up and running for years or still in some stage of deployment?)

“Dissatisfaction is centered on several areas, including adoption challenges, a dislike for the SharePoint user experience, a preference for other tools like email and skepticism over its business value.”

“At this juncture, CIOs and other IT executives should rethink the role of SharePoint in their organizations. For example, if SharePoint is used only for document collaboration, it is an expensive proposition for which more affordable options exist, according to the authors. It’s also a good idea to monitor how Yammer is integrated with SharePoint, and assess how comfortable the organization is with providing enterprise social collaboration via a cloud model. In addition, CIOs must keep a close eye on SharePoint’s mobile capabilities.”

“Dangerous competitors include IBM, Google, Jive Software, and Box. Despite its rousing success in enterprises, circumstances have changed, and SharePoint must prove its value all over again.”

So all you SharePoint aficionado’s – WDYT?

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The Public Beta of SharePoint 2013 and Records Management

This blog posting is authored by Mike Alsup, Senior Vice-President at Gimmal. Mr. Alsup has been a leader in Enterprise Content Management and Records Management for more than 30 years. He spent his early career with Accenture and Booz, Allen & Hamilton. He was a co-founder of two successful Content Management companies, BSG Consulting, and Align Solutions, which went public as Luminant Worldwide. At both of these companies, Mr. Alsup led Content Management teams in the development of solutions for a wide variety of clients. (This blog posting has been repurposed from the AIIM Communities which are visible at AIIM.org)

Like many others in the ECM and RM ecosystem who write and speak and consult and build solutions, I have been trying to figure out how to think about the Public Beta of SharePoint 2013. We have had our consultants and architects and product guys crawling through it. I get that it’s a big deal, but what is it? (Note – Some of the SharePoint 2013 strategies and features are still under wraps from an NDA perspective, but others have been described publically in selected forums.) So, a month after the announcement, what and how are we thinking about SharePoint 2013?

It’s gorgeous

The first time I saw a set SharePoint 2013 sites demonstrated, my first impression was how much I liked them, like the first time I held an iPhone. There is a cleanness and freshness to the visual presentation that is remarkable. The integration with other new Office applications, like Outlook and Word and Excel incorporates a new set of features that actually seem new. This sounds like fanboy talk, but I haven’t seen new features this compelling for years. Microsoft makes the point that users are better off not extensively customizing the UI from a support and upgrade perspective. But, this is the first user interface (UI) I’ve seen lately that merits less customizing. Simple is powerful.

It’s really all about the cloud

Microsoft is putting most of SharePoint 2010’s on premises (On Prem) capabilities into the cloud version of SharePoint 2013 (Office 365 (2013)). Not all, but most. It is clear that Office 365 (2013) has precedence going forward. Microsoft is moving down a path to replicate the success that Exchange has had in the cloud in Office 365. I think this also means that we won’t be waiting 36 months for the next generation of SharePoint features because they can be added more incrementally in Office 365.

Some of the fundamental changes in SharePoint 2013 reflect the requirements and complexity of managing a multi-tenant platform. Microsoft is addressing the complexity of current SharePoint applications so that they can more easily scale Office 365 with multi-tenancy. This may require extensive re-architecting for SharePoint applications to adopt the new capabilities of Office 365 (2013). This is because the design approaches that were used to customize business logic in On Prem SharePoint 2010 applications may require alternative design approaches in Office 365 (2013). The web is now the target platform for SharePoint 2013.

It’s a major change for many of the SharePoint ecosystem product providers

There are a lot of infrastructure changes to move applications to SharePoint 2013, especially Office 365 (2013). For example, there was no access to SharePoint Farm-level features in Office 365 (2010) and there probably won’t be in Office 365 (2013) due to the multi-tenancy requirements, among other things. Deploying applications to Office 365 changes many of the core assumptions and approaches that we have been recommending and building in our On Prem SharePoint 2010 solutions. For the ecosystem providers with a significant product history, this will be a bigger change because it may force diverging product lines to be maintained. One product version for Office 365 and another version for On Prem. Also, the new app model is a significant change from how organizations previously deployed and managed applications. Elegant and simple from a user perspective, but very different nonetheless.

It’s an incremental change for users but a major infrastructure change for their organizations

The new features in SharePoint 2013, in both On Prem and in Office 365, are easy to use and intuitive from a user perspective. A user will have an easy transition between sites in the cloud and on-premise, between 2010 and 2013. The challenge in moving users from 2007 or 2010 to 2013 is not in the user experience. This migration will be about as difficult as teaching ducks to swim. The issue will be planning the implementation, figuring out all the infrastructure changes, and migrating SharePoint 2007 and 2010 applications and data to a very different architecture in Office 365. Because of the rich features of Office 365 (2013), organizations will need to consider what their On Prem, cloud and hybrid strategy is really going to be. The information architecture and purpose of each platform needs to be fundamentally evaluated in ways that weren’t relevant before.

It’s a big deal for Records Management

There was essentially no records management in Office 365 (2010). Now, there will be a true Records Center and In Place Records Management in Office 365 (2013). Many of the types of records-centric customizations that were enabled On Prem will probably not allowed in Office 365 (2013). Many SharePoint ecosystem product providers built tools that enabled clients to manage file plans and records disposition and vital records in a scalable way in SharePoint 2010 that will need to be very different in Office 365 (2013). For example, sites in Office 365 (2010) will not be able to “send to” an On Prem Records Center. This is an entirely new area for “Best Practices”!

What does it all mean?

For me, the Public Beta of SharePoint 2013 still begs as many questions as it answers. First, will large organizations adopt Office 365 for records management? Even if the platform is proven and wonderful, the concept of moving business records to the cloud is just foreign to many of our customers. This may change with references and case studies, but this will take time.

Second, the holy grail of records management is unified policy, retention, holds, search and disposition for physical and electronic content and email. SharePoint 2013 adds the new dimension of “in the cloud” and “on premise”. SharePoint 2013 is a significant opportunity for consultants and integrators and migration service providers because it is very powerful and will be widely adopted. Integrating with it will be complex from many legacy platforms and will require a significant investment.

We are searching for and evaluating and architecting solutions that we hope to have completed before SharePoint 2013 is generally available. I will expand on the changes we see from the perspective of a SharePoint ecosystem product provider as we further evaluate the impact on our solutions and as we can share information on some of the remarkable new features and capabilities of SharePoint 2013.

 

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Concept Searching Selected as Microsoft US Federal Managed Partner

Chosen as One of 20 Partners out of 17,896 for the US Microsoft Federal Partner Group

Concept Searching has been selected as a Microsoft US Federal Managed Partner. Concept Searching is a Microsoft Gold Certified ISV and this status illustrates our joint commitment. Concept Searching has also attained Microsoft Silver ISV Competency in Search, Portals and Collaboration, and Content Management under the revised and stringent Microsoft Partner Network.

This managed program identifies Microsoft partners who have achieved certain goals, and is designed to help partners expand their business and their relationship with Microsoft. Organizations that are accepted as managed partners are provided with dedicated Partner Account Managers, who are committed to helping the partners achieve their objectives. The qualifications for program selection are based on having partners who provide unique software solutions, have an established reputation in the Federal space, and have a flagship product on the Microsoft platform.

To read the press release, click here.

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