Ever in Toronto? Look me up email@example.com more than happy to chat about SharePoint over a beer or coffee
Wish you all the best in your SharePoint endeavors…
Ever in Toronto? Look me up firstname.lastname@example.org more than happy to chat about SharePoint over a beer or coffee
Wish you all the best in your SharePoint endeavors…
This all started long before the first DC-3 blog I posted back in 2008. Looking back, I remember George showing me pictures of the planes he flew Austin’s, Provincial Air Service, Gold Belt Airways and Georgian Bay Airways to name a few. I thought this blog would be fitting to show some of the planes he flew, most have notes on the edge explaining them – location, year etc. The location that I remember is of George flying out of Nakina (Twin lakes) area, Prince Rupert and South Porcupine. I’m sure that were others but I don’t have that information and all his children have passed on. There are recording on 8 Track that he made but the recording quality and age make it difficult to understand.
Enjoy the sampling of pictures (There are many, too many to post) and if you have any to share post them in replies or email me at email@example.com
Over the years I’ve worked in a variety organizations both as consultant and in IT departments. I’ve worked with some great professionals that helped me better understand the support structures required to operate and support an application/service effectively. Sometime an afterthought, meeting ongoing support expectations in today’s ever changing business environment can be a having sufficient budget, sponsorship, managing contractors, full time staff and service organizations (Outsourcing) can be a headache. Though not the focus of this blog, I will outline the required support infrastructure and highlight risks where appropriate related to sourcing.
Where do you star? What do you have in place that you can leverage? Help Desk? Training? Communications? SharePoint user group? Great places to start assessing your current investments effectiveness and costs. For example:
Thinking about the aforementioned items you could easily get to a state of analysis paralysis trying to boil the ocean as they say so how do you avoid it? Here are some key areas to focus on:
As the title suggests this is a summary, to execute on creating your infrastructure could be a simple operation if your organization has mature ITSM process, experienced staff and budget. Or you might be in a situation where limited resources exist and in that case a third party is required. Having solid plan in either case will help whereby the stakeholders are actively involved and onboard greatly helps in the efforts.
Have feedback or ideas, contact me firstname.lastname@example.org
Migrating to Office 365 will have an impact on end users in several ways and to make sure their experience is smooth during and after the transition training and support must be provided. The training and support consists of the following for Office 365:
Have feedback or ideas? Contact me email@example.com
SharePoint site permissions can be a burden for site owners and SharePoint admins to manage especially when you introduce large number of sites, compliance requirements and unique permissions. Though SharePoint provides you with the basics out of the box, untrained site owners will create some interesting and risky permissions configurations especially if you introduce sub sites and unique permissions. In regulated industries such as Pharma, Banks, Medical and Energy Auditors are picky about site permissions as it related to data privacy. In short auditors don’t like SharePoint security model because its distributed, places the power of security in site owners and there’s no out of the box way to monitor, enforce and correct. As a result? Failed audits, privacy breaches, panic…a nightmare.
So how do you approach this? The following are training, technical, policy and process related actions that must be carried out to address this problem:
In addition, make sure this is documented in your control plan and can be reported on when auditors request information regarding your SharePoint environment and your compliance enforcement efforts.
Have feedback? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ve done several migrations over the years and the tools have come a long way but the organization challenges are still the same. Such as managers in denial, executive sponsors don’t understand complexity and risks, angry business users, unaware of risks and effort required, under funded, uncooperative teams, tedious and lengthy processes, support teams stressed and overworked and non-supporters that simply get in your way. Organization ask for best practices but rarely adopt them because core organizational issues – very common. If your planning to migrate or are in the process of migrating I hope this series of blogs helps you.
Found this helpful or have feedback? Contact me email@example.com
There are many books that come to mind regarding sales techniques all claiming to have the approach to selling. Some are very good as they offer prescriptive approaches and or methodologies for approaching sales. Having been on both sides of the fence as a pre-sales consultant and as a customer, I thought this topic might be an interesting blog. My sales experience goes back to 1989 working as a pre-sales / technical person that both helped sell and deliver and or manage project delivery. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some talented pre-sales and enterprise sales reps that have taught me several lessons that I will share in this blog.
Back in 1989 I was fresh out of school, had worked at IBM in large enterprise accounts for a few years as a CSR. Then left and worked for a small VAR in the city that was adopting services as many did at the time to boost ailing product margins – back in the day PCs sold for $25,000.00 each. Lesson One – Product sales is all about speeds, feeds, price and availability. Taking orders for products or downloads such as software is much different than an enterprise sale. Specifically, the level of skill , duration and acumen is much different and therefore some companies (Managers and owners) have a difficult time grasping this. The sales staff at the VAR were inside sales order takers and the owner of the company (the main sales person) leveraged his relationships from University to penetrate major enterprise accounts and pass order onto inside sales. This worked fine for PC orders but once the sale got complex there was a skills gap (level of discussion, technical depth, risk management, scoping, negotiations etc.) missing that their model could not fill – enter the Systems Engineer, a sales savvy technical person. We all know this role well, establishes credibility based on solution area expertise, flies under the sales radar, scopes and writes proposals and SOWs, helps farm accounts. Today the Systems Engineer may be called a Strategic Advisor, Senior Consultant, Solution Architect etc. names that help them fly under the sales radar.
So back on the topic, your introduced to the client what must you do next?
Note that utilizing the relationships you will gain a complete view of the situation and be able to craft a compelling solution that aligns with all parties – this wont happen over night. Obtaining an organization chart or simply networking and asking who these people are will help with targeting. Lesson 2: Never tell a client you want to be their trusted advisor, that is so unprofessional. A junior rep did that in front of me on a joint call a couple years back, the client looked at me a rolled their eyes. She lost credibility on the spot. You earn Trusted Advisor by delivering what the client perceives as value consistently. Finally, remember people do business with people they trust – establishing and retaining credibility is a difficult task.
Aside from the aforementioned points, know your companies products and services inside and out. Know the good and the bad so that you can scope and manage expectations effectively. Also, be prepared to compare your competition and know how to handle questions and push back.
From a more practical perspective, I use the Holden method of sales as a basis, it helps me focus on specifics for an account and fill in the blanks. Its gives you a methodology that helps you plan building relationships and gathering information. What it won’t do is repair a damaged relationship instantly. Lesson 3: It will take time to repair relations your company or past staff have damaged. For example, I worked for a software company a while back and they “Hit and run…” their clients in my region told me the company was amateur in their practices and untrustworthy. Lesson 4, most sales managers suck at coaching and or managing.
The following templates will help you collect information and focus on developing beneficial relationships with your clients that over the longer term.
Here is some recommended reading as well that will help:
In the end your approach must be tailored to your client and company you work for. Lesson 4: A company I worked for was a street fighter, their entire sales team was technical and had never been in an enterprise sales role. Their approach was “speeds and feeds – hit and run” focused on short term sales cycle – note you must be comfortable with both approaches as each customer/employer is different. Enterprise sales people didn’t fit into the mix, the company wasn’t willing to invest and change to go after larger accounts and repair the “Hit and Run…” damage they caused. Lesson 5: Some managers/companies won’t get it, their culture and management team are stuck in their ways due to lack of experience, choose jobs carefully or else you could be placed in a no win situation.
Have feedback, suggestion or want to share your experiences? Contact me firstname.lastname@example.org .
Concluding my Migrating to Office 365 – 12 steps that will help you get there blog, this blog is focused on the execution of your migration project – once you’ve completed all the preparation steps. If you haven’t, read my past blogs as they are focused on preparing – Migrating to Office 365 – 12 steps that will help you get there blog. Also, note that skipping any of the steps introduces risk in the form of quality issues and cost overruns but most importantly negatively impacts the business users and their day to day operations. Finally, I’ve had this blog series on my to do list since March 2015 but never got around to it due to family sickness. Thank you for all the emails and feedback regarding how you utilized this series for your projects and articles.
During preparation phases we conducted an inventory, analysis, cleanup and established the controls required to be successful. The controls consist of communications, scheduling, resourcing, budgeting and risk management – all very important topics often carelessly overlooked by management to save time and money but actually results in overruns and unnecessary risks that negatively impacts the business longer term. The following is a quick refresher:
As part of your analysis you categorized sites by complexity – green, yellow, red. Though you may think green starts first that’s not the case, all sites begin at once – I sure hope you planned your resourcing or you will incur much risk – this is covered later in Blog. What do I mean by start all at once? Here is a quick summary:
So, let that sink in for a while you’re thinking about migration logistics, risks, resourcing and budget. Let’s come back to sites later in the blog, let’s talk about what you require in place before executing your actual site migrations.
Before communications begin a complete Inventory of sites that is 100% up to date with owner information as they must be notified of the migration early to help them prepare. Your communication plan must include all the standard items such as people, process and tools such as Migration Central site (See prior blog), Help Desk Scripts, Email templates for contacting sites owner pre, during and post migration – don’t use Email and Spreadsheets its sloppy and unprofessional. Also beneficial is the issues and action plan includes procedures, guides, communication and escalation process for dealing with problematic owners and sites.
Training for your migration such as how to prepare, what to do during and post migration. Topics include how what the site owners, users and migration team are responsible for – helps remove ambiguity. Training materials for new platform such as Office 365 and or SharePoint 2016 “How to…” for site admins and users. Note that Migration Central can house the training materials as well as other support materials such as FAQs, discussions to name a few. It can also house a discussion area for site owners and user to ask questions but must be staffed so that questions don’t go unanswered.
As with any project, staffing is critical but keep in mind that SharePoint is a customer facing highly business visible application. As a result the lack of a skilled and experienced team and honed methodology will be very noticeable. So advice for assembling your team:
You will also have representation from cloud, networks, servers, storage, security, compliance and communications team. On a final note the less experienced your team is, the more risk you assume because they don’t know what they don’t know.
Each phase of migration must be incorporated into your master plan and master schedule, published in a project schedule and on the Migration Central site. Each phase will include preparation emails to site owners, notifications to the persons operating the migration tools, persons conducting post migration support. Don’t forget reviews of migrations at each phase and incorporate the learnings to improve your overall program. If you haven’t read ”
The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization” By Peter M. Senge, I highly recommend it.
Though we covered a risk planning exercise in a prior blog I want to recap some common risks to highlight that you cannot skip this step and be successful. Risk planning must one of the first exercises you carry out with the extended team:
If you haven’t already, read my Migrating to Office 365 – 12 steps that will help you get there blog – use it as a checklist. If you have completed all the steps then good for you, you have minimized your risks and had a great chance at success. If you haven’t completed all the steps, you’re at risk and expect a rocky road and have your resume ready. If you work in a traditionally structured organization such as government and financial for example conduct aggressive risk planning as these sorts of cultures will have great difficulty with projects such as migrations because their culture isn’t conducive to success. Note most fail at their first migration projects, people quit and IT managers get fired – do your company a favor and hire experienced people and listen to them.
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Having seen both good and bad I thought this would make an interesting blog. After having a chat with some of my industry peers I realized that some management teams don’t staff sufficiently and their SharePoint team and business users are suffering for it. Specifically, management staffs SharePoint teams like they would IT infratrsucture and not a business facing service.
When you staff your team, know this – your providing a complex web hosting/collaboration service. You require infrastructure, development, user interface design, end user training and administration skills. Also, with SharePoint being a global service in many organizations that have offices in the America, EMEA and ASIAPAC, SharePoint’s reach is broad and its user base very large with diverse requirements and expectations. This places a huge support burden (cost, risks, workload etc.) on IT departments as the support requirements are 7/24. The downside of not staffing correctly is higher than usual staff turn over, not meeting expected service levels, degraded environment and service and not containing risks and associated.
Symptom your team isn’t staffed and managed properly:
So how staff? Here is a baseline model:
The aforementioned model assumes you have teams allocated to shared services such as help desk, monitoring and reporting, coding and source code management, networking, servers, compliance/risk management, storage and quality assurance.
Using offshore resources? Some points that might help you ease the pain of a transition, make sure you request this in your contract:
It’s important to remember that most organizations rate SharePoint as a Administration level application or tier 3 or 4 – whatever is lowest in your organization. As a result its not allocated the same funding and attention a mission critical tier 1 or 2 application but that doesn’t stop business units from building mission critical applications and there in-lies the political rub – the disconnect that makes life difficult.
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In this 60-minute recorded webinar, Ron Charity, Solution Architect, and Sean Lawrence, Evangelist – Portals and Collaboration for SPR Consulting, address how to overcome common challenges organizations face when moving to Office 365 – SharePoint Online.