Interlink Cloud Blog

With almost 20 years of experience in the IT Sector, Stephanie is a leader, an innovator, and skilled problem solver. She has a passion for technology and innovation and is a SharePointe Solutions Architect.

Stephanie Donahue

How the 2017 SharePoint Summit Announcements Impact Your Organization

How the 2017 SharePoint Summit Announcements Impact Your Organization

As we write this, dozens of blog posts are being published talking about all the new awesome features and changes coming to OneDrive and SharePoint. At the end of the day though, our customers care about one thing.

"How do these changes affect me?"

2017 SharePoint summit

All the stats in the world mean nothing to Doug in accounting who needs to create new form and he’s slowly reaching for InfoPath like a scene from a horror movie. Or Nancy, in marketing who needs to create a new site to communicate with executives but doesn’t have a technical bone in her body and

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Stephanie Donahue

Why the Dropbox Security Breach Should Have You Deploying OneDrive for Business

Why the Dropbox Security Breach Should Have You Deploying OneDrive for Business

I’ve said for a while that if you haven’t invested in a corporate-managed external file sharing software like Box, Dropbox or OneDrive, then I guarantee at least some of your users have gone rogue and done it themselves. For a long time, corporate users have been frustrated with email attachments that are blocked and aging and unreliable ftp servers. As a result, many have resorted to creating their own personal Dropbox accounts. These personal accounts may be connected to personal email addresses or even a corporate email address. These personal Dropbox accounts are being used to transfer the corporate documents you are responsible for protecting. This is commonly encouraged by vendors and so your end users see it as harmless. Everyone does it. It’s possible that even the IT department isn’t overly concerned about it – I haven’t seen many IT departments drop everything to fix the problem.  Before I explain my concern…let me start with a story.

As a member of IT leadership, you get a phone call from Dropbox. They inform you that 100 users in your organization have Dropbox accounts that they created on their own, using their corporate email. So – aren’t you interested in an Enterprise account so you can manage them? First, this may come as a shock – 100 users! You ask – can I find out who those users are?  No, they won’t provide that information, you don’t own it. You look into the cost and it’s more than you want to deal with, so you put it to the side to be addressed later.

In the meantime, Dropbox has a security breach.  Those 100 users from your own organization now have shared content that can be compromised. This time, it’s only old passwords and Dropbox forced password resets for those that needed it. However, we’ve seen a lot of security breaches lately across a number of platforms and many of them have been on relevant and active information. Sure, you could always just have them go change their passwords when these things happen. In this case though, you don’t even know who to contact to make sure they do. And…what if that compromised password is on an account that links to their corporate email and it was the same one they used to log into your network with? They didn’t just hack Dropbox, your network is at risk. So, you don’t know who has an account, who used the same password for their corporate account, who hasn’t changed their password since the breach, or what content is at risk. This isn’t a good situation!

Fortunately, the answer may be easier than you think. For many, OneDrive for Business is already part of your licensing agreement. It’s an easy roll-out and one of the easiest components of Office 365 to train users on. For those concerned about not being ready for the cloud, you can still support your on-premises SharePoint 2013 or 2016 servers and configure a redirect to OneDrive for Business instead of using My Sites. Easy! No more excuses.

Contact Interlink to learn more about OneDrive and how it keeps your documents secure.

Stephanie Donahue

Microsoft SharePoint - Proving a Return on Investment

microsoft sharepoint proving roi

Every day I speak to clients about how we can solve their communication and content challenges with Microsoft SharePoint. However, no matter how obvious it is that SharePoint can solve their issues, we still run into scenarios where we hear, “We think your team is great and we love your ideas, but we just don’t have the budget this year.” What do you do when you don’t have a budget? You prove the return on investment of Microsoft SharePoint.

No Budget

The challenging thing -- okay one of the challenging things -- about SharePoint is that it too often starts out in the IT budget because it’s considered company-wide software that everyone uses. In addition to not being allocated as part of everyone’s budget, SharePoint also has the issue of being tough to measure in terms of return on investment (ROI). Those of us who have been around SharePoint long enough know the value of what SharePoint can do, but we struggle to communicate how that translates into real money saved. Being frustrated with the no budget answer, I’ve been racking my brain on what the answer is to showing SharePoint’s true ROI. So, I decided to run through a series of recent scenarios I’ve heard about from clients, friends, and even personal experiences. What has been obvious is that it all comes back to communication. Problems stem from communication issues, and conveniently, SharePoint (and Yammer) fix those communication issues.

The ROI Challenge

You can’t estimate SharePoint ROI, or any content management system, in terms of dollars gained during a more efficient process. People are not a manufacturing plant where stats are kept on how much content or value is derived from a single action from a single person. However, what you can measure is the cost of mistakes. People are human and while some mistakes can be contributed to inexperience or a lapse in judgment, it’s more often related to a lack of communication. In some cases, communication can even overcome inexperience and bad judgment.

Think back through the last time your organization lost money on a deal, a new partnership, or a new product. How would effective communication have changed the situation?

Communication Issues Plague Organizations

Scenario 1: A client has a proposal sent out with unclear terms of engagement with a vendor. This client is now ‘on the hook’ for far more work than they should’ve been. Not to mention the initial projected time-frames for the work are now completely irrelevant. Had this proposal been put through a formal review process where the entire team knew about it (rather than it ‘hiding’ in email and file shares), the ambiguity could’ve been caught. Not simply because of a formal approval process being in place, but because of the visibility of the document to someone who may not be directly involved.

The cost: Extra time negotiating what can be accomplished in the contract, lower profit margin on the work, if there is a profit at all, and potential loss of client due to the possibility of expectations not being met.

Scenario 2: A survey was sent out to all users and the number one complaint was a lack of company-wide communication. Employees did not feel properly informed. This same client doesn’t have the budget for SharePoint this year. So they continue to use a home grown intranet application where a developer must provide announcement updates. This slows the time to share those updates and will likely prevent many from being shared in the first place.

The cost: Unlimited and depends on the organization

What is the cost of the lack of rapid communication across the organization?

  • What is the turnover cost of an employee who doesn’t feel engaged or informed and leaves the organization?
  • What is the cost of waiting on an email response only to find out after the person you’ve been waiting on for 3 days is the wrong person?
  • What is the cost of not properly communicating new safety procedures to field engineers on remote sites? Have you dealt with law suits this year?
  • What about health care benefits to those sitting at headquarters? How much time does HR spend explaining things that could be available in a forum or Q&A section?
  • What about new compliance policies to content managers? Have you been through a painful audit recently?

The visibility provided by the social communication channels provided in SharePoint (and also in Yammer) can transform the way an organization works. The speed at which information is communicated is directly tied to an organizations ability to adjust to rapid changes in the market, to the amount of income that can be generated with the same number of people, and most importantly tied to defining an efficient and effective corporate culture that spans many remote locations.

The next time you are faced with the ‘no budget for SharePoint’ problem, it may be time to start discussing the cost of poor communication. From there you should be able to start defining what your return on investment looks like.

Stephanie Donahue

Office 365 E1 vs E3 - The SharePoint Online Discussion

Sharepoint Online

So many versions of SharePoint!  If you have seen the licensing chart lately, it’s starting to become a game of Where’s Waldo when it comes to figuring out what features are available in which version of SharePoint.  Are you On-Premises?  Online?  K1, E1, E3, E4?  Bingo anyone?!  The most common question when reviewing Office 365 licensing is whether or not to make the jump from E1 to E3.  But with all 300 of the features detailed in a complicated spreadsheet, how can you make sense of all the noise?  How do you know what your organization needs?  

SharePoint Online (SPO) Licensing Basics for O365 Enterprise Plans

Microsoft labels its Office 365 Enterprise level licensing as E1, E3, and E4.  The different levels designate the Office, Exchange, Lync, and SharePoint features that are available to your organization; where E1 is more basic and E4 is fully featured.  For many companies, the decision between E1, E3 and E4 comes easy based on needs around Exchange and Lync.  However, with growing flexibility around assigning licenses that can be ”mixed and matched” to individuals within an organization, there has been additional conversations popping up about who needs what.

In SharePoint terms, E3 and E4 are pretty much the same.  This leaves us to describe the differences between E1 and E3. For those already familiar with SharePoint, the differences can be summed up by comparing E1 to SharePoint Standard and E3 to SharePoint Enterprise on-premises.  However, while one could say the comparisons are similar, the functionality for SharePoint on-premises is not identical to SharePoint Online and so you cannot make the assumption that all functionality can be matched one for one.

When it comes it understanding why you would need to upgrade from E1 to E3, it’s easiest to look at the key features.  

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Stephanie Donahue

How do I copy and paste multiple items with Microsoft Office?

How do I copy and paste multiple items with Microsoft Office?

Do you often find yourself needing to copy and paste more than one item? More than two or three items? Well, now you can copy up to as many as 24 items from Office, PowerPoint or other programs and paste them into one document! 

So, how does it work? Glad you asked!!

Simply put, Office clipboard works with the standard cut and paste commands. I know what you’re thinking, this isn’t helping; I’m getting there!!

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