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All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations or warranties regarding the information from our partners or other external sources.
Mark Rackley

Changes to SharePoint Online Document Libraries & What They Mean

Changes to SharePoint Online Document Libraries & What They Mean

If you are on an Office 365 first release tenant you may have noticed a new option when you logged into your environment this past Friday morning when going to view your Document Libraries.

What’s this? New stuff? Cool! Let’s click on it and see what happens?

SharePoint Online Document Libraries 2

Woah! What have they done? Not only is the cheese moved, but they replaced my smooth buttery Havarti with some pungent foot smelling stuff!

Needless to say, my first reaction was not one of joy and the immediate response from many people out there was similar to mine. At first look it could be said that this is the most drastic change made to the UI in SharePoint in a very long time. Menus are moved (missing), options are different (or missing), and my branding did not carry over. It looks much more like OneDrive than SharePoint. It’s easy to see why the first reaction would not be positive to someone who lives and breathes SharePoint every day.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the things that I saw missing in this new experience:

  • Left navigation changed (and no obvious way to edit it).
  • My global navigation is gone
  • My Theme is no longer applied
  • My branding did not carry over
  • It’s not possible to edit the page (cannot add web parts like we did in the past).
  • Managed Meta Data Navigation gone.
  • Display forms are gone. (Display forms, NOT Edit forms).

But we do get a nice preview panel with some helpful information by clicking on the “…” for an item and selection “Details.”

SharePoint Online Document Libraries 3

There are other things changed as well. But as you can see at first glance there’s a LOT missing. How do we do what we used to do? There’s a good thread on Yammer with people discussing their frustrations as well as other thoughts on the new experience.

Luckily you can easily switch back to “Classic Mode” to go back to the way things were before by scrolling down the left navigation and clicking “Return to Classic SharePoint” link.

SharePoint Online Document Libraries 4

Okay… things are back to normal. Deep breath.

What does it mean to you?

What do these changes mean for you? The user, the admin, the developer? At first glance, here are the major effects for this change as it stands today:

Handling the Fear of Change

I’d gather most people will not react fondly to these changes. I get it. You get comfortable with something and someone moves it. There’s that immediate drop in productivity as people learn new functionality. It will be important to properly announce these changes within your organization when they are rolled out. Just communicate well, talk in calm soothing tones and don’t make any sudden movements. But seriously, just educate people. These new views are not all bad, they are just really different. In fact, they are now much more mobile friendly and responsive.

Broken Functionality

You’ll be missing some of the items listed above. If you’ve added/injected any JavaScript into to your Document Library views you’ll likely lose that functionality (at least in its currently deployed fashion). This loss of JavaScript will likely be one of the biggest obstacles faced since JavaScript has become so ubiquitous with SharePoint Online development. How do you even DO development with this new view?

Your documents are still there. Your metadata is still there. No content has been lost. It’s a new way of working within SharePoint Document Libraries. In fact, Microsoft has already written an article on how to use these new Document Libraries.

“What was Microsoft Thinking?”

This was the phrase I heard most often about this change. What on earth could Microsoft be thinking? How could they drop something like this on us without warning? I have to admit my first reaction was to complain. Change is bad. Right? In fact, I DID do some complaining on that Yammer thread. I definitely want to give a big shout out to Lincoln DeMaris at Microsoft. He fielded the questions more gracefully than almost anyone else I’ve seen in his position and it sounds like his team was working pretty hard on fixing any bugs that came up.

So, before I wrote a blog post about how horrible the new experience was or how out of touch with reality Microsoft is, I decided to take a step back and really thing about what’s going on.

It’s First Release Only

Before you panic too much, keep in mind that this functionality is only available to SOME first release tenants. If you didn’t sign up for preview release you won’t see the option for the new look. Your users will not see it. There is no reason to panic!

May the 4th Be with You

Isn’t there some big event happening on May the 4th about SharePoint? In “The Future of SharePoint” event, Microsoft is unveiling their vision and roadmap for SharePoint and OneDrive. Could these changes be related to that? Did Microsoft release these changes before the event to first release customers to make sure it’s stable by May 4th ? Is it possible there is a plan in place? Is there a customization story? In the light of the May 4th event I can understand the thought process to make sure these new Document Libraries were pretty solid from a functional standpoint. This would also explain the lack of communication beforehand? Conspiracy theory maybe? I don’t know for sure, but this May 4thevent is a free online event you can register for. So, go, register. Let’s see how wrong I am. I’ll actually be at the event, so I’ll be live tweeting (@mrackley) and blogging about what I find out. Stay tuned for that!

Let Your Voice Be Heard!

This is first release. Nothing is set in stone. Microsoft is test driving this new functionality. LET THEM KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS! Do you love it? Hate it? Do you have any great ideas to make it better? Don’t just be part of the problem, be part of the solution. Submit your feedback on Yammer or Uservoice and help drive the evolution of SharePoint.

Classic Mode is an option

From reading the Yammer thread it sounds like “Classic Mode” will be around for at least a year. So even when they do push these new document library views out to all the tenants you will have some time to ease into it, fix anything that may be broken, and make sure you apply it when you are ready. Again, don’t panic.

Just MAYBE the sky’s not falling.

What’s the bottom line?

There’s two ways we can look at these changes. We can think that Microsoft is out of touch with how people use SharePoint (which they are sometimes) and are introducing changes that will crush our ability to use and develop in SharePoint, or there is a reason and plan for these changes and we’ll have to wait to find out more. Regardless, the worst thing you can do is be silent. Send them your feedback and thoughts.

I think most people (everyone?) can agree that Microsoft should have handled the communication of these changes better instead of just dropping them in our lap, but before we all throw our hands in the air and threaten to move to Canada (isn’t that what we are supposed to threaten to do now?) let’s take a deep breath and tune in to the May 4th event and hopefully most of our questions and concerns will be addressed and all of these changes will make sense.


Questions? Concerns? Contact the Interlink team anytime.

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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.

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Matt Scherocman

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) in New Office 2016, SharePoint Online, and OneDrive for Business

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) in New Office 2016, SharePoint Online, and OneDrive for Business

Clients have benefited from Data Loss Prevention (DLP) technology within Exchange Online for years. Microsoft is now expanding the functionality to cover data and documents that may be in Office, SharePoint, and OneDrive. Plus they are enhancing the console where the policy rules are managed so that the policy rules for all of the services are controlled in a single location.

Client can continue to use the templates that Microsoft builds to help them stay compliant with regulations like PCI and HIPPA. Severity levels can also be set – so administrators, for example, could have one set of actions that happen if a user tries to send a credit card number externally and another if they are trying to send a file that contains ten or more credit card numbers in it.

DLP not only is for people who are actively trying to share content that they shouldn’t, it is also for people who didn’t notice that there was a company credit card contained 10 emails down in a thread before they forward it to a new distribution list.

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Matt Scherocman

The Future of Microsoft SharePoint

Microsoft SharePoint started out as a collaboration tool designed to help with team sites, and it has come a long way. The evolution of SharePoint includes management layers along with customizable features, and is now focusing on taking things to the cloud for the next generation of business productivity tools. As technology continues to evolve, so do the needs of the modern business. Microsoft is using tools like SharePoint to continue to provide solutions for its enterprise clients.

SharePoint in the Cloud

The cloud is the next level of business productivity. The core areas of SharePoint, experiences, management, and extensibility are evolving in Office 365; as well as other Microsoft Office products, are taken to a new level in the cloud. Many organizations still run much, if not all, of their SharePoint on-premises. Microsoft is making significant investments in a Hybrid SharePoint solution. That’s why with this latest release of SharePoint, security has been at the forefront so that organizations can take advantage of cloud innovation on their terms.

Office Sharepoint

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Matt Scherocman

Data Loss Prevention now available in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) was a feature previously only found in Exchange, Outlook, and OWA to prevent data from being sent out of the company. Now clients can easily search for this same kind of sensitive content in SharePoint and OneDrive using Microsoft’s new Data Loss Prevention for SharePoint and OneDrive functionality.

Office 365 Admin are now able to Leverage 51 built-in sensitive information types including credit cards, passport numbers, Social Security numbers, and more. This is designed to allow you to be better informed about what type of sensitive documents exist and where in SharePoint Online and in OneDrive for Business. This visibility can help with compliance needs, contractual obligations, and internal policy enforcement.

Later this year, Microsoft will introduce additional capabilities that will allow you to create policies that automatically detect sensitive content and apply protection such as taking actions like deletion of content or quarantine until further reviewed.

Click this link to view the original blog article

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Welcome to the Interlink Cloud Blog

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations or warranties regarding the information from our partners or other external sources.