SharePointlandia is now 365PDX

SharePointlandia, the premiere SharePoint and Microsoft 365 event in Portland, which previously was known as SharePoint Saturday Portland, has adapted again to reflect today’s Modern Workplace and has scheduled the next show!

The event of the year is now called 365PDX!!

The afternoons of December 10 and 11, 2020. Sign up now!

MSIgnite 2020 Roundup – Ash Culmsee, youngest MVP Ever

#MSIgnite 2020 had a number of good sessions this year, and I’m going to try to highlight a number of them here.

Of all the tremendous sessions, for the first one, I’m going to highlight Ash Culmsee, the youngest person to receive the MVP award, and her story.

A portion of her story is where she ignored listening to prompts from her father about the Technology industry as she was pursuing her High School studies. In fact, she said, “I had never considered Technology as a field that I wanted to go into. It was one of those things where, ‘My Dad does Tech, so it must be boring.'” 😊

I had never considered Technology as a field that I wanted to go into. It was one of those things where, “My Dad does Tech, so it must be boring.”

Ash was working a job that didn’t seem to be panning out when her Dad made her an offer she couldn’t refuse. And when she won a Microsoft programming challenge using Power Apps, her life changed.

Her story isn’t only about how a young woman starts to consider learning more about I.T., but also about how she has addressed her mental issues and struggles.

The interviewer, Dona Sarker, is a champion for neuro-diversity at Microsoft, as well as for the Power Apps platform.

Click here to watch
MSIgnite 2020 Session: Meet the youngest MVP ever! Ash Culmsee

Document Management is still Most Important Tool (as of 2019)

Image by Tayeb MEZAHDIA from Pixabay

An Interesting article from David Roe, published on CMSWire this week, caught my attention and starting the wheels turning.

Original URL:

CMSWire carries out a great survey every year title the State of the Digital Workplace, and in the 2019 State of the Digital Workplace report, according to David, Document Management was the most important tool in customer’s digital toolbox in 2019.

The interesting followup is that only 12% it was working well.

More then 80% of customers who feel that document management is one of their most important tools appear to feel frustrated by how it is working.  This could be due to a lack of the implementation keeping up with the needs of the business in 2019, or it could be that the original implementation was simply lacking.

How many more years will it be before other tools become more important than Document Management? and which tool or tools may be the most important at that time? Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Microservices are three that David calls out in his article.

I’m not sure how those tools really surpass Document Management, as document management seems to be an application or a solution to users, I think, while AI, ML, and Microservices come across as platforms on which solutions are built.

I do think, however, that solutions for document management that leverage AI and ML, and that are powered by a distributed network of services built on a microservices platform will begin to show up in document management systems soon.

Whether or not customers see those solutions as being built on the listed components or whether they still see the solutions as document management solutions remains to be seen.

One of the other interesting points in the 2019 State of the Digital Workplace Report is that almost 50% of customers feel that their work towards a Digital Workplace is still in its early stages. I see this as meaning that there is much opportunity to get in there and explain how a digital workplace should look and feel and perform, that consultants should not hesitate to ask about a customers plans for their digital workplace.

I recommend downloading the report, and following David Roe and CMSWire. 🙂 …until we meet again.

Information Protection and Governance with Microsoft 365

What? Me, Worry?

Why do we need to worry about our data? There’s probably a large portion of it that is confidential!

Why do we feel the need to protect it, and to manage it? Perhaps, we don’t want it to grow and overcome our ability to manage it?

While there are a number of common challenges that most organizations have with data, it is also dangerously clear that each organization will have its own requirements and needs to govern (manage) their own unique types of data.

With Microsoft 365 Advanced Compliance, you can manage your data and care for it to the level that makes the most business sense for your organization. This article will describe a few simple steps you can take today to get started.

Avoid Unnecessary Risk with Data Retention Labels

Often, companies are exposing themselves to risk and extra expenses by keeping every document, file, and piece of data that passes through their doors and routers. By setting a company-wide general retention policy, and then modifying that as necessary for more important data, you can limit the management tax on your systems to back up and review all the data, while still being at peace that you are meeting required retention requirements for the important data.

Protect Confidential Content with Sensitivity Labels

Content within an organization comes in all flavors and types. Most content should probably be available to groups of employees who can work with the content and expand upon it to maximize their production.  Some content needs to be kept restricted to certain groups of employees. Other content needs to be siloed within a specific organization, or at a specific management level. And while some content can be shared publicly, most probably should not.

So, how does an organization protect sensitive content with different levels of sensitivity and permitted exposure? Until now, that answer has often been – lock it up! With Sensitivity Labels, an organization can, by applying the correct label to a piece of content, and changing that label if appropriate, can dynamically have protection policies applied to protect the visibility, storage, and exposure of individual pieces of content.

Corporate Espionage?

When a Director of Sales is communicating to the sales team, she may place content available for public consumption, confidential employee only content, and content that needs to be limited to specific partners, and other sensitive content, all within the same document library or Team site, simply by applying the appropriate data sensitivity label to the content.

Typical sensitivity labels may have names such as Personal, Public, General, Confidential, or Highly Confidential, for example. When a sensitivity label is applied to content, the content protection capabilities of the Microsoft 365 online service, including Windows 10 Endpoint protection, Data Loss Prevention (DLP), document and email message encryption, etc., all respond appropriately and protect the content. This can include encrypting the content, preventing it from being copied to non-company devices, keeping it from being printed, or copy-pasted into other applications, the application of automatic archiving and document retention policies, or document and message expiration, etc.

Sensitivity labels can also be applied automatically, based on content source or destination, based on a business process or approval, etc.

Records Management Capabilities

The Data Governance features within the Microsoft 365 E5 license also include advanced Records Management capabilities. An organization that needs more complexity than a simple collection of content retention policies may establish a file plan for company records and significant content that enables the tiering or structuring of protection as a document ages and can enable the automatic disposition and destruction of content at the appropriate time.

Happy Records Managers

Microsoft Advanced Compliance

There are four pillars of functionality within the Microsoft 365 Advanced Compliance feature area. In this article, we have only introduced the flexibility and capability of the Information Protection and Governance pillar, or collection of capabilities. Please watch this space for related articles.

This article, Information Protection and Governance with Microsoft 365, was originally published on

Teams on Linux? “Working on It”!

It’s great to see that the requests from users for a Linux-native client for Microsoft Teams is being worked on! Given the date of the original UserVoice request, this request has been in the queue since the early days of Microsoft Teams.

Maybe Microsoft is serious about trying to make Microsoft Teams as ubiquitous as possible. On every device and on every platform? We will see how it turns out. I hope they can do it – I’m a fan of the voice and video communication with Microsoft Teams mobile apps and would like to see it grow in the marketplace.

Is it possible this will be an announcement at the Microsoft Ignite event in November?

UserVoice link for Microsoft Teams on Linux

Other links:
Windows Central: Microsoft Teams could be on its way to Linux Slack gets some competition…

Tip for Naming Components in Power Apps

OK, so you’ve been working with PowerApps for a while, right?

Long enough that you have a little bit of a naming model for your controls. You’ve decided on whether you are using the Petzold model or the Pascal model, or the javascript model. (Did I just out myself as an old guy?)

Well, it’s pretty easy in PowerApps to keep controls straight, because you always refer to them by their name, and naming is unique with an app, right? Right.

I mean – a Name is a Name, right?

But then, PowerApps releases some new “experimental” capabilities, namely, ‘Components’.

Components introduce a pretty interesting concept called a ‘custom property’.  These are defined and exposed variables that are exposed as parameters, if you will, – as input or output parameters.

Here’s the tip – and if you grok this, it might save you the almost two (2) hours of debug time that it would have saved me. (Yes, I’m a lousy debugger – I don’t really get much practice. (take that to mean what you will.))

For each custom property, there are two versions of the name…  a Display name and a Name. The ‘Name’ is the equivalent to the that we’ve been using in every other part of PowerApps. The difference now is that instead of the ‘Name’ being the one that’s displayed, the “Display name” is the one that is displayed, and there is nothing that guarantees that the Display name and the “name” are the same…

So, now you have to refer to a named customer property within a component via the name, which isn’t the display name. And if you don’t, well, your mileage may vary.

To view/edit the Display name and the Name for a customer property, after it has been created, click the hyperlinked datatype name to the right of the custom property.

OK. Enjoy, and good luck. And, in the words of Eric Thomas, “Until next time, keep making it Appin”.

Which stories are your clients not in?

Have you seen the movie, “Stranger than Fiction“? It’s the one with Will Farrell as an IRS Auditor. The catch is, he has a narrator. And the narrator looks and sounds exactly like Emma Thompson pretending to be a writer. You might like it.

I was watching this movie, again, the other day, and ran across a scene between Harold Crick (Will Farrell) and Professor Hilbert (Dustin Hoffman).

One of the ideas behind this scene is so applicable to my role as a solutions architect and a consultant that…

  1. I wanted to share this idea with you
  2. I think I’m going to write off as a business expense the price of the movie…

Here’s the scene:

(Professor Hilbert has been asking a dozen or so seemingly unrelated questions of Harold Crick…)
Harold Crick: What do these questions have to do with anything?
Professor Jules Hilbert : Nothing. The only way to find out what story you’re in is to determine what stories you’re not in.
Odd as it may seem, I’ve just ruled out half of Greek literature, seven fairy tales, ten Chinese fables, and determined conclusively that you are not King Hamlet, Scout Finch, Miss Marple, Frankenstein’s monster, or a golem.
Aren’t you relieved to know you’re not a golem?
Harold Crick: Yes, I am relieved to know that I am not a golem.

(Ignore the part about a golem – focus on ‘the stories that were ruled out’ part…)

So, here’s the thing – the next time I speak with a customer/client, I’ll try to also identify the business and security and compliance scenarios and stories that the organization are NOT in, as much as the scenarios and stories that they ARE in the business of.

It has been useful to look at customer requirements from different perspectives through all of my years working with customers. Here is yet another way to get the right perspective on the best solution to present to the customer.

So, which stories are your customers NOT in? – Perhaps, this concept will help you identify the most important stories that they need to protect the most.

P.S. There are a lot of solid ideas in this movie. I hope that you take the opportunity to watch it one day. 🙂

What can I.T. learn from GDPR

So, GDPR has been in effect for just over a year now. (15 May 2018). Was there a celebration in your organization, or is GDPR a bad word? 🙂 )

Many lessons have been learned through the effort of bringing our systems into compliance with GDPR.

I think we can start to generalize from those lessons to identify how our own I.T. systems might benefit from this effort.

Generally, I think there are four broad and very generalized steps to bring your systems in line with GDPR – and to lead to better compliance over all.

  1. Understand what data you’re holding and where it is stored
  2. Collect and organize your data so it becomes an asset.
    • If the data is managed, and it becomes an asset, you can better determine the effort and value – or the expense – it takes to hold it.
    • bringing it in from extraneous storage locations is important. If you don’t move the data, cataloguing it can serve the same purpose. You must know where it is stored so that it doesn’t become a forgotten silo with unmanaged and broken permissions and access controls to surprise you later.
  3. Determine which services related to compliance with the regulation or management of the I.T. system you can and should centralize.Which monitoring systems do you need to identify changes, updates, access requests, delete requests, and other operations requested on the data?
    • Which services are needed to return current status and transactional logs related to the data and these requests?
    • Which trigger and alert services do you need to support to notify you of items that are trending in unexpected directions or are out of compliance?
  4. Understand which applications are accessing that data and prepare a plan to replace them with compliant applications, eliminate those applications that will be too expensive or risky to maintain, or modify the applications so they can be compliant
    • Finding a way to integrate your corporate applications with the centralized system of monitoring and compliance can provide you with a single source of application services related to the regulation and flexible applications that can more easily be modified to support future regulations. (e.g. do you do business in the state of California?)

This can take some time. It can take some patience, and it will require a prioritization effort to determine which project to modify first, etc. Perhaps there is someone in your organization that remembers the Y2K effort? Ask them about their lessons learned from that prioritization effort. 😊 I’m not suggesting that the implied urgency is the same…  or am I? We still have time before GDPR affects our own little I.T. group, right? Well, maybe not, and perhaps there is some urgency here.

Discussing this path to compliance can be useful. The first step toward being able to achieve a journey is to take the first step, of course, but having a map brings so much efficiency to the effort and saves so many wrong turns.

Use this map to compliance and see if you can liken it to your journey to improved collaboration, or deploying MFA and secure authentication across your organization, or any other I.T. challenge that is in front of your team this quarter.

Where are your data silos hiding?

The Lunch Zone – Private Channels in Microsoft Teams, and Bo Knows

Source: The Lunch Zone – Private Channels in Microsoft Teams, and Bo Knows

Episode 1. Owen and Greg Frick talk about Bo (Last Name unpronounceable) and a new feature in Microsoft Teams called Private Channels. A noisy restaurant, and obviosuly we are learning how to speak at each other. It was a lot of fun.

Chredge is here

I just tried Microsoft Edge built on Chrome and, so far, it is marvelous.

I listened to a Windows Weekly episode this morning that was a week old.

These orders are seven bloody hours old!

It was Windows Weekly episode 614. I fully enjoyed the first half (then I arrived at the office), and it was mostly about Chredge. (“It was so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend it.”)

Tonight, I went to the Microsoft Edge Insider site, downloaded the test build for the Windows Edge built on Chromium, or “Chredge”, build, and installed it on my Windows 10 box.

It installed flawlessly, imported my Chrome settings, for my primary Chrome account, and allowed me to create user profiles, like I’ve been using for too long on Chrome. (Queue the Hallelujah Chorus!)

My constant pleadings to the browser buddhas have been answered. User profiles in Chredge.

I think that – for a moment – I felt just as Riley must have felt when he observed “Stairs” in ‘National Treasure’.

Please download and enjoy the goodness. I’m going back now to test extensions. (Mary Jo told me that they are working!) (OK, so she didn’t tell only me, but she mentioned that in the WIndows Weekly podcast episode I linked to above.)

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