Monday, October 29, 2012

SharePoint 2013 - Adopt it or Not?

You may have just finished with upgrading your SharePoint to 2010 version and now we are hearing about SharePoint 2013. What is this all about? And are you going to adopt it or not?

Microsoft releases a major version of SharePoint every three years. SharePoint 2013 is a significant release with many new great features. However, you may find it hard to justify moving on to 2013 release in the near future, unless you can find a business justification for spending the time and money it will take to make the transition.

I am going to highlight new features of SharePoint 2013 to help you with this decision.

Reuse Content Across Multiple Sites

One of the pain points experienced in previous versions of SharePoint was around the fact that content that was created within one site collection could not easily be reused in a separate site collection. Since many organizations required multiple site collections, this limitation created a few cases where duplicate content was required.

With 2013, the concept of Cross-Site publishing has been introduced. When using this feature you can store and manage content in one location and then display the content in other site collections. Using this approach you can display the data in as many places that are needed, while still only managing and maintaining one single point of truth.

Navigation and User Friendly Links

There are new navigation features and the ability to base a navigation structure of an existing term set. This allows organizations to centrally manage their content and to provide meaningful navigation structures within the multiple site collections. You can also create friendlier names when linking to pages and content within SharePoint.

In previous versions of SharePoint you were required to have longer URLs that contained references to the specific location you were trying to access. Within SharePoint 2013 you can now configure the URL so that it can be more easily referenced.

An example of this would be the following two URLs:

Previous SharePoint Versions:

SharePoint 2013 Friendly URL:

You can see that by removing the required URL parameters for ID and Source you are able to create friendly, memorable URLs for your sites and pages.

Changing Web Parts

There is a need to be able to "gather" and "present" data to users. In previous versions of SharePoint this was done through either the Content Query Web Part or a custom Roll Up solution.

Because of limitations in performance, the Content Query Web Part was restricted in how it could be utilized across organizations. If you had many users who needed to roll up a large amount of content it is likely that you could experience performance issues in using the web part.

SharePoint 2013 adds a new web part that will allow you to provide the same functionality as the Content Query Web Part, but is instead based on the search functionality available within SharePoint. Because this web part is based on search, many of the existing limitations have been reduced.

Design Changes

In SharePoint 2013 there are many new techniques that can be used to aide in the branding and customization of your sites. One of the biggest impacts is the ability to create a SharePoint custom design in any design tool of choice. This means your designers are not limited to only working within SharePoint Designer to build their custom design.

Social Features

The list of new features in Social Enterprise include: micro blogs, activity feeds, community sites, Following, Likes and Reputations.

Community templates have been designed in a way that allows anyone within the organization to join a community and to begin discussions on things relevant to the community. These communities are a great way to share information in a collaborative way, at the same time making intellectual property with the organization available to a larger audience.

In addition to making it easier for people to come together, SharePoint community templates also provide some features that allow for them to be easily managed, including built-in moderation features. This means that you can still maintain a level of control within the discussions that are had over certain sensitive topics.

With the newest microblogging features, users will be able to start threads that include tags of other people and links to relevant content.

Following adds the ability to "follow" people, sites, documents and topics, with subsequent actions of the followed entity appearing in the user's activity stream. By following other users within the organization users will be able to see items within their feeds and follow things that are relevant to them.

My Site

In SharePoint 2013 saving documents into My Sites is going to get a lot easier. There is a single document library, not two as in SharePoint 2010, and the permissions have been simplified, making it easier to share documents with colleagues. My Site document library can be synced with a local drive to enable offline access so you can access your documents even when the server is unavailable.


It is easier to access SharePoint content from a mobile device in the 2013 version. Adding to the existing classic view, SharePoint 2013 offers two new views for mobile devices, including a contemporary view for optimized mobile browser experience and a full-screen view which enables the user to have a full desktop view of a SharePoint site on a smartphone device.

Site Permissions

SharePoint 2013 includes new, simplified sharing based model for site permissions management.


SharePoint 2013 will bring richer themes and even the ability to add a background image to the page.


Microsoft is using the new term "Metro" to describe its new, radical UI design of SharePoint. It is supposed to be easier to use. Microsoft is planning to use Metro as the default UI for SharePoint as well as user tools like Office, Windows, Xbox and mobile devices.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Using SharePoint to Create a Blog

A blog is a Web site that enables you or your organization to quickly share ideas and information. Blogs contain posts that are dated and listed in reverse chronological order. People can comment on your posts, as well as provide links to interesting sites, photos, and related blogs.

Blogs posts can be created quickly, and they often have an informal tone or provide a unique perspective. Although blogs are frequently used for commentary on the Internet, they can be used in several ways in a corporate environment. For example, one of my clients used SharePoint blog for facility maintenance notes.

SharePoint Services provides a blog template that makes creating a blog easy. A blog is a site that contains lists and libraries, such as a list of blog posts, a list of other blogs, and a library for photos. Once you create a blog, you can set up categories, and then customize the blog settings.

When you create a blog, you need to decide whether you want the blog to inherit permissions from the parent site or set up unique permissions manually. In most cases, you should set up unique permissions for the blog to ensure that you can manage its site settings, lists, and libraries independently of its parent site. For example, you might want to grant less restrictive permissions on your blog than on the parent site, such as enabling all authenticated users on your intranet to read and comment on the blog.

Before you start adding content to your blog, you will want to make sure that your site, lists, and libraries are set up the way that you want. For example, you may want to edit the description of a list to help your readers understand its purpose, change permissions for the blog or the Other Blogs list, or track versions of your blog posts so that you can restore a previous version of a post if necessary.

Once you've customized the settings for your blog, then you can set up categories to help you organize your posts. Categories are especially helpful if you create blog posts about different subjects or for different purposes, such as current events, brainstorming for a special project, or a technology or hobby. When posts are organized by categories, people can more easily find the posts that fit their interests by clicking the appropriate category in the Categories list.

To create a blog, you must have permission to create sites. Click "View All Site Content", and then click "Create" on the "All Site Content" page. You can use the "Site Actions" menu to complete this step.

Next set up categories. You can add more categories or edit the category names later. If you don't want to use categories, you can choose "None" for the category when you create a post.

Under "Admin Links", click "All content". Under "Lists", click "Categories". The Categories list appears. If you have not set up categories on the blog before, the list contains category placeholders, such as Category 1 and Category 2. In the "Categories" list, click the "Edit" button to the right of the category placeholder that you want to change. Select the placeholder text, type the new text that you want, and then click OK. Repeat steps 3 through 5 to replace the existing placeholder categories with your own categories. To add additional categories, click "New on the list toolbar, and then type a name for the category in the "Title" box. To delete a category, point to its name, click the arrow that appears, and then click "Delete Item".

Once created, you may want to customize settings for your blog, or for its lists and libraries. In your blog, under "Admin Links", do one of the following:
  • to customize the Posts list, click Manage posts;
  • to customize the Comments list, click Manage comments;
  • to customize the Other Blogs list, click All content. Under Lists, click Other Blogs;
  • to customize any other lists or libraries in the blog — such as the Links list or Photos picture library — click All content, and then click the list that you want to change.
On the Settings menu, click "List Settings" or click the settings for the type of library that you are opening, such as "Picture Library Settings". Click the type of setting that you want to change, such as "Versioning" settings or "Permissions" for this list, and then make the appropriate changes. Repeat this procedure for any other settings, lists, or libraries that you want to change.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Content Management Systems Reviews - Documentum - Compliance Manager

Controlled content often exists as combination of paper documents, collected in binders and distributed manually and electronic files routed for editing and approval using email. Paper documents are a burden to store, even more difficult to share widely, and they can quickly can become obsolete. Electronic content reduces the storage and distribution problem but as emails circulate their attachments may be revised resulting in different versions in use across an organization.

EMC Documentum Compliance Manager offers an automated, integrated online environment for creating, reviewing, revising, approving, distributing, and auditing controlled content.

Compliance Manager helps companies to achieve compliance with external regulations such as FDA 21 CFR Part 11 and internal policies while maintaining high product and service quality standards. It replaces unreliable and inefficient processes with streamlined processes for review, approval, and distribution, and thus reducing the time and effort employees managing controlled content.

By helping organizations meet quality objectives and comply with internal and external regulations and standards, Compliance Manager can help you to reduce operating costs, minimize waste, errors, and production delays and deliver products to market faster with greater confidence.

Compliance Manager can audit all controlled content activities enabling users, managers, and external agencies to know when and why changes were made to content. You can quickly determine who has interacted with content, as well as when and why, and detect attempts to alter or remove documents.

You also can enforce signatures and proper approvals, ensure content authenticity and immutability, and ensure documents retention for required periods.

Compliance Manager is built on the EMC Documentum platform and content repository which includes Documentum-based lifecycles and workflows, EMC Documentum Trusted Content Services for audit trails and digital signatures, and the Documentum client development environment (Web Development Kit).

As an extension of Documentum Webtop, Compliance Manager takes advantage of advanced user interface and platform services such as model dialogues to navigation, extended search capabilities, and configurable pre-sets for convenient user interface configuration.

Compliance Manager is also integrated with EMC Documentum Collaborative Services, Retention Policy Services, Branch Office Caching Services. So, users can collaborate while authoring content, manage review and approval cycles, and control retention and disposition. Once a document is approved, it can be distributed to remove sites for high-performance access.

Compliance Manager is highly configurable minimizing the need for customization. It is easy to upgrade, implement, and validate. It is designed to integrate with any J2EE-based web development and deployment strategy.

The business rules that enforce compliance are exposed as a set of services and components through the EMC Documentum Business Objects Framework. This makes it easy to create applications that work with the Compliance Manager by simply implementing and validating user interface controls. No changes to underlying business logic are required. And because there already exists a large network of experienced service providers for Compliance Manager, you can quickly find the right implementation partner.

Key Features

Secure, globally accessible repository - manage documents from one secure location for review, approval, and reuse.

Intuitive web interface - content is easily accessible.

Automated change management - ensure access to approved versions.

Document signoff with enforced justifications - electronic signature for approved versions.

Proactive notification and tracking - satisfy user acknowledgement requirements of auditors and regulations and ensure approved content is in use.

Full document and user audit trail - store signoffs in the audit trail to ensure validity and prove to regulators or auditors who has seen and approved a document.

Print control with banner and watermark - audit printing, restrict printing to authorized users, and manage hard copy distribution.

Configurable document lifecycle - for review, approval, and distribution.

Rapid search capability - quickly locate the most current content relevant to a given subject.