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Why hire experienced SharePoint consultants?

When it comes to getting quality service, it always depends upon hiring an experienced and competent SharePoint (SP) Consultant. However, if you are to know in what way does the hiring affect a business, you need to know what role does such a consultant play in a particular business. Hence let us first know who is a SharePoint Consultant. However, prior to that, it is perhaps necessary as well to know what is actually SharePoint.

sharepoint webparts developmentIt is a particular type of proprietary platform of web application prepared by Microsoft which can easily take care of the common web based needs of any business organization in the most cost effective and versatile way. This web application is integrated with the suit tools of MS Office and is extremely handy when it comes to offering users with interface similar to that of MS Office.

Now coming to SP Consultants, they are the ones who take care of various problems pertaining to a particular business. Naturally, it can well be stated at this juncture that when it comes to getting intricate business issues or problems solved or getting quality services, hiring a competent and experienced SP consultant makes all the difference. This article discusses in fairly great details why it is so important to hire an experienced consulting professional for enjoying quality services.

Content Management
An able consulting professional would come in handy for effective content management. SharePoint is a platform which comes with an effective Content Management System, social capabilities along with some really advanced search options. Such a professional would always help to make content management extremely easier, free of hassles and quick for the users. It will also help giving productivity along with information value, a shot in the arm with the help of some simple document, records, high end media, centralized platform, web content management.

Managing the Community
An experienced consultant would also help in getting the very best tools for collaboration – a fact that would enable one to share ideas, locate various information related to the business, locate people along with expertise that are needed to run a business rather seamlessly. Besides, it also becomes easier to personalize the experience of the user along with the multi lingual support and tools used for user tagging.

Managing Websites
The expertise of these consultants also helps the users in changing or modifying the contents of a page without any effort whatsoever. They also help in applying newer themes, designs and removing/adding various interaction.

So in a nutshell, the work of a SP Consultant covers the following areas:

  • SharePoint Collaboration, customization as well as consulting
  • Development and synchronization of various business processes, solutions and parameters
  • Providing a number of application features
  • Explaining SP Migration application features
  • Effective creation of records through integration services
  • SP Deployment Planning Services or SDPS
  • Branding of SharePoint Sites
  • Development of SharePoint Web as well as Portal
  • Management of SP Enterprise Contents
  • SP Enterprise Portals as well as Business Intelligence
  • SP Installer applications
  • Reporting service of SP SQL
  • Testing as well as providing technical support for SharePoint

Therefore, through a process of hiring experienced consultants, companies can enjoy a lot of added advantages that come in the form of recognizing those features that helps in decreasing the developmental costs, improving the efficiency or output of the business, and the likes. SharePoint solution is perhaps the best and the most economic way of sharing documents or information.

Hence, seeking the help of an experienced consultant is definitely the best decision that can be taken by a business owner. This makes these professionals extremely adorable in the business circle. These professionals are generally paid high remuneration for the services they provide.

You can hire developers from top sharepoint development companies in India who can help you build your projects within allocated budget and time schedules.

We provide sharepoint webparts development services. If you would like to know more about our custom sharepoint development team, please get in touch with us at Mindfire Solutions.

Gartner Calls Sharepoint an “Evolutionary Dead End” that “No One Likes Using”

As per the views of Jeffrey Mann, a Gartner analyst, Microsoft should soon do away with SharePoint and companies that are largely dependent on the platform should actually consider a more cloud-based future. The Gartner analyst also said that though a majority of the companies make use of SharePoint, they do not quite like it. SP is also less functional and less useful in many respects. Moreover, it does not facilitate smooth content migration and requires greater amount of online management.

SharePoint migration servicesWith SharePoint being customized in most organizations, it also appears to be excessively big and complex. Certain businesses are also making use of older versions of this web application development platform. With regards to the question of whether to move to cloud or move out of it, Mann says that Microsoft should essentially move SP to the cloud by means of killing its current form.

The enterprise social networking platform, on the other hand, comes up as a hope for Microsoft, as both of these compliment each other in multiple ways. SP, on becoming more cloud- based, will have a strong influence by Yammer.

However, the problems regarding the on-premise deployment of SP, slower arrival of upgrades, lower functionality will remain the same. Hence, a cloud- based solution is considered more beneficial for the large-sized organizations. In fact, Mann advises the technologists to start developing plans for post- SharePoint scenario.

Reasons behind People Disliking SharePoint

While Gartner declares SharePoint to be an evolutionary dead end, there are quite a few reasons behind people hating SP. Surveys conducted at different points of time also point out to negative sentiments. Here is an overview of some of the causes behind this dislike:

It Takes Too Long a Time to be Deployed

One major problem with SP is that the deployment process is quite elaborate and time- consuming. Presence of technical difficulties often make it rather impossible to get done with the deployment process within the allotted time. An unnecessary delay is certainly undesirable because it compels organizations to lose valuable time and resources.

SP Requires Assistance of Third-Party Tools

Enterprises realize that SharePoint cannot be used “out-of-the-box”. Augmentation of the platform for the purpose of fulfilling the specific business requirements is nearly impossible without the use of the third-party tools. Governance is perhaps the biggest technical issue when it comes to the implementation of the development platform. Managing the metadata and taxonomies is equally difficult. It is for these reasons that 50% of organizations are planning heavily on having the third-party add-on products.

SharePoint Promises to Handle Too Many Tasks

SP has always been promoted and marketed as a solution to several problems and issues. Now, whether it is document management, corporate intranet, project management, wiki or blog, SharePoint promises to handle it all. Consequently, the end result is often far from being satisfactory.

User Experience is Nothing Satisfactory

It has been revealed by certain surveys that users are not really happy using SharePoint. Individuals who find it difficult to handle this particular platform prefer going back to the original business process for smooth operations and better accomplishment of projects.

Lesser Mobile Device Access to SharePoint

SharePoint’s mobile device access is slow and ineffective. The dissatisfaction about the matter has been expressed by many users. The issue automatically prevents the users from staying updated and productive, no matter where they are.

How to Lead to Successful SP Implementation and User Experience?

In spite of the many difficulties associated with SharePoint, the platform is actually of several benefits. Here is a list of tips and strategies, following which SP can be made more acceptable.

  • A well-defined deployment process should be planned beforehand. This plan should also consider the needs of the business users apart from that of the tech savvy ones.
  • The project must focus on business solutions. For instance, it should take into account the ease with which SP can be accessed from anywhere.
  • Integrating SP into the everyday work flow of a business user is also essential.

Apart from the above-mentioned strategies, one can also go by Jeffrey Mann’s advice, that is to use the third party tools to cover up for the deficiencies of SharePoint.

We provide SharePoint migration services. If you would like to know more about the expertise of our SharePoint developers India, please get in touch with us at Mindfire Solutions.

SharePoint 2013 Development: Solutions vs. Apps

Microsoft launches each new version of SharePoint 2013 with innovative features and broader capabilities. The latest version of SharePoint comes with a set of advanced features that enable developers to build apps with additional features and functionality. Microsoft also recommends all developers to build SharePoint Apps. However, the enterprises still have option to build conventional SharePoint solutions. So it becomes important for enterprises to decide the pros and cons of both SharePoint apps and solutions. At the same time, they also need to understand some of the key differences between these two to take the right decision.

SharePoint 2013 Development: Solutions vs. Apps

SharePoint deployment planning servicesExecution of Code: The SharePoint apps run completely outside the SharePoint server. Further, the custom code is executed on a non-SharePoint server or the client browser. However, a business has options to pick from three types of apps, i.e., SharePoint-hosted, provider-hosted and auto-hosted. The SharePoint –hosted apps can run within the framework without any external dependencies. But the provider-hosted apps are designed with a single or multiple SharePoint components. Similar to the provider-hosted apps, the auto-hosted apps are also designed with external business logic and data storage. When these apps package is installed, a user can avail both website and database.

Enhanced Stability and Capability: As the apps run outside SharePoint server, these are effective in providing enhanced stability, performance and compatibility. A business can easily switch to a more advanced version of SharePoint as the apps are testing platform independent. At the same time, the apps can communicate with SharePoint through CSOM, ODATA and REST API. Microsoft has optimized these features to enable developers to build custom SharePoint apps without using the server-side API.

Easy to Deploy and Reuse: Microsoft has further made it easier and simpler for developers to install and upgrade the SharePoint apps. The simple configuration will further encourage many developers to switch to Sharepoint application development. At the same time, the apps can also be reused, packaged and marketed through a Public Marketplace or Corporate. The options make it easier for end-users to buy apps that can run on-premise and cloud environments, while complementing their specific needs.

Support for Server-Side Code: Unlike SharePoint solutions, the apps do not support server-side code. So the programmers have to build a solution to implement a new functionality by writing server-side code. Further, the code cannot be stored on the SharePoint farm as part of the app. The server-side code needs to be hosted on premises or in the cloud. On the other hand, the SharePoint app enables enterprises to promote a custom functionality by targeting relevant users. That is why; the solutions will be still used as part of robust SharePoint apps.

Custom Functionality: SharePoint allows enterprises to manage a variety of documents and content store on their intranet and on the web. The customized SharePoint solutions are used widely by businesses to manage their online and offline content. But Microsoft recommends enterprises to build apps to create a custom functionality as a sandboxed solution in SharePoint 2010. Further, the apps can also be used in SharePoint Online. On the other hand, the SharePoint solutions will be effective only in local and on-premise environments.

Adding User-Centric Functionality to SharePoint: In comparison to SharePoint solutions, the apps are more effective in adding user-centric functionality to SharePoint. The apps can also be used as a medium to implement functionalities according to the specific needs of an enterprise. These custom-functionalities further extend the internal functionality like Event Handler or Timer Job of SharePoint solutions. Also, the apps are effective in creating custom-functionality to make SharePoint more user-friendly.

As a business has option to choose from SharePoint apps and solutions, it is always important to do a cost-benefit analysis. A company can further determine its exact needs before comparing these two options. However, an enterprise can always switch to SharePoint apps to avail a number of advantages, while meeting the latest trends technology.

We provide SharePoint site migration and SharePoint deployment planning services. If you would like to speak to our 100% SharePoint certified team, please get in touch with us at Mindfire Solutions.

Design Manager in SharePoint 2013 Designer – A Detailed Introduction

Understanding the Design Manager
Design Manager is primarily meant to help the users of SharePoint create custom designs and achieve the respective goals if they want SharePoint 2013 to represent the brand of the organization. It comes up as a particular feature in SP 2013, paving the way for a completely customized, pixel-perfect outcome using the familiar web designing tools. As a publishing feature, it is available in the publishing sites in both Office 365 and SP server 2013.

This extremely useful feature allows the creation of visual design for websites using the web designing tools and HTML editor. Only HTML and CSS can be used after which the design has to be uploaded into SP. Basically, it enables management of each aspect of a custom design.

So, designers using this excellent feature will have to precisely undertake the following activities:

  • Grasping and understanding the main SP design concepts
  • Creating a mock-up of the design in CSS and HTML
  • Implementing the same utilizing the Design Manager feature

SharePoint 2013 developmentImplementing a Design by Means of the Design Manager
It is essential for the SharePoint 2013 users to be aware of the usage of the feature in implementing designs. On looking at the feature, one gets to see a series of links representing the high-level tasks to be performed. Following is a step-by-step sequence in which the task of implementing a design is executed with success:

Prior to Making Use of Design Manager
Even before you start using the feature, you have to create an individual design or use a ready-made website template. While mocking up the sites in HTML and CSS, you will come across certain HTML files implementing designs for the particular way in which you want the different pages to appear. You also need to take the necessary SharePoint permissions, more particularly, you have to be at the Designer permission level to use the feature.

Management of Device Channels
Before starting right away with the task of designing your site exploiting this essential feature, you need to take into account the specific devices to be targeted and the kind of user experience on each of them. Once you have considered the specific device channels, it is time to use multiple ways in rendering a single publishing site by means of mapping varying designs to equally varying devices.

Now, the device channels, which are created as well as stored in the SP list, have ranking and therefore, the order of the same also matters. The inclusion rules are also processed accordingly.

Uploading the Designed Files
Once the designing is done, the designer can use any HTML editor of his preference and work with files locally on the specific computer. However, these files need to be uploaded to the Master Page Gallery of the SP site so as to enable the feature to convert, preview and at the same time, polish the already created design.

The best- possible way to upload as well as continue working on these files is by mapping a drive on the computer to the Master Page gallery of the SP site. This paves the way for a folder on the computer to be connected to the Master Page Gallery. The result is that one can work on files that are present on the server in SP 2013 provided that they are local files.

Editing the Master Pages
The next task is to create a fully branded master page containing all of the functionality of SharePoint that one wants. The steps through which the editing is done are:

  • Conversion of HTML file into a SP master page
  • Previewing the master page while also facilitating fixing of the possible issues
  • Addition of the SP snippets to the master page

Editing Display Templates
In the event of using the on-premises installation of the SharePoint server, one has the option of using the Content Search Web Part along with a few other search- driven web parts. This helps in the display of the results of the search queries as content on the pages. Now, the search-driven web parts make use of the display templates for two main purposes. These are firstly to map managed properties returned in the search result items to properties that are available for JavaScript. This includes any custom JavaScript that one chooses to implement. The second purpose is to make use of CSS and HTML to find out how these properties are displayed.

Editing Page Layouts
The process involving the creation of page layout in Design Manner is somewhat different from that of creating a master page. First, a page layout needs to be made using the .aspx file and HTML file. Following this, the associated HTML file has to be edited from the mapped drive in the HTML editor. The feature ensures that the page layout is created in a manner that the correct set of page fields get added to the page layout.

Apart from the above-mentioned steps, creating themes and composed looks, publishing and applying the designs and creation of the package of the same are the final steps to be taken when it comes to using Design Manager in SharePoint 2013 development projects.

We provide SharePoint CMS customization services. If you would like to know more about the expertise of our SharePoint developers, please get in touch with us at Mindfire Solutions.

5 ways to spruce up SharePoint 2013 for your intranet CMS

One of the biggest drawbacks that affect content management is the lack of proper search plug-ins. In the current scenario, businesses do not have adequate amount of time for tracking down different files. SharePoint comes to rescue in such a situation.

SharePoint developerSharePoint intranet comes with convenient document libraries, enabling every business to categorize information in the way they want. In fact, you can have all your content easily accessible by means of different libraries within a hosted portal- a library for media, one for finance, report, sales, marketing and so on. The inconvenience of lost data will never be experienced. The intranet also comprises the latest antiviral software for ensuring preservation of online infrastructure.

As a business owner or team member, SP allows you to open up documents through the web, and also to synchronize work via document collaboration. In short, SharePoint provides a collaborative, hosted solution for content management through the intranet. Investing in SharePoint development for org-wide collaboration always pays rich dividends. Let us discuss 5 trending ways which will help you to spruce up SharePoint 2013 for your intranet CMS.

1. Creation of an intranet newsfeed with SP 2013
With the help of an intranet newsfeed, users are able to publicly and rapidly communicate with each other by sharing ideas, posting updates, asking questions along with other activities. So far as the management is concerned, it is a great means for engaging with employees personally, directly and openly. Moreover, the SharePoint newsfeed renders a micro-blogging experience similar to that derived from social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Users are able to post comments, direct particular users with the help of @targeting as well as tag the same to a particular topic utilizing #tags. Comments or users can be liked or followed.

2. Showcasing intranet blogs with SP 2013
Intranet blogs are a brilliant way to discuss on relevant topics providing authors with the capability of communicating a message as well as starting conversation and collecting feedback. Readers can have their opinions heard and addressed. Authoring and publishing tools are offered by the SharePoint blog site to authors, in the same manner as they would expect from a consumer CMS. The features include the ability of video embedding from sources such as YouTube, rich text editing, capability of content publishing directly from MS Word. It is possible to like, rate, follow or share blog posts.

3. Using SharePoint 2013 for creation of intranet survey
With the help of intranet surveys, creators are able to speedily crowd source precious information from a huge employee pool. As participants, employees can get an easy means for bottom-up feedback and hence become more engaged. The SharePoint survey app offers a template to easily as well as quickly build surveys with diverse question types (multiple choice, text fields, rating scales). On completion of the surveys, results are represented graphically with the facility of exporting to Excel. The promoted links app of SharePoint builds metro-style tiles along with a hover-over state in order to make room for additional text information. The advantage is that tiles offer increasing visual engagement as against a standard list, following the SP site’s theme.

4. Leveraging SP 2013 for surfacing intranet KPIs
With regular and convenient access to KPIs, employees can adjust their activities to accommodate the changing business demands. Enhanced visibility of performance metrics at an organizational level helps in greater employee collaboration. With the help of the Excel Web Access Web Part, data can be displayed from an Excel spreadsheet straightaway onto a SharePoint page. Granular control can be maintained by the author over the data that can be displayed from the spreadsheet and accessed. Once it surfaces on the SP page, the data can be made user-interactive.

5. Using SharePoint 2013 for creation of an intranet discussion list
Through intranet discussion lists, users can discuss specific topics with subject matter experts and their peers. It can be used for diverse purposes helping employees draw the benefits of a wide organizational network of resources and knowledge. Forum-style collaboration areas can be created with the help of SP Community Site Features. Using the discussion list, users can start discussions or ask questions. Moreover, categorization of the content can be done.

For creating an engaging and dynamic intranet CMS, SharePoint 2013 is loaded with all the requisite functionality. Great outcomes can be enjoyed by those who comprehend the changing intranet demands and leverage this new functionality.

We provide SharePoint application development services. If you would like to discuss with an expert SharePoint developer from our team, please get in touch with us at Mindfire Solutions.

The Problem with Leveraging SharePoint Records Management Services in Office365

The big question is, considering Office 365, where is Records Management fitting in? The old news is that SharePoint 2010 RM is not registering good performance within the e-discovery space. However, this is not considered a hindrance by most organizations.

SharePoint site migrationIt is a fact that IT is capable of pulling the objects which are essential to cater to the counsels’ expectations with respect to its own SOP or standard operating procedure, which generally incorporates a third party software. E-discovery has been performed by information technology more regularly and far longer than implementation of electronic retention by RM.

Automation is great
SharePoint 2010 RM services are capable of beautifully automating records declaration. They can be deployed successfully through mapping the records retention schedule across SharePoint 2010 RM.

The content types pertaining to the series can be holistically leveraged across site collections, followed by attachment of information policies. Then the indexing services to be run at particular intervals are recalculated.

The future hazards
Off-the-shelf SharePoint 2010 RM services are being trusted by corporate records programs. In an age where Records programs are entirely suspended or drastically squeezed, this is a quite inexpensive option for automated records declaration.

Since Office 365 lacks a related Records Center template, it is possible for the program to be vulnerable. The absence of automation can damage the program’s reputation. In case automated records declaration is leveraged in SharePoint also, the same might as well be in trouble.

What are the choices?
The necessities of the information architecture going beyond records policy amount to a textbook dilemma. Considering the case of information professionals, the design choice comes up with potentially long-term as well as negative connotations. In case an organization has automated records declaration through SP 2010 and its department of Information Technology is looking forward to embrace cloud services, it is a difficult choice. Deconstruction can be followed by manual records declaration implementation or the services of third party experts might be sought for devising something new.

Perhaps the best option in doing nothing in this particular case. First, something or the other will ultimately break. Secondly, this is a department that thinks forwardly and hence it cannot be visualized as restricting to one particular solution due to the lack of options. Thirdly, the employee turnover happens to be so high that the future administrator tends to lose all context pertaining to the architecture. Fourthly, retention schedules are subject to change and so unraveling of the Center for reconstruction in accordance with the new schedule is an enormous concern.

Manual records retention can also be considered as an option. However, it is an inferior one:

  • In-Place RM exists till today within Office 365, although it has been reduced to a mere status symbol. A one or a zero, which implies that either the record exists or it does not. In fact, the option for management of the same from the back-end is not available with the Administrator. The good news is that interaction with the end users is possible. On the other hand, the bad news is that until and unless the C-level stresses on and communicates its requirement, end users would definitely have to time for annual review. Destruction does not take place.
  • For devising out-of-the-box manual RM services within Office 365, the best way is the creation of a Records sub-site for each site collection. In every ways, the same folders should be used as are planned for the SP 2010 Records Center. The content types may be bypassed entirely and the same information policies may be used directly behind every folder.

Those objects which are required to be declared as records can be copied from the major site collection pages to the Records sub-site’s suitable folder. Since it is the case of a copy (wherein move is not available), the metadata changes should be noted and the peer should return to the original object for deleting it.

For initiation of a solution, the help of a third party may always be solicited. On one hand, it is being demonstrated that you need a compromise. Migration to the cloud cannot be hindered. On the other hand, you wish to make use of your cordial partnership with IT very meticulously at this point. Since Records is your project, it should not go to the backseat, being assigned with cleaning up legacy data.

On the positive side
In case you are going for RM in Office 365, the positive point is that it is convenient to edit retention periods. As discussions are held with each peer for planning of their folder structures, the maps need to be edited. It should be explained why and how folders pertaining to every site collection are a component of a bigger process-oriented schedule. Moreover, site permissions need to be unraveled for rebuilding them. After all, there is once more the opportunity to describe the mission as well as the significance of the program. As your IT department gears up for handling 2014 projects, it’s a great idea to seize the moment for RM in Office 365.

If you were to attempt a SharePoint site migration project to Office365, understanding of these choices and pros and cons would ensure a successful migration.

We provide SharePoint bespoke development services. If you would like to know more about the expertise of our SharePoint developers, please get in touch with us at Mindfire Solutions.