#MVPbuzzChat episode 54

I sat down with Christian Buckley (@buckleyplanet) recently to record an episode of #MVPbuzzChat. We had a great conversation about enterprise Office 365 and SharePoint adoption and governance. Topics covered include:

  • Growth in end-user adoption content and sessions in the SharePoint & Office 365 space
  • History of SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities
  • Impact and growth of female-led technology sessions
  • Metrics analysis trends for SharePoint and Office 365, including the challenge in defining what strong adoption in organic OneDrive implementations looks like
  • The challenge justifying technology’s value to the organization (and how technology utilization and value differ)
  • How to connect with your end-users to drive interest and engagement
  • How innovation games can help you gather requirements, build consensus, and drive strategic discussions with your end-users and decision makers
  • Why companies should adopt a practical model for SharePoint and Office 365 governance that reflects your organizational culture and industry you’re working in
  • The great content we have available on REgarding 365, including The Coffee Chat on 365 Adoption podcast miniseries that Daniel Glenn and I recently recorded

Enjoy the #MVPbuzzChat!

SPSNYC 2019: Don’t miss it!

I’m excited to be heading back to NYC on July 27, 2019 to speak at SharePoint Saturday New York City. I’ll be presenting When cookie-cutter SharePoint user adoption doesn’t cut it. This session examines the pitfalls of SharePoint and Office 365 user adoption campaigns and identifies the key cultural and strategic challenges we all face in driving user engagement. We’ll discuss why great user adoption ideas can work outrageously well in one organization and fail at another, and session attendees will learn how to build a user adoption continuum that reflects their users, company culture, and business goals.

Registration for SharePoint Saturday New York City is already open. Check out the event schedule for details on all the sessions. Please plan to join us – it promises to be a great event!

It’s Microsoft MVP renewal day!

2019-2020 MVPI’m excited, honored, and grateful to be renewed for another year as a Microsoft Office Apps & Services MVP! The MVP award is given by Microsoft as an acknowledgement of technical and community leadership. I received my initial MVP award in February 2018 and am so excited to be renewed for another year!

The Office 365 community is such a gift. The relationships I’ve built (both inside and outside Microsoft) have helped me grow my skill set, expand my career, and build lifelong friendships. THANK YOU, Microsoft, for the continued honor. I’m looking forward to another great year!

 

SharePoint home sites and hubs: A primer

christian-stahl-313383-unsplash.jpgIn May 2019, Microsoft announced SharePoint home sites, the new landing site for your intelligent intranet. Home sites are designed to bring together personalized and organizational news, events, conversations, content, and video on a single SharePoint communications site.

Your home site will be your Office 365 home base. Your tenant admin can configure your Office 365 navigation bar so users are taken to your home site when they click on your company logo. And when your mobile users click on the yet-to-be-released “home” button in their SharePoint mobile app, they’ll be taken to your home site.

As the new Office 365 landing site for your organization, home sites are designed to engage users and highlight your brand and organizational messaging. And with megamenu navigation, you can use your home site to link to your key internal SharePoint sites and hubs.

You’ll be limited to one home site per tenant. Your administrator will need to use PowerShell to elevate your SharePoint communications site of choice to be your home site. The PowerShell elevation command will:

  • Make the site an official organizational news site
  • Set the site search scope to be tenant-wide
  • Enable 1-click site access via the SharePoint mobile app home button
  • Connect the home site to your SharePoint start page

So what’s the difference between a home site and a hub?

Your SharePoint home site is your organization’s Office 365 “home.” By design, you’ll only be allowed one home site in your Office 365 tenant. And the home site must be a SharePoint communications site.

Hubs provide a familial, logical tie between SharePoint sites. With hubs, you can unify SharePoint site branding, provide a unified navigation experience, and roll up news and events in a centralized display. Hubs enhance content discovery by tying sites together and enabling browsing. Hubs are also flexible, easing the work involved in re-branding sites as org structures change and evolve. Simply assign your site to a new hub and your site’s branding is automatically updated.

While Microsoft has controlled the number of hubs that are allowed per Office 365 tenant, the limits continue to increase. When hubs were first released in May 2018, there was a limit of 50 hubs per Office 365 tenant. In August 2018, Microsoft increased the limit to 100 hubs per tenant. In May 2019, Microsoft announced another increase–this time to a maximum of 2,000 hubs per tenant! No release date has been provided for this 2,000 hub limit, so stay tuned for more information. In the meantime, we’re all living with the current 100 hub limit.

Hubs can be built on a variety of types of SharePoint sites, including communications sites, team sites, or classic sites.

Can a home site be a hub?

Yes. You can use a hub as your Office 365 home site, but only if the hub is a SharePoint communications site.

So where do you start?

Hubs are available in SharePoint Online today. Microsoft recommends we “hub before we sub” (use hubs to connect your modern SharePoint sites instead of building classic SharePoint sub-sites).

While home site functionality has been announced, no formal release date has been set. Your best approach in the near-term is to start designing and laying the framework for your organizational information architecture, including buildout of your hub framework. Once home sites are released, you’ll be able to synchronize your approach and designate your organizational home site.

Learn more

#SPC19 highlights

SharePoint Conference 2019 was held in Las Vegas May 21-23, 2019. What an event! From new product announcements to great technical and Diversity & Inclusion sessions, the conference offered the opportunity to learn about SharePoint and Office 365, make new connections, and catch up with community colleagues and friends. There’s far too much to recount in a single recap blog post, but here are my top 5 takeaways from the conference:

1. New product announcements & roadmap updates

The SharePoint product team announced an array of new features and capabilities at the event, including:

  • SharePoint home sites, a new Office 365 landing site for your company’s intelligent intranet. SharePoint home sites (built on SharePoint Communications sites) will enable personalized organizational news alongside videos, conversations, and content in an engaging site experience.
  • New organizational search experience delivered via Microsoft Search.
  • Multi-geo capabilities for SharePoint and Office 365 Groups.
  • A massive increase to SharePoint hub site limits (going from 100 to 2,000 hubs allowed per Office 365 tenant).
  • Ability to leverage PowerApps to create custom document library forms.

For more information on key news announcements and roadmap updates, check out Susan Hanley’s curated set of roadmap photos: ow.ly/dhuP50uoNka.

2. Debut of Microsoft 365 learning pathways

Microsoft announced availability of the Microsoft 365 learning pathways beta preview at SPC19. Learning pathways is a ready-to-implement, open source training solution designed to deliver on-demand Microsoft training content for your end-users. With learning pathways, you can quickly and easily stand up a new self-service training site for Microsoft 365 or surface training content via a customizable web part. Learning pathways leverages Microsoft’s support.office.com training resources to keep your Microsoft 365 training content up-to-date. You can augment Microsoft’s content with your own, or with materials provided by training partners.

Learning pathways is available for Microsoft 365 users, and must be installed in your Office 365 tenant. Once installed and provisioned, learning pathways offers:

  • A customizable SharePoint Online training portal. Built on a SharePoint Communications Site, the site provides an out-of-the-box self-service training site for Microsoft 365
  • A live connection to Microsoft’s online catalog of curated end-user training (both articles & videos)
  • A customizable Microsoft 365 learning pathways web part, which you can use to expose training content on your pre-existing SharePoint Online sites
  • Ability to create targeted training playlists for your users

3. Diversity & Inclusion track

I had the privilege of delivering 2 sessions in the Diversity & Inclusion SPC19 track: Executive presence and personal branding for women in technology and Building a diverse tech community (co-presented with Wes Preston).

The Executive presence and personal branding for women in technology session was powerful. Liz Sundet and Joanne Klein joined me on stage, and the three of us shared our stories and perspectives on the unique opportunities and challenges we’ve faced in tech. Our discussion focused on 3 key areas:

  • Building a strong leadership personal brand
  • Scales of dissimilarity: Why women are often judged differently than men
  • Leadership presence, mindfulness, and inclusion

You know you’ve made an impact when session attendees don’t want to leave the room at the close of the session. We took a group picture, stayed and chatted, and had a powerful moment of mutual appreciation. It was fantastic!

A huge note of thanks to Microsoft and all the sung (and unsung) heroes of the Diversity & Inclusion track. I appreciate your dedication in bringing these unique topics and discussions to the main stage of SPC19!

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4. Hub sites extravaganza

With the announcement of SharePoint home sites (a new Office 365 landing site for your company’s intelligent intranet), Microsoft shone a light on our process for utilizing, governing, and managing our myriad of internal SharePoint sites. This enthusiasm carried over into my session, Determining when to use SharePoint hub sites.

The session had a ton of positive energy! We barely had standing room left, with 180+ people packed into the room during the last session slot of the day. An overwhelming majority of the attendees hadn’t started using hub sites yet, but wanted to learn how to leverage hubs and how hub sites would impact the new home site feature. I gave an introduction to hub sites, shared ideas on how to govern and manage hub sites for your enterprise, and answered a wide range of attendee questions. We even had a member of the product team on-hand (an unexpected surprise!). Thanks to everyone who attended and asked questions. It was an incredibly engaging session!

5. Community, community, community

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, this SharePoint/Office 365 community is a gift. I’m fortunate to call so many of these community members friends. The time spent getting coffee, visiting by the pool, having conversations about newly-announced features, etc. was invaluable. Thank you all for being an awesome community family!

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The Coffee Chat on 365 Adoption (episode 4)

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Daniel Glenn and I recently recorded episode 4 in our podcast miniseries The Coffee Chat on 365 Adoption. The user adoption Q&A episode focuses on answering listener questions, including:

  • How do I work with (or around) executives that don’t support our SharePoint/Office 365 efforts?
  • How do I build a user adoption strategy when my own leader doesn’t want to support it as an ongoing service offering?
  • How do we meld user adoption programs after a merger or acquisition?
  • How can we encourage geographically-dispersed staff to engage in local Office 365 community events?
  • How do we balance user adoption needs (e.g. speed of delivering new Office 365 groups) with the need for governance and rigor?

We hope you enjoy episode 4!

Want to know more about our podcast miniseries?
The Coffee Chat on 365 Adoption explores the challenge of driving Office 365 adoption at the organizational level. In episode 1, we dispelled the idea that adoption is an urban myth. We explained why the traditional “build it and they will come” IT model doesn’t work and outlined why organizations must invest in user adoption as an ongoing service.

Episode 2 focused on organizing and facilitating user adoption events. We shared creative ideas for hosting internal user group events, including virtual or in-person office hours, “lightning round” demos, and hack-a-thons (aka innovation day events). We also discussed the importance of making these events your own by tying them to your company culture.

Episode 3 focuses on strategies for building user adoption campaigns to support Office 365 product rollouts. We discuss how user personas can help you identify product use cases and key product features, share practical ideas for generating user excitement, and talk about the importance of running Office 365 pilot programs to road-test your communications and training plans.

Previous posts in this series:

SharePoint Fest DC – May 2019

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It’s almost time for SharePoint Fest DC 2019! I’m excited to head back to Washington DC in a couple of weeks for this year’s conference. It’ll be a busy week; I’ll be delivering two workshops, three sessions, and recording a podcast episode with Daniel Glenn. If you haven’t registered for SharePoint Fest DC yet, don’t miss your chance. You can even save $100 on your registration with discount code Haase100.

Here’s a list of the workshops and sessions I’ll be delivering:

  • Driving adoption of Office 365: From idea to implementation (half-day workshop)
  • Drive Digital Workplace Improvements with Innovation Games (full-day workshop with Liz Sundet)
  • Keep it Going! Driving Office 365 User Adoption as a Service
  • Next-gen user adoption: Leveraging hack-a-thons to drive creative Office 365 engagement
  • The Peter Pan complex: Determining when a SharePoint site should grow into a hub site

For more information (including abstracts), check out the conference agenda.

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Daniel Glenn and I will also be recording episode 4 of our Office 365 adoption podcast, Your User Adoption Questions Answered, from 8:00-9:00am on Thursday, May 2nd. We’ll be answering your user adoption questions during this episode. Go to https://go.re365.show/CoffeeChatQ to submit your questions–or plan to attend our podcast recording live at the conference.

SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities: A community to love

20190406_085439We kicked off our 21st SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities event this morning! We’re fortunate to have such a great assortment of attendees, speakers, sponsors, and volunteers come together to make the event so special. Today’s event was one of our largest, with:

  • 40 sessions
  • 33 speakers
  • 8 tracks (Office 365, Flow, Power Platform, Teams, Dev, IT Pro, General, ISV)
  • 600+ registered attendees

Check out event pics below. And stay tuned for information on our Fall 2019 event (date TBD).

The Coffee Chat on 365 Adoption (episode 3)

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Daniel Glenn and I are releasing episode 3 in our podcast miniseries The Coffee Chat on 365 Adoption! The episode, titled User Adoption Planning for Office 365 Pilots & Rollouts, was recorded at the 2019 MVP Summit. It focuses on strategies for building user adoption campaigns to support Office 365 product rollouts. We discuss how user personas can help you identify product use cases and key product features, share practical ideas for generating user excitement, and talk about the importance of running Office 365 pilot programs to road-test your communications and training plans.

We hope you enjoy episode 3!

Have a user adoption question?
During our next episode, we’ll be answering user adoption questions. Want to have your question featured on the episode? Submit it now at https://go.re365.show/CoffeeChatQ

Want to know more about our podcast miniseries?
The Coffee Chat on 365 Adoption explores the challenge of driving Office 365 adoption at the organizational level. In episode 1, we dispelled the idea that adoption is an urban myth. We explained why the traditional “build it and they will come” IT model doesn’t work and outlined why organizations must invest in user adoption as an ongoing service.

Episode 2 focused on organizing and facilitating user adoption events. We shared creative ideas for hosting internal user group events, including virtual or in-person office hours, “lightning round” demos, and hack-a-thons (aka innovation day events). We also discussed the importance of making these events your own by tying them to your company culture.

Previous posts in this series:

Build it with Microsoft Flow: Get a notification when your manager posts in Yammer

yammerWe’re all busy at work, and staying up-to-date on new posts in our favorite Yammer groups isn’t easy. Fortunately, Microsoft Flow can help! I previously shared a blog post on using Flow to monitor Yammer and send email notifications when a specific “watch word” was used. Now let’s take look at another common scenario: setting up Flow to send you an email each time your manager posts in Yammer.

Here’s an overview of what the flow looks like:

Yammer manager flow-01

And here are the steps to re-create the flow:

  1. Create a new flow from blank (aka not from a template).
  2. Add the trigger When there is a new message in a group.
  3. In the Group Id field, select the name of the Yammer group you want to monitor.
    Note: This flow doesn’t monitor multiple Yammer groups at once; it triggers to run when a new message is posted in a single Yammer group. If you’d like to run this flow across multiple Yammer groups, you’ll need to copy your completed flow and create a new flow for each group you want to monitor. The process for copying your finished flow is provided in step 22. 
  4. In the Network Id field, select the name of your Yammer network.
  5. Add the Get user details action. In the User ID field, add the Message List Message Sender field. (This action pulls the email address for the user who posted the Yammer message.)
  6. Add the Get my profile action. (This action obtains your email address and identifying information. You’ll need this to pull your manager’s information and configure your email notification later in the flow.)
  7. Add the Get manager action. In the User field, insert the dynamic content User Principal Name. (This action obtains your manager’s email address.)
  8. Add the Compose action. You’ll be using this action to translate your manager’s email address into all lowercase letters. Odd I know, but this ensure you don’t have any capitalization-based mismatches in your flow.
  9. Place your cursor in the Compose action Inputs field.
  10. Click the Expression option in the config box.
  11. Under the String functions header, choose toLower(text). If you don’t see the toLower option, click the See more link in the String functions header bar.
    Yammer manager flow-02
  12. Click the Add dynamic content option in the config box.
  13. Under the Get manager header, choose Mail.
    Yammer manager flow-03
  14. Click the blue OK button to save your expression.
  15. Add a Condition action.
  16. In the Value box, add the Yammer User Email field.
  17. In the Choose a value box, add Output.
  18. Add a Send an email action in the If yes box.
  19. In the To field of your email, insert the Get My Profile Mail dynamic content. You may need to select “See more” under the Get my profile header to see the Mail content.
  20. Add additional details for your notification (e.g. subject line, email verbiage, etc.).
  21. Save and test your flow.
  22. Optional. If you’d like to set up this flow for a second Yammer group, follow these additional steps:
    1. Go to the information page for your flow.
    2. Click on the More dropdown and select Save As.
      Yammer manager flow-04
    3. Specify a name for your copied flow and click Save.
    4. Return to your My Flows page and edit your newly-copied flow. Update the Yammer group identified in your trigger, save the flow, and turn on the flow.
    5. Repeat step 22 for each Yammer group you want to monitor.

That’s it! I’ll now receive an email each time my manager creates a Yammer post in my Microsoft Flow Yammer group.

Sharing your new flow:
Now that you’ve created your flow, it’s time to think about sharing it with others in your organization.