Monday, September 21, 2015

What External Users Cannot Do in Office 365 SharePoint Online

There are times in every organization when it becomes necessary to collaborate with partners, vendors, clients, and even employees who are outside of the company office. SharePoint is built for collaboration, so it is a “natural” for collaboration between users from within, as well as outside, the organization.

An ideal SharePoint collaboration solution would provide external users:

  • Easy, but secure, access to the files and information they need
  • The functionality to accomplish the task, or to collaborate on it effectively
  • The ability to communicate effectively and efficiently with other members of the team (internal and external users) in the collaboration environment
  • The capability of effectively using the full range of tools that the collaboration solution provides

A SharePoint extranet hosted on-premises makes the full range of SharePoint functionality available to each user, whether internal or external, according to the limitations set in place by the extranet administrator.
External users' capabilities aren't limited in SharePoint on-premises
The addition of Extranet Collaboration Manager for SharePoint (ExCM), a SharePoint add-on product by PremierPoint Solutions, enables streamlined, powerful, management of SharePoint extranet users, while simplifying access and use for extranet users. It is fully integrated into the SharePoint management interface, and its features are accessible through Site Settings.

These days, however, a growing number of organizations are moving away from SharePoint on premises to Office 365 SharePoint Online, a subscription-based online solution hosted in the cloud by Microsoft. Office 365 provides limited external collaboration capability through its External Sharing feature. But is this scaled-down extranet substitute, with its limited functionality, a worthy replacement for a full-featured extranet? Let’s think about that for a moment.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Are the Ramifications of In-place Office 365 External Sharing Easily Comprehendible?

Theimage external sharing feature of Office 365 fosters the concept of being able to share a document with an external user from wherever the document “lives” in Office 365 SharePoint.   In other words, the feature-set does not natively encourage the separation of “Intranet content” and “Extranet content”.  I call this approach “in-place external sharing”. 

[FYI, I define Intranet content as documents, etc. that are only appropriate for internal employees to be able to access ( for example, a pre-launch product marketing strategy document).  I define Extranet content as documents, etc. that both internal employees AND external non-employees can have access to (for example, a post-launch product reseller fact sheet)].

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Is On-Premises SharePoint Fading Away?

Or is that just what they'd LIKE you to believe?

The conference pep rallies, the executive speeches, the official videos, the company line – to hear Microsoft tell it (publicly), you’d think that SharePoint on-premises was a thing of the past – gone the way of XP, Vista, etc., and replaced by Office 365 SharePoint online.

But is it? Is SharePoint on-premises really finished?

Even though Microsoft wants you to believe the future of software is completely “cloudy” (with everything running as SaaS in the cloud), several industry articles published in the last couple of weeks have infused a healthy dose of skepticism (and caution) into the mix. Maybe…just maybe…we’re not getting the WHOLE story.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

In-Person vs. Live Online SharePoint Training: Which Is Best for You?

PremierPoint Solutions’ Marketing Director Don Beehler recently interviewed SharePoint trainer Robert Schley about what students should consider when evaluating in-person vs. live online training.

Beehler: What are the main differences between in-person and live online SharePoint training in terms of the experience students have?

Schley: With in-person training, there is student/trainer interaction during lunch and breaks, and during those times topics related to a class often come up and are discussed. Another difference is that with live online students, I can’t see their body language very well, so it’s hard to know students if students are really getting what I’m saying or if I need to elaborate or rephrase certain information. I also can’t tell if they are ignoring me or if they are silent because they understand what I’m telling them. In class we banter more and topics just naturally come up, including things they aren’t quite getting. The online students have a more limited opportunity to interact, so they have to be willing to speak up with their questions. Successful live online students are assertive and take responsibility for their training.