Blog

26 sep

Microsoft Ignite 2017 – part 1

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Today was the first day of Microsoft’s annual conference Ignite, which covers not only SharePoint and Office 365, but also Azure, Windows, Dynamics 365 and other Productivity related Microsoft Products. In this post I will summarize a couple of my personal key take-aways.

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06 aug

tuned4 wandelt voor de dieren tijdens de Vierdaagse in Nijmegen

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Na maanden van training was het eindelijk zover! Ik heb opnieuw de Nijmeegse Vierdaagse uitgelopen!
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11 jun

My Introduction to the great SharePoint Speaker Community at SPSNL

Speaking

Speaker BadgeAfter years and years and years of not daring, I finally had my moment yesterday. I was speaking at my first SharePoint Conference, the SharePoint Saturday Netherlands. An annual free event with yesterday about 290 attendees and 50 more SharePoint / Office365 enthusiasts from the sponsors and speakers.

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09 okt

@DIWUGnl Slides: #Nintex Workflows – how to keep them running and running and running

Geen onderdeel van een categorie, Nintex, Workflow No Response


In september I gave my first community presentation at the DIWUG (dutch information worker user group). My presentation was about everything that happens behind the doors when your SharePoint workflows are successful, and run for years. (not one single long running instance, but just a lot of workflows).

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02 apr

Het Limburgs ICT Event 2016 – Terugblik

End User Adoption, Event, Office 365 No Response

Het Limburgs ICT Event 2016Dankzij mijn vrienden bij Salves mocht ik vorige week aanwezig zijn op Het Limburgs ICT Event in Maastricht. Ten eerste mijn complimenten voor de goede organisatie. Niet alleen is Buitenplaats Vaeshartelt een schitterende locatie, maar ook de 3 plenaire sessies verzorgd door professionele sprekers zorgden voor een kwalitatief geslaagd event.

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01 mrt

Nieuwe uitdaging: tuned4

tuned4

Vanaf vandaag ga ik een nieuwe uitdaging aan in mijn carrière. Ik heb afscheid genomen van Portiva en heb een eigen bedrijf gestart: tuned4

Hiermee wil ik nogmaals Portiva heel erg bedanken voor alles wat ik in de afgelopen 4 ½ jaren heb mogen leren, en vooral voor al het vertrouwen in mij.

In juli 2011 was ik als medior consultant begonnen, bij een bedrijf met ca 10 medewerkers. Gezamenlijk hebben wij niet alleen het bedrijf laten groeien (naar 50 medewerkers), maar ook mijn kennis en skills.

Vandaag de dag neem ik afscheid als Lead Consultant en gecertificeerde trainer. Zonder Portiva was ik niet zo ver gekomen als dat ik nu ben.

Ik wens iedereen bij Portiva heel veel succes met de toekomst, en ik ga mij nu richten op mijn eigen bedrijf.

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09 jan

tuned4 nu ook Nintex Certified

Nintex, Workflow No Response

tuned4 heeft nu al 8 jaar ervaring met het implementeren van bedrijfsprocessen middels Workflows en digitale Formulieren. Voornamelijk gebaseerd op de Nintex Product Suite, maar ook met SharePoint Designer en InfoPath. Het automatiseren van bedrijfsprocessen kan veel voordelen opleveren. Zoals:

  • standaardisatie – Door processen te automatiseren zorgt het systeem ervoor dat altijd de zelfde stappen in de juiste volgorde worden doorlopen. Zo hoef jij je dus niet meer druk te maken, of het bestand wel de juiste goedkeuring (handtekening) heeft ontvangen.
  • eenvoudigheid – Door dat het systeem de flow automatisch doorloopt, hoeft de gebruiker geen kennis meer te hebben wat de stappen zijn en wij er allemaal betrokken is. Op het moment dat hij iets moet doen, ontvangt hij automatisch een notificatie vanuit het systeem. Als hij zijn eigen stap afhandelt, zorgt het systeem ervoor dat de volgende stap wordt opgestart.
  • overzicht – Door workflows in SharePoint of Office 365 te automatiseren, kan ieder gebruiker ten alle tijden inzicht krijgen in de status van de flow. Ook rapportages over aantallen en doorlooptijden zijn hierdoor mogelijk. Dit kan weer gebruikt worden voor verbeteringen aan het systeem.

Sinds eind december mag ik nu ook twee Nintex certificaten toevoegen aan mijn CV. Wilt u weten wat wij voor uw organisatie kunnen betekenen? Neem dan contact op.

Wilt u meer weten?

 

Nintex Workflow Pro – Creating Nintex Workflows and Forms

Nintex Workflow Pro

 

 

 

Nintex Workflow Admin – Managing Nintex Workflows and Forms

Nintex Workflow Admin

 

 

 

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04 okt

Using Azure Logic Apps to schedule SharePoint Workflows

Azure, Office 365, Workflow One Response

One of the missing features in Office 365 is the possibility to schedule SharePoint Workflows. This was one of the many features Nintex offered in their Workflow for SharePoint Product, which is not available in Office 365, yet.

It’s good to see that Nintex has it marked as planned in their UserVoice, but well that’s already for over a year. https://nintex.uservoice.com/forums/218291-3-nintex-workflow-for-office-365/suggestions/6352529-schedule-site-workflow

While they have a post on their community site showing a workaround using a workflow with a pause action, this option has some flaws. One of them being a long running workflow. https://community.nintex.com/community/tech-blog/blog/2014/09/23/scheduled-workflows-in-office-365

So I was looking for other solutions to this common problem. There is already tooling on the market for exactly this scenario, but well they cost and you are dependent on the vendor.

And then I remembered that Microsoft just introduced Azure Logic Apps: Workflows in Azure. This just seemed to bring the solution my problem.

Azure Logic Apps know triggers and actions. And there are already more than enough different connectors available, just to name a few:

Check the full list here: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/articles/app-service-logic-connectors-list/

But let’s get back to our problem of scheduling SharePoint Workflows:

By using the SharePoint Online Connector you can insert an item into a list. And let that trigger a regular List Workflow. This List Workflow can then fulfil the logic, or it can trigger a Site Workflow. By adding a recurrence trigger to your Logic App, you can configure it to run daily.

Daily means than once it has run, it will run 24 hours later again. If you want to specify the hour of the day it should run, you can edit the Recurrence Trigger in Code view and add a startTime

To get an overview of all possible parameters check: https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/azure/dn948511.aspx

You can also use functions within the actions, like I used the current date as the title of the list item to be created.

For a full list of possibilities check: https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/azure/dn948512.aspx

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27 jun

#SharePoint Custom Help

SharePoint One Response

I recently did a project for a customer, who actually uses a Dutch SharePoint. Since I didn’t know the Dutch words for all of the SharePoint functionalities, I really had to read where I was clicking.

This made me find a -for me new- feature in the list of Site Collection Features: “Custom Site Collection Help”.

I didn’t know what it was supposed to do, so I did some research… and now I’m thinking to myself, how could I not have known about this earlier: this Feature creates a new Library at Site Collection level, which is used for creating you own Custom Help within the SharePoint Help System.

This was also the moment when I realized that I had never clicked the SharePoint Help Icon before.

So I thought I take the time to figure out how the SharePoint Help works.

Well to start with, you have different Help Collections. By default you have a Help Collection for Foundation / SharePoint Server 2010 and for the different Office Web Apps. If you use Nintex Functionalities, they also introduce their own custom Help… and so on…

In your Site Collection Settings -> Help Settings, you can select which of these Help Collections are available for users.

Within each Help Collection, you have Help Categories. A Help Category has a language code assigned to it, so you can display the Help in the Language of the current user.

Within the Help Categories you have your Help Topics which are supported by Help Media Files.

This is the same way that your Site Collection Help Library is structured.
Help Collection -> Help Category -> Help Topic (with Help Media Files).

 

Now let’s get from theory to practice:

(1) Lets start by creating a new Help Collection

image

A Help Collection has a Name, a Title, a Local ID and a Product (I will explain the Product later).

(2) Within our Help Collection we will create a Help Category.

image

A Help Category also has a Name and a Title, and additionally a Context Key (I will also explain the Context Key later)

(3) If you want to use media files, like images in your Help Content, you first have to upload these to your SharePoint Help Library

image

(4) Now we have to write our first Help Topic. We can do this in Word. Just created a new Word Document and write your Help content in there. In order to add the image from the Help Library into your Document, you have to go to Insert –> Picture –> paste the url from the file in SharePoint –> and select Insert Link to File

image

Before you save the file, you have to configure Word to save it in utf-8 via File –> Options –> Advanced –> (at the bottom) Web Options –> Encoding

image

Now you can save your file as a Web Page (.htm; *.html).

(5) Back in SharePoint you can upload the html file that you’ve just created as a new Help Topic into your Help Category.

image

(6) The last step is the activation of the Help Collection. Therefor you have to go to Site Actions –> Site Settings –> Site Collection Administration –> Help Settings –> and select the checkbox for the Help Collection that you want to show.

(The Result)

My Help Collection now appears in the Help System.

image

a click on the Help Collection brings my Help Category.

image

a click on the Category brings the Help Topic.

image

and as last, a click on the Help Topic, brings up the Help Content (with the image inside)

image


What I didn’t explain so far is that you can also connect a Help Collection to a Product and a Help Category or Topic to a Context within a Product. Combined you can influence which Help Category is opened by default depending where are user is in the system.

In order to do this you have to add some javascript to the MasterPage, the Page Layout or directly into the Pages (using Content Editor WebPart) that you want to use it for.

navBarHelpOverrideKey = "[Product]_[ContextKey]"; 
or 
navBarHelpOverrideKey = "[Product]"; 

.csharpcode, .csharpcode pre
{
font-size: small;
color: black;
font-family: consolas, “Courier New”, courier, monospace;
background-color: #ffffff;
/*white-space: pre;*/
}
.csharpcode pre { margin: 0em; }
.csharpcode .rem { color: #008000; }
.csharpcode .kwrd { color: #0000ff; }
.csharpcode .str { color: #006080; }
.csharpcode .op { color: #0000c0; }
.csharpcode .preproc { color: #cc6633; }
.csharpcode .asp { background-color: #ffff00; }
.csharpcode .html { color: #800000; }
.csharpcode .attr { color: #ff0000; }
.csharpcode .alt
{
background-color: #f4f4f4;
width: 100%;
margin: 0em;
}
.csharpcode .lnum { color: #606060; }

The [Product] part of the key determines which Help Collection to show. The [ContextKey] part determines which Help Topic or Help Category within that Help Collection to point to.

In our Example this would look like this:

navBarHelpOverrideKey = "Kates Help Collection_Kates Category";
or
navBarHelpOverrideKey = "Kates Help Collection"; 

I think I’m going to use this functionality more often now… it is quite useful.

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27 jun

Soft Skills: Feedback

Soft Skills

About a month ago Portiva started a two year Program called “Portiva Samen Groeien” (Portiva growing together”). Therefore we started a partnership with Pam and Bernard from Carv Company. They are going to teach us Soft Skills related to the topics “Me”, “The Team” and “The Customer”.

It all started with us filling in a personality test of about 150 questions. During a 1-on-1 with Pam, we would talk about our results and think about our personal goals for these two years.

Next to these 1-on1 sessions we also have group sessions. The first group sessions was about the topic “Feedback” and here I would like to post what I learned about “Feedback”.

Let’s start with some definitions.
A compliment is an expression of praise. Just like saying “I like your hair”.
Criticism is the practice of judging something or the behaviour of someone according to standards/criteria. e.g. “The dutch soccer team did not play very well this year during European Championship”
Feedback ‘is a process in which information about the past or the present influences the same phenomenon in the present or future.’ (Wikipedia). Which means you give feedback about something in order to influence the future. For our context it is important that feedback should always be about behaviour. Feedback can be positive, if you want the same behaviour to happen again; or negative, if you want to change the behaviour.

During the sessions we learned some steps, in order to give feedback in a proper way:
If you follow these steps, you have a good chance of being heard, accepted and achieve your goal:

  1. Describe the behaviour you have seen in the other person. Describe it from an “I have seen” perspective.
  2. Ask the other person if she has also noticed this behaviour in herself, if she can recognize herself in your words. In the case that you do not find agreement at this step, then there is no point to continue.
  3. Describe how this behaviour affects you… which feelings you get from the other persons behaviour.
  4. Together, try to interpretate the situation and why you got there.
  5. Together, try to find a solution.

We got the assignment to give and ask for feedback from different people using these guidelines.

During this assignment I actually learned the most, about why the rules are important.
(1) Because you are describing in the “I have seen” perspective, the other person cannot argue with you. You have seen what you have seen.
(2) If you then ask the other person tell you if she recognices this behaviour in herself, this is the point where the other person hardly can say no. Even if she was not aware of this behaviour so far, but she will think about what you have seen, she will likely become aware of her behaviour. (of course with the assumption that the behaviour is really taking place)
(3) If you the explain which feelings you get from this behaviour (irritation, anger, happiness) you will make it personal on your side. This will be the moment why the other person will understand why you want to give the feedback and why it is so important for you to get this out.
(4-5) Trying to interpretate and finding reasons for the behaviour at this late stage in the conversation, makes the most sense. You both already agreed the the behaviour is taking place, and you have already made it personal and important. So both of you are neutral and will be open for the interpretation and solution.

So as a little summary:
give feedback on the behaviour of someone else, if it triggers strong feelings in you, and you want to influence the behaviour in the future.
follow the rules of giving feedback for it to be the most successful

One of the most important things I’ve learned, is to be open when you go into a feedback conversation. Do not try to figure out why the other person is behaving in a certain way, before the conversation. You will have time and space in your conversation for doing so together.

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