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28
Apr

SharePoint Saturday CPH – Tomorrow!!!

So the time has come for the next SharePoint Saturday event in Copenhagen Denmark. SharePoint Saturday gives SharePoint pro’s a free – full day – of technical and business experiences and expertise. Great stuff…

The weekend weather could be a challenge for the event, but hopefully there are a good bunch pf people that loves SharePoint more than the sun.

Get the session scehdule here: http://www.sharepointsaturday.org/copenhagen/Shared%20Documents/SPSCPH%20programme.pdf

You might also want to check the event website for free registration and details:

 http://www.sharepointsaturday.org/copenhagen

28
Apr

SharePoint’s impact on information management – a comment…

So… I went to the JBoye.com conference – SharePoint at work – in Copenhagen a few weeks back. Let me start by sending a “shout out” to the people behind these events. Again they succeeded in attracting an excellent crowd and foster a lively discussion and exchange of knowledge and experiences. Good work by the event staff – and great food!

During the last session about SharePoint and information management, I heard a few “slip’s” in regards to how SharePoint really works. These could lead to mistakes for companies using SharePoint today and others in the process of evaluating SharePoint. As I have gotten a few questions about this afterwards, I think a post on the topic are in place…

During the talk these statements were made, that I feel deserves a few more details….

STATEMENT #1:

“The difference between a SharePoint intranet and a SharePoint collaboration portal is paper thin.

I dont think this is true at all..!

Companies that have worked with both of these scenarios know that there is quite a few differences that needs to be taken into consideration. For the operations team there is a world of difference in the way these two solutions should be designed and managed.

The reason is, that the usage scenarios are completely different. The intranet should be designed to meet a Web Content Management / Publishing set of requirements, where there are only a low number of publishers (or contributors) but a large number of readers. Also the content are primarily HTML based, meaning that individual files are lightweight and can be cached progressively to strengthen performance – especially in a global implementation.

The Collaboration scenario will have an equal number of contributors and readers. You could argue that all users are really contributors, which means that the interactions that they will have with the application will be of a completely different sort than in the intranet scenario. Files are likely to be in different formats, where the ones we see most often are PDF’s, Microsoft Office files (pptx, docx, xslx etc.) and in some places media and drawings (images, autocad etc.)

For the operational staff these differences are HUGE! Many companies have already made their own experiences with poorly designed information architectures and logical architecture for SharePoint. The problem here is not SharePoint as a platform, but the fact that most people still do not get the difference – and how to deal with them.

 

STATEMENT #2:

“SharePoint stores document in the database as blobs… (a problem to scalability)”

This statement was followed by a few details to make the case that it is not posssible to scale SharePoint as a document repository, compared to other systems. The example given was the a 200Gb recommended limit = 200.000 documents.

Well – if you try to do the math – these documents must be quite big documents. In the standard configuration of SharePoint there is a soft limit for filesize  that will not allow documents at this size. The best explaination is that this is an “on stage” mis-calculation.. The worst is that the speaker tried to make a “scary image” with no reality attached to it.

It’s true that SharePoint – by default – stores documents in the database. The reason for doing so, is that it allows a lot of built-in management tools to move content around the SharePoint infrastructure, for more flexible management – without impact for the users. This is actually a good thing!

But – as database storage is often more expensive than file storage, and as the size of a content database should be limited for it maintenance reasons, there are scenarios where you would like to able to store large documents and files outside ofthe database. What the speaker failed to mention is that this (Remote BLOB Storage) is perfectly supported in SharePoint, and is a fairly common way to design a document intensive SharePoint infrastructure. If you want to learn more about this – check this out: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee748607.aspx

Actually – Using Remote BLOB Storage (RBS) can be used for setting up SharePoint with SQL Server Express (2008 R2) which is a very cost effective installation (License-wise). With this type of installation you can store files with a corpus of much more that the built-in 4Gb hard limit that applies if the files are stored inside the database. There are naturally both pros and cons for this solution – but now you know about it 🙂

STATEMENT #3:
“Records Management does not work because of content types…”

The statement here is, that records managers store records in series with retention policies. With SharePoint a rentention policy is attached through the content type of an item – and all items (documents, sites, data or whatever) must have a content type (and only one) in SharePoint.

This is correct. But in SharePoint you have a special type of document – called Document Sets – that has that exact functionality. A question from the crowd about Document Sets had the speaker explain that Document Sets will store each individual document with it’s own content type – and therefore the documents in the Document Set are stores with different types.

This is actually not the case, as a Document Set – when sent to a Records Management site (called Records Center  – where records are stored and managed based on the policies applied) – is saved as a ZIP file, containing all the relevant documents. The content type of the Document Set (You CAN have different types of Document Sets) will the decide what policy will be applied in the Record Center. So Document Set becomes Records Series and a common rentention policy can be applied to all files in the series.

From my point of view Content Types are actually providing a much more flexible and functional platform for Records Management, but you need to understand Content Types to get the full benefit.

 

Closing up…

The only conclusion you can have is that understanding SharePoint is difficult! As a platform, it serves multiple scenarios – more than any other platform. That gives a high complexitiy when planning and designing business solutions.

As SharePoint is the de facto standard in thousands of organizations, I would argue for spending more resources in understanding the capabilities of the platform, before bying another platform for Records Management – just as an example.

To make the business case you need the full picture! And this is where SharePoint continue to have challenges…

17
Apr

Danes dominating 2011 SharePoint Conference….?

There is no doubt, that SharePoint has a high penetration in the danish marketplace. The platform seems to fit the competence and “mood” of the danish people very well. It would be interesting to really understand why it is so.

Just a few days ago, Jon Hauge – SharePoint Product Manager in Denmark – posted new materials that confirms the commercial success of SharePoint in Denmark, related to the rest of the world. In the statistics of people that have signed up as delegates for the October SharePoint Conference in Anaheim, California, Denmark has the third largest number of delegates.

With #1 being the US and #2 being Canada, Denmark has – by far – the highest number of delegates (to date) outside North America. This is pretty amazing, thinking of the size of the marketplace!

A few years back, MS CEO Steve Ballmer said “My ambition is to make the whole world danish” at the Microsoft partner conference in Toronto. At the time he was referring to the Dynamics suite of products, but it looks like these words would fit quite well for SharePoint as well these days…

So why is it so? Well, it may have something to do with the work culture in the Nordics/Scandinavia. Denmark has been feeling the impact from the globalization over the last 20 years. This has emphasized the need to establish a culture of “knowledge performers” across industries in Denmark. SharePoint – as an “easy to implement” platform for collaboration and content management – is supporting this very well.

I think that Sweden – being #4 on the list – supports this theory.  

Obviously there are many factors that come into play, and the number of delegates for a conference is not a solid proofpoint of anything. But the numbers (again – to date) are pretty clear – the danes seems to be more interested in developing their SharePoint skills than others.

You can find the stats here: http://aflfha.bay.livefilestore.com/y1p1bQJbF4GARh1Gh3QNGMlNHThOEhJWy7CxznDHIfJawdiLtuvyJ1MwqmqpIGMz2vfVoKVBS_AWHukmE_dh_2II6yz2isFoj8n/spc_tilmeldinger_0414.png?psid=1

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