Have you ever heard of Query Rules in SharePoint search? They’re used to conditionally promote important search results in SharePoint. I found a great use-case for them to help direct users to your corporate Office 365 Adoption/Training Center.

I talk about the importance of building an Office 365 Adoption Portal in a recent blog post O365 Adoption: Much more than training. Check it out if you want to learn more.

Note: I recommend you leverage already-prepared Microsoft support materials!

Most organizations have a technical training portal where tips and tricks, how-to articles, videos and links to training material for Office 365 as well as employee success stories are surfaced. I talk about this in O365 Adoption talks I give as a great way to increase adoption. Here is a sample of what a Training Portal may look like using the awesome new SharePoint Communication site template:

SharePoint Communication site sample


We want to drive users to the Training Center when they’re looking for help with any of the products within Office 365. In Office 365, there are numerous ways we could recommend to an end-user to quickly get to the Training Center. Here are some:

  • end-user can follow the site
  • end-user can bookmark the site
  • the site can be added as a permanent tile on the App Launcher
  • the site can be added as a Featured link on the SharePoint Home page

Even with all these options, some end-users will prefer to use search to find what they’re looking for. To assist with this, we can utilize some simple SharePoint features.

Continue reading “Use Query Rules for Office 365 Training Center”


Use Query Rules for Office 365 Training Center

A New Office 365 Role is Emerging (2)Blog post: 2 minute read

While sharing my Information Management/Data Governance presentation this past weekend at SharePoint Saturday Toronto I had a conversation with some attendees about a new role emerging on Office 365 teams, particularly in the medium to large business space. What is this role? It’s a hybrid of the traditional information Management/Records Management role, Compliance officer, Security officer and an O365 Tenant Administrator. I’m calling this role an Office 365 Information Manager. Depending on the size of the organization, this may be 1 person or a team of people.

Here is what I see as being the key responsibilities of this role within Office 365: Continue reading “The Office 365 Information Manager”

The Office 365 Information Manager

AIP Labels- Keep it Simple (or KISS) (1)Blog Post: 2 minute read

I often give Information Management/Data Protection presentations to discuss the new capabilities existing in Office 365 to help manage it. This typically covers Azure Information Protection (AIP), Data Loss Prevention (DLP) and the new Retention Labels. It has become clear to me that a new problem is starting to emerge in this space and for some reason, not many are talking about it. For several years, many of us have been grappling with the concept of “When to Use What Tool” in Office 365 and in fact, an entire school of thought has emerged to answer that question. Whitepapers, blog posts, infographics and presentations have been created covering this misunderstood, and often confusing, aspect of Office 365.

I believe once we get a handle on that issue, another one is hot on its heels. I call it the “When to Choose What Label” dilemma. For organizations scrambling to comply with the new regulatory requirements of GDPR for May 2018 or just needing to comply with their own corporate or industry regulations, this issue is far more concerning than the “When to Use What” question ever was simply due to the potential of some very real negative (financial) consequences if not done right. Let me explain. Continue reading “When to Choose What Label in Office 365 – the new dilemma!”

When to Choose What Label in Office 365 – the new dilemma!

Blog post: 3 minute read.

Whether an organization has been using SharePoint for a while or just starting down that road, many will still have large shared network drives holding some content that should rightfully belong in SharePoint. Migrating this content is a challenging and messy task; one that many of us are being asked to do. I am neck-deep in one of these migrations right now and have discovered there are expectations this process should be straightforward and therefore quick. In my experience, this is usually not the case.

For those unfamiliar with the notorious Lucille Ball skit pictured above, here is a link. I don’t mean to suggest wrapping chocolates is like SharePoint migrations, however the conveyer belt analogy partly holds true. The migration process is not a cookie-cutter, conveyer belt one even if people perceive it to be that way. Each migration is unique and requires up-front planning, preparation and therefore time to do it right. If you don’t do this, you run the risk of ending up with a SharePoint mess.

In this post I’ll share my 10 tips for getting thru these messy migrations in a more controlled manner – one that will allow your organization to realize the benefits of having this content stored in SharePoint as opposed to a network drive.

Applies to: SharePoint On-premises, SharePoint Online.

TLDR? I get it, here’s the list…

  1. Get buy-in from your Leadership team.
  2. Don’t just “lift and shift”.
  3. Get a lay of the land.
  4. Clean-up what’s there.
  5. Not everything belongs in SharePoint.
  6. Work with the team to build their new home.
  7. Put your Information Management/Architecture hat on.
  8. Know your migration options.
  9. Break old habits.
  10. Demonstrate ROI.

Continue reading “10 Tips for Navigating Shared Network Drive Migrations to SharePoint”

10 Tips for Navigating Shared Network Drive Migrations to SharePoint

SPSBelgiumI am happy to announce I have been accepted to speak at the 2017 SharePoint Saturday event in Brussels, Belgium on October 21. This will be my first trip to Belgium and I am really looking forward to experiencing the culture and meeting new people while I’m there.

The SharePoint Saturday event’s keynote, The Citizen Development Manifesto, will be delivered by Mike Fitzmaurice. The lineup of speakers and sessions looks fantastic – check out this link to get all the details (SharePoint Saturday Belgium sessions).

Travelling to Belgium will be an exciting, new travel adventure for me. I have a personal connection to both Belgium and the Netherlands – two places I will be visiting while in Europe. Read my blog post “My Tech Travels and some Canadian History“, to learn why I’m honoured to be able to visit both of these countries.

I will be presenting a session on Practical Adoption Strategies for Office 365

Synopsis: Office 365 is being rolled out worldwide to organizations of all sizes. Although each is unique and has different needs, they all have one need in common: high end-user adoption. One of the key aspects of Office 365 is collaboration and the numerous services deployed to support it. Ironically, although many of the features are built with ease of use in mind, if you’ve ever watched a first-time user of Office 365 you’ll soon realize it’s not always intuitive for end-users to know how it all works together. To realize the benefits of Office 365, we need to ensure it is fully adopted across the organization and second-nature in users’ day-to-day collaborative work processes. Although you can take the “wing it/organic” approach, you may not get the results you are hoping for.

What are some strategies and tactics you can use to stack the odds in your favour for a high degree of adoption in your organization? I’ve come up with a 3-step strategy and some specific tactics for each so your end-users can thrive in Office 365!

Click here to register now! If you’re at the event, make sure you find me and say hi! I’ll be a long way from home and would love to meet some new Belgian friends!

I will update this post with the link to my presentation after Saturday’s event.


SharePoint Saturday Belgium 2017