SharePoint and Office 365 have expanded my world in ways I never expected.

Not only have they given me tremendous career opportunities and personal growth, they’ve now also given me a chance of a lifetime to visit somewhere my Father could only dream of visiting and has left me feeling both humble and grateful.

Recently I was honoured to learn I would be travelling to Belgium and the Netherlands for several speaking engagements. This trip has special meaning to me…


D-Day landing 1944

My father comes from a large family of 11 brothers and sisters. His oldest brother, Roy, joined the Canadian army in July of 1941. My Uncle Roy served overseas in the UK, France, Germany, Belgium and Holland and took part in the liberation of Holland, Belgium and France.

In 1944-45, his military records show he was in the North West Europe Campaign which started with landings in Normandy and ended with the German military surrender of all German forces in Holland. In my uncle’s words “the liberation of Holland was much different than the others as the people of Holland were starving and in dire straits”. Canadians were seen as heroes and to this day there is a strong connection and respect between the people of Canada and the Netherlands.

My Uncle Roy returned home to Canada in June 1945 and has since passed away. In June of this year, his son (my cousin) attended the D-Day commemorative ceremonies in France on behalf of his father for the 73rd anniversary of the landing and the battle of Normandy. It was a tremendously proud and somber moment.

I am honoured to be able to visit both Belgium and the Netherlands after all of these years and feel grateful for the role my Uncle and many others played in their liberation. I hope to visit some of the historic places during my time there.



My Tech Travels and some Canadian History

by Joanne C KleinBlog post: 8 minute read
Date last verified: August 2017

I know what you’re thinking… hasn’t this topic been covered enough already Joanne? Please hear me out…I’ve been around the SharePoint space long enough to have read at least 30-40 different blog posts talking about why the list view threshold limit exists in the first place, correct ways to provision libraries so you don’t run into it and how you can set yourself up for success if you exceed it. Heck, I’ve even written one of them! 😉

Here is the official link from Microsoft on managing them (Manage large lists and libraries in SharePoint) and an important excerpt from it explaining where the number 5000 comes from:

To minimize database contention SQL Server, the back-end database for SharePoint, often uses row-level locking as a strategy to ensure accurate updates without adversely impacting other users who are accessing other rows. However, if a read or write database operation, such as a query, causes more than 5,000 rows to be locked at once, then it’s more efficient for SQL Server to temporarily lock the entire table until the database operation is completed.

NOTE: The actual number is not always 5,000, and can vary depending on your site, the amount of activity in the database, and your site’s configuration.

When the whole table is locked, it prevents other users from accessing the table. If this happens too often, then users will experience a degradation of system performance. Therefore, thresholds and limits are essential to help minimize the impact of resource-intensive database operations and balance the needs of all users.

I understand the technical reason behind the threshold limit but I still wasn’t satisfied with how well I understood the end-user experience. I suspect there are others out there who, like me, weren’t exactly sure what an end-user would see once the threshold limit was exceeded. Yes, I knew it would throw an error but I wanted to test out Microsoft’s recommendations in the link above to see if I could get around the limit if I designed a library using them. I not only wanted to document my observations but since my Office 365 tenants seem to be straddling both classic and modern worlds right now, I also wanted to capture some Modern library screenshots and document what the differences, if any, were between it and a Classic one. Continue reading “SharePoint Online List View Threshold”

SharePoint Online List View Threshold

2 Places for Office 365 Retention Policies (1)Blog Post: 1 minute read

Back in May 2017 I wrote a blog post titled Office 365: Certificate of Destruction where I talked about the requirement for a retention review process and a Certificate of Destruction for any content being disposed of within Office 365. This is a must-have requirement for any Information Management team I’ve worked with and, at the time, was a gap in the product.

I suggested an idea on the Uservoice channel called Certificate of destruction. It received 51 votes so clearly there were others feeling the same way.

Roll forward a couple of months and the product team has delivered! If you are fortunate enough to have an Enterprise E5 tenant subscription (this is NOT available for an E3 tenant) you will see a new option when defining a retention label to allow for disposition review.

AIP - Disposition Review

For an overview of this functionality, please refer to this link: Overview of disposition reviews.

For the Certificate of Destruction requirement I previously blogged about, you could export the reviewed content as a .csv and store it in a secure location.

The Security & Compliance center in Office 365 is a quickly changing area right now. If you are in the Information Management/Records Management space you should be encouraged by the capabilities being introduced in the product to address your requirements and should be working with a technical O365 resource who is keeping on top of the latest changes for your tenancy.

Thanks for reading.


Office 365 Retention: Disposition Reviews

by Joanne C Klein (3)Blog post: 1 minute read

A recent post by Jared Matfess, my friend and Office Servers and Services MVP, titled SharePoint Communication Sites for your Office 365 Adoption site, proposed building an O365 Adoption Portal as a use-case for the new SharePoint Communication site. What an excellent idea! If you haven’t read his post yet, head on over and check it out; I’ll be here waiting when you get back. 😉

I often talk about Office 365 adoption at speaking events and Jared’s idea got me thinking about something I espouse in my adoption talks and how well his idea applies to it. Thanks Jared!

What do I love about SharePoint Communication sites?

You can use the SharePoint Communication site template right out-of-the-box to build a beautiful, responsive website where the content authors can curate content from across your organization to share in a matter of minutes. It is definitely a “self-serve” model where focus can be placed on the content and its layout and not on the technical back-end building of the site.

Communication site template

Default SharePoint Communication Topic site – a great place to start!

What does this have to do with adoption?

I believe Office 365 adoption starts with learning the basics. Once users have them nailed down, more advanced features and capabilities can be layered on top of it. Examples of things that might fall into the basics are:

  • How to share your desktop via Skype
  • Where to find the SharePoint recycle bin and how to use it
  • How to share a document from either OneDrive for Business or SharePoint
  • How to organize a OneNote notebook
  • How to manage your calendar and task list in Outlook

I call this type of training the ‘tactical’ side of Office 365. Yes, it’s important and in fact critical for users to know how to use the tools and do these things, but true O365 adoption is so much more than this.

I believe it is extremely important to demonstrate the way the tools are being used in  your organization and how it has improved the way real work gets done. What better way to do this than using the new SharePoint Communication site in an O365 Adoption Portal as proposed in Jared’s blog?

How can this help with adoption?

By provisioning a SharePoint Communication site as an O365 Adoption Portal and sharing employee success stories front and centre on either the Hero web part and/or a News web part you give a glimpse of this success to the entire organization. Why does this matter? The employee success stories are an excellent way for users to see HOW the tools are effectively being used in your organization.

By including Yammer conversations around adoption/training activities right from the Yammer web part, users also have a great place to go for getting questions answered. This is where you can advertise upcoming Office 365 corporate training events, share training videos and materials and even link to the FastTrack resource centre to cover the more tactical knowledge I talked about earlier. All of this can be part of the one-stop-shop O365 Adoption Portal.


Office 365 adoption is more than the tactical know-how of using the tools within it. The idea of an O365 Adoption Portal layers employee success stories and  conversations around Office 365 on top of the skills employees have already learned and is a fantastic way to demonstrate the real business value of the tool. This is also an effective way to tie back to the business drivers for the Executive team as to why Office 365 was brought into the organization in the first place.

I plan on recommending an O365 Adoption Portal like this instead of the tactical Training Resource Centre I typically see in most organizations I work with. After all, adoption is so much more than training.

How do you drive Office 365 adoption in your organization? Have you/will you build a portal with adoption success stories, upcoming training events and conversations, etc. to help drive it? I’d love to know.

Thanks for reading.


O365 Adoption: Much more than training


I’m happy to announce I’ve been selected to speak at this year’s SharePoint Saturday event in Toronto on August 19. I’m looking forward to heading East to attend the event as both an attendee and a speaker, to meet new people and hang out with friends. It is sure to be a fantastic event from start to finish!

There’s a great lineup of sessions – check them out here.

In my session I’ll be talking about Information Management in an Office 365 Collaboration world.

Synopsis: What does Information Management and Data Governance mean within the context of Office 365? What are some tools we can use to manage it?

Organizations need to empower employees to  reap the benefits of new collaboration services in the digital workplace, but they can’t compromise the security, compliance and protection of  corporate assets while doing it. Capabilities are being rolled out to help organizations keep both managed and unmanaged content secure and compliant throughout and beyond O365.

This session covers setting organizations up for success from an Information Management perspective without hindering usage and adoption of O365. Discussion covers DLP, AIP, and Retention.

If this is something you’re trying to manage, come on by! I’d love to talk about it.

[Update – session added] I will also be sharing some practical adoption ideas for O365 in an additional session as well. If you have ideas to share or want to get some new ones, join me!

Registration details are HERE.

[Update August 20, 2017] Here are the links to my 2 presentations:

Thanks for coming to the event!


SPS Toronto August 2017

by Joanne C KleinBlog Post: 3 minute read

Based on the recent numbers shared during the SharePoint Virtual Summit in May 2017, the amount of data inside O365 is growing at a staggering rate (300% increase in the amount of content stored in SharePoint in the past year). For those heavily regulated organizations, Information Management teams within them are looking at these numbers with growing concern. Although it can seem like a daunting task to implement retention and protection for content across all O365 services, there is a measured approach you can take to start you down the path to success.

Remember… starting is way better than standing still. 🙂

The following is my measured approach to get started. Each organization will differ according to their own regulatory and compliance requirements; however, I believe they will all primarily follow the same steps.

The typical teams involved in the process:

  • Information Management (IM) Team – this team is responsible for defining the retention schedule and classification. The retention schedule typically include security, retention and handling controls (can it be shared externally, when should it be destroyed, can it be destroyed?).
  • Information Technology (IT) Team – this is the team that is responsible for understanding and configuring the Security & Compliance features in O365.
  • Change Management (CM) Team – this team communicates the change to the organization based on the impact to the end-user. They provide the business value and “What’s in it for me” answers.

Continue reading “O365 Data Governance and Retention: A Measured Approach”

O365 Data Governance and Retention: A Measured Approach

2 Places for Office 365 Retention PoliciesBlog post: 2 minute read

I’m working with the new Retention classification feature in O365 and was confused when I noticed there were 2 places in the Security and Compliance Center where a Retention policy could be created:

ClassificationSectionThe first one is by going to the Classifications section of the Security & Compliance Center, adding a label and publishing it to a policy. I’ve previously blogged about this here: Label Retention across O365. The screenshot below shows a Contract Policy that has been published using this method. It includes one label, Contract, that has been published to a specific O365 Group. From here, you can add additional labels to this policy or set up conditions to auto-apply it.


DataGovernanceSectionThe second way to create/publish a policy is by going to the Data governance section of the Security & Compliance Center, clicking Retention and clicking ‘Create‘. I’ve previously blogged about this here: Retention in O365. The new way. The screenshot below is what I see when I go to the Data governance…Retention section. It not only shows the ‘Joanne’s Preservation policy’ retention policy I’ve created in this Retention section but also the Contract Policy created via a label shown above. BOTH policies will show in this list regardless where it was created.

What’s the difference? Here’s what I’ve discovered…

Continue reading “O365 Retention Policies… labels optional”

O365 Retention Policies… labels optional

Where does the search title come from- (11)Blog post: 1 minute read.

I’m spending some time learning about the new unified Retention policies in Office 365. I really like the unified approach for retention and deletion policies as it is a “one-stop shop” to encompass all services across O365 including:

  • Exchange email
  • SharePoint sites
  • OneDrive accounts
  • Office 365 groups
  • Skype for Business
  • Exchange public folders

Over the past few years I’ve learned a lot about the Information Management discipline and how the new O365 collaboration services are disrupting their world in a big way. Information Management teams will need to translate their organization’s retention schedule into the capabilities of the Retention Labels/Policies feature in the Security & Compliance center in Office 365. Depending on the regulatory requirements of an organization, this task will range in complexity. Continue reading “Office 365: Certificate of Destruction”

Office 365: Certificate of Destruction

Where does the search title come from- (9)Blog post: 3 minute read.
[Update August 2017] Do Not Track Preview feature added to end of post**

Azure Information Protection(AIP) is a cloud-based solution that helps protect an organization’s documents and emails. AIP provides protection for your data in 3 main ways:

  • Classification and Labeling
    • allows you to classify data at time of creation/modification and stores a label embedded directly as metadata in files and email headers as clear text. This allows other services (Data Loss Prevention for example) to read the classification and take further action. Due to the fact the label is in clear text and stored with the document, it remains protected regardless of its location. Refer to my recent blog post: AIP Labels: Keep it Simple (or KISS).
  • Protection and Use Rights
    • optionally protects data by persistent encryption and allows only authorized users to access. This ensures data is protected at all times regardless of where its stored or with whom its shared. The protection technology uses Azure Rights Management (Azure RMS) in the cloud and Active Directory Azure Rights Management (AD RMS) on-premises.
  • Tracking and reporting
    • provides the ability for users to track their documents and revoke access if they suspect risky behaviours.

This blog post will address the last bullet above – document tracking. Continue reading “Tracking documents with Azure Information Protection”

Tracking documents with Azure Information Protection

Preservation Policies in O365 (3)Blog post: 3 minute read.

Retention. It’s not the most exciting topic in the world of Office 365, but it is a very important one. It’s the feature that ensures your organization is keeping things for as long as you should and, just as important, disposing of things as soon as you should. My current focus within Office 365 is to understand the new Retention features and how they work across the O365 collaboration services.

Retention OptionRetention policies are administered from the Security and Compliance Center in O365 within the Data governance section. Whether the policy has been defined via a published label (Label Retention across O365) or by creating one directly within this Retention section, they will all appear on this page. A Retention policy can include content from not only Exchange mailboxes, public folders, Skype conversations, SharePoint sites and OneDrive for Business content but also Office 365 Group mail and files. A retention policy is the only feature that can both retain and delete content across Office 365. As content is spread across these services, this is your “one-stop shop” for retention. A very good thing.

Here is the official Microsoft link describing what a retention policy is and when you might want to have one: Overview of retention policies.

Follow along for a quick walk-thru of adding a retention policy for an O365 Group’s site and the ‘magic’ behind the scenes. Continue reading “Retention in O365. The new way.”

Retention in O365. The new way.