I am extremely happy to announce that my 14th Pluralsight course and probably last one of 2018 (as the conference season is picking up!) is published and this one is on how to migrate from on-premises SharePoint Server and file shares, to SharePoint Online in Office 365! We will cover things such as the SharePoint Migration Assessment Tool (SMAT), the SharePoint Migration Tool and of course, some PowerShell!

Migrating to Office 365 SharePoint Online

Here is the official description:

As organizations are moving to the cloud, IT professionals will be charged of migrating their file shares / SharePoint on-premises content in SharePoint Online. In this course, Migrating to Office 365 SharePoint Online, you will learn how to use different tools to successfully do your migration to SharePoint Online. First, you will learn how to analyze your current SharePoint Farm. Next, you will discover the different Microsoft tools that we can use to do our migration. Finally, you will explore other options for migrating to SharePoint Online. When you’re finished with this course, you will have the skills and knowledge of SharePoint Migrations needed to successfully migrate file shares and SharePoint sites to SharePoint Online.

You can find the course at: https://spvlad.com/MigrateToSPO

 

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It’s been a week since Microsoft Ignite 2018, and now that all my sessions have been posted, I wanted to share the three sessions I had presented over there, as well as a few resources!

Microsoft Ignite 2018

BRK3273 – From start to finish: How to create your modern SharePoint site provisioning solution

Speakers: Vlad Catrinescu, Drew Madelung

Creating modern SharePoint sites only takes a second but what if you want to customize or control that process? It can be a challenge to keep up with all the sites in an organization and can affect support and governance of a SharePoint environment. In this session, learn how to use Microsoft’s latest tools such as Site Designs, Site Scripts, PnP Site Provisioning, PowerApps and Flow to create a full site provisioning system with custom templates, custom branding, and easy approval before creation!

Ressources:
https://github.com/vladcatrinescu/Ignite-2018

BRK1109 – Three must-have workflows with Microsoft Flow

Speakers: Vlad Catrinescu 

Process automation is one of the most powerful benefits that SharePoint offers. In this session, we use Microsoft’s preferred workflow tool, Microsoft Flow, and look at three real-life examples of processes that you can automate by using Microsoft Flow.

Resources:
https://github.com/vladcatrinescu/Ignite-2018/blob/master/BRK1109/Flow%20Screenshots.docx?raw=true

THR2131 – Three PowerShell reports every Office 365 admin needs to have

Speakers: Vlad Catrinescu 

PowerShell not only gives administrators access to all the settings in Office 365, it makes it easy to connect to multiple services and gather information to create useful reports. In this short session, we look at three reports every Office 365 administrator needs to have in their toolbox!

Resources: https://github.com/vladcatrinescu/Ignite-2018

I hope you enjoy, and if there any questions, feel free to ask them over here!

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I was working on a project to automate Office 365 Group creation using Microsoft Flow and a custom system. When trying to convert the title from another system , which could include !@#$%^? and a bunch of other characters, I had to find a way to convert that string, into an URL friendly string with Microsoft Flow,  At the time of writing this blog, there was no regex support in Microsoft Flow, so we need to get a bit more creative!

How to convert string to URL friendly string with Microsoft Flow

One function that we have access to in Microsoft Flow, is the replace function. The Replace function allows you to replace a character by another one, in our case, we need to replace for example a hashtag (#) by nothing! While this is done one character at a time, you can also nest them, so while not pretty, you would have all the info in a single function. In the example below, I strip the Title dynamic property of the Trigger of the following characters: : % # * < > ? / ” @ & = / ; |) \ [ ] ~ { } ^ ! , .   

PS: The widget below has a “copy” button in the toolbar to make sure you copy it all!

I have created a quick Flow over here in a completely different system, just to show you the results! First, let’s create the simple Flow, three easy steps – Trigger – Create a Variable with the Friendly URL (Optional) – Update the Item

How to convert string to URL friendly string with Microsoft Flow

The value of the Variable is the formula we have above and remember to update it with the actual string that you want fixed! If you copy paste it from the blog, it will fix the Title property of the Trigger.

How to convert string to URL friendly string with Microsoft Flow

And here is the result:

How to convert string to URL friendly string with Microsoft Flow

As you see, my previous example did not take out the spaces, if you want a formula that takes out the spaces, you can use the following one!

Here is the result on the second item:

How to convert string to URL friendly string with Microsoft Flow

Leave a comment and don’t forget to like the Absolute SharePoint Blog Page   on Facebook and to follow me on Twitter here  for the latest news and technical articles on SharePoint.  I am also a Pluralsight author, and you can view all the courses I created on my author page.
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I have been blogging about learning resources for a while and one of the best ways to learn from the experts is to attend in person conferences! Since Valo Intranet is sponsoring , we have a few passes to give away! There are two contests going on,  the first one is to simply retweet this tweet by Valo Intranet!  The Second one is trough this blog post and gives you the chance to win three Full Access Conference Passes to SPTechCon Boston 2018! To enter you simply have to put your name and email (They will not be shared with any 3rd parties unless you’re the winner of the pass), and you can get bonus entries if you follow @vladcatrinescu on Twitter and like the Absolute SharePoint page on Facebook! Furthermore you can tweet about the giveaway every day and get 9 bonus entries for every time you tweet!

The prize only includes the conference pass and not any travel costs or anything else. Just the conference pass! Here is a small paragraph about the conference

SPTechCon: The SharePoint & Office 365 Conference is returning to Boston, MA, August 26 – 29, 2018! SPTechCon is a training, problem solving, and networking event for those who are working with SharePoint, OneDrive, and Office 365.  This includes the varied uses and approaches to managing SharePoint; On-Premises (2013 thru 2019), Hybrid Variations, and SharePoint Online.  Sessions at SPTechCon are presented by today’s most approachable and knowledgeable instructors.   Find solutions to your current environment and seek ways to continue to Work Smarter, Collaborate, and Increase Productivity!

Good Luck, and if you are at SPTechCon, make sure to visit me at the Valo Booth to say hello :)!

Click here to view this promotion.
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A bit late on the blog post compared to the other MVPs, but I am honored, humbled and excited to announce I have been renewed as an Office Apps and Services (previously known as Office Servers and Services) MVP for a fifth year in a row! This year is even a bit more special as I have also been awarded the Cloud and Datacenter Management MVP for the first time, for my contributions in the PowerShell community!

Thanks to Microsoft community for giving me the opportunity to share my knowledge, I will continue to share my passion for Office 365, SharePoint, Flow and of course PowerShell! Special mention to the whole team at Valo Intranet who keeps encouraging me to do more and enables me to give back to community as much as I do! All of the five MVPs on the team got renewed and I am looking forward to creating awesome content with all of them this upcoming year!

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Product overview by Vlad Catrinescu – requested by harmon.ie, but thoughts are my own.
All proceeds from this review will be used to fund my 100-mile Pelotonia bike ride to end cancer.

Information Overload is an increasing problem both in the workplace, and in life in general. Information Overload is when you are trying to deal with more information than you can process to make sensible decisions. The result is that you either delay making decisions, or that you make the wrong decisions. And let’s be honest, we all feel a kind of information overload because of all the sources of information we have today. Even if we talk only Office 365, we need to look for information in SharePoint, Outlook, Groups, Planner, Teams, etc! With it’s latest release called harmon.ie attempts to solve this problem and allow users to focus on work rather than tools. harmon.ie 10 delivers your SharePoint, OneDrive, and Teams documents, Outlook emails and calendar invites, plus Office 365 app notifications directly to your Outlook window… organized by topics, the way you think. The harmon.ie team gave me an early version of their newest release to test, so let’s see what the features are!

harmon.ie 10

Having reviewed harmon.ie in the past, I will focus only on the newest features in harmon.ie 10! If you want a tour of the functionality that was already there in the past, check out this review: Review of harmon.ie One: Improve SharePoint Collaboration.

Harmon.ie 10 Overview

Similar to previous harmon.ie Outlook clients, harmon.ie 10 is a sidebar on the right side of your Outlook window. What is new in this version, is that the harmon.ie team now uses the power of the Microsoft Graph to analyze all of the data in Office 365 that you have access to, and group those by different topics. Right now, in this preview version of harmon.ie 10 , the sidebar is not yet responsive, so as you can see , some of the topics are cut off, but the team told me it will be fixed before this becomes final.

harmon.ie 10

Once you clock on a certain topic, you get an overview of the number of items of each type, that are related to that certain topic. In the US Staffing example below, harmon.ie found one e-mail, one document and one calendar event!


Clicking on it again, you can see the different documents, events and e-mails relating to this topic, and clicking on them will automatically open them using the native Microsoft application assigned to it, or for documents, using Office Online and opening them directly from SharePoint, or OneDrive for Business.


Harmon.ie 10 also allows you to search for different topics to quickly access the different items associated with the topics that you’re interested in!


As mentioned previously, those features are added on top of the other great features included in the harmon.ie Outlook sidebar such as SharePoint integration ,easy drag and drop of documents and e-mails, and quick collaboration directly from Outlook.

Conclusion

You depend on Office 365 apps to get work done, but with the number of different apps, and different way of collaborating today, it’s tough to keep up with everything that is happening in your organization. The latest release of the harmon.ie sidebar for Outlook called harmon.ie 10 uses the Microsoft Graph, and machine learning to group information the way you think, by using topics, customers, project names, so you can work the way you think, and not by focusing on the different apps in Office 365.

I loved the idea of grouping information by topics, instead of apps and it made it a lot easier to find information proactively, rather than search for it in the different applications part of my tenant. The harmon.ie version I had is an early release beta, and while the “logic” functionality worked well, and it was able to find/group different items, the fact that the pane was not fully responsive made it hard sometimes so have full control over the topics window. This should not be too much of a big issue for customers as this should be fixed before it gets full released.

If you want to try this in your own tenant to see how it can help your users increase productivity and adoption of office 365, register for an early preview over here: https://pages.harmon.ie/harmonie10-early-access-registration.html or click the banner below!

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Is your Pluralsight subscription up for renewal soon or have you been waiting for a promotion to become a Pluralsight subscriber? Pluralsight, one of the best on-demand online training companies with over 6000 courses is currently having a promotion between now and and June 26th 2018 to save 100$ (33%) on a Pluralsight Subscription, and it even works on renewals!

Save 100$ (33%) on a Pluralsight Subscription

Whether you’re interested in learning SharePoint, Office 365, PowerShell, Angular or even Ethical Hacking and Security, 199$ for a year of unlimited learning is an amazing deal! Get the promotion now, click on the banner above or at the following link: https://spvlad.com/PSSave100June2018 ! Don’t wait too long as the deal ends on March 31st and it might not come back until the end of 2018!

This is the perfect way to start learning SharePoint, or to master every detail of it! Pluralsight recently released a SharePoint 2016 path as well to help people get started with SharePoint, and there are multiple advanced courses there as well!

Here are some of my courses!

Planning for SharePoint Server 2016: Physical Topology and Services

SharePoint Server 2016 brings a lot of changes to the Infrastructure Architecture, with new features such as MinRole and Microsoft Identity Manager. You’ll learn how to plan your SharePoint 2016 Infrastructure to answer your business needs.

Planning for SharePoint Server 2016: Logical Architecture and Integrations

This course will teach you how to plan your SharePoint 2016 logical architecture, SharePoint farm security, and how to plan for integration with Exchange Server 2016 and Project Server 2016.

Implementing a Hybrid SharePoint 2013/2016 Infrastructure

SharePoint hybrid infrastructures are gaining popularity, so SharePoint IT professionals need to prepare. You’ll learn how to configure a hybrid infrastructure in either SharePoint 2013 or SharePoint 2016 to allow your users to be more productive.

PowerShell for Office 365

Take your Office 365 Administrator skills further by learning to automate repetitive tasks as well as access advanced settings using the magic of PowerShell.

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If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you know that I am a huge fan of Pluralsight for their content, and that I also create courses with them! One of the amazing things that Pluralsight created in the last year is learning paths, here is how they define a learning path:

It can be tough to know where to start learning. Paths combine specific courses and tools into one experience to teach you any given skill from start to finish. Paths are aligned to an individual’s knowledge level, to help you and your team develop the right skills in the right order.

Basically, it’s hand-picked courses on a certain topic, that will allow you to master a skill! Not only that, but they also have the Skill IQ, which is a quick test that will evaluate you on the subjects covered in that path, and tell you exactly what your strong points, and weak points are! It’s really a new learning experience that I love!

Back to PowerShell! In the past month, Pluralsight has released two new learning paths for PowerShell! The first one is called Windows PowerShell: Essentials and as the name says, after you finish this path, you should have the knowledge to create basic PowerShell scripts, handle errors, and automating processes! The path is made up of 6 courses, for a total of 16 hours of content! I have listened to most of the courses, and believe me, even as someone who does PowerShell almost daily, you will learn something! You can find the path over here: https://spvlad.com/PSEssentials

Master PowerShell

The next path is a more advanced one and it’s called Windows PowerShell: Scripting and Toolmaking . This path is longer, with 30 hours of content split up in 13 courses, this path covers some advanced topics, but knowing them will really take your scripts, and productivity to the next level! Here are some of the topics covered:

  • Toolmaking fundamentals
  • Building advanced PowerShell functions and modules -Best practices for PowerShell usage
  • Reporting with PowerShell HTML
  • Debugging PowerShell in VS Code
  • Getting a grasp of PowerShell remoting fundamentals
  • Accessing SQL Server databases with PowerShell
  • Building PowerShell GUIs in WPF
  • Testing PowerShell with Pester
  • Utilizing Windows Workflows with PowerShell

Master PowerShell

As always, Pluralsight content is created by the best in the industry, and the list of Authors below should speak for itself!

Master PowerShell

Check out the paths at the following links, and make sure you share your experience in the comments!

 

Leave a comment and don’t forget to like the Absolute SharePoint Blog Page   on Facebook and to follow me on Twitter here  for the latest news and technical articles on SharePoint.  I am also a Pluralsight author, and you can view all the courses I created on my author page.
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Over the last decade, the Intranet was the location that employees opened every day (often because IT forced it as their home page) to find information about the latest company news, learn about new hires, and find information needed for their day to day job. While Intranets were what everyone was talking about 5-6 years ago, the focus has switched to more than the Intranet, we’re now talking about the Digital Workplace! With all the tools like Yammer, Microsoft Teams, and Team News in Office 365, does the intranet still have a role in Office 365?

What does an Intranet need to be relevant today?

As organizations are upgrading their Intranets either on-premises, or in the cloud, in my opinion, a modern Intranet needs to have the following functionalities. Screenshots from this blog are from an Intranet built with Valo Intranet, however the general principles apply to any Intranet that you build on Office 365.

    Accessible from everywhere, on every device

Work is not only done from the office anymore; modern workers need to have access to their Intranet from where ever they are, and on whatever device they might have with them at that moment. While the cloud makes the Accessible from everywhere part a lot easier, but there are still too many Intranets out there that do not work well on smaller devices such as mobile phones, or that links on the home page you need to hover over even on an iPad to access the tool underneath. (PS: Try hovering over a menu with an iPad, it doesn’t really work).

What does an Intranet need to be relevant in the Digital Workplace

Taking this further, the Intranet shouldn’t only be accessible via the browser, and needing to remember a URL, Intranets should be an app, directly on the user’s mobile device, making it as easy as possible for users to see what are the latest news inside the company, and to access the tools they need to do their job.

What does an Intranet need to be relevant in the Digital Workplace

    Integrating the full suite of Office 365 Applications

We all know that Office 365 provides us more choice than ever before in how we want to work, in order to be more productive. While five years ago, SharePoint used to be the hub of everything from managing tasks, documents, workflows, videos, social, and more, Microsoft is slowly creating dedicated apps that do each of those tasks better and offer more functionality. The downside is that users must now go to ten different applications every day to achieve their daily tasks, and stay up to date on everything, which is almost impossible. A modern Intranet should not only be a place for news and policies, it should embed the rest of your Office 365 tools where it makes sense. In the figure below, you can see Delve, Office 365 Video, and Yammer being integrated in on an Intranet home page.

What does an Intranet need to be relevant in the Digital Workplace

If the tool you use to book a meeting from is in PowerApps, and you want to refer to it from your Intranet, don’t just tell people to go to the PowerApps portal or their phone to book a meeting, embed that PowerApps directly inside an Intranet page, which allows users to do more in the Intranet, and allows you to provide extra content such as related documents, and guidelines as you can see in the example below.

What does an Intranet need to be relevant in the Digital Workplace

    Your Intranet should always have something new

Imagine going on Facebook, or on Instagram and not seeing anything new… you wouldn’t go there much would you? It’s the same thing for the intranet, you need to make sure that your intranet always has new content for your users to read. That doesn’t mean you need to invent a new policy every day, a successful Intranet aggregates content both from your internal, and external communications to bring it alive. Let’s look at some ideas!

Bring your Social Media Presence inside your intranet

Your Marketing & Communication team is probably spending multiple hours every week on making sure your social media identities such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram are up to date with the latest news about the company, promotions for clients and news about the industry. Employees don’t have time to go on 5 different social media networks to see what your company is sharing externally, so why not bring social media inside the Intranet? This will not only allow management to have a quick overview on what the organization is doing on social media, but it will also allow your employees, who are your biggest brand ambassadors, to quickly reshare and amplify it with their own audience.

What does an Intranet need to be relevant in the Digital Workplace

Industry News

Even if your organization only works from 9 to 5, news from your industry come out at every time of the day, and night. Why not share the news from the industry directly on the Intranet home page to always have interesting content for your employees to read? In the next figure, you can see an Intranet homepage with an Industry news webpart that pulls news automatically from an RSS feed.

What does an Intranet need to be relevant in the Digital Workplace

Internal Blogs

While internal blogging is not in every organization’s culture, it can provide a great way for employees to share best practices with each other and increase the collective knowledge of the company. One way to start using blogs internally, is to replace the internal company wide e-mails like “CEO’s week in review” by a blog! One of the goals of the Digital Workplace is to reduce the number of e-mails, and replacing executive newsletters that are originally sent by e-mails, with a blog that appears on the home page is a great way to achieve that goal!

What does an Intranet need to be relevant in the Digital Workplace

    Intranets should include collaboration as well

As employees are working on multiple teams, and projects, it’s becoming more and more complicated for them to keep up to date with all of their sites. Wouldn’t it be great if your Intranet also helped you collaborate easier? Since your intranet is the door to your Digital Workplace, which includes all your collaboration sites, it’s important for the intranet to provide a portal, or an easy way for users to access their collaboration sites as well.

What does an Intranet need to be relevant in the Digital Workplace

    Transparency and two-way communications

Intranets are not only one-way communication streets anymore, and, like Facebook, users want to be able to like News, comment on them and give their opinions on the news inside your Intranet! Not only this will increase employee happiness, but it will also make employees want to come back later on to that same news, to see what their colleagues think as well!

What does an Intranet need to be relevant in the Digital Workplace

Another idea for users to participate, and not only consume your intranet is an ideation / idea management tool inside your Intranet. Instead of submitting your ideas by e-mail, where they are hidden from other employees, you can create a system where everyone can enter ideas, and view, comment, and like ideas by other people inside the company.

By having an open Idea Management system, you allow employees to view the progress of their ideas, as well as allow other employees to add comments on certain ideas with their own experience, and thoughts, enabling that co-innovation inside the company by using all your resources!

What does an Intranet need to be relevant in the Digital Workplace

Conclusion

With the rise of the Digital Workplace buzzword, people do not talk about Intranets as much as they did, even if they are still a critical tool inside your digital workplace toolkit. A well-built intranet that integrates your Digital Workplace toolkit, is accessible from everywhere, and allows employees to contribute will become the front door to your Digital Workplace toolkit, and users will go to it multiple times per day to see the latest news, events and quickly access their collaboration sites.

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While doing a workshop about PowerShell for Office 365 recently, and working with the Exchange Online PowerShell Module, which is needed to authenticate to Exchange Online with MFA , a lot of my students have hit the following error: Application cannot be started. Contact the application vendor.

Exchange Online PowerShell Module Error: Application Cannot be Started

Even if the Details tab don’t say much, this is an easy fix! This is happening only when downloading the Exchange Online PowerShell Module by using Chrome or Firefox, so the fix is simple: Use Internet Explorer to download the Exchange Online PowerShell Module! That’s it!

PS: If you want to know how to connect to all Office 365 using Multi Factor Authentication, check out this blog: Connecting to all Office 365 Services with PowerShell and Multi Factor Authentication

Leave a comment and don’t forget to like the Absolute SharePoint Blog Page   on Facebook and to follow me on Twitter here  for the latest news and technical articles on SharePoint.  I am also a Pluralsight author, and you can view all the courses I created on my author page.
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