Why partner with a SharePoint Specialist

As you’ll know, SharePoint is an incredibly powerful and flexible application. In order to achieve the solutions that your customer needs, you need to have the right expertise and skills in-house, and sometimes that may not be possible. So, why should you look to partner with a SharePoint Specialist

Do you know your ‘Central Administration Site’ from your ‘Members Group’?

Knowledge.

Every MSP fundamentally specialises in a specific service(s) and can’t be expected to know everything. So when a SharePoint opportunity is presented, it’s important that you’re able to understand the requirements and provide a solution that fits. You can’t do this if you don’t have the SharePoint knowledge. By working with a SharePoint specialist, this knowledge gap can be filled and business can be won.

Opening up new opportunities

As managed service providers, we’re always seeking new in-house expertise so that we can unlock new opportunities. But that is easier said than done. To acquire a new expertise, you need to identify the right person(s) that you feel could have the pre-requisite skills, allow them to train and sit exams, and then finally identify your new business proposition. All of this can take months.

Partnering with a SharePoint specialist, whether through a white-label or an official partnership, will enable you to market your partners propositions and services to your customers, showcase the services you can now offer, which will ultimately give you a leading edge in the market.

Additional Revenues

There’s nothing worse than having to let an opportunity pass you by because you don’t have the required knowledge. SharePoint is becoming increasingly popular with businesses – 2018 saw a 19% world-wide rise in the use of SharePoint Online – so can you afford to keep letting the opportunities slip away?

Working with a partner does not mean that you’ll lose out on any potential revenue streams, it’s very much to the contrary. With a partnership agreement in place, not only can you meet the needs and satisfy a customer – be it existing or new – but you could receive a percentage of the invoiced cost, for effectively minimal labour.

You can’t afford to get it wrong

Like many other IT services, you can’t afford to get SharePoint wrong. The development of a new site requires a well thought-out plan, even before a single file is uploaded. A process needs to be gone through, which identifies how a new SharePoint site needs to be set up, its navigation, structure, security groups and external sharing. Even ignoring one step of this process can lead a project to fail and risks damaging the reputation of your business. By working with a SharePoint specialist, they can work with your customer to ensure that a site is built using the right tools and processes, whilst maintaining your reputation with the customer.

The team at Valto have years of experience with SharePoint and have worked on hundreds of projects, every one of them unique. They understand the processes that need to be followed, the terminology and all the best practices.

Valto have been working with partners for multiple years and have helped them win new opportunities and customers which might have been previously lost, due to the lack of SharePoint expertise.

If you’re interested in partnering with Valto contact us.

Microsoft 365, SharePoint, Teams & Azure Upcoming Changes

Microsoft recently held their annual tech and development conference at Orlando Florida and there are a lot of exciting changes coming to the Microsoft platforms. We’ve summarised a few of the key developments in our blog post and what we’re most excited about.

SharePoint Online

Intranet

There are a huge number of features coming to the platform these range from functionality, branding and mobile improvements. A few of the upcoming changes can be found below.

  • Branding – Improvements to the layout options including the ability to add a header, footer and mega menu.
  • Personalised Web Parts – That will show information tailored to that user rather than generic information for the whole company.
  • New Web Parts – Countdown Timer, Events Roll Up
  • Improved Mobile Capabilities – Accessing Documents, News and Information from the SharePoint application

OneDrive Mac

Microsoft’s fantastic OneDrive on Demand tool allowing for users to sync live copies of SharePoint Document libraries to their PC without consuming storage (effectively replacing file shares) is now available in Beta for the Mac platform. This has been one of the most requested features for Macs for Office 365 and will be a huge step forward for Microsoft and Macs.

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft are investing heavily into their Microsoft Teams platform. Here at Valto we’re huge fans of Microsoft Teams and have been deploying this for many organisations and applying our best practices and governance. A few of the key announcements can be found below.

Background Blur

This fantastic feature will make remote and home working much easier and potentially less embarrassing! Microsoft have released a video demonstrating the capabilities of this below.

Teams & SharePoint Integration

Microsoft Teams and SharePoint are already integrated allowing for Teams to display SharePoint sites within the app and visa versa.

 

The new changes will bring much deeper integrations allowing for Lists, Libraries and Web Parts to be displayed within Microsoft Teams directly. More bots and connectors are being worked on to allow for News to automatically be displayed within Channels and Teams. More details from Microsoft on the SharePoint Blog.

Recording Meetings & Stream

Another brilliant feature we’ve been making extensive use of at Valto is the ability to record meetings and have the videos automatically sent to the attendees at the end of the meeting. 

This will be extended further in the future to use Artificial Intelligence to automatically detect actions and create meeting minutes that can be used following the meetings.

Replacing Skype for Business

New tenants will no longer include Skype for Business and will be given Microsoft Teams by default. On top of that, new tools have been created to migrate existing tenants to a Teams Only environment.

Microsoft Azure

Windows 10 Desktop in the Cloud

One of the most exciting announcements for Microsoft Azure and the Modern Workplace is the new capabilities of being able to launch a Windows 10 Desktop in the cloud. In other blog posts predicting the future of the Cloud and Microsoft we talked about the ability to use a mobile device to replace your PC with a dock and monitor. Having the ability to spin up a Windows 10 Desktop in the cloud brings this further to reality.

There are a lot of organisations out there that use thin clients and don’t have a requirements for running a desktop 24/7 this new functionality could potentially save enterprises a lot of money.

Office 365

Artificial Intelligence

This is a big focus for Microsoft at the moment as gleamed from the Microsoft Inspire and Ignite Conferences. There is a huge focus on delivering AI that will improve the modern workplace. A lot of the current announcements are about building the platform for this including,

Office 2019

With Office 365 you always get the latest version of Office features as they are rolled out. Microsoft have released the latest on-premise version of Office to the general public which contains a lot of the improvements of the Office 365 version.

Business Automation with Office365 Flow

Microsoft Flow is a Microsoft Office365 product that allow members of your organisation to create and automate workflows across multiple applications. These automated workflows are called “Flows”.

Flows can be created from scratch through a simplistic drag and drop interface without the need to know how to write code. You can also choose from hundreds of templates to get you started creating your own Flow logic.

Flows are most commonly used to trigger notifications or automate tasks your employees may be carrying out manually. For example, if an email was received in the accounts team shared mailbox with the subject containing “Purchase Order” you might have a flow store the email and attachments directly into a SharePoint folder then email a notification to the sales manager.

Amongst the thousands of possibilities, here is some examples of automation using Flow:

  • Request Manager Approval on Document
  • Get mobile push notification when receive email from VIP
  • Get daily weather reports delivered to email and phone
  • Track Facebook wall messages in an Excel Sheet or SharePoint List
  • Save Comments on Instagram posts to Excel Sheet or SharePoint List

In this blog article we will demonstrate how to harvest all tweets from Twitter that contain a certain #HashTag.

At Valto we work on many projects with Marketing and Communication departments from a wide range of organisations. A common issue we come across is these departments having a lot of “manual” processes for gathering data about what their customers are saying about them on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

Knowing what customers are saying about your organisation in a public platform is vital for several reasons. It will let you know what your customers are happy about, but more likely they will make known what they are unhappy about. The most popular platform for sharing feedback about a good/bad experience of a business is Twitter.

This article will show you how you can harvest all tweets that contain keywords or # related to your organisation and then store them inside a SharePoint Online list.

  1. Create a list inside your SharePoint Online intranet.
  2. Create the following fields:
    SharePoint List
  3. Click on the “Flow” tab on the ribbon and select “Create Flow”
  4. On the template selection pane on the right-hand side, scroll down to “Save tweets that include a specific hashtag to a SharePoint list”Microsoft Flow Template
  1. You will need to make sure Flow is connected to your SharePoint site and twitter account. Then click continue.
  2. You will then see the flow editing screen. First enter the search text you want to use to find tweets you wish to Harvest. In this example we have chosen to find any tweets that contain the hashtag “#Valto”. This will work for any word with or without a hashtag.Flow Tweet
  1. Next select the content that will populate each field as shown below:Microsoft Flow
  1. Click Save Flow at the bottom of the screen then Done at the top of the screen. This will have now published your Flow.
  2. Now from any twitter account post a tweet containing you chosen search word for example “#Valto”Valto Twitter
  1. Go back to your SharePoint list and within a few minutes you will see the post appear.SharePoint List Example

This process could be expanded to include notifications to members of your organisation, so they can react quickly to tweets containing explicit or negative wording for example.

There are many other twitter attributes of the tweets we have harvested we could also include in our SharePoint list for analysis afterwards such as:

  • How many tweets that user has favourite previously
  • How many people the user followers
  • How many friends the user has on twitter
  • What native language the user speaks
  • How many tweets that user has made in the past

All this information can start building a picture of the demographic of the users that has tweeted. For example, using this in analysis you could determine if this tweet is in fact from a genuine user account or perhaps it is a spoof account from a competitor.

If you have any business processes that you feel could be streamlined or made completely automated, please get in touch.

Author

 Valto Dougie Wood
SharePoint Specialist
T:  03335 779 009
E: Dougie.wood@valto.co.uk
W: https://valto.co.uk
10 Watergate Row, Chester. CH1 2LD