Published: March 21, 2013 10:03 AM by
When setting up a test environment to publish catalog items from an authoring site to a publishing site, there was a pesky error message that I kept bumping up against:
"We could not find the navigation term set for this site. Navigation integration and friendly URLs will not be configured". I was getting this error message when I clicked into the Manage Catalog Connections and was attempting to connect the site to a catalog source. I couldn't figure it out – what was causing this? So, I checked the following:
Made sure the appropriate features were activated in both the source and the target sites:
- Publishing infrastructure (site collection)
- Cross Site Publishing (Site Collection
- Publishing (site)
Note: I turning different combinations of features on and off, I found that the Manage Catalog Connections link in the Site Administration menu appears if only the site collection and site publishing features are turned on, but when you attempt to connect to a source, you receive an error about the metadata-driven feature needing to be installed. The exact error message is "This feature is not available for use. Search-driven content (592CCB4A-9304-49AB-AAB1-66638198BB58) feature needs to be installed to use this feature." I suspect this error message was written well before beta by a developer who didn't know what the final name of the feature would be, but this error message is referring to the fact that the cross site collection publishing feature is not activated. Once activated, this error message goes away.
- Went into the MMS via the Source site, using the Term Store Manager link and ensured the term sets were configured for "Use this term set for site navigation" and (because I want to use this in the future, not necessary for this topic) I ensured that "use this term set for faceted navigation". I even clicked "Save" several times – mostly out of frustration. J
- Ran a full crawl.
Still got the same error message when I tried to connect the site to a catalog source.
Then it hit me – Doh! I needed to enable Managed Navigation in the target site. Under the Look and Feel menu, I went into Navigation and selected the Managed Navigation radio button. I found that as along as *one* of the radio buttons is selected – either for the global or the current navigation – the error message went away when I tried to connect the site to a catalog source. And this would stand to reason – if I want to use the terms in a term set to create my navigation, then I need to enable Managed Navigation in the Target. Problem solved.
Bill English, CEO
Published: February 06, 2013 12:02 PM by
With SharePoint 2013 released, it's now time to consider how and when you might upgrade your current implementation. With a number of Microsoft customers just now moving to SharePoint 2010, it seems reasonable to assume that the timing of upgrades will span several years. For many now, this product is mission-critical which means that an upgrade of a mission-critical platform requires planning. Good planning. And you can't start to far in advance.
That's where we can help.
I highly recommend that you consider sitting our 3-day course on Governance, User Adoption and Information Architecture as an early-stage planning activity for your upgrade to SharePoint 2013. This class will focus on the business issues inherent in an upgrade of a mission-critical platform. It is designed for a number of positions within an organization, including business analysts, project managers, information architects, software architects, system managers, technology directors, business stakeholders and business leaders for SharePoint. I can come do this on-site at your location or you can attend a class with other students from other companies. This course offers the following benefits:
- You will learn how to connect SharePoint to your business model and culture.
- You will learn a solid methodology on how to understand and decide where SharePoint should start and stop within your environment
- You will learn a logical framework within which to assess where your SharePoint deployment started and where it is going
- You will learn how people adoption new ideas and new technology – and you'll learn how to apply this to your SharePoint engagement
- You will learn what Governance really is and how it differs from management and policies. Governance will come alive for you in this class. I'm not kidding.
- But you'll also learn how to enforce Governance – both in the software platform and outside the software platform
- You learn how to "manage up" as part of this course. Most of our students are influencers, not decision-makers. Understanding how to work with your managers and peers can make the difference between a good deployment and a great deployment
- You'll learn how to assess your training needs and how to conduct a skills assessment for SharePoint education relative to the basic roles SharePoint requires during platform use
- We'll talk about compliance, Findability and Putability in your information architecture.
- Finally, we'll talk about different models for integrating SharePoint with other ECM platforms.
In nearly all deployments that do not meet expectations, one or more of these 10 elements is either missing or was not adequately addressed. In three days, you will develop a roadmap on how to address all 10 of these areas so that you don't make the same mistakes in your SharePoint 2013 deployment.
This material is a result of nearly 24 months of research, looking at SharePoint from a business perspective rather than a technical perspective. This class is well researched and is only offered through Mindsharp. We're not purchasing a course from another company and putting our brand on it. In this class, you'll get the latest thinking from an instructor who has been in this SharePoint industry since 2001.
Before you upgrade, consider taking our Governance, User Adoption and Information Architecture course.
Bill English, CEO
Published: January 28, 2013 15:01 PM by
If a list is merely a pre-packaged set of columns tied to a data element and a content type is merely a pre-packaged set of columns tied to a data element, then what's the difference between a list template and a content type?
Bill English, CEO
Published: July 14, 2012 09:07 AM by
I read again this morning a blog post from a leading individual in the SharePoint community on a subject that effectively advocated for another adoption method of SharePoint. This individual speaks at most of the conferences and has a solid following. Yet, I can't help but use this opportunity to talk about why SharePoint should be and isn't the focus when working with SharePoint.
I was speaking with someone on the phone recently when I heard myself say this: "You know, SharePoint isn't about SharePoint". We had a chuckle and then moved on – but I think there is a lot of truth in what I was saying. So much of what we purport to do to help get SharePoint adopted missed the point: the use of SharePoint isn't about SharePoint – it's about the business and its' needs. If SharePoint – or any other platform – doesn't support the needs of the business, then it shouldn't be utilized.
I'm tired of hearing how if we only had better training, or showed people how much SharePoint can do for them or if we just evangelized or marketed SharePoint better – then people would want to live in the promised land – the Kingdom of SharePoint. If we only did this or that, showed them this trick or that tip, or had them follow this 8-step or 6-step or 9-step or X-step plan – then the light would come on for our customers and they would see the clouds part while the angels sing and find themselves in SharePoint nirvana.
It's not about SharePoint.
Our focus should be on the organization and the needs of the organization.
It's not about the platform. It's about the business.
Bill English, CEO
Published: April 30, 2012 18:04 PM by
I hope to write a book about this topic that will come out sometime next summer, but for the record – here is my working thesis:
A SharePoint deployment will surface business model and/or cultural dysfunction in the organization. This is due to breadth and depth of most SharePoint deployments. No other software – perhaps other than e-mail or a home grown application – will have as wide a "touch and feel" as SharePoint in most organizations. Hence, the logic that something this impactful in bringing change to an organization will also surface that organization's dysfunction.
OK – so there you have it. I've presented this several times already and have yet to have anyone push back on it. I'm working on several white papers and ideas that will flesh this out in book format. As details warrant – I'll post them here, including introductory and draft white papers that will form the book.
Bill English, CEO
Published: November 25, 2011 20:11 PM by
There is a common theme across disconnected sources that salary and title matter less to employees than flexible work hours, engaging work and co-workers they like. The implementation of SharePoint – with its' emphasis on asynchronous collaboration – can allow workers to perform their work from nearly anywhere, which means that companies that have implemented SharePoint can provide a larger group of workers with flexible working hours. In addition, while SharePoint can't make people like or hate each other, there is some wisdom in collaborating with people that you see more infrequently. If you don't personally like a co-worker, you might find that you can still work with them at a reasonable level if you don't have personal interaction with that individual on a frequent basis. Finally, with SharePoint's ability to surface core information that workers need to do their job, they might find their work to be more engaging.
SharePoint won't necessarily lead to more meaningful work, but it might provide part of the context in which employees will experience greater work satisfaction.
Bill English, CEO
Published: October 08, 2011 22:10 PM by
I'm reading through an HBR article, Chief Executives Define Their Own Data Needs. (I've not linked to the article because you must purchase it to read it; unless you have the back issue the article appeared in.) They go through the four common methods of getting information: By-Product Technique, Null Approach, Key Indicator System and the Total Study Process. Then, the folks who did the study at MIT Sloan offer their own methodology on how Executives should get information: the Critical Success Factors Approach.
The CSF essentially has several parts:
- A base set of CSF's that are determined by the industry in which the business is functioning
- Competitive strategies and advantages
- Environmental factors such as government or regulatory influences
- Temporal factors such as a pending legal action or a major loss of a group of executives
An articulated process is needed to produce the decision points within these four verticals to know what information an executive needs. Note that for each executive, the exact information produced will be different. And depending on environmental and temporal factors, the information produced might be short-lived as well. But this information can't be produced if it isn't first organized and filtered in a way that noise is reduced as much as possible as the needed information is gleaned into a report. And not all of the information produced is document-centric, which is SharePoint's strength. Instead, if you look at what could potentially be included in these four areas, you'll find that the information needed will be structured and unstructured, web-based, databases, documents, list items, financial and personnel information. Getting the right information in a filtered, secured way across multiple systems – some of which are outside your firewall – is important and essential to getting executives the data they need.
Why would I care about this? Well, because I run a $4M business with 30 employees. We think we can grow to over $12M within the next 2 years. Managing growth can be difficult and the right information is needed. But the other reason I care is because SharePoint can form one of the platforms from which this information is gathered, and then filtered for the executive to digest. For example, Search and Alerts can be used to stay abreast of environmental factors. Right now, I use RSS and Feed Demon to stay up on the various data elements I need to know about. We could use Search and Indexing to this work.
What is even more interesting is that the ECM capabilities of SharePoint could be used to help provide an accurate context for our financial and risk information. Consider this quote from the IBM paper The New Value Integrator: Insights from the Global Chief Financial Officer Study:
If leaders had any lingering doubts about the need for business insight – and the integrated financial and operational data necessary to produce it – the "new normal" has eliminated them. Businesses and governments need more advanced data analyses, scenario planning and even predictive capabilities to contend with rising complexity, uncertainty and volatility and, in certain regions, sustained lower growth. The pressure is evident across the entire C-Suite. Eight out of ten CEOs believe their organizations are being bombarded with externally driven change, with many struggling to keep up.5 Chief Supply Chain Officers cite end-to-end supply chain visibility and risk management as their top two business challenges.6 More than 80 percent of CIOs rank business intelligence and analytics as their top initiative to enhance company competitiveness.7 From every angle, the business is demanding greater breadth, depth and speed of insight – and, now more than ever, these weighty demands are falling on Finance. At the same time, more data is available than ever before. It is flowing from more sources, including vast networks of partners, increasing numbers of intelligent devices across the value chain, and expanding process automation. A significant portion of this data has financial implications and will end up – whether in consolidated or detailed form – in Finance. This presents the Finance function with a tremendous opportunity. With the appropriate analytical capabilities spanning process, technology and talent, Finance can turn this wealth of financial and operational information into business among seemingly unrelated pieces of information and find patterns nearly impossible to detect manually. Adequately equipped, Finance can contribute to significant enterprise value creation. In many ways, Finance's persuasiveness as strategic advisor hinges on having superior business insight capabilities. As one CFO from the Philippines pointed out, "It is not just about cranking numbers but framing them in a broader context that makes them more relevant to the decision at hand."
SharePoint could potentially produce the final information that Chief Executives utilize, based on the CSF Approach. But this will require significant forethought in how information is organized – and in envisioning how information might need to be organized in the future. The BI capabilities of SharePoint will need to be exploited in a significant way to produce the information Executives need.
SharePoint can organize documents. It cannot organize monetary information nor can is really maintain connections between data points in an accounting package and its ECM package. When you look at the source-to-report process of selling a product to a customer with a payment on that product order, you're moving through at least three major software platforms: CRM, ECM and Accounting. Depending on the product that is being produced, if JIT inventory is utilized, then you have a number of other systems that need to produce information that, in turn, needs to be related to surfaced information from other, dissimilar systems. SharePoint will have a very difficult time managing all of this and frankly, I don't think SharePoint should be or could be the silver bullet to resolve this problem.
Financial information must be placed in a context to provide meaning to those numbers. If there is anything you'll learn from Finance for Non-Financial Manager classes, you'll find that you need to look at several financial reports to understand what the state of the business is and that understanding the context of that business is just as important as getting accurate numbers from the accounting system.
As I continue to look at how Executives think and how information arrives on their desk, I'll continue to refine my thinking here on my blog.
Bill English, CEO
Published: September 23, 2011 11:09 AM by
I've run across several blogs and articles that I think are worth noting and paying attention to. The idea of a Social Business Customer Relationship Management effort and person or persons within your organization is growing. In fact, the idea is that *everyone* in your organization has this responsibility and opportunity when it comes to social media. Legal and ethical issues abound. I disagree with one author that the decision-makers are out of touch. To the contrary, the decision makers see a larger picture of business that doesn't work real well when social media is pervasively adopted. In fact, the generational differences about the value and use of technology are emphasized when this topic is introduced. The older generation sees significant danger to the long-term health when social media is pervasively introduced. These dangers – legal, financial and ethical – are real and serious. Social media has its' place, but it is NOT the silver-bullet to better business, IMHO. While social media can significantly increase the surface visibility of your business, it's a sword that cuts both ways.
I do agree that SharePoint is far from being a social platform. Microsoft is stuck in the 90's with their document-centric and content item-centric view of social platforms. I'm trying to setup a simple social platform for my Sunday School class at church. SharePoint is not a good platform for something like this. While collaboration tends to be more document-centric, the social aspects of collaboration are not. Microsoft is missing the boat on this and will decline as a company if they don't swiftly come up with a social business platform that integrates with Active Directory and Windows Rights Management, along with their other knowledge worker platforms, such as SharePoint or Exchange. In fact, I would argue that a socially-aware WRM security integration with a robust social business platform would be well adopted by businesses that are trying to use social technologies more effectively in the marketplace.
At some point, someone within the hallowed halls of Microsoft need to decide what SharePoint is not going to be. It seems to me that they have thrown together a number of dissimilar technologies and have matured them into a relatively coherent platform. But that coherence is difficult to really describe. Even the marketing folks at Microsoft have a difficult time explaining what SharePoint is and what it does. The wheel helps, but doesn't describe the business benefits that decision-makers are looking for.
I don't agree or disagree with all that is written in these blog posts, but they are worth your consideration.
Bill English, CEO
Published: July 12, 2011 14:07 PM by
Published: March 16, 2011 21:03 PM by
We (Mindsharp folks) are launching a new set of education courses this coming Fall under the "SharePoint for Business" umbrella. If you could put together some courses on how SharePoint and business interact, what topics and foci would you have in one or more courses?
Published: March 14, 2011 12:03 PM by
I'll update this over time, but here is some things I've learned that are always true about SharePoint deployments.
- You can't get traction without some friction.
- You can't part-time your way into success.
- Successful deployments never last. They need ongoing care and feeding.
- It's about the business, not about SharePoint.
- SharePoint can't do everything.
- You can't use what you can't find.
- How information goes into SharePoint is more important than how it comes out.
- Not all SharePoint consultants are created equal.
- If you say "no" to SharePoint training, you're saying "yes" to a less-than-optimal deployment
- Collaboration is aimless without process.