Communicator 14 to Integrate with SharePoint 2010 Activity Feed

Communicator '14'Microsoft took the wraps off Office Communicator ‘14’ this week – their corporate VOIP and Instant Messaging offering. One of the interesting new features is that your Communicator status updates now integrate with the SharePoint 2010 Activity Feed. Don’t know what the Activity Feed is? Think of it as the company equivalent of the Facebook or LinkedIn news feed.

In the current version of Communicator you only get to see you contact’s status in the Communicator client and in Outlook.

Exchange Online Default Mailbox Size Increased

Microsoft Exchange The default mailbox size for Microsoft Exchange Online has been increased from 5 GB to 25 GB. This 5x increase is free of charge and is automatically implemented for new users. You can increase existing users’ mailboxes to 25 GB if you need as the overall allocation for mailboxes has been increased to (25GB x number of users) instead of (5GB x number of users).

Sign-up for a 30-day free trial of Exchange Online and the rest of the BPOS suite here.

SharePoint Explained

What is SharePoint?

In short, SharePoint is a business collaboration platform. It enables employees to publish, share, search, analyse and manage information all through a browser. This video gives one example of how you might use it:

What Can SharePoint Do For Me?

Search

SharePoint 2010 Search ResultsEver wondered why you can search the entire Internet in 0.2 seconds, and yet finding information in your own organisation is next to impossible?

SharePoint plugs into your existing intranet, file shares, databases and applications to become the Google for your company, One central location to search for everything, regardless of where it might be stored.

Collaboration and Knowledge Management

How do you make sure knowledge stays in the company if employees leave? How can you make sure knowledge is shared across the organisation instead of having staff repeatedly solve the same problem, simply because they don’t know a solution already exists?

With SharePoint you can create community sites (sometimes called communities of interest, or communities of practice) where staff can share knowledge and best practices. You can create blogs and wikis, and each employee gets a personalised home page -  just like you are already familiar with in Facebook or LinkedIn – but with all the appropriate security, and none of the risks, of using public collaboration tools.

Document Management and Compliance

Have you ever been stuck waiting for someone to finish making changes to a document before you can add your contribution? Or worse still, edited a document only to find someone else has accidentally deleted your edits because they didn’t realise they had the wrong version?

SharePoint provides one central place to store documents, track changes, group related documents, retain, archive and manage records. SharePoint 2010 also adds new features supporting eDiscovery – helping you find and place holds on information subject to legal process and enables several people to edit the same document simultaneously meaning you never have to wait for your colleagues again!

Manage Teams and Projects

Coordinating and managing teams and complex projects can be a tricky task, but SharePoint enables everyone to work together effectively with shared team calendars, contact lists, task lists and document libraries. SharePoint becomes the central information hub that staff collaborate around, rather than having documents and information locked away on personal hard drives and in email. What’s more, if you’re a mobile worker, SharePoint Workspace let you take that information and continue to work on it while you are offline.

Track Your Business Performance

SharePoint 2010 BI DashboardHow often have you gone to a meeting and looked at print-outs of charts or data, and then tried to figure out who has the most up-to-date or correct version? SharePoint enables users to upload charts and data visualisations they have created in Excel and share them across the company without sharing the underlying data set or formulas. This means you get one “version of the truth” that the whole company can use to track your monthly business goals and understand how their performance contributes to the overall number.

How Can I Try It?

You have the choice of a traditional in-house deployment, or a cloud-based subscription offering.

The hosted cloud offering has the advantage that you can get started right away, there are no up-front licence fees or hardware costs to pay, and you don’t need to spend time and money training in-house IT staff on how to operate SharePoint before you begin. Sign-up for a 30 day free trial, or learn more about our hosted offering first.

If you prefer in-house deployment we can provide you with a 180-day trial licence for SharePoint and share our expertise to help you get up and running with useful sites and solutions tailored to your business for a small cost. To find out more, contact us at info@connectegrity.com.

Web Favourites Mar 18 2010

Spring Daffodils It’s been a little while since our last post. We’ve been heads-down at Connectegrity HQ for the last few weeks and the blog has taken a bit of a back seat. But as Winter has turned to Spring, we are back now with the latest roundup of things that we’ve read and found interesting. Enjoy!

Interesting stuff I came across this week:

Rolling out Social Tools In Law Firms – The first of what promises to be a great series of posts on social computing in legal sector. I really liked Steve’s “tight-loose” approach to emergent collaboration: “There are some things you need to grip tightly… but then leave many areas loose and flexible so people experiment and try things out to see what works for them. You don’t always know how it’s going to be used and you can be pleasantly surprised with how creative people can be.  Very quickly you find that some good practices start to emerge which become the standard way of working”

“Alternative” Pricing in a Billable Hour World – Interesting take on how to quote and manage a fixed price for a piece of work.

Procter & Gamble tries a bring-your-laptop-to-work program – How the NetGen is changing workplace culture: P&G can afford to buy its employees laptops. But it is instead letting several hundred of its workers use their own laptops*.

* Interestingly this article has been edited since I first read it – the original piece also talked about potential culture clashes between Baby Boom and NetGen employees as the NetGen-ers worked flexibly using laptops, wifi and mobile phones from sofas, coffee bars etc.