IT expert roundtable: Modernizing our SharePoint experiences


>>Hi, everyone, and welcome to our IT Showcase webinar, where we´ll talk about our approach to modernizing our SharePoint experiences. My name is Sam Crewdson, and I´ll be your host for today´s session. I´m a program manager leading our SharePoint modernization efforts internally, and I´m joined by several of my colleagues. Would you like to introduce yourselves?>>Certainly, Sam. Thank you. I am Dodd Willingham. I am our internal search administrator.>>Hi. Eric Jaffe. I´m on our corporate communications team and have responsibility for our main intranet, MSW.>>And I´m Jon Norris. I work primarily on CSEWeb, which is where employees can go to, to find support and productivity guidance for our products and services.>>Alright, thank you, everyone. So, before we get started with today´s session, I want you all to know that if you have any questions, you can submit them through the Q&A window. I´ll be on the lookout for them, and I´ll read them out for all of us to answer. So, with that, let´s get started. So, let´s start off with one that I think is kind of very timely. We recently announced the launch of our new SharePoint Modern homesite-based version of the corporate homepage. Eric, do you want to tell us a little bit about the strategy you used in getting that live — MSW?>>Absolutely. We´ve been working closely with our partners in IT, including Sam, as well as working tightly with the SharePoint product team to modernize our main intranet page, which we call MSW, have been working on it sort of in sort of segments, moving over certain pages as we had time to the latest version of SharePoint, and ultimately just moved our homepage over just a couple of weeks ago. And it´s really sort of transforming how we think about the intranet. A couple of things — One, sort of the primary thing is we´ve gone from 13 different customizations on our homepage down to just two, and so that has a lot of positive benefits in terms of reducing expensive support costs for custom-made Web parts, simplifying the publishing process, our daily — We publish on a daily basis. We curate news and publish on a daily basis. That probably has gone down by at least 50%. We´re now from, you know, close to an hour to just about a half-hour to do our daily publishing. So we´re saving man hours in terms of publishing. It´s also so much simpler now that we´re able to dramatically expand our content contributor network. So, before, content was managed by a very tight team. Now we´ve got a global network of content contributors or we´re building a global network of content contributors, which drives more relevant and local content so that, as the users go to the site, they´re seeing content that represents them and sort of their different segments. Whether you´re in a different country, whether you´re a manager, a new employee, we can really target and refine content to you. And so, ultimately, we hope that by having more relevant content, we drive increased sessions, more — you know, more visits. More understanding of sort of key company culture and sort of innovation content ultimately leads to better understanding and better appreciation for the company.>>Great. And I´ll just add on. There´s a couple of big wins there, as well. So, you mentioned the customizations. Two of the ones that we used to have to build on the old MSW were some to, you know, introduce accessibility and responsive design. You know, if you´ve worked with Classic SharePoint, you know those didn´t come out of the box. You had to do some work. Of course we get those for free now in SharePoint. And, Dodd, I think there´s some things in the search space you get to take advantage of in the Modern space, as well, right?>>We certainly hope to. Over the last couple years, we did actually modernize our search-result page before the main content and experimented and learned from that. Over the last six months or so, we´ve moved to the M365 admin portal. So, we moved all of our old Best Bets into bookmarks and adapted to use that portal so that now we get similar results on Bing´s internal work-results page as we do on our corporate main page here. Our next steps with the release of our homepage fully Modern is to add to search results the ability to do work right off of your search results. One of the things people expect now is, if you do an Internet search on, say, Las Vegas, I bet you somewhere on that first page you´re going to get a result about, “Book a flight to Las Vegas,” and maybe a hotel and other things. Why can´t we do some of that internally? Well, with the new extensions, we can, and so we´re going to put out over the next couple months one for IT help desk support, another one for, since we´re a large campus, shuttles and café menus just to help employees do some basic, quick answers right there in the search-result page without having to follow links someplace.>>Great. Alright. That´s good.>>Yep.>>Alright, let´s take one of our first questions from the audience. So, how are you going about migrating your content from SharePoint Classic to SharePoint Modern? So, I think this one´s kind of aimed at the two of you. Maybe, Jon, you want to start on this one.>>Sure, I can start off, and Eric can carry through. Yeah, so, we actually started our migration much earlier, so we were one of the first ones to come over, at least on the homepage and the search page, working with Dodd and his team. What we´ve actually been doing for the migration of the rest of the content is kind of taking a step back and, you know, analyzing the content that´s on Classic, deciding, you know, what do we want to keep, you know, what´s still valid and making sure it´s still current, and then bringing it over to Modern either just by, you know, basic information, like copying and pasting the same content, or creating new ways because, as you know, Modern SharePoint can take advantage of a lot more Web parts and more, like, video parts and Yammer feeds and things like that. So, it´s taking the opportunity to kind of revisit the content, update it, and then also, importantly, to tag it so that, again, it can surface to the ecosystem better, especially through search, and do that. So, in the process over the last year or so, we´ve been migrating, you know, what, 400 or so subsites on our old Classic site, and we´re whittling that down to maybe eight or nine major sites and oining them into our main hub. And then we´ll have a lot of other sites that join into our hub, as well. So, it´s been a really good ability to consolidate the information, streamline it, and make it a lot easier for our content owners to work with.>>Sure, and I think I´ll drop in there, something that really helped us — and maybe you´d agree, Jon — is the ability to associate a Classic site…>>Yes.>>…to your Modern hub site. And so, you know, sort of in the old days, you know, you´d have this big, you know, work event, where, you know, you´d transition your content. You´d build out the new one, there´d be this double-publishing effort for a while, and then, you know, everyone would go home on Friday and they´d come in on Monday and the new site would be live and it´s 100% cut over. With the new hub-site approach, you can associate your Classic hub site to your new Modern landing page.>>Yep.>>And that way, you don´t have to have that big cut-over event.>>Exactly.>>You can migrant content gradually. The search results from the old Classic site will show up in a search on the new Modern site, making that transition a little easier. And we use that very heavily in your space, as well as with some other portals internally…>>And, you know, the mega-menu navigation we can still link, as Sam was mentioning. Because we can keep some content on Classic as we´re migrating it, the mega menu makes you — You know, for the end user, it´s a seamless experience. You know, the branding comes down. It looks like they´re on the same site, but they´re actually going to different sites, including Classic.>>Right. Exactly. And I see a question here that I think also touches on something you said just a moment ago, Jon. You know, talking about how we ensure that our portals, our authoritative portals, have high-quality results, that stuff is able to be found. You know, maybe, Dodd, you can talk about that, you know, some of the efforts that you´re leading in that case.>>The agony and ecstasy?>>Yeah, both. [ Laughter ]>>´Cause it — When you look at authoritative sites, people should get those answers first. When they´re doing a search — We find at least 70% of our search traffic is people want the quick answer that´s the right answer for them and their team and their org and those circumstances in their location. Great. Where´s the authoritative source coming from?>>Right.>>And typically, it´s from some sites like MSW and CSE, and yet here it is in all the search results. How do you get that promoted to the top? And we have experimented with using managed properties and XRANK boosting, which is a SharePoint capability. And even a 10% boost via XRANK moved content about a full page, sometimes two pages, from something people had to hunt for more to getting it in the top half. We do a lot of bookmarking — Best Bets — for authoritative content, as well, particularly for sites.>>Sure.>>And when we look at our traffic stats, we generally see 2/3 of searches take advantage of those bookmarks to rapidly navigate to where they want. Most of the other searches still want, “Give me a one-click success, if possible.” And then you have a few other cases where they´re willing to research and they want to dig far. But they´re in the minority. So, as we look at authoritative content, getting it tagged, keeping it current, which is a big problem…>>Yep.>>…helps a lot on the search results.>>And, really, keeping it simple. That´s kind of, you know, key to the current approach, too.>>We´re a big company. How are we ever gonna keep it simple? I don´t know. You know, we have all the countries and so forth. For instance, the Bing locations feature — so, you do a search on Bing now, and you get company maps for a bunch of locations. Officially, we have something like 600 locations in the company.>>Right.>>But most people don´t care about all 600. So, what are the right ones to show? Yeah, we ended up with some criteria. It came out to about 250. Those are what, in search, we administer on a regular basis. Now, I then turn around to Jon, for instance, and say, “Great! When I´m looking for authoritative answers about VPN´ing into the company, I look at Jon and say, “Go get the current content.” Jon in turn has to go bug the content owner, right?>>Right.>>And, what´s your mechanisms for that cadence inside and outside of a SharePoint upgrade?>>Are you talking about, like, how we´re analyzing — like, what should be the content on the search for VPN?>>And what´s your cadence with the actual content owners…>>Oh, right, right, right.>>…to pester them?>>Yeah. Yeah. So, we provide — Obviously, on some sites, like ours, we have lots of content owners. On other sites that I´ve worked on in the past, I think you´ve actually been able to whittle it down some, where you can actually — you´re the people that are doing it, so it´s a lot easier to control the content. For our multiple content owners, we do things like provide guidance, like, “Here´s how you tag your pages. Here´s how often you should do it.” We also are taking advantage of some tools that our organization is coming up with to be able to do some scanning to say, like, “Alright, I want to find everything that hasn´t been tagged or things haven´t been touched in six months,” or things like that. Additionally, we analyze the search logs and we´ll see what people are actually searching for and then we´ll go out and say, “Oh, we want to make sure that there is content that is being tagged with the things that the people are searching for so that that authoritative content can boost up to the top.” So, there´s a variety of ways of working with the content owners, either by just self-service or just regularly meeting with them, like monthly user groups. We´ve done that in the past, as well. So, it depends on your org. It´s a lot easier when you have, like, a much smaller team to be able to control that process.>>Yeah, I think, you know, we´ve worked to really move a lot of the encyclopedic content off of MSW. Let´s not have it not live in two places.>>Yeah.>>If it´s about, you know, IT, let´s make sure that we´re linking off to IT. And, you know, you´re doing a great job managing that, and, you know, vice versa, so…>>Great.>>If I´m going too far off on a tangent on this, let me know, but I thought it might be of interest — when we look at content management using search logs, for instance…>>Mm-hmm.>>…and enterprise-level, almost no search ever fails.>>Mm-hmm.>>You always get a result in your search. But is that search actually being meaningful? And one of the things we´ve recently started doing is taking the search logs from our MSW core search pages and looking for common themes. And because we actually do some export/import of content from outside of SharePoint in OneDrive and bring it into our environment so it is visible in search and we bookmarked to so much content that´s outside of SharePoint, we are taking some of those search terms and saying, “This is a moderately popular term that indicates kind of a general topic. How is the content quality on that topic?” — sharing those search logs with the content owners in an attempt to educate those content owners on both how popular their content is, which has had both good and bad side effects, and how to address unanswered questions today, right? So, sharing those search logs beyond just ourselves and search administration is, I hope, helpful. Our first attempts in that — we will be measuring the results in about June.>>Alright. Great. Let´s move on to our next question. So, this one´s actually a pretty easy one. So, it´s a quick hit. “Are you looking at adding a ´compare version history´ to Modern site pages?” The short version is yes. In fact, I don´t even know if you guys know about this, but pretty soon we´re gonna have a feature we can see — you know, go into version history and see what´s changed since the last time the page was edited.>>I used that yesterday.>>You used it for the first time? Yeah, it´s something that´s coming, coming to an environment near you very soon. So, good news there. “Can you please explain how audience targeting on Modern sites works?” This is a good question, very timely. It´s something we used heavily on MSW. Do any of you want to a cut at it first, and I´ll jump in?>>Why don´t you start?>>You probably have much broader uses, but we´ve actually been using it for a while. Predominantly, we´ll use it either in the news Web part or in the targeting of the links — so, the mega menu or the local nav. So, for example, our content owners that work on the different associated sites, we have a section in our mega menu which has some links to direct — like, help if — like, how best — that aforementioned content that I talked about. That only shows up for the content owners. It doesn´t show up for the rest of the company ´cause they don´t need it. We´ve also — We´re putting together some links for newer employees, which — Actually, because of you two using it for MSW, we´re gonna take advantage of that group. And then on the news, targeting, like — because, you know, we have a lot of IT functions regionally and in other countries. So, as they post news on their associated site, they´ll target it to that, and that way it´ll pop up to the roll-up news feed on our main CSEWeb hub site. So, those are some areas where we´ve been using it thus far.>>Yeah, no, we´re using it in much the same way — so, heavy focus on top navigation, making sure that we´ve got relevant links. So, if we´re in some of our sort of resource links, whether it´s around café menus, making sure that we´ve got local café menus so that if you´re in India, you´re seeing the café menu in India, where if you´re in Redmond, you´re seeing the Redmond-based café menus. And then in news — and, really, news is sort of the primary focus of our content contributor and our content-contributor network globally, and so making sure that we´ve got a robust set of content contributors who are targeting news to security groups that they have defined — and the ability now in Modern to target to a security group and target to a security group that can be defined at a much more granular level than before. So, new managers in India, for example, would be a great — you know, great use case of providing on-boarding resources for new managers in a particular country with localized resources on all the things they need to know. And so we can deliver that in a really targeted way that meets sort of the content needs of the content contributor and also creates a really great employee experience for whoever that segment is.>>Great. Now I´ll drop in a couple of additional details. So, first of all, you might have heard us talk about targeting in the nav, targeting in the footer. These are things that, I´m aware, have not rolled out to outside of Microsoft yet, but coming soon. So, you know, if you don´t have it yet, it´s coming to an environment near you soon. And I´ll also take an IT cut at this question, as well. So, you know, in targeting, you can target to anything that´s really a security principle. So, this can be a security group that´s been synchronized up from AD to Azure Active Directory. This can be a cloud-native group, like a Modern group. This can also be individuals. So, anything that´s a security principle is valid for targeting, and so you might say, “Well, how are we managing those groups?” So, you know, certainly we´ve got — You know, we´re Microsoft. We´ve got all kind of legacy stuff lying around that manages our security groups on prem. In addition, of course, there´s the Azure Active Directory dynamic groups feature. You know, we´ve got our toe in that water, as well as doing some custom work. We have got a custom tool that uses some APIs to build out those groups in the cloud directly. So, different ways to approach this one. In the end, I think the key is, the user gets content that´s more relevant to them, that´s more useful in their job, and they´re not seeing content like, “Hey, you know, come see a movie here in Redmond,” if they work in Australia. That´s bad news.>>Yeah.>>I would add, just I think from a corporate-communications standpoint, we´re often faced with, “We don´t have a great way to reach this audience.” And now, all of a sudden, you do because you can create a security group that defines that particular group of users, and now you´ve got a vehicle, a really powerful vehicle, the main, you know, intranet or whatever or your intranet site, to be able to reach them in a new way. And so you´re almost creating a new channel, which is great from a corporate-communications standpoint.>>Yeah.>>Absolutely. Alright, let´s move on to the next question. “Do you see organizations creating an SPO Teams site and then connecting it to a Teams to enable additional libraries and potentially migrate content from multiple Teams sites to one Teams experience?” So, I´ll take a first stab at this one, how I think I´m interpreting the question. So, the first thing that I´ll make sure that everyone´s on the same page about is that, you know, backing Teams is a SharePoint site. So when you´re thinking about files in libraries inside of Teams, you know, the content inside of private channels, that´s all SharePoint behind the scenes. And so, you know, the big win there is, you know, a common content-management system, all the eDiscovery and all those tools, you know, the DLP, you know, all that stuff. When you have content in Teams, you know, certainly, that´s, you know, just part of the suite, and so you´re getting all the benefit of SharePoint in a Teams window.>>So, the way I am interpreting the question, having said that, is, you know, “Do you see people creating a team site, then connecting it to Teams?” So, absolutely. I think the question is — you know, it could be around Teamification. So, if you have classic team sites, you can go through a process called Teamification, which allows you to connect this classic team site to Teams, and it actually converts the permissions on the back end for the team site to use the new, modern Teams site´s infrastructure. That could be one way to talk about it. Does anyone else have a take on the intent of this question to make sure we answer the right one?>>I would — The Teamification is probably what I was…>>Okay, great. Well, let´s move onto the next one. Ooh, this is an a good one. “What are some of the largest obstacles companies tend to encounter when going Modern? Lost functionality, common –” sorry, this cut off — “common, incompatible Web parts, unanticipated manual processes, surprises, et cetera?” So, certainly we´ll talk about our own experiences internally ´cause that´s what we have the most familiarity with. Who want to take that one first?>>I can jump in first. I think some of the biggest challenges, I think — You know, as Jon said, there´s a whole sort of host of new Web parts available, and so it does present the opportunity to sort of re-imagine your existing pages, so you absolutely can sort of copy and paste or move and migrate over content and pages existing from classic sites to the latest version of SharePoint. But I do think, you know, you really want to take advantage of those, and so, you know, there´s extra work, I guess, in re-imagining it, but sort of the benefits, I think, far outweigh the work. For us, as we now have this ability to have a much more expanded content-contributor network, the process of on-board– not on-boarding, but the process of, I guess, maybe stepping back, you know, over the last 10 years, local teams in different countries have gone off and built their own sites because MSW, the main intranet page, didn´t meet their needs from a targeting and sort of relevancy standpoint. And so they went off and built their own and have now built up sort of a great user base and sort of brand loyalty with their local sites. And so working with the local teams to understand the value that MSW can now provide them in terms of — as a platform to be able to reach employees in a new way and the ability to integrate in with all of the other great content that exists there in the search and whatnot is a process in itself of sort of just sort of going through and doing that change-management process. So, that´s been work for us, as well. I don´t think there´s anything from sort of a technical standpoint that we´ve really run into, you know, to date. It has simplified our workflow, as I said earlier, so that´s been a great sort of time savings. But I think it´s more of, you know, the opportunity to reinvent pages and sort of some of the change management from other existing SharePoint sites and how we consolidate.>>And relating to that or adding onto that, some of our content as we´re migrating it, it´s really — the biggest hurdles are when it was very heavily customized before. Like, say you had a really complex InfoPath form or a really custom, you know, webpage that uses a lot of JavaScript. So, that´s where, to your point, we´re saying, “Instead of just trying to link to it or keep it on Classic and join it to our hub, let´s re-imagine it.” It´s like — So, where you had InfoPath forms before, you can now use Forms or you can, you know, create a Power App out of it. Same thing with the Apps. With the Modern, it´s a lot better to integrate those things, but you still have to take that time to kind of retire the old custom and then reinvent it as a new. So, that´s probably our biggest technical hurdle that we´ve found.>>Yep. I do think we are — While we have invested more time sort of up front, we are seeing time savings in the back end from — and reduced budget from support and all of those things. So, you know, it´s just sort of how you want to spend your time. But I think we talked about it earlier, too. You don´t need to do it all at once, right, sort of page by page by page. And you can even do it over time as your resources allow.>>And we´ve had a couple content owners — you know, they´re like, “Oh, I want to keep it,” and then when we show them kind of the benefits of, like, using Power Automate to create these work flows or — which, lots of things you can do with that — it actually helps them with their business processes in the long run. It really reduces, and it gives them a lot more things that they can do that they never thought, you know, that the old InfoPath form could do.>>Alright.>>From a pure search angle, there were a couple losses going to Modern that have been painful. For the most part, we were able to work around it, and they were the custom-display templates and the ability to set up custom filters. Okay, 99%, if not more, of all of our sites didn´t need those, didn´t use them, so they were able to move. Those that are left will hopefully get that functionality eventually or do a redesign so we can get away from it. On the side of supporting migration, as well, while we´ve been moving to cloud-based SharePoint for many years now and internally inside Microsoft we´re basically fully migrated, during our transition there, using the product feature of this hybrid-form crawler successfully bridged that gap and brought the on-premise content into the cloud, so search never suffered any loss of content, really.>>Right, and I think I´ll run with just a little piece of what you said there, Dodd, as well. So, one of the things initially with Modern and search especially is the loss of some of their finer capabilities, the loss of the ability to customize the search page. And I will of course make mention that, you know, at Ignite last year, we pre-announced it, and it´s now available, I think for most customers worldwide — and certainly it´s something we´re starting to use internally — is the ability to have a custom search page, where you can put your own customizations in place, build your own custom search solutions. And out in patterns and practices, PnP, there are even some starter parts. So, if you want to have your own content by search Web part or other search-driven solutions, it´s something that´s available, as well. So, that´s a gap that really bit us hard initially, but they´re starting to have — we´re starting to have some good solutions for those, as well. So, good discussion. Let´s move onto the next one. “Are there any plans to extend hub-site architecture to allow a site to be a hub of a hub for a multilayered organizational structure?” Uh…yes? Yes, actually. So, one of the things that my colleague Melissa Torres announced at Ignite last year — And so if you go to microsoft.com/ignite and you can go to on-demand videos, you can find her session where she talked about, you know, the current state of hubs and a lot of the work that she´s doing going forward. And one of those is a feature that she calls associated hubs. And so the idea here is — You know, initially, we had the hub model, you know, sort of a parent site and then associated sites going up to that hub site. In the new model, something we´re just starting to test later this month actually, is this notion of associated hubs so you can have this hierarchy, you know? And I see a future where perhaps MSW and IT Web are associated in some way. And we haven´t exactly figured out our strategy entirely yet. First we´ve got to do some testing, but that´s something we´re very excited to have internally. So the answer is yes. “Have you had success migrating from classic Windows server shared drives and folders to SharePoint? Are there lessons learned that you can share?” That´s a good one. Anyone want to take a cut at that? I´ve got some ideas.>>I´ve been so far away from migrating from file shares to SharePoint. It´s probably 15 years ago now that that started for me.>>So, I´ll start on this one, and then you guys can jump in if you have anything to add. So, for us internally, we´ve had, actually, great success. You know, so, one of the things — this is more on the OneDrive space. You know, we have the Known Folder Redirection. I think we — If we changed the branding for that at Ignite last year, I apologize. I can´t remember the exact name. But basically it´s a technology which allows an IT department to push a variety of settings down to the client, which changes the location of documents, desktop, and — document, desktop, and there´s a third one. And basically it redirects all those locations up to the cloud. And so that´s part number one, is, you know, sort of redirecting that — you know, a lot of companies called it the Z drive or the X drive, where, you know, the folders on the desktop would be redirected to a file share. Well, instead, do it in SharePoint. Now you´re getting all the advantage of DLP. You´re getting all the advantages of eDiscovery. You´re getting all the advantages of, you know, the backup and versioning that come from a rich ODSP platform. Certainly from file shares — you know, that´s something we´ve almost retired internally for all but our largest file types. You know, so, certainly, there are some files that are just too big to fit into SharePoint OneDrive as of today. But the majority of the content we can host in SharePoint, and that´s why here at Microsoft we´re over a petabyte these days, really big. So hopefully we answered that one for you.>>A corollary that might concern people along with that comes back to — I´m sorry, I´m the search geek, so forgive me for always talking search — is security trimming and how SharePoint´s search tracks those security permissions, whereas on a file share, often have problems with extensive over-sharing, not that we don´t have that in SharePoint to some degree, but two weeks ago had a search user report that their W-2 was visible in search and concerned that everybody in the company could see it. And if they were — if search had been driven off of a file share, quite possibly everyone would.>>Yeah.>>But was able to reassure the person in this case that it was targeted to him because it was his OneDrive, and therefore his W-2 was not visible to everybody in the company, unless of course he had opened it up to everybody in the company.>>Sure, and the thing I´ll drop in there, as well, is that, you know, when we´re talking about security trimming, then, you know, the SharePoint on-prem crawler actually, you know, does read the permissions on a file share, but that it was super hard for individuals. You know, your average user could get the permissions right. And so that´s where, you know, the over-sharing event could really happen. So, you know, just to not worry anyone, you know, SharePoint does respect security trimming on file shares.>>Yep.>>But it was sort of an IT-driven exercise, whereas in OneDrive and SharePoint that can be a content owner exercise. And so they have full control over their content. So, yeah, good stuff. Alright. Let´s see. Asset libraries. “Will Modern SharePoint offer a way to track and manage inventory, like assets that are available for co-workers to check out?” I don´t know if it´s — I´ll start on this one, and I think both of you may have made some early, limited used to it. So, there´s a feature in SharePoint Online called the Org Assets Library. You know, so, basically it´s a feature where an IT department can specify a location for image assets. These are image assets that, you know, maybe a centralized brand team can make sure they´re on brand, you know, that they´ve passed all the right legal standards, and so on and so forth. And then these images can be reused on sites across the world. And what´s kind of great about it is, when you go into an image-enabled Web part, like the image Web part or that header section at the top of a page, you know, you choose to pick an image. It´s right there as a choice. I think it´s called Organization Assets. And it provides this shortcut to, you know, these pre-approved images that are available to everyone. So, that´s part of the answer, number one. Now, with respect to how, you know, we would use this internally, we create subfolders underneath that asset library. And so, you know, our major portals — MSW, CSE Web, and others — can have their own pre-approved images that they want to reuse over and over again. And so they have the right access to these things, and, you know, someone like David in your publishing team can upload his images to that location for reuse all across the MSW suite of sites. Do you have anything to add?>>That´s how we use it for images.>>Great. Alright, so, let´s jump on — Oh, actually, I´m gonna add one more thing to that that I almost forgot. One of the things we pre-announced at Ignite is the — we´re about to release this massive amount of free stock images that are — It´s gonna go live very soon. It´s been announced. You can watch for that to come to a tenant near you. So, if you don´t have, you know, the money, you know, maybe the organizational will to go out and buy these sorts of assets for yourself, then Microsoft will have a very rich library coming to every site across the world soon. Great. So, the next question we have, guys, is around — it says, “Is there any risk in turning a classic site, which is also serving as the tenant´s homepage, into a hub site? Pros and cons.”>>We did that.>>Yeah, that´s exactly what we did. Eric, do you want to start with that one, and I can jump in?>>Yeah. Are there any risks? I don´t think so. I — You know, maybe, Sam, you understand the risks better than I do from an IT standpoint. But from a communications standpoint, which is sort of my orientation, I think, you know, nothing but benefits. You know, we´ve talked sort of exhaustively already about sort of the benefits to publishing, targeting, sort of the overall user experience. I think just having it be a hub site and having pages be able to move sort of in and out as the organization maybe changes a little bit, sort of that increased flexibility to be able to move things around and sort of match the organization, have been huge benefits for us, and we´ll only see, you know, the benefits continue as we move forward.>>Sure, and I think I´ll add onto there — maybe one of the things that´s going through the person who wrote this — going through their head is, you know, one of the things that you — Really, one of the benefits of a hub site is the sorts of the content that flows up from the associated sites. So, you know, if someone creates a news story on a site, on an associated site down below, you know, that content will flow up to the hub site. And so it could be, you know, that if you have, you know, maybe a publisher who goes off the reservation and does something that you wouldn´t find appropriate, you know, that that content could be surfaced up at the hub level. So, I kind of think of that as a potential risk. Certainly, there are mitigations around — You know, you could have a content-approval process.>>Right.>>That´s one mitigation. That´s, you know, built into Flow or Power Automate, as we now call it. Another mitigation is — You know, another way to think about it is, you know, what if someone is very enthusiastic about creating a lot of news stories at an associated site down below and it´s overwhelming, you know, the other stories at the hub-site level? You know, so, certainly within the news Web part, you have the ability to pin stories. And so, you know, it could be that you reserve half of your stories for these organic news stories flowing up to the hub, and then you could — you know, like if you´re a corporate communications team and there´s a certain message you´re trying to get out, you could pin those stories to make sure that they don´t get overwhelmed, overwritten by the other stories.>>You can even add, like, in that same news part — In addition to, you know, publishing work flows and things like that, you can actually specifically say, “Don´t show from this site.” We actually do that on ours, where we only have like six or seven approved news sites that flow up.>>Right.>>Does that make for some general guidelines around, “Use a hub site under these cases and don´t use them under these others”?>>I think so, and that´s probably a question more suited for Sam, who´s sort of leading that strategy, I think, for Microsoft around hub sites.>>Sorry. I was looking up — looking forward to the next question. What was the question again?>>When would you use a hub-site approach versus when wouldn´t you to — ´Cause a lot of people are gonna have 100,000 team sites out there. And I can see people potentially taking a hub-site approach and saying, “Let´s do hub sites for every org we´ve got,” right? And now we structure every team site under that org, which might be overkill, right?>>Right.>>So, do you have any advice, from what you´ve seen, about when are the situation´s a hub-site structure is best and when is it probably not best?>>Right. So, I´ll first start with a joke. I think my colleague Melissa Torres would say, “You always use a hub.” But, you know, joking aside, to me, I think my experience so far has been that I would choose to use an associated site over pages within the parent site when you want to, you know, maybe delegate publishing to another team. You know, before, you know, Eric had to have the hard, you know, decision point whether to grant someone that maybe he didn´t have a really good working relationship, but he wanted them to create content for MSW. Instead, in the new model, have them create their own site. They can inherit the right branding and the right navigation. They can have full control over that site and create news and stories. And then Eric and his team can pull the right — you know, the best things out of that site and surface them up at the MSW level. So, I think the first one I would use is around organizational boundaries, permissions. Do you guys have anything to add based on your experiences so far?>>I think you summed it up really well. And, you know, that´s sort of the model that we have, and we´ve moved from a really tight, controlled content contributor, you know — basically, content flowed in through our team and we were the only team that published it, and so we were just sort of limited in terms of capacity and how much we could ultimately publish, which limited the relevancy for the end user. And so by sort of extending those controls, by using publishing work flows, we still maintained control and editorial sort of approval and make sure that things hit the right bar and there´s not too much content, et cetera. But we´re able to scale now at a much more significant level than we ever were before.>>Right.>>Yep.>>And I´ll take this one back, and I´ll add on a little piece that really doesn´t answer your question, but I think it´s relevant, is — You know, so, first of all, you know, Melissa would say, “Hub before you sub.” And why is that? So, you know, once you create a subsite, it´s kind of hard to move around, isn´t it, guys? You know, it´s like — You know, it´s an exercise. You know, if you have an organizational rename or if you have a re-org and the two teams go different directions and you want to split the content that used to be there, one of the great things about the hub site is that it´s a temporary construct. It´s semi-permanent. You can change it. So, if today, you know, the associated site — You know, for example, in our case, the CEO team — they have a site for the CEO and it has all of Satya´s content and it´s associated to the MSW site. If a re-org happened in the future where they wanted to spin that off, it would be just a matter of detaching it from the MSW hub site and attaching it to whatever new hub site in the future. And so I think there´s a real advantage around portability and durability in the face of corporate renames and the like.>>Okay.>>Alright, great. Let´s move onto the next one. “Where do I find guidelines for image quality and size for Modern pages? We struggle to adjust various images in Modern.” I´ll take a cut at this one, and then you guys can add in if you have anything. So, there´s sort of a bullet list of things you could talk about here. So, number one, I´ll put in a plug for the SharePoint diag tool. It´s something that´s available as a Chrome plug-in. It also works, I understand, in the new Edge, you know, the new Anaheim-based Edge, the new version of Edge that´s coming out this month. And basically what it´ll do is it´ll — you know, it´ll run on the page, and it´ll tell you, you know, which images on your page are too large and help you improve the performance of your page, which I think is kind of the thrust of this question, find that right set of features and settings to make the page load quickly. Another way to answer this question is, the image Web part now has image-editing capabilities built right in. So, you know, if you´re trying to find that right size or shape to fit in the Web-part zone that you´re putting it in, no longer. You know, so, just go into edit mode on the image. You can crop. You can, you know, make it more narrow, more wide, et cetera, without ever having to leave the SharePoint experience. And so, you know, that could be another way to do it. The final thing to know is that behind the scenes SharePoint is generating thumbnails of various sizes to work on different device and form factors. So, for example, if you open the SharePoint app on your mobile phone, you´ll get a much smaller image than if you opened it on your 4K Surface Book 3. So, you know, know that, in the background, SharePoint is doing some work to improve that experience for you, as well. All good? Great. So, let´s move onto the next one. “How does Power BI interact with SharePoint, and how does it differ from embedding another BI product like Tableau into a site?” So, power BI has a Web part. In fact, there´s one that we´re doing some work on right now in your space. Eric, do you want to talk about the Daily Pulse maybe?>>Yeah. So, there´s a daily survey that goes out to a sort of small subset of employees that tracks on a rolling basis sort of questions around culture and employees´ perception of it. And so we wanted to increase transparency around that and add a Power BI Web part to the MSW homepage and did that. Ultimately, found that the performance of the Power BI Web part just sort of didn´t meet our standards to live on the MSW webpage and so have now linked to it from sort of a promotional tile, but ultimately, do have a Power BI integration into a subpage on MSW where employees can interact with the live data that is coming in from the Daily Pulse and really understand sort of the trends in perception of culture and where it´s tracking.>>And to tie that one off, I´ll add that — Of course, you know, so, we´ve got the Power BI Web part. We´re Microsoft, so we don´t really know anything about Tableau, so I can´t do a compare and contrast with that one. I´m sorry. And the last thing I´ll mention is — you know, Eric, you know, talked about some of the performance issues on a major corporate homepage. You know, certainly it works on sites around the company. And I´ll say this. You know, Jeff Teper has challenged both the Power BI team and his SharePoint team to come up with a better caching solution so the Power BI Web part could operate on a high-volume homepage like MSW. So, work to be done there. I guess we´ve answered that one.>>That´s how we use it, too, on the subpages, not on the homepage.>>Great. Alright, so, the next question is, “Is there any way to be notified of changes in Web-part capabilities or new Web parts in the future?” Boy, that´s a really good one. Do you guys know of any ways? I mean, of all people, I should know.>>If we ask you.>>Yeah. You know, certainly, I think the thing to know is Web parts are built by several teams at Microsoft. You know, there´s a team here in Redmond that builds a lot of our Web parts, there´s a team in China that builds a lot of our Web parts, which means that there´s different notification vehicles for these things. Certainly what I would put in a plug for is, if you´re a Twitter user, follow a guy named John Sanders. He is a Microsoftie. He´s my colleague over in the SharePoint product group. And he oversees a great many of our Web parts. And certainly he, I know, is active on Twitter, and he would be a good person to follow for that sort of notification. Certainly, in addition, I would, you know, watch our SharePoint conferences and Ignite conferences for more information, as well. So, hopefully that´s helpful. Alright, “My problem is the site branding image. I cannot get the hub icon right and cannot find guidance. How can I get clean images in logo spaces?” Hmm, do we have the right folks to answer this one here? Um, maybe not. So, I´ll sort of obliquely answer this one, and I´ll admit to doing it. You know, certainly one of the things that was introduced recently — and I think it´s rolled out to the public — is, you know, the ability to use images of various sizes. You know, so, before it used to, be, you know, if you put in a wide image, it would kind of get squished or cropped and it wouldn´t show up properly. One of the great things about the new Modern page enhancements we announced at Ignite last year is the ability to use an image of any size you want. So, hopefully that addresses the challenge that this particular user is talking about. If not, this is definitely worth — You know, tweet me. @SharePoint Sam is my handle, and I´ll find out the answer. And hopefully I don´t regret just telling everyone my Twitter handle. So, “Is there” — So, “Can or will tasks be modernized?” I don´t think — do you know, Dodd?>>Not a clue. I have not used SharePoint tasks ever.>>The answer to this one is, we don´t know. So, I´m sorry. We´ll move onto the next question. So, the next question — Jon, it looks like this one´s — this is kind of related to some of the things we said before, but let´s go ahead and give it a whirl anyway. “What are some of the benefits you´ve seen when using the Modern hub architecture?”>>Yeah, we have talked about, you know, some of the — providing a better experience for the end users and for the content owners. That´s where I´m focusing a lot of effort on. The other advantages are some of just the general things, like cascading down and surfacing up of content. So, the mega menu — if we want to make sure we want change a link or if a link changes or if we do some usability studies and we say, “Hey, we do this,” we just changed it on the hub, and then all the sites have it. So, some basic things like that are some really good improvements. In addition to that, it´s kind of the cleaning up of the content. Sam had alluded to it earlier, like, being able to permission different associated sites rather than having a million groups on a big, giant Classic site with 400 hubs. So, kind of the cleaning the process, streamlining the process — that´s been a really good advantage to the hub architecture as a whole. I´m trying to think of some other — do you have specific — How many hubs — Speaking of which, how many associated sites do you have?>>Probably 15 to 20.>>Okay. Yeah.>>So, we´re much more ref–>>Yeah.>>Smaller than you are.>>And that´s what I was gonna touch on — ´cause the hubs can be really good just for, you know, a small number or a very large number. So that´s a big benefit, is you can have many of these things that are — And, you know, you can — like I said before, you can choose to surface their content or not. It´s all gonna be included in search. So, the hub search is another really good improvement that we have. So, in addition to the enterprise search, like Dodd´s been talking, when you´re down to the site level at an associated site, you can search that site by default, but then you can, with one click, go up and search across the hub. If you still can´t find what you´re doing in one click, you can do to the entire org and you go to MSW search. So, that´s another user feedback that we´ve gotten on that, is a really good improvement, is they can — if they already know they´re on the right site, they´ll find their content faster, but then they can broaden their search without ever leaving the site.>>Right. Great. And I´ll actually throw in a couple of things that are coming soon. Not even you guys are using them yet. So, one of the things we´re testing internally right now or just about to start testing is the ability to set permissions up at the hub level. You know, so, the idea is that an associated site can — you know, they have the option to disable this, actually, but there´s a switch where they can inherit the permissions, you know? So, a hub site owner can push down permissions across all the sites in the hub, thus simplifying the permissions. You know, that´s one of the challenges of hub sites today, is if you want to have some sort of unique permissions scheme but still have some sort of security groups push down from the top, that´s kind of difficult to do. Coming soon to hubs, as well, is hub-site analytics. And so, you know, today, of course, we´ve got the built-in analytics that you can access for every Modern site. The new feature that´s coming that´s been pre-announced by Melissa at Ignite is the ability to go into one view and see all the traffic from across all the associated sites in your hub — so, you know, one-stop shop for all your hub-wide analytics coming soon to an environment near you. So, good questions. So, answer center. “I struggle to keep up with all the small and medium-sized enhancements that Microsoft deploys. Is there a better resource that I can use to make sure that I´m keeping up with the pace other than the Office 365 Roadmap?” I´ll take a cut at this one ´cause I think I might be the right one for this question. So, one of the things that I know that the product team has, you know, taken to heart is they´ve heard this feedback from others, that, you know, we at Microsoft don´t a good enough job of notifying our tenant owners, our customers, of changes that are coming in the Office 365 suite. Hopefully, I´m not pre-announced anything that isn´t public. I think it´s already public. This is an area of investment this year. I´ll leave the specifics until later this year, when we´re officially announcing them. But I do know we´ve made the statement that this is an area of investment for this upcoming year. So, feedback heard loud and clear. Watch this space for more news soon.>>You know, a tangent thought off of that –>>Mm-hmm.>>And this really is very much of a different tangent — is we have, in supportive search, a site in SharePoint that says, “Here is how you can search better, here´s content that´s outside of SharePoint that, you know, might fit that org or a different org or whatever.” Its intention is to help guide people to the right place and use search more effectively. One of the options on there is to ask for help, not technical help from the help desk, but because we´re a big company — we get lots of material and publications in — we have a corporate library function. And so this offer to go get help actually goes to the library, and the library researches and provides answers back. A couple observations from doing it is, one, the librarians tend to be really good at knowing how to search. They´ll search in the same tools and come up with vastly better information than an average user is able to find. And so we´ve had a number of cases where useful things for the company — I´ll pick on cases of improving revenue, where we´ve had million, multimillion-dollar contract or proposals being built. The seller goes, “Hey, can I get some content on this subject?” They can´t find it themselves. They send this note into the library staff, and they can get material back, helping that sales pitch and generating revenue for the company. And — I lost my train of thought for the second aspect of it, so I´m sorry. But I´m making a pitch because of — that question brought to the thought to mind of, “If you´re a medium-to-large-sized company, if you´ve got any sort of library function, those librarians can be really effective helping your average user get really hard-to-find but high-value business content out of your existing SharePoint sites and the search tools that you have.”>>Great. Let´s go on to the next question. I think this is an interesting one, and it might be best geared to the two gentlemen here at the end. “How has your publishing process been impacted by the move to latest version of SharePoint?”>>Want to start?>>Sure. Yeah. I kind of hit on it earlier, I think. It´s dramatically simplified. So, in the past, we actually had custom fields that we had to build to do different tagging, and so it was a relatively complicated process. I tried to avoid it at all costs and the team who spent most of their day in there doing it. But as I said earlier, for our daily publishing process, it would take about 60 minutes, and now I´d say it´s closer to 30. So, you know, dramatically simplified. I´m, you know, more than capable of actually publishing now, as surprising as that may sound. And as a result, we´ve been able to really expand it out. Before it was sort of a — You know, we did have a few content contributors outside of our team, but it was an hour-long, kind of exhaustive training to get them set up and to do everything right. And now it´s, you know, “Here´s what it is.” Five minutes, they´re ready to go. It goes through the work flow. We approve it. But we´re really able to grow, and not just within the communications area, but if we´ve got someone in HR who oversees the manager community, they can now be set up to be a publisher, and it´s that easy that even someone like that can do it now.>>I´ll definitely add onto to that. It´s made the lives of our content owners a lot easier. So, as you mentioned, you can do it. We have a lot of people in our group that used to, to be honest, hate SharePoint, like, hated working and creating pages. Now they love it, and they´re actually creating pages on their own test sites. And, like, that´s awesome. But in terms of the publishing process, another thing it´s allowed us to do is we take advantage of the page templates a lot more often, so — because, basically, they can create a page like they like — “I want to do this again as a –” Say this is the style for a blog post or this is the style for “how do I install teams?” You know? And so we have a lot more page templates, which are created by the user, by the content owners. It makes sense to them, and then we just kind of say, “Alright, we´ll just stick in your sites.” And it makes their lives a lot easier, and it´s more intuitive for them than the old publishing process was.>>That´s great. Alright. I think we might have just time for a couple more. Let´s take this one. It says, “Is there any possibility of activating country or bank holidays for the events calendars?” So, I´m not aware of any work in this area. What I would recommend is that, you know, if this is something that´s important to you and your organization, you go to UserVoice. You know, the man I mentioned earlier, John Sanders — he´s super user-focused. He uses UserVoice all the time to generate a list of ideas, as well as prioritization for what they should work on next. So, if that´s something that´s important to you, UserVoice is your solution for getting that feedback. Next question is, “What does MSW use for the equivalent of –” Sorry. “What does MSW use as equivalent for communities? Any updates on modernizing SharePoint?” Actually, let´s stop with that one ´cause it looks like there´s three questions in the same box. So, let´s start on that one.>>So, we leverage Yammer and have integrated Yammer into — through the Yammer Web part into MSW and used that to drive community. For — and we use it a couple different ways. So, for sort of important announcements on our homepage, in the hero grid, hero Web part with the secondary-link feature, if it´s a conversation that we want to keep internal, we´ll have the news announcement at the top and then the secondary link will say “Discuss on Yammer” and will drive you to a specific Yammer discussion group. And so that´s is great way to, one, signal that this is something that we want to keep internal, which is important from a corporate-communications standpoint. It also drives, you know, comment and dialogue into one sort of central place so that it´s not spread across the organization. So it´s easier to respond to, from a leadership perspective. So, that´s one of the primary ways we use it. The second is, our CEO and leadership Q&A that we hold on a monthly basis is really centered around Yammer, and so we have a Yammer Web part integrated into our CEO connection page and drive people there on a monthly basis, drive employees there on a monthly basis to ask questions that then get answered — asked and answered at the Q&A. And so it´s a real integrated part into our experience.>>Definitely. We have the same thing, where we have it on our main page. And we´ve noticed after we added that, that, you know, employees started asking more and more questions to that “Ask CSEO” Yammer group than they did other ones because it was right there on the page, and so, therefore, a lot more of the support people are now in that group, as well, to help answer those questions. And so it´s definitely — Lighting that up on your pages really encourages people to become part of that community.>>Yeah.>>And I think from a corporate-communications standpoint, you know, the trend is increasing of employees are demanding increased transparency and increased access and increased communication and two-way dialogue with leadership, and Yammer is, you know, really central to that and delivering that strategy for us here in Microsoft.>>Great. Alright. And then the second half of the question is just a quick answer, so I´ll just touch on it really briefly. “Any updates on modernizing documents in records center?” That´s how I´ll abbreviate the longer question. There´s nothing to share today. In fact, I´m not personally aware of any work in this area going on, but that doesn´t mean anything. I will pivot the question and encourage this user — if that´s an area that is interesting to them, I would go off and look at our Cortex-related announcements that we did last year at Ignite. We have some really exciting things coming around document management, knowledge management topics, and there´s some other things that we´re dogfooding and — sorry — testing internally that will become more public soon. So, watch this space for more exciting information around content and knowledge management. Let´s — You know, we´ve got just a couple minutes left. I think this one´s kind of an interesting question. You know, I think it gives us all a chance to get involved. “What´s your favorite feature?” What´s your favorite new feature? And what I will I´ll do is I´m gonna change it and I´ll scope it. Favorite new Modern SharePoint feature released in the last six months? Who wants to start?>>That means I have to remember the ones that were specifically released in the last six months.>>Right.>>Hmm. That´s a challenge.>>And you can remove the six-month filter if that´s easier.>>[ Laughs ] We´ve already talked about some, but the ones that we´re really excited about and been working — the more newer ones are — there´s targeting aspects and the tagging tools that we´ve been able to — So, in our space, that´s, you know, what I´ve been most excited about. Again, because I have a library background, so I like everything that can help search, you know, help Dodd out and his team, that works for me. And Modern SharePoint has a lot more capabilities to do that than the old one.>>Our strategy for our main intranet page is really around increasing relevancy, and to do that, we need to be able to grow the content-contributor network and drive really specific targeting. And so those two features around ease of sort of content editing and publishing and the ability to target at a level that we´ve never been able to do before are real game changers for us and the two features that I´m probably most excited about.>>Excellent.>>I can´t think a single thing to add.>>Well, that´s okay ´cause I´ll have three than.>>Okay.>>So, the three things that have been released most recently that I think are really exciting are, number one, we haven´t talked, really, enough about the home sites feature. So, you know, one of the really great things about the home sites feature is, number one, you know, there´s the feature to swap a site into the root. You know, so, you know, for us, our SharePoint environment is microsoft.sharepoint.com. And we´ve been able to move MSW to be located at that location. So, really, it serves as the start of our intranet. So, home sites from that aspect. Home sites from the organizational news standpoint — you know, so, the ability to tag a site as being authoritative for the corporate news. And what that does is it pushes those news items into everyone´s news stream, whether they´re consuming in the SharePoint start, whether they´re consuming on the SharePoint app on their phone. You know, so, that organizational news feature is one. And then there´s — I´ll throw in one that I´m really kind of excited about that you guys are just starting to test, Eric, is — and this is pre-announced — DC Padur is the guy — multilingual — you know, so, the ability to have pages that are represented in the native languages of our users around the world. Eric, you know, you´ve got a program right now with users in French-speaking Canada, up in Québec, and we´re gonna start displaying MSW content to them in their language. So, that´s one of the things I´m excited about. I don´t know if you want to throw anything on that.>>Yeah, no, I think anytime that you can increase sort of relevancy and increase sort of the sense of inclusion of your site, all the better. And so the ability to be able to translate a page and give that sort of control to local teams is huge, and sort of piloting it with Canada and already in talks with teams in Hong Kong and Taiwan about translation, as well. And others, I´m sure, are soon to follow.>>Great. Okay, good. Alright, so, I think we might have time for one last thing — key takeaways that you might want to leave a user with. 30-second version. Dodd?>>Use a lot of bookmarks. But I suspect most search people are doing that anyway.>>Great.>>Start your migration today. Like, lean in. Do it. Start moving piece by piece. I think the benefits that you´re gonna experience are well worth it.>>Yep. And be thoughtful in that migration if you can, things like planning what´s current, how can you tag it better, things like that, so, that way, when you migrate, it´ll be seamless.>>Alright. Great. Well, we´re at the end of our time. Thank you all for joining us here today in our IT Showcase roundtable. The on-demand version of this session will be posted soon to Microsoft.com/itshowcase. You´ll also find related content there, like case studies, blogs, and upcoming webinars. Thank you very much for joining us, and we hope to see you soon for future webinars. ♫♫

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