• Learning to love SharePoint migration
    Migrating your SharePoint to a new version can be an intimidating process. Even for the technically savvy, the migration can feel overwhelming. For those without a strong technical background, the move can feel like a miniature apocalypse. Here are some specific items you can watch out for during SharePoint migration to increase your chances of long-term success.

    Document Migration by Type


    Dependent on how you're organizing your SharePoint libraries, it may be true that you only need to move files with specific extensions to the new library. Even if your current system isn't set up to sort by file type, the migration can provide a great opportunity for reorganization. Using some simple programming, you can move file types selectively during your SharePoint migration.

    Keeping the Dates in Order


    The new system will organize files by date without a problem. If migration is executed poorly, however, you could accidentally reset the date of creation and last modification for your files. Dependent on which version of SharePoint you're migrating to, maintaining the appropriate dates may require a bit of additional configuration work or the use of a third-party program.

    Special Characters and Quirky File Names


    If you're moving from a non-SharePoint content management system, you may have file names that include special characters such as colons, brackets, slashes, ampersands, etc. These special characters will not, by default, work within your SharePoint file trees. These strangely named files can disrupt the migration process or break down your internal navigation systems. Universal find and replace options are available, however, as are tools that can resolve special character issues during your migration.


    Bulk Migration of Files


    If you don't have a very good organization system right now, SharePoint should be a big upgrade for you. However, it's also possible that you don't have the time to resolve your organizational issues before the migration itself. You can move everything over to SharePoint in bulk, but it's important to use at least a basic level of file organization so you know where to find crucial files before your new organizational system can be implemented.

    These are just a few of the items to look out for during SharePoint migration. What are some issues you've run into during this process? And have you had the opportunity to work with certified SharePoint experts during past migrations? Let us know in the comments, below.

    Feel free to contact our sharepoint consulting companies team here.
  • Effective SharePoint Training
    The growth mindset has been the focus of numerous studies on effective learning, yet few corporations are familiar with the growth mindset and how they can take advantage of it. This article will walk you through the mindsets and show you how appropriately timed interventions can make your company's SharePoint training more effective


    What is the "growth mindset"?

    Carol Dweck, a psychologist and researcher, introduced the term "growth mindset" as part of her studies. These studies took place over several decades and aimed to discover how a "growth" versus a "fixed" mindset influenced learning capabilities.

    Simply put, the "fixed" mindset is the belief that each person is born with innate attributes that cannot be changed over time: We have a set degree of intelligence, potential for happiness, and talent. The "growth" mindset is the belief that change and growth are possible when time and energy are invested into learning itself.

    Dweck's studies had phenomenal outcomes: Those with the fixed mindset were found to make counterproductive choices and to learn slowly, if at all. Those with the growth mindset were found to grow more quickly and maintain a higher level of motivation when faced with stress or failure. More importantly, it was found that simple interventions could be used to instill students with a growth mindset.

    Teaching SharePoint with the Growth Mindset


    Mindset interventions can be simple: Devoting time at the beginning of a course or a set of trainings to show why the brain continues to adapt—and that emphasizes that skill comes from effort and experience, not inborn traits—has had a surprisingly strong influence over the success of those training programs.

    SharePoint is a complicated system that can be intimidating for those in a fixed mindset. This is especially true for those coming from the baby boomer generation—and, to a lesser extent, any time before the "millenials" (those born in the 1990s). The new software, hardware, and patterns of work can feel like they're impossible to master; those with a fixed mindset quickly believe that "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" or, even worse, that they're simply not smart enough to learn SharePoint.

    By showing that effort and continued training are the processes that result in skill, you can help immerse your employees in the software in a growth-oriented way. Be careful about your approach, however. Even beyond the interventions you use in your training program, it's possible to sabotage the growth mindset by making statements that establish a fixed mindset for your staff.

    The growth and fixed mindset are just one part of an effective SharePoint training program for your company. To learn more about how you can develop the best training program possible, contact SharePoint Engine today.

  • Key Components of SharePoint
    While it's important to know what to avoid with SharePoint use, it's just as important to know how you can make the most out of the platform. As with any powerful tool, SharePoint is limited by how skillfully it is utilized. This article will walk you through five key components of using SharePoint successfully at an organizational level.

    The First Key: Communication


    Communication is a key to just about anything that requires interpersonal work. This is doubly true for SharePoint. You will need to communicate with all of your employees at each stage of the development and deployment process—but you'll also need to be receptive to their input. Listening carefully will allow you to understand employee frustrations, make effective changes in your system organization, and far more.

    The Second Key: Appropriate Administration


    Administration of a large SharePoint system can be a daunting task, but if done correctly it will make things smoother for everyone. If done poorly, administration can break every project your company works with. Appropriate administration protocols include limiting administrative rights (as a security measure) and using the appropriate administrative tools for SharePoint and your Windows server.

    The Third Key: Appropriate Maintenance


    It's easy to abandon basic maintenace if you don't have a dedicated agent taking care of it for you. Be sure someone is assigned to update SharePoint when new service packs and cumulative updates are available. Your company should also have a plan and policy in place for making backups of your SharePoint farms. If you want to learn about how SharePoint Engine can take care of maintenance for your organization, visit this page.

    The Fourth Key: Regular Training


    There's often a single batch of training that happens during SharePoint deployment or after new employees are hired. Beyond those single-serving classes, training is often abandoned. If you really want to maximize your employee potential, additional training and learning opportunities should become a regular part of your company's culture.

    The Fifth Key: Continuous Development


    As has been noted in previous entries, you'll want to ensure that your initial deployment of SharePoint takes advantage of as many core features as possible and that your configuration is as close to your target setup as is possible. However, SharePoint as a platform is dynamic. By continually investing in development, you will continuously reap rewards.

    These five approaches are important keys to unlocking SharePoint's potential. Ultimately, however, they're just the beginning. Check out our other entries, guides, and informational articles to learn more about how you can use SharePoint and SharePoint consultants to benefit your company.

    Find out more about sharepoint implementation and customization contact our microsoft sharepoint consultant experts today!
  • SharePoint server deployment
    Are you getting ready to deploy SharePoint for the first time in your company? Are you looking to upgrade SharePoint to the newest version? In either case, you're facing SharePoint deployment: A critical phase filled with opportunities and risks. Those risks shouldn't be underestimated. Approaching the deployment incorrectly can lead to disaster.
    So what can you do to make sure that doesn't happen? This article will walk you through the most important steps.

    The Virtues of Planning


    While there are many specifics that can lead to problems in SharePoint deployment, there's also one major miss-step that's painfully common: Failing to make any plans for deployment. Rather than being about specifics, this failure is about not planning for any specifics at all.

    Planning for deployment involves a number of steps, including the selection of an appropriate timeline, informing staff of the change, letting staff know what benefits the new ECM/iteration will bring, and having at least a general outline for procedures in each stage of the new SharePoint implementation.

    The good news is that many of these stages are simplified by SharePoint itself. Namely, informing your staff about the shift and giving them information on why the change is taking place both become easier thanks to the Microsoft SharePoint platform. It's easy to point to the benefits of this enterprise content management system, and if you're already using SharePoint you can take advantage of the built-in communication features to let your staff know what's coming next.

    Avoid an Elongated Timeline


    If you're already comfortable with your current ECM or current version of SharePoint, it's easy to postpone implementing the new version of SharePoint. This raises several problems, not the least of which is user impatience.

    Users who have a sense that a new deployment is perpetually "just around the corner" will lose faith and will drop out of learning mode; they will grow more attached to current systems. If you follow up the value pitch with a rapid implementation, you can conserve employee morale and keep them in the mode to learn.

    Not Using Key Features


    While new products and services can sometimes be intimidating, the window for full user adoption is a narrow one. If you implement a new version of SharePoint without taking advantage of the new features, it's likely those features will never enter the spotlight.

    The newest version of SharePoint (2013) is packed with social features, new collaborative tools, improved cloud storage, and far more. Research what new features your company can take advantage of and provide training on these features alongside the new SharePoint deployment.

    Configuring Your SharePoint


    SharePoint configuration is built for flexibility and simplicity. Unfortunately, it's impossible to give real flexibility without at least some trade-off; the more options you have, the more it complicates the configuration process.

    You will configure SharePoint itself during deployment. The options available are too numerous to outline here, but the simple rule is this: Be thorough and careful with your system configuration. It's far better to set it up right the first time around rather than spending the extra time and effort to reconfigure it later.

    If you want help with your SharePoint configuration or deployment, we can help. SharePoint Engine is a full-service SharePoint consultancy group. You can contact us today to speak to a certified expert.
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