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Brad’s October Cumulative Update

As it turns out… everybody needs a CU, not just the ole SharePoint! 🙂

While I may not have posted on my personal blog in a little while, I have been a busy beaver putting out some thought provoking content in other places. So, feel free to peruse the links below to those items (ranging from how-to’s to an analyst webinar on using workflow to improve customer experiences (CX) and even thoughts on the explosion of the cloud scene).

 

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Migrating Lotus Notes Databases to SharePoint [Video]

Still using Lotus Notes? Interested in Migrating to SharePoint? Watch (Dean Virag) interview Brad Orluk to learn more about why companies are wanting to migrate away from Lotus Notes, obstacles in migrating form Lotus Notes, tools to help migrate, and so much more..

 

crwueriwiaiqcqbLinkin’ Tasks or How to Get That Pesky Task Item URL [Blog Post]

In this post I cover how to grab task details and surface them on an item level form during the execution of a Nintex workflow. It’s a handy trick that opens myriad possibilities around task management.

 

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Cloud Computing: Past, Present and Future [Blog Post]

In this post I briefly cover the history of the , why it is so important and, interestingly, where’s it going.

 

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Process Automation Tools Fuel Your Digital Transformation [Webinar]

Enterprises today have a common problem: a platform that slows down processes and disconnects line-of-business operators from IT. “It’s a platform that will eventually burn up around you,” Brad Orluk, technical evangelist at Nintex. Orluk made his comments during a recent CMSWire webinar sponsored by Nintex, “How Intelligent Workflows Power

 

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Omni-Channel Customer Experience: How to Drive Best-in-Class Results [Webinar]

Customer experience is rapidly becoming the primary source of differentiation in today’s economy. Businesses that truly understand their buyers and address their needs across multiple channels outpace competitors by a significant margin.

 

Final thoughts…

I’m planning on writing up a post in a few weeks on my thoughts around Microsoft Ignite and where I can see workflow, SharePoint, Office 365 and collaboration going, through the Microsoft lens, over the next year or so. Stay tuned!

 

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Brad’s Interview on Technology Advice

I was a recent guest on the TechnologyAdvice Expert Interview Series. The series, which is hosted by TechnologyAdvice’s Josh Bland, explores a variety of business and technology landscapes through conversations with industry leaders.

In this episode Josh and I discuss everything from business process automation to workflow and forms, my SharePoint ideas, to the upcoming SPTechCon 2015 August 24-27 in Boston, MA.

Below are a few highlights from our conversation:

TechnologyAdvice: How are businesses starting to automate more and more of what they do everyday?

Brad Orluk: When we talk about business process automation, virtually every type of business has a collection of various processes that make up what their business activities are. That may be production lines, assembly lines themselves, or research and development procurement. Virtually every type of horizontal on a business function can really benefit from automation. Think of HR and on-boarding offer letters, exchanging those back and forth, obtaining signatures, and dynamically generating an offer letter.

Those different types of things can be completely automated with our tool set very, very easily.

Obviously we don’t want to take the people out, because people have to approve these things. So approvals can be done with our product inside of their SharePoint infrastructure or it can be done even via mobile, because we have a discreet mobile app that tasks can be assigned to users while they’re on the go. So we’re really starting to bridge this space between virtually every environment.

TA: Does that include workflows and forms – you mentioned those earlier – do you see those as being part of that ecosystem of automation?

Orluk: Absolutely. Because at the end of the day, a solution — any kind of custom solution developed through Visual Studio as a standalone piece of software or something that lives inside of SharePoint — is but a collection of inputs and processing.

So really what we’re doing is building tool sets that everyone inside your business’ constituency can really extract the maximum value out of — whether they are a power user or a developer, they can all use easy drag and drop tools to build out these types of solutions.

TA: What are some challenges in this industry and how are you tackling them?

Orluk: There are myriad challenges out there in this space. And it’s everything from headcount to paying employees to build custom solutions, to the cost associated with developing those solutions themselves. The expertise is a challenge because this is a place that’s really changing very rapidly, so skill sets become obsolete very quickly. And again, driving adoption of what we’ve already invested in. So making sure that customers who have bought things like SharePoint or SharePoint Online are maximizing the investment they have in that space.

Our tools really allow you to maximize those investments because they help reduce the amount of effort that goes into building these types of solutions. So again, numerous challenges from the cost challenges to the time it takes, because everyone’s doing more with less. I think that we really enter in with a unique value proposition because we make it easy and quick, and again, appeal to a wide audience.

TA: On mobile phones, how is the interaction of workflow automation going to move on devices more so than just a desktop?

Orluk: At the end of the day our audiences are really very mobile, they all over the place, they’re connected to the Cloud, everyone’s computing in the palm of their hands with their smartphone. We’re trying to bring solutions that our users are building with our tools. We want to make sure that we have that in their hands; we have things like the ability to create custom mobile branded apps that will really integrate with solutions we built.

At the end of the day, what we’re finding is the hybrid scenario is really the future. Everybody must maintain some kind of sovereignty of their data with their internal datacenters. We are finding that for extranets, other types of solutions, and integration with other platforms, they need to be in the cloud.

So as time goes on, the lines between the on-prem and the cloud are going to become very, very blurred. We’re in a unique position because we offer solutions in both of those places that can leverage all of that functionality.

This podcast was created and published by TechnologyAdvice. Interview conducted by Josh Bland.

Microsoft Ignite is upon us so time to prognosticate!

It’s that time again, Microsoft conference season has begun!  I have had the luxury of working with some great technology and even more amazing people in the Microsoft SharePoint ecosystem over the year since we were all in the desert for SharePoint Conference 2014.  While there may not have been any earth shattering news over that past year, there certainly were some announcements that elicited joy (SharePoint 2016) as well as angst (SharePoint 2016* and the FoSL or Forms on SharePoint Lists cancellation).  This is what make this such an exciting space in the IT field to work in because it forces us to be agile so that we can quickly digest these changes and dynamically adjust our plans so that we can better serve our business customers.

*Seriously, how many folks are still in the middle of a SharePoint 2013 migration? 🙂

So, while we are going to hear an awful lot next week in Chicago about what plans Microsoft has around SharePoint, Office, Unified Communications and more, I wanted to take a moment to throw a couple of predictions out there about where I see Microsoft guiding us and why.

1.  Don’t expect a forms announcement because Microsoft is focusing on platforms and not end user tools.

In the announcements around the cancellation of InfoPath and FoSL, we see that Microsoft had deprecated these tools (for a myriad of reasons not the least of which is that InfoPath lead to some incredibly poor design decisions such as code behind, embedded workflows and logic, etc.) and at the same time talked up the virtue of various pieces of the Office 365 platform on which people can build amazing solutions such as Delve (OfficeGraph), PowerBI, OneDrive for Business, etc.

That being said, we see that Microsoft’s traditional IDE (Integrated Development Environments for my non-dev friends out there) is being released for free (Microsoft Visual Studio Community Edition) and the .NET code base is being ported to non-Windows platforms (.NET Core comes to Mac and Linux). This means that while Microsoft is betting big on adoption of these new technology, building solutions for them will be the province of traditional developers. But, I would expect some movement in this space in the not too distant future as we see traction gain through initiatives such as Microsoft Project Siena which focus on allowing non-developers in the business build apps.

2.  Full trust code will still be supported in SharePoint 2016.

In an attempt to avoid another IE6 debacle in the enterprise space (due to the abundance of custom apps that were built around Internet Explorer 6 and the pain inflicted on many a Corporate IT shop attempting to upgrade their browsers) Microsoft will maintain support for full trust code solutions in SharePoint 2016. This is a bold statement with Microsoft pushing the app model so hard but the reality is writing custom .NET solutions and pushing them out inside of SharePoint 2010 and 2013 has been incredibly easy and if Microsoft forces folks to ditch those apps then adoption will surely suffer.

[EDIT] So as I was putting together this post I found out (via an image tweeted from a session at //build2015) that yes, full trust code will be supported in SharePoint 2016.

3. Migration, migration, migration!

Since Microsoft has realized that while there are a fair amount of folks out there that will go “all in” with with cloud by moving to Azure and Office 365. There will still be a huge number of people that will opt to keep on premise installations of SharePoint, Lync, SQL and the like. So, what does this mean for all of the content? Well it means that hybrid is here to stay. With that paradigm in play people who have solutions built out all over the place, they will need to be able to move content between them with ease. We’ve seen this as a driver around workflow with the introduction of Nintex Workflow for Office 365 and having a number of customers using our on-prem tools wanting to move some or all of these solutions with ease. Hence the Nintex partnership with Sharegate to help facilitate on-prem -> cloud migrations. So, I would fully expect to see others attempt to capitalize on the need to easy move, manage and migrate data in-between these various disparate content repositories.

Final thoughts…

So far it looks like I’m 1 for 2, not too shabby!  Now I’m really excited to hear what announcements are made and to discuss these trends with all of the other IT Pro’s next week in Chicago at Microsoft Ignite. I will be there with the Nintex contingent (Booth #605 if you’d like to drop by and say ‘Hi!’) to share information around our awesome solutions (which fit incredibly well into the Microsoft cloud and mobile first story) and to revel in the community that makes my profession so enjoyable.

See you there!