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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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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!

Let’s build a Nintex workflow that integrates with SalesForce.com!

Now that everyone has become acquainted with the new SFDC Connector for Nintex workflow we can discuss what you need to actually start building workflows that can tie it all together.

Keep in mind, the initial SFDC Connector actions revolve around CRUD operations with SFDC’s CRM and Social (Chatter) platform. That said, I won’t get into how you could leverage each individual action. Instead, I will give you some tips on what you’ll need to get started down the path of being a SFDC / Nintex integration guru by pointing you in the direction of some must have resources and then walking through how to create a basic workflow that will capture a individuals contact details (generated on an iPad via the Nintex Mobile App at a SharePoint event perhaps!), store it in a SharePoint list and then have Nintex Workflow create a Lead that your sales team can nurture into a sale using their favorite CRM, SalesForce.com.

Now, as my favorite PBS artist, Bob Ross, would say, let’s get crazy.

Prerequisites

  1. A SalesForce.com developer account – Since it’s not a good idea to experiment within your organizations production SFDC environment I would highly recommend signing up for a free dev account (by clicking here!) so that you can test the SFDC Connector without the fear of causing any issues with your live data. As this developer instance will be empty you may want to bring some records over to perform a more detailed test but that won’t be necessary at this point.
  2. The Salesforce Field Reference Guide – This document describes all of the SFDC objects and each of their corresponding fields. Click here to get it! This is very important as you will need to know which fields to map SharePoint columns to inside of SFDC.
  3. An Office 365 tenant with a site that has the Nintex Workflow for Office 365 app added to it. If you haven’t done this, log into your O365 tenant, click on the cog and Add an App, visit the SharePoint Store, search for Nintex and Add the Nintex Workflow app and trust it.
  4. Add the SalesForce.com Connector trial to the Nintex Workflow designer via the store. If you’re not sure how to do this, click here to watch a quick video made by my favorite Nintex Expert, Vadim Tabakman, that walks you through the process.

Now, let’s get to it!

Building the workflow: Step by Step

  • Go to your O365 tenant and navigate to the site where you’ve added the Nintex apps. Create a SharePoint Custom List with several columns;

FirstName – Single line of text
LastName – Single line of text
Email – Single line of text
Description – Multiple lines of text
RecordID – Single line of text
RecordURL – Single line of text

  • Now let’s open the Nintex Workflow designer.
  • Inside of the designer we’re going to place two actions on the canvas; Salesforce create record and Update item.

SFDC WF 2014-08-20_9-34-49

  • Now we can open the Salesforce create record action and begin configuring it.

**Before we get into the fields and data to map, you’ll notice is that you will need to specify an email address of an authorizing user. This will allow the action to communicate with your SFDC instance. Be aware that this will send this user an email from Nintex Live requesting access to the SFDC tenant (in a similar way of how one would authorize a 3rd party app to access a Twitter or Facebook account) the first time you run the workflow. If the user has the appropriate permissions in SFDC (this should be your account in the developer environment) they can ahead and select allow the app to access SFDC as seen in the figures below.

Fig. 1

Fig. 1

Fig. 2

Fig. 2

Fig. 3

Fig. 3

  • In the Salesforce create record action we’re going to configure it as follows:

Environment – Production
Authorizing User – Email address of our SFDC dev account
Create – This is the type of SFDC object we would like to create (refer to the Salesforce Field Reference Guide for a complete list). In this example we’ll create a Lead
Fields – 
These are the SFDC fields we would like to populate with metadata from SharePoint. Add all of the fields we mentioned earlier:

SFDC Field

SharePoint Column

LastName {Current Item:Last Name}
‌FirstName‌ {Current Item:First Name}
Email {Current Item:Email}
Description {Current Item:Description}
Company {Current Item:Company}

Lastly, we want to capture the ID and URL of the new SFDC record so that we can refer to it later, perhaps to access it directly or to integrate with via another workflow later.

So next to Record ID let’s add a text variable called ‘RecordID’ and next to Record URL let’s create another text variable called ‘RecordURL’

SFDC create 2014-08-20_11-09-36

Now go ahead and save the action.

  • Open the Update List item action and configure it as follows:

Target List – Current Item
List Item Properties – Select both the RecordID and RecordURL columns
RecordID – On the insert reference bar on the right hand panel, expand Workflow Variables and select RecordID
RecordID – Select the RecordURL variable

SFDC Update Item 2014-08-20_11-07-19

Go ahead and save the action.

  • Open the workflow settings, give your new workflow a name and then configure the workflow to start automatically when a new item is created.
  • Now publish the workflow!

Now let’s run the workflow!

Go ahead and create a new item on the list. Populate the fields and save it. The workflow will run and in a short amount of time you will have a new lead inside of your SFDC instance and the SharePoint item will have the SFDC record’s ID and URL added to it.

SFDC SP Item 2014-08-20_11-16-21

Our record in SharePoint Online

Our new lead in SFDC

Our new lead in SFDC

That’s it! You’ve created your first workflow that integrates SharePoint Online with Salesforce.com thanks to the magic of Nintex! In the future I’ll work on visiting the other SFDC actions that can pull data and tie into the social aspects (Chatter) of the platform.

I hope this post helps get you started on your journey of integrating SharePoint and SFDC. Feel free to let me know what you think and go ahead and share your experiences in the comments below!