Presenting at London Yammer User Group – October 2014

I am delighted to be invited to speak at the Yammer user group in London.

The Yammer user group is an open community that gathers every month to share information and knowledge around Yammer and Enterprise social in general.

On 16th October my presentation is “The rise of enterprise social

Social networks are embedded in our daily live. More than 1.5 billion accounts exist in one site or another. Businesses are trying to catch up with this rise and trying to benefit from social networks to increase business value. This session we will discuss ideas on how business can adopt enterprise social, benefit from it and obstacles against the adoption.

The event is free and open to anyone to attend. Please register on Eventbrite

SMiLE London–September 2014

I attended yesterday the SMiLE (Social Media in Large Enterprise) London event; this is my second time. It is one of my favourite events in London.

The event is organised by simply-communicate, and its focus is sharing success stories from many enterprise that has been through building a social platform. What I love in this event that it is technology agnostic; the focus is not the technology, but the journey, hurdles, challenges, and lastly how technology helped.

I am sharing here my notes from the event.

Simply-communicate has conducted a survey on some its clients on who is using internal social media

80% replied Yes

13% replied No

7% replied thinking about

Gartner believes 80% of social media initiative are failing because of Lack of leadership support and too much emphasis on technology (according to @silviacambie).

Organisation started to move away from discussing adoption issues, to finding business solution and uses cases to illustrate success stories to drive social solutions.

Dave Shepherd from Barclays shared his experience in developing My Zone a social mobile phone app for the frontline staff.

Why an app? Frontline staff didn’t have emails; the app was their only voice in the business.

News is news; it is boring! Barclays app didn’t pick up when it was focusing on news.

Barclays app picked up when they shared the new uniform and asked staff to provide feedback.

Barclays encouraged staff to publish videos they shoot themselves.

#internalcomms changing to be “Pull from peers rather than push from central comms team”.

There is general bad perception in the room that IT is slowing innovation and source of problems and excuses to stop new initiatives.

Grant Thornton

Doing too much at once doesn’t work.

Senior leaders who are active on social media externally embraced it internally.

Grant Thornton used its social platform to broadcast what is happening in the yearly conference to the rest of employees. People were sitting at home can interact with the leadership team in the conference.

Enterprises need to move beyond digital coffee maker, focus on business use for enterprise social network.

Intranet became thinner and thinner.

Social intranet grows organically

Tools (the technology) are converging, and the problem is the culture and what the users can do with the technology, not the technology itself.

You need advocates and champions for your social platform to support and evangelise it.

Check tweets from the event on #SMiLELondon and #SMiLELondon and beAppy 2014 · Storify

Will Office 365 change The SharePoint Partners focus?

Office 365 is a comprehensive platform that delivers main pillars like email, calendar, collaboration (including search, document management…etc.), unified communications and social.

Microsoft keeps adding to this platform like Project Online and PowerBI.

Office 365 is not an isolated platform, it works in tandem with Microsoft Azure to extend its services through Azure websites, Active Directory, and more to come.

The platform is fully managed by Microsoft and supported Microsoft SLA.

Having that said, how this will affect the existing SharePoint ecosystem and Microsoft partners specifically?

I would categorise existing Microsoft partners into:

  1. Boutique services: they deliver software services in the shape of custom developed solutions on top of SharePoint and consultancy services.
  2. Products companies: they develop ready-made products that utilise or serve SharePoint as a platform. For example workflow products, governance management, administration, back and restore, custom web parts, custom HR solution, ideas management…etc. You can check a lot of these products on
  3. Hosting and platform management companies: they provide managed services to clients who want to outsource the hosting of their own SharePoint platform.

Let’s see how each category will be affected:

Boutique services are the least affected in these categories. However, they should adapt and understand the change and the vision. Microsoft is pushing all the custom development to be outside SharePoint in the form of apps hosted on Azure websites or develop custom applications (websites, windows apps, mobile apps…etc.) that utilise SharePoint as backend; the applications will connect to SharePoint (or Office 365) using the new Office 365 APIs.

Products companies will need to reassess their strategy, review their market segments and how their clients are flexible to the new changes. There are clients slower to change or may be rejects the cloud concept. 

In my opinion, the companies focusing on the platform management like upgrade and migration, back and restore, administration are hurt by the new move. In Office 365 there is no new versions that need upgrade or new farm that requires content migration. These companies needs to repurpose their products, move up in the technology stack (rather than focusing on the platform move up to the application).

The companies building ready web parts or solutions on top of SharePoint, they will need to re-architect their solutions and keep a close relation with Microsoft to stay to top of any upcoming platform changes.

Hosting companies are the most affected category. Simply they are going to lose all of the clients who are going to move to the cloud. It is not only about SharePoint; most of the clients move the email and unified communication workloads first then SharePoint follows.

Cloud strategy is an important item on all the CIOs agenda; either in the short term or long term. That’s why all IT professional service firms need to re-innovate their offerings, focus on maximising the business value for their clients and divert the focus from IT only solutions

Glad to hear views and comments

Office Delve Release to Office 365 customers – previously code-named "Oslo"

Microsoft released this week its long waiting discovery product for enterprises “Delve”.

According to Business insider ”Delve,” which will do for Office 365 users what Cortana will do for Windows Phone users: manage their lives.”

Delve will allow employees to discover people and content with their organisation without having to know where the content is stored. Delve is using the Office Graph, which is based on a machine learning technology which analyses the users’ daily communication and interaction in Outlook, SharePoint and Yammer to surface content relevant to the users.

Delve is available for existing Office 365 customers for free, and no plans yet for having Delve on SharePoint on-premise.

Developers story

Microsoft will allow the developers to query the Office Graph using the Graph Query Language (GQL).

The Office graph contains information about enterprise objects such as people and documents, as well as the relationships and interactions between these objects. The relationships and interactions are represented as edges.

Using GQL with the SharePoint Online Search REST API to query Office graph
Developing Apps against the Office Graph

A simplified view of the Search aspect of Office graph and Delve, the main experience it powers


What is Office Delve?
A milestone for Office Delve | Office Blogs
Microsoft Finally Rolls Out ‘Delve’ – Business Insider
Office Delve for Office 365 admins
Who can see my documents in Office Delve?
Introducing Office Delve – YouTube
Join Delve Yammer Group
Delve YamJam Summary in Delve September 10, 2014

Microsoft Azure resources

Microsoft is leading its cloud innovation through Microsoft Azure platform. Microsoft regularly updates Azure with new services and features. Azure was released on 1 February 2010
Azure is a cloud computing platform and infrastructure, created by Microsoft, for building, deploying and managing applications and services through a global network of Microsoft-managed datacenters. It provides both PaaS and IaaS services and supports many different programming languages, tools and frameworks, including both Microsoft-specific and third-party software and systems (Wikipedia)
These are useful resources to get you update to speed with what Azure can deliver and how to develop on it.
This demo walks through all the main feature, it may be a little bit outdated because the platform is regularly evolving but it capture most of the basic services