Saturday, August 27, 2011

What is SharePoint Governance to YOU? - Stephen Cawood

A couple of weeks ago at SharePoint Saturday The Conference in
DC, I recorded a short video for’s video blog series What is SharePoint Governance to YOU?
I hadn’t announced GovernanceHx yet, so I didn’t talk about my own community project to provide SharePoint Governance administration in the cloud. But now that GovernanceHx has been announced, it’s clear why I chose the particular message for my contribution to What is SharePoint Governance to YOU? Check out the GovernanceHx post for more details.
Stephen Cawood NBSP SharePoint Governance Office 365 reporting

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Announcing GovernanceHx – SharePoint Governance for Everyone!

I recently read an article that proclaimed--without any grey area--that Microsoft SharePoint governance has nothing to do with technology. I certainly understand the sentiment. Governing an enterprise platform such as SharePoint can be complicated and requires planning and buy-in from various people. However, I also believe that giving SharePoint users access to the right tools can empower them to keep track of whether their governance plans are being effectively enforced. To put it succinctly, wouldn’t you rather know right away about issues than wait until someone decides to proactively check for them?


In my vast spare time (for those who don’t know me, that’s a joke), I’ve been working on a SharePoint community application that I’m now ready to start talking about.

GovernanceHx is a web application that is bringing SharePoint governance to the Cloud. The application allows any SharePoint user to run free, read-only reports against their SharePoint servers with the express purpose of combatting SharePoint sprawl. This means that people without admin access, or development skills, can easily generate reports about the growth of their environment and use them to gain an insight into changes over time. This is why I chose to go with the name GovernanceHx. “Hx” is commonly used in the health care field as the abbreviation for history. GovernanceHx shows the governance health of your SharePoint server over time.

- A report results page from GovernanceHx

At this time, I’m showing some demos and recruiting a few SharePoint experts to be Governance Advisors on the project. I’m happy to announce that SharePoint expert and prolific conference speaker, Richard Harbridge, has joined the project as the first Governance Advisor.

Custom image

These advisors will help shape the future of the project by using their real-world SharePoint experience to identify the best application of the GovernanceHx framework. Since GovernanceHx tracks growth, the advisors will help figure out which growth reports will be most useful.
And speaking of frameworks, that’s one of the coolest aspects of this project. I’ve developed the GovernanceHx reporting framework using Windows Azure, so users will not need to install anything at all on their SharePoint server to run reports against Office 365 or any SharePoint sites that are accessible over the net.


Cloud-based SharePoint governance opens up all sorts of possibilities for Office 365/SharePoint online customers. For example, I’m sure there are plenty of small to medium businesses that would like a solution to help with their governance enforcement but simply can’t afford a large enterprise reporting application for the job. GovernanceHx will be the low friction way for these users to discover sprawl issues before they become unmanageable.

Speaking at SharePoint Saturday The Conference 2011

I had a great time this weekend presenting at SharePoint Saturday The Conference. It was the largest SharePoint Saturday event ever and it’s a great credit to the teams of organizers, volunteers, vendors and speakers that it went so well.

Sharepoint Saturday Conference

It is truly remarkable how the SharePoint community continues to produce these sorts of quality events. With 280 sessions, you can imagine how much effort went into the three days.


Where else can you see a talent show where a Metalogix employee (Corey) sings Mack the Knife while migrating a SharePoint 2007 site to SharePoint 2010?

At this year’s show, I co-presented two sessions about SharePoint migration and BLOB offloading with fellow Metalogix employee Corey Milliman and I also did two book signings for How to Do Everything: SharePoint 2010.


So now that #SPSTCDC is over, what will I do? I’m goin’ to Disneyland!

(For those who haven't heard, the attendee party is at Disneyland)

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Metalogix Loves SharePoint Saturday

This weekend I was in New York for SharePoint Saturday. I presented a session on migrating to Microsoft Office 365 (Metalogix was a Microsoft Office 365 sponsor). This was the third time I’ve attended the SharePoint Saturday New York event and I always enjoy going. This year was no exception, there were some great speakers and things ran smoothly.

In addition to sponsoring the event, we wanted to do something different. What we came up with was to post “Metalogix loves SharePoint” sign in Times Square. It was great to walk around Times Square and see the Metalogix logo between an infinite number of ads for the Smurfs. Metalogix is also giving away Flip cameras to people who tweeted photos of the billboard.

Stephen Cawood Metalogix loves SharePoint Times Square

You can read all about it on the Metalogix blog: Metalogix Loves SharePoint Saturday, NY

Metalogix was a proud Microsoft Office 365 sponsor at SharePoint Saturday New York this weekend. To show our pride, we arranged to have "Metalogix loves SharePoint" shown on one of the big billboards in Times Square.

We also held a contest to win Flip cameras. People who took a photo of the Metalogix billboard in Times Square tweeted their photos to the @metalogix Twitter account and are now entered to win a camera. We will be notifying the winners of the Flip cameras this week.

Metalogix loves SharePoint Times Square

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Why I FINALLY became a OneNote User—and I’m not turning back

I’ve been meaning to write a post about how Microsoft Office OneNote has improved my productivity, but really, who has the time? OK, sorry no more of that. Today, Microsoft announced that the Office OneNote iPhone app will be free for a limited time. (It was published to the Canadian app store last week). Now I can use the same TODO list on my PC, online and on my phone--all nicely synchronized.

- the new OneNote iPhone app

I only recently became a devoted OneNote user. I know, I know… What took me so long? Well, I don’t have a great excuse. When I tried the first OneNote Beta build, it wasn’t able to create tables—obviously, it had far fewer features than the current release—but the inability to create tables was a deal breaker for me. Since then, I’ve seen a flood of people adopt OneNote and sing its praises. I often questioned if I was missing out, but I kept holding back. I’m a big Outlook fan and I just kept using Outlook for everything. E-mail, appointments, reminders… Why not keep notes in there as well? That’s what I did, but lately my inbox was getting the best of me and despite my best efforts, I could use some help. (I wrote about managing my Outlook inbox in my post, Don’t be an E-mail Hoarder–Improve Your Outlook Productivity.)

So what was I waiting for? It turns out that the killer feature for me was the ability to use Windows Live SkyDrive to synchronize my OneNote notebooks across multiples machines and the OneNote Web App. And, of course, as of today, my phone as well.

For me, the ability to share OneNote notebooks effortlessly across devices is a game changer. I can make notes at work, update them online and then when I grab my laptop, I can rest assured that it will update automatically when I go online. The cloud-based synchronization also means that my notebooks are automatically backed up for me—a hard drive crash isn’t going to mean any note data loss at all. The fact that SkyDrive, the OneNote web app, and the iPhone app are all free is a nice bonus.

If you’re still not sold on OneNote, take a look at the OneNote blog post about using OneNote notebooks to plan a vacation.

- Use the Office Web Apps version of OneNote to work with your notebooks online.

I’m happy that I finally took the time to investigate what OneNote can do and I don’t see myself giving up this excellent productivity tool. If nothing else, it will as least give my Outlook inbox a bit of a break.

- The Office client version of OneNote