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microsoft ignite 2018 recap

Microsoft Ignite 2018 Recap – Teams, Communication Sites, PowerApps and Flow

Looking for a Microsoft Ignite 2018 recap?

At the end of September, I once again attended Microsoft Ignite in Orlando. If you’re not familiar with Ignite, it’s a week-long conference focused on Microsoft’s enterprise products – Windows, Azure, Exchange, SQL, Office, SharePoint, Office 365, and the Microsoft cloud.  As a long-time Office 365 and SharePoint systems integrator, I was especially interested in learning where Microsoft is taking SharePoint Communication Sites, Teams, and PowerApps and Flow in Office 365 and in understanding the roadmap for SharePoint Server 2019 (more to come on that in my next post). The Microsoft product teams did a great job providing insight into current and future capabilities of these Office 365 products – here are the highlights I brought back to our sales and implementation teams.


Microsoft is positioning Teams as the new hub for collaboration in Office 365

Released less than two years ago, Microsoft Teams is the fastest growing business app in Microsoft history. Teams brings together Office 365 group security, Skype for Business chat and online meetings and SharePoint content management and collaboration into a unified interface accessed from the web, desktop and mobile clients. A variety of enhancements are rolling out or in the works to consolidate team collaboration functionality, including:

  • Online meeting features like background blur, recording and transcription,
  • Front line worker features like Shifts (and the replacement of StaffHub),
  • Support for SharePoint Framework customizations and modern list and library views,
  • Data loss prevention for chat and channel conversations,
  • Support for team templates and a new Teams admin experience and security role, including functions to transition users
    from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams

Learn more on What’s new in Teams – Microsoft Ignite Edition

Using Skype for Business on-premises? Microsoft Teams is a cloud-only offering. Skype for Business Server 2019 will be generally available by the end of year.

 

The future of business apps with PowerApps and Flow

Microsoft has continued to build functionality into their PowerApps and Flow platforms, positioning them as the best option for extending Office 365 and Dynamics 365 functionality. PowerApps and Flow have matured to the point that they are a true replacement for InfoPath Forms Services and SharePoint Designer Workflows in SharePoint Online hosted solutions.

Just getting started with the Power Platform (PowerApps, Flow and Power BI)? Check out the tools and features in the new Power Platform portal.

Microsoft is releasing new administrator focused tools for managing and monitoring the usage of PowerApps and Flow within the tenant and has released a governance white paper PowerApps and Microsoft Flow Governance and Deployment.

New power builder features are rolling out monthly. View the ones on the horizon for October.

 

sharepoint - microsoft ignite 2018 recap

SharePoint Communication Sites

Microsoft released the Communication Site template as part of the modern SharePoint experience a little over a year ago, allowing us to create beautiful, responsive, informative intranet and topical portals on the Office 365 platform. Since then they’ve released a number of features allowing us to customize the look, feel and layout of communication sites and more is on the way:

  • Scripted site provisioning and configuration
  • Custom color themes which can be applied immediately or included in a gallery for your site owners to choose from
  • More advanced site navigation structures with Hub sites (creating a global navigation for multiple site collections) and
    mega menus (creating a larger canvas for grouping and highlighting navigation links)
  • Site header and footer options
  • Section background colors for breaking up long pages
  • Expanded collection of web parts for adding dynamic, interactive content to pages

microsoft ignite 2018 recap sharepoint communincation site    microsoft ignite 2018 recap sharepoint communincation sites

Final Words…

Hope you find this information useful. Let us know if you are interested in learning more about how Teams, PowerApps and Flow or SharePoint Communication Sites may benefit your organization, or to discuss any Office 365/SharePoint efforts we may be able to assist you with.

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WEBINAR on 10.30.18 | Automating Paper-Based Workflows for Government Agencies

Government organizations are no strangers to paper-based manual processes, which are costly and often prone to delays, errors and other inefficiencies.

According to the Office of Management and Budget, legacy, paper-based filing systems cost the federal government more than $116 billion per year.(1) In addition, “The State of Workflow Automation in 2018” stated 55 percent of managers are spending 8 hours or more per week on administrative tasks, rather than the strategic, high-value initiatives that citizens want.(2) These stats just can’t be ignored.

Automating paper-based workflows gives state and local governments the opportunity to stretch their budgets further and accomplish more – in less time. To show you how to do this, General Networks has teamed up with Nintex for an interactive webinar and live demo.

Walk away understanding how to:

  • Build web-based (and mobile) forms
  • Orchestrate the communication and approval processes
  • Create transparency between county and citizen through analytics and dashboarding, without costly custom software development.
  • And more…

If you are looking to create efficient, time-saving workflows while stretching your budget, this is one webinar you will not want to miss.

Save your seat today!


WEBINAR DETAILS

Date: Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Time: 10:00 AM PST

No cost to attend

>>> Register Now

1 https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAReport?operation=11
2 https://www.formstack.com/report/workflow-automation-2018

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Small Businesses Win Big with M-Files Back Office Vault

They say small businesses can’t afford enterprise-level document management software, we disagree!

Although most small business owners are convinced that they need some sort of proper filing for their growing content, they rarely make the decision to acquire one. The reasons vary and include tight budgets, no time to spare for implementation, doubting the ROI, and the lack of people resources to ensure the solutions are well maintained and users supported. Some will start using something like windows folder system, or light cloud-based solutions such as Box. And although Box provides a solid set of basic features for a low cost, small business owners tend to forget that they created their business to grow in the first place. The challenge they will soon face is with the explosion in their content size and the increasing complexity and reduced efficiency when trying to find content.

M-Files Back Office Vault addresses those challenges from Day 1. It is not only rich in features, inexpensive, secured, and can be cloud-based, it has so many other components that a small business, or any business in that matter, can and will require sometime in the future. By implementing M-Files Back Office Vault from the start, you avoid the inevitable–the complexity that accompanies moving content from your windows folder structure.  With M-Files Back Office Vault, you can connect to your content, located in Box, Google Docs, and even windows folders.

M-Files Back Office Vault is pre-designed to provide the following:

  • Accounting Records Management – manage and process invoices, receipts, PO’s, financial statements and tax documents to increase operational efficiencies and minimize risk
  • Human Resources Management – manage employee files (resumes, certifications, employee contracts) and data (contact information, vacation, performance) with built-in security for employee private data
  • Asset Management – Keep up with everything you own, who it’s assigned to, where it’s living, and any other information you need to run your business effectively
  • Contract Management – maximize visibility and control for contract management with notifications, assignments, audit history and version control to reduce inefficiencies and reduce risk
  • CRM Lite – a lite CRM to track sales campaigns, opportunities and contacts, designed to help your organization drive sales
  • Project Management – Find, search, and track project documentation and the status of documentation (draft approved, under review, etc.) to streamline the entire project management process

The most commonly used process automations i.e. workflows are provided for your consumption in the Back Office Vault, such as A/P Workflow, Purchase Order Workflow, Employee Absence Workflow, Contract Lifecycle Workflow, and many others.

The M-Files Back Office Vault comes equipped with the ability to electronically sign documents using the DocuSign integration function. The solution can be accessed from the free mobile app available from the various app stores. Last but not least, the solution enables users to collaborate on documents using features such as Co-Authoring, Annotations, and Review Comments.

Contact us today.  In a matter of 5 days, the General Networks’ team can deliver this solution for you.  We’ll help your small business win big!

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General Networks Sponsors SharePoint Saturday Los Angeles on 8.11.18

General Networks is sponsoring the upcoming SharePoint Saturday Los Angeles event on August 11th in Playa Vista. Held at the Microsoft Playa Vista Office, you’ll have a fun filled day with excellent speakers and opportunities to meet peers and experts in the SharePoint space. General Networks will have a booth with consultants on hand, including our very own SharePoint Practice Manager Ingrid Camill, to discuss your latest ventures in SharePoint.

About SharePoint Saturdays

SharePoint Saturdays are run by SPS Events, an all-volunteer organization that focuses on providing tools and information around SharePoint for the community. For over eight years, SharePoint Saturday’s have been held around the world. General Networks sponsored last year’s SharePoint Saturday in Los Angeles and was a Gold Sponsor for the SharePoint Saturday in San Diego earlier this year. We’re excited to be back at SPSLA this year and we look forward to meeting you all there!

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Microsoft Nonprofit Pricing and Ordering Process is Changed

Microsoft Gold Partner

For nonprofit Microsoft customers, as of May 1st, your process for ordering software and services from Microsoft has changed.  In some cases just the authorization and purchasing method will change.  In others, the prices will go up.

If you order through TechSoup and you work with a Microsoft Partner, you should have a discussion with your Microsoft Partner about what the new plans will mean to your organization.  If you do not work with a Microsoft Partner (and are not big enough to have an Enterprise Agreement – over 500 users), you should find a partner that can help you navigate the new system.

 

General  Networks can help you migrate the new licensing for nonprofits.  If you need help please Contact Us

 

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How to Spot Phishing Messages Like a Pro

Update to STAY SAFE FROM PHISHING. 5 Ways to Stay Safe

June 2018 Volume 13 Issue 06

From the desk of Thomas F. Duffy, MS-ISAC Chair

The Federal Trade Commission’s definition of phishing is “when a scammer uses fraudulent emails or texts, or copycat websites, to get you to share valuable personal information.”[1] When a user falls for a phishing message, the malicious actor achieves their purpose of getting the victim to hand over sensitive information such as login names and passwords. Though we count on technologies and controls to minimize threats, phishing exploits users through social engineering, which allows the malicious actors to side step these protections. This is why it is important that everyone learn to spot these fraudulent messages. Let’s take a look at some example emails of phishing messages.

Message #1

Subject: Low Cost Dream Vacation loans!!!

Dear John,

We understand that money can be tight and you may not be able to afford to go on vacation this year.   However, we have a solution. My company, World Bank and Trust is willing to offer low cost loans to get your through the vacation season. Interest rates are as low at 3% for 2 years. If you are interested in getting a loan, please fill out the attached contact form and send it back to us. We contact you within 2 days to arrange a deposit into your checking account.

Please email your completed form to VacationLoans@worldbankandtrust.com.

Your dream vacation is just a few clicks away!

Dr. Stephen Strange

World Bank and Trust

177a Bleecker Street, New York, NY10012

What did you notice in message #1? 

In this message, you can see that the phisher wants to give us a low-cost loan with no credit check. They say we just need to send them our information and they will give us money, right? Not only does it seem too good to be true, but also when you hover the cursor over the email address to examine it further, you see that the link actually has a different destination. It is the email address of the attacker. Lastly, as much as you might like Dr. Strange, he’s probably not working for a bank part-time.

Message #2

Subject: Free Amazon Gift Card!!!

Dear Sally,

You name has been randomly selected to win a $1000 Amozan gift card. In order to collect your prize, you need to log in with your Amazon account at the link below and update your contact information so we can put your prize in the mail. This is a limited time offer, so please respond to the request within 2 business days.  Failure to respond will forfeit your prize and we will select another winner.

www.amozan.com/giftredemption2321

What did you notice in message #2? 

Aside from this seeming too good to be true, you can see that “Amazon” is misspelled as “Amozan” on the link provided. If you read this quickly, you may think you are responding to the real company to get your gift certificate. In reality, you are providing your information to the attacker. For the purposes of this example, the link actually navigates to the Center for Internet Security, which is a trustworthy site.

Message #3

Subject: Urgent – Take Action Before Your Email Account is Deactivated

Dear User,

Following changes to our Microsoft email systems, each user must authenticate their account to prevent it from being deactivated. You can accomplish this by heading to the link below and entering your Microsoft Outlook email account credentials, and then we will know your account is active and should remain so.

http://www.microsoft.com/

Thank you,

Information Technology

Helpdesk Support Team

What did you notice in message #3?

This email is fairly well crafted without errors. Note that it establishes a sense of urgency that the malicious actor hopes will cloud your judgment and threatens the deactivation of your email account. Additionally, the link at the bottom looks like a link to Microsoft, yet it is, in fact, heading somewhere else! Luckily, for the purposes of this example, that link simply leads to the Center for Internet Security, which is a legitimate site.

With these three examples considered, here are some basic recommendations to help protect you from becoming a phishing victim:

  • If it seems too good to be true, it probably is;
  • Hover your cursor over links in messages to find where the link is actually going;
  • Look for misspellings and poor grammar, which can be good signs a message is a fraud;
  • And, never respond to an email requesting sensitive personal information (birthday, Social Security Number, username/password, etc.).

 

Additional information and a phishing game can be found on the FTC’s website, https://www.ftc.gov/.

 

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Myths around data science

6 Myths Around Data Science Debunked

Data science is a competitive weapon for organizations globally. Like other technologies and processes that can change the way businesses operate, there are a lot of contradictory information and myths around data science on social media, blogs, and case studies that causes considerable confusion.

While most business leaders are aware of the fact that people adept at data science can enhance operational efficiency and customer relationships, they do not have right guidance in place and take the wrong steps by considering myths as facts. Below are six myths around data science, which are good to know in order to to position yourself better in this realm.

Let’s get started! Continue reading…

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General Networks Named Among Leading Los Angeles IT Services Firms

General Networks is proud to announce that we were recently named among the top 5 IT consulting companies in the Los Angeles metro area by Clutch, a technology research firm. It was an especially competitive category with over 100 companies being considered.  The rankings were determined by analyzing our past work, market presence, and client feedback.

Leading LA IT Firms

Leaders Matrix for Top LA IT Services

 

One client, an agency from the California State Government,  gave us a standout evaluation regarding a documentation management migration project. For this client, General Networks helped them migrate million of documents from eDocs to Content Server.

“General Networks does what they say they’re going to do for the amount that they’ve quoted, and their work product is very good….their team is just very friendly. They rarely, if ever, make mistakes.”

The General Networks team is dedicated to providing the highest quality work, and it is great to hear our clients validate our claims.

If you are interested in learning more about our award winning work, you can check out our case studies or our Clutch profile to read full reviews.

IT_Services_Firms_LosAngeles_2018-200x

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Nintex xChange-owen runnals

General Networks is Speaking at the Nintex xChange Customer & Partner Conference

The Nintex xChange Customer & Partner Conference is around the corner and our own Director of Professional Services, Owen Runnals (@orunnals), will be speaking with our client – Hines – on actionable steps you can take to migrate your forms and workflows to Nintex and SharePoint Online.

xChange is Nintex’s yearly conference where they discuss new advances in their platform, customer use cases and provide lots of opportunities to meet other Nintex users to learn about how you can better automate your business. If you have Nintex already, it’s a great conference to help you find more ways to get a return on your investment. If you’re considering Nintex as your workflow or forms platform of choice, this conference can help you get a better sense of how the platform could be a great fit for you and your business.

You can find more information on the Nintex conference, including sessions, speakers and registration information on the Nintex website.

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