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SharePoint Business Challenges

According SDPS (https://iwsolve.partners.extranet.microsoft.com/sdps/) the key business challenges of SharePoint are:

  • Islands of information and applications
  • Slow responsiveness to business and user needs
  • Costly custom development and maintenance
  • Poor sharing inside and outside the organization
  • Difficult to find the right content, data, and people
  • Increasing information management risk

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SharePoint Service Level Agreement (SLA)

SharePoint 2010 Planning guide contains a good sample of SharePoint SLA

Establish service-level agreements for each service level. A service-level agreement should include the following items at a minimum:

  1. The length of time and approvals that are necessary to create a site (What”s the process to create a site? Who”s involved?)
  2. Information about the costs for the service to users or departments (Who gets charged, and for what?)
  3. Operational-level agreements that specify the teams that perform operations and the frequency (Which team applies updates? Which team performs backups? How frequently do these occur?)
  4. Policies about problem resolution through a help desk (When a user gets stuck, who do they call? What”s the escalation path?)
  5. Negotiated performance targets for the first load of a site, subsequent loads, and performance at remote locations (Recovery, load balancing, and failover strategies)
  6. Customization policies for the service
  7. Storage limits for content and sites
  8. Multi-language support (Which languages will be installed and supported?)

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Information Record Management standard

Intro

For the ECM systems a lot of organizations (especially government) require solutions to be compliant with AS ISO 15489 standard that defines Records Management requirements for the following procedures:

  • Records creation and capturing
  • Active Records management (centralized/decentralized, filling records, maintenance, barcoding)
  • Records appraisal and disposal planning
  • Policy and procedures documentation
  • Training programmes
  • Management of inactive records
  • Vital records protection

Each Record Management system consists from the following components (in general):

  • Individuals who create or maintain the records
  • policies, procedures and practices
  • documentation presenting policies, procedures and practices, including procedures manuals and guidelines
  • records themselves
  • specialised information and records systems used to control the records
  • software, hardware, and other equipment and stationery used in recordkeeping

with the following lifecycle of records

  • Creation
  • Distribution
  • Utilization
  • Active record storage
  • Record transferring
  • Inactive record storage
  • Record disposion

when “record” is characterized by:

  • Authenticity (can be proven)
  • Reliability (can be trusted, accurate and attested)
  • Integrity (complete and unaltered)
  • Useability (can be located, retrieved, presented and interpreted)

 

Designing and Implemented of Record Managements System

One of the most critical aspects of creating Record Management system is Requirements Gathering and Analysis to produce Business Classification Schema. A requirements gathering for RM consists in following steps:

  • Gather information on the business activities of the organisation
  • Map them into a classification scheme (detailing functions,activities and transactions)
  • Establish what records of business activity need to be created
  • Consider legislative and other external record keeping requirements

all of them are focused on business functions,activities and transactions, with the analysis phase as:

  • Analyse and summarise collected data to develop and evaluate alternative solutions
  • Techniques range from flowcharting to sophisticated modelling
  • Requires an objective fresh approach to the task
  • Choice of ‘best’ alternative depends on wide range of factors
  • cost-benefit analysis

The overall process of designing and implementing of Record Managements system is very formalized approach, called as “DIRS", and is summarized on the following diagram:

image

 

Business Classification Schema

AS ISO 15489 standard relies on classification schemas to improve the records retrieval and to limit the searching process. The recommended schema is Business Classification Schema that assist records management by:

  • Providing linkages between individual records which accumulate to provide a continuous record of activity
  • Ensuring records are named in a consistent manner over time
  • Assisting in the retrieval of all records relating to a particular function or activity
  • Determining security protection and access appropriate for sets of records
  • Allocating user permissions for access to, or action on, particular groups of records
  • Distributing records for action
  • Determining appropriate retention periods and disposition actions for records

Such classification provides a basis for arranging and retrieving records, when records should be organized in hierarchy of Series->Sub-series->Files->Documents and have the minimum set of metadata (unique ID, data and time of registration, title or description, author) with additional properties as data and time of communication, sender, recipient, link to related document, system where the record has been captured, standard, access, retention period and etc.

Creation of Business Classification Schema should follow next steps:

  • Gather documentary information and conduct interviews
  • Understand overall mission/objectives of the organisation
  • Derive and list the functions needed to achieve objectives
  • Identify hierarchies of activities which support each function
  • Identify the transactions which operationalize each activity
  • Identify processes/activities common across functions
  • Produce a map of the hierarchies for each function

Effective retrieval requires knowledge of classification and indexing techniques and a thorough understanding of the organisation’s activities

Most Common Problems of Records Management

1) The most affecting part of Record Management system is legislation requirements that require compliance with: 

  • Statutes of limitations
  • Tax legislation
  • Corporations legislation
  • Financial institutions legislation
  • Trade practices legislation
  • Health legislation
  • Evidence legislation
  • Privacy and freedom of information legislation
  • Electronic transactions legislation
  • Legislation governing the disposal of public records

2) Cultural problems

  • People not inclined to share information
  • People think relying on others reduces their own reputation
  • People see themselves as experts and refuse collaboration

3) Records Maintenance

  • a lack of understanding of cost of storing useless records or inappropriate storage procedures
  • Locating lost records
  • Locating incorrectly filed records
  • Duplication of records
  • Records not available when needed
  • Inconsistency of filing, retrieval, charge out or follow up of records

Source

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Business Intelligence–why do we need ETL and OLAP? Conceptual model

For these who start in Business Intelligence, such words as ETL and OLAP might be already known, but it’s quite hard to find really good description of WHY do we need these activities for Business Intelligence and what’s the conceptual process of building a BI system.

Let’s review BI artefacts and their relation between each other. The most common BI system evolve through the following steps:

  1. Normalized database
  2. Data Warehouse/Mart
  3. OLAP

This can be represented by the picture below (taken from “Microsoft SharePoint 2010 PerformancePoint Services Unleashed” book)

imageStep 1 – Database storage. All information is saving into relation database in the normalized format (usually), that allows to manipulate data effectively. Information stored in database is represented in flat format, that is very efficient for the data storage and retrieval.

Step 2 – Measures and Dimensions. Database systems store terabytes of data, which is just a raw data and not usable from the business perspective. For the business level we need to have “information” instead of data.  There is a quite significant difference between “data” and “information” – data is an information, but information *is not* a data. For analysis purposes we need to converted data to information.

Definition: “Information is an organised data, in the form relevant for us”. It means that to get “Information” we need to extract the most valuable data and transform it to the usable form (this process is called ETL – extract, process and load). In the result of this transformation we get “Measures”. Measures are exactly that information you want to analyse. Measures examples: sales, defective product, staff retention. However, measures need to be specified by range of something. We need to create “Dimension” to group all our Measured by relevant values. For example,dimension can be identified as: period of time,region, category, thus dimension allows us to group measures by context (in other words, group similar values to filter your information). Take into account that dimensions can be organized in hierarchies. For example, sales measures can be dimensioned by country, then by state, then by city and then by price.

Step 3 – Cube. Organizing data in measures which are categorized by dimensions is resulting into the OLAP cube (Online analytical processing) created from a specific schema (star or snowflake). Cube representation allows to analyse data using different approach to drill, aggregate, decompose and report data for the forecasting, budgeting, planning, and other purposes.

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PerformancePoint 2010 Features– what’s new and what’s gone

Release of SharePoint 2010 provides PerformancePoint as the Service Application for the SharePoint platform with the following new features:


  • PPS object storage in SharePoint lists and libraries
  • Filters as objects that can be shared across dashboards
  • Calculated KPIs, which enable you to perform calculations from several different data sources
  • Dynamic hierarchy support, which updates a hierarchy when the data source is updated
  • Multiple KPI actuals
  • Hierarchies as connection points in the filter framework
  • Variance between actual and target values displayed on a scorecard
  • Empty-row filtering
  • KPIs natively on columns
  • Scorecard drill-down
  • Toolbar sorting and filtering redesign
  • KPI details report
  • Native support for the decomposition tree
  • Pie charts
  • SQL Server Analysis Services Conditional Formatting in Analytic Reports

However, a few features, that existed in PerformancePoint 2007, have been removed, such as:


  • Dashboard previews
  • OLAP Data Sources
  • OWC (Office Web Components), which include Pivot Tables and Pivot Charts
  • ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) data source connection
  • Trend analysis report

Source: “Microsoft SharePoint 2010 PerformancePoint Services Unleashed

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Protected: Records and Information Management features of SharePoint 2010

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SharePoint Governance Plan Template

Microsoft released the governance planning for SharePoint 2010 recently. The detailed information is published there http://blogs.technet.com/b/tothesharepoint/archive/2010/09/01/new-governance-content-white-papers-and-check-out-the-model.aspx

The sample template for Governance Planning outlining is the following

SECTION 1: General Governance Guidelines

  1. Governance Plan Objective
  2. Vision Statement
  3. General Guidelines
  4. Roles and Responsibilities
  5. Guiding Principles

SECTION 2: Detailed Governance Policies and Standards

  1. Content Management Policies and Standards
    • Posting Content to Existing Pages or Sites
    • Posting Content to the Home Page
    • Posting Content to Personal Pages
    • Social Tags and Ratings
    • Records Retention
    • Content Auditing and Review
  2. Design Policies and Standards
    • Creating New Subsites
    • Page Layout and Organization
    • Content Types and Metadata
    • Content-Specific Guidelines/Policies
    • Security
    • Branding
  3. Customization Policies and Standards
    • Browser-based updates
    • Updates based on SharePoint Designer
    • Sandboxed Solutions
    • Centrally-deployed / 3rd Party Solutions

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SharePoint Licencing Demystified

This post explains what type licences are required for the SharePoint Server farm and how to choose the right license.

SharePoint Server Licences

1. Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 for Internet sites (FIS)

This licence model is for internet-faces sites that can be accessed by :

o external users (suppliers, customers, vendors, student, and the public)*

o both anonymous and authenticated users

o Internal users, only if all content, information, and applications are also accessible to external users **

* Server and CAL licensing is not required for people who use SharePoint only to author information

** If the server has items that are for internal use only, those users require CALs, and their servers require licenses for SharePoint Server.

"Intranet sites" licence can be used for both internal and remote employees with the appropriate number of CALs, even though intranet sites might be exposed to the Internet to allow access to remote employees,

SharePoint Server for Internet Sites must be licensed on all servers (staging,application,index, front-end) that provide content to external users.

This license has all the features of the Enterprise Edition of Office SharePoint Server. This is a per server license that does not require the purchase of Client Access Licenses.

2. Client Access Licence (CAL)

Required for MOSS/SharePoint Server 2010 for every employee contributing to or accessing site internally


Other Licenses

SharePoint Server requires Microsoft Windows Server and Microsoft SQL Server and does not include licenses for those products

1. Windows Licences

o External Connector Licence

(http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/us/external-connectors.aspx)

This is Windows Server licence that is required to allow your external users ( business partners, customers , students) to access your network.

External Connector licenses should be acquired for each Windows server that the external user is accessing (not just for the server to which they are authenticating), regardless if it”s SQL Server, Index server or file server, because their data is accessed over the Internet.

Pricing: $1999 USD per server, and $7999 with Remote Access

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/us/pricing.aspx

Additional Sources: http://www.iqt.com.au/selectnewsletters/currentissue/pdf/WindowsExternal.pdf

o Client Access Licence

Device-based CAL (Device CAL) is required for every device that accesses a SharePoint Server, regardless of the number of people who use that device

User CAL, a CAL is required for every person who accesses a SharePoint Server, regardless of the number of devices used.

Whatever option is chosen, all CALs must be the same type.

http://sharepoint.microsoft.com/en-us/buy/Pages/Licensing-Details.aspx

2. SQL Server licences

For the "Active-Passive" cluster the processors” licenses for Active Node only are required. Thus, for the 4 servers SQL Cluster only 2 licences are required.

Sample calculation

Current calculation is performed for the following scenario, with 3 Servers

Public facing Web Site which is used by anonymous read only visitors, plus those whom may register to be sent regular email, participate in a community or book airline tickets. These machines will not be used for content contribution, a.k.a. content authoring and approval. These boxes are purely for servicing Internet users

Price is indicative only 

MOSS (2xWFE, 1xIndex)

     

MOSS 2007 FIS

3

$40,943.00

$122,829.00

Windows External Connector

3

$1,999.00

$5,997.00

Windows 2003 R2 Standard

3

$999.00

$2,997.00

       

SQL (2 node cluster, 2x CPU each)

     

SQL Server 2005 Standard CPU

4(2)

$5,999.00

$23,996.00

Windows External Connector

2

$1,999.00

$3,998.00

Windows 2003 R2 Standard

2

$999.00

$1,998.00

       

Total:

   

$161,815.00


Environment Licences

http://www.harbar.net/archive/2007/04/04/Office-SharePoint-Server-Licensing.aspx

Code development and testing

Use an MSDN license

Content authoring

Use the server license with the appropriate number of CALs

Staging

Staging environments are typically configured to match the production environment. Consequently, use the Internet sites license.

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What is a Taxonomy

In this post I’d like to provide the quick overview of what is the Taxonomy

Taxonomy is a categorization framework agreed upon by business and content owners (with the help of subject matter experts)that will be used to tag content.

As an Information Architect building the taxonomy is an important activity of your role. Taxonomy affects the information enterprise-wide in the following areas: Navigation, Content Management, Search, Tagging. Taxonomy can be represented by following types: flat, hierarchical, faced, network, functional, subject-oriented

When you create your Taxonomy project plan consider the following steps:

  • quality metrics
  • content analysis 
  • metadata specification
  • vocabulary development (+ thesaurus)
  • semantic network
  • cost benefit analysis model

Recommendation:

– About 10 discrete divisions (called facets)
– 4-6 levels deep.
– Up to 15 terms at each level.

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