Configuring a workflow

Using built-in SharePoint workflow templates you can configure a workflow using a browser and customize it in a way limited by workflow template structure to meet the exact needs. Workflow template defines a number of conditions to test and actions to be performed when these conditions are met.
Each workflow has the start and the end. The triggering event for a workflow is usually uploading a document or adding an item, but you can also configure it to be started manually. When a workflow event is triggered a new workflow instance is created. When a workflow completes all the stages, it is set to Completed status.
Additionally, workflows can use Task list and History list. It can add items to a Tasks list to help users to track what actions are required to complete workflow process and send emails to users when a task has been assigned to them. Workflow history provides the information about each workflow instance created, running or completed for an item or document. This list can be accessed only by adding /lists/workflow history/ to the sites URL, it is not available on the Site Contents page.
Let`s trace the process of configuring a workflow using built-in template. In our example we will use Three-State workflow. This workflow is perfect for tracking status of tasks or documents. We are going to create a workflow on project site that tracks documents and passes them through review and accepting process.

Adding a Choice column

If you want to associate List or Library with a Three-state workflow, you must add at least one Choice column that contains the state values that the workflow will track. To add this column:

  1. Chose the list or library you want to associate with a workflow and click on Library. Then click on Create Column.
    Configuring_a_workflow_-1

  2. Enter the name of new column and choose Choice as its type.
    Configuring_a_workflow_-2

  3. Enter the description of this new column, at least 3 choices for it and choose the necessary additional settings. You can enter more than 3 choices but three-state workflow can use only three options.
    Configuring_a_workflow_-3

  4. Click OK.
    Configuring_a_workflow_-4
Adding a Three-state workflow

Now you can add Three-state workflow to this library.

  1. Click on Library –> Workflow Settings and choose Add a Workflow from the drop-down menu.
    Configuring_a_workflow_-5

  2. Choose Three-state workflow template and type the name of a new workflow.
    Configuring_a_workflow_-6

  3. Specify the Task list and History list for this workflow, choose the start options and click Next.
    Configuring_a_workflow_-7

  4. In the workflow states section you can choose the choice column and the values from it for each stage of the workflow.
    Configuring_a_workflow_-8

  5. Specify the necessary settings for the Initiation stage of the workflow. The option to send email is enabled by default, you can disable it if required.
    Configuring_a_workflow_-9

  6. Specify the necessary settings for Middle stage of the workflow.
    Configuring_a_workflow_-10

  7. Click OK.
    Configuring_a_workflow_-11

Now your Three-state workflow has been added to your library and you can check how it works.

SharePoint 2013 BI and MySQL

SharePoint 2013 BI and MySQL, Multi-Tenant PowerPivot 2013 Hosting, PowerPivot data refresh in SharePoint 2013

 SharePoint 2013 BI and MySQL
SharePoint BI and MySQL
SharePoint 2013 BI and MySQL, Hosted SharePoint 2013 BI, SharePoint and MySQL, Multi-Tenant PowerPivot 2013 Hosting, PowerPivot data refresh in SharePoint 2013, Real time BI

PlexHosted is pleased to announce support for the connectivity of SharePoint hosted workbooks to open source MySQL database server. Now our customers are free to use MySQL as an external data source in their PowerPivot and PowerView reports with our multi-tenant SharePoint 2013 BI service.

PowerPivot data refresh in SharePoint 2013

PlexHosted PowerPivot solutions provide interactive and scheduled data refresh of PowerPivot workbooks from the latest information and data sources. The importance of receiving information in a timely fashion is obvious for business owners, isn`t it?

SharePoint 2013 Business Intelligence and MySQL database server

As always PlexHosted continues to improve the quality and scalability of its services as well as its expertise in the SharePoint Hosting industry. Previously, data refresh from MySQL was available only in dedicated SharePoint environments. Now you can easily connect a workbook to your MySQL database, upload it to your hosted SharePoint site, and have your business critical data always up to date.

Real-time Business Intelligence 2013, integration of data from various data sources, analyzing large amounts of information, effective sharing and collaborating with the most recent data, great data visualization, exceptional performance, and customer support available 24/7/365 are among the capabilities available with PlexHosted and its SharePoint 2013 BI services.

Use SharePoint 2013 Business Intelligence with PlexHosted – improve your business!

References:

SharePoint 2013 Business Intelligence Overview
SharePoint 2013 Business Intelligence

SharePoint 2013 BI and MySQL
SharePoint 2013 BI and MySQL, PlexHosted – Hosted PowerPivot Data in SharePoint 2013

What is SharePoint? SharePoint sites and SharePoint project management

What is SharePoint? Five Common Ways to use SharePoint sites

PlexHosted SharePoint
PlexHosted SharePoint site
What is SharePoint, SharePoint project management, Intranet SharePoint sites, Public SharePoint sites, SharePoint site
Hello,
Today I would like to talk about common ways to use SharePoint.

What is SharePoint? SharePoint history

SharePoint was launched by Microsoft in 2001 and it was called “SharePoint Portal Server 2001”. The first release of SharePoint was supposed to be a platform for document and content management. Over a decade has passed since that time and SharePoint has undergone multiple changes. The latest release of SharePoint has far more functionality. Nowadays it is usually called a business collaboration platform or application platform. Since SharePoint combines in itself various technologies, solutions and numerous features, it is extremely difficult to give an exact definition to what SharePoint is and what it is used for. In the internet you can find dozens of definitions and explanations.
Depending on the type of business, a SharePoint platform can serve different purposes. It is a centralized system that can be accessed through multiple devices connected to the internet, therefore the most significant function of SharePoint is to join all your employees from different departments, offices, buildings, cities or even countries, and provide them with a single place to complete their daily jobs and communicate with each other.
SharePoint brings benefits not only to large companies with multiple users, but also to small businesses of any type.

Common ways to use SharePoint sites

We can distinguish the following most common ways to use SharePoint:

Document and content management system – from the very beginning until the present day, SharePoint platforms are continuously used by many companies as a file share system with advanced settings. A centralized place where documents and files can be securely stored and easily accessed by end users, a role based security system and other powerful content management features draws the most attention from customers.

Company intranet SharePoint – most successful company intranet portals are built on a SharePoint platform. SharePoint provides tools for social networking, creating blog sites and company wikis. It provides an environment convenient for receiving the latest company news, announcements, scheduling and managing personal tasks, contacts and verifying the statuses of the latest projects.

Public facing website – SharePoint can also be used as a platform for a company’s website. It allows the creation of multiple publicly available pages with company information, text, images and graphics. SharePoint supports advanced HTML editing and all modern web technologies. This results in the ability to run a 100% custom branded site. SharePoint publishing features enable administrators to control the content, design and update pages, as well as manage permissions for the site.

Team collaboration – SharePoint is a perfect tool for your teams to coordinate on projects, connect to sites from different devices and receive notifications about updates. SharePoint allows team members to stay connected to the process, check project statuses, schedules, communicate with each other and access all information related to the project.

Business Analytics – SharePoint Business Intelligence features provide the ability to get critical information from the insights and, subsequently, to enhance productivity, improve decision-making and increase profits for the company. SharePoint allows the creation rich dashboards, graphs and charts, display trends, setup key performance indicators and a lot more to analyze company data.

And last but not the least, SharePoint can be customized for a company`s specific use. It can be adapted to perform functions that meet the needs of your business and are critical for your company’s success.

Start with the PlexHosted SharePoint hosting today and improve your business tomorrow!

References:

PlexHosted SharePoint sites

PlexHosted SharePoint. What is SharePoint
PlexHosted SharePoint. What is SharePoint

SharePoint Hosting. SharePoint 2013 and Yammer – best social tools for your company.

SharePoint 2013 and Yammer – best social tools for your company

SharePoint 2013 Yammer
SharePoint 2013 Yammer
SharePoint 2013 Yammer, Yammer SharePoint 2013, Yammer SharePoint, SharePoint 2013 Yammer, Yammer SharePoint integration, Yammer and SharePoint
Hello,
As you know, the future of big projects is in social collaboration. All large companies try to make communications inside of the organization simple and productive. So, the question is “Which tool should we use for social collaboration – Yammer or SharePoint 2013?” is the one most asked and discussed. Let`s try to understand this question and answer it in this post.

Yammer

Yammer is a private social network for your company. Please see the following list of the main Yammer features:

  • Yammer groups. You can setup a Group for all teams, projects or interests. There are two great features such as Quick Access and Announcements you can use in Groups.
  • Yammer user profiles. Share your knowledge or find the experts you need more easily. Add managers and reports to create a company chat together with your employees. Leader boards display people with the most messages, replied-to messages, and liked messages.
  • Yammer conversations. You can share an update, add documents, post pools and notify other co-workers by looping them into a conversation using @their_name. See who’s online now and start a private discussion with one or more employees.
  • Yammer document collaboration. Share MS Office documents, PDFs, images and videos across team and get feedback from them. Collect notes and view all the edits made to a document. Additionally you can email a file and mark files as official and read-only.
  • Yammer external communication. Great option! You can create a dedicated online workspace to collaborate with business contacts outside of your company and you can easily switch between internal and external networks.
  • Yammer security. Bring the look and feel of your company. Easily manage access to your Yammer network, sync directories, manage and export network data according to company policies. Set password policies and use the session management to see users devices are logged into with possibility to log them out.
  • Yammer Apps. Connect all of your business applications with Yammer.
  • Yammer devices. Access Yammer on Web, Mobile, Desktop.

Read more at Yammer features.

SharePoint 2013

SharePoint is a platform for a social intranet portals collaboration. Please read more about SharePoint 2013 features.

SharePoint 2013 vs Yammer. Microsoft social tools comparison.

Microsoft continues to release updates to both social tools and will continue to innovate no matter which platform you chose and use. As for the question I mentioned above, here is the most popular answer on it:

  • If you have no restrictions, use Yammer.
  • If your organization needs to use a dedicated hosting tool, using SharePoint 2013 social features is the best way to meet it.

Yammer is more flexible for collaboration with external partners or customers. If you want to initiate real-time participation and sharing events, meetings or reviews use Yammer with its out-of-box options. But if you want create an intranet portal with the same templates, structured information and web parts – the best tool for you is SharePoint 2013 with social features. SharePoint content is more structured and there are additional options you can use, like workflows, forms, web parts.

Currently, Microsoft is working on the integration between Yammer and SharePoint. After it is finished you would be able to get all best from these two social tools. But now, let your teams decide which of these social platforms is best to use. Please keep in mind that your team is the best decision maker of technologies for your organization.

PlexHosted has a great option for you! You can integrate Yammer with PlexHosted Dedicated SharePoint servers.

Start with the PlexHosted SharePoint hosting today and improve your business tomorrow!

References:

Yammer features
Dedicated SharePoint tool

SharePoint 2013 and Yammer integration
SharePoint 2013 and Yammer integration

SharePoint Hosting. Data visualization in SharePoint 2013

SharePoint 2013, SharePoint data visualization, SharePoint hosting, data visualization in SharePoint 2013

SharePoint data visualization
SharePoint data visualization
SharePoint 2013, SharePoint data visualization, SharePoint hosting, data visualization in SharePoint 2013
Hello,
Probably you know that SharePoint is a platform that can help you share and organize your company’s reports, documents, etc. But did you know SharePoint can also help you visualize data for your employees.

SharePoint 2013 Power View

You can use PowerView to build and share a dashboard that visualizes your data for your team. You publish the dashboard to your company’s site, so you don’t need to setup any additional security. Please see more details at the following Microsoft video:

Video: Discover – visualize data

PlexHosted’s demo site with PowerView and SharePoint data visualization

Please see PlexHosted’s demo site with PowerView and SharePoint data visualization using the following credentials
URL: http://powerpivot.plexhosted.net
Username: demo@plexhosted.net
Password: p@ssword1

PlexHosted free trial of SharePoint Enterprise with PowerPivot and Power View

Sign up today for a 1-month free trial of SharePoint Enterprise with PowerPivot and Power View data visualization to test all SharePoint business intelligence features for yourself.

Start with the PlexHosted SharePoint hosting today and improve your business tomorrow!

References:

PlexHosted’s demo site with Power View and SharePoint data visualization
Free trial of SharePoint Enterprise with PowerPivot and Power View data visualization
Video: Discover – visualize data

Data visualization in SharePoint 2013
Data visualization in SharePoint 2013

SharePoint 2013 User Password Management in PlexHosted

SharePoint 2013 Change Password, SharePoint 2013 User Password Management, SharePoint 2013 Change Password Feature

SharePoint Change Password
Change Password Feature
SharePoint 2013 Change Password Feature, SharePoint Hosting, SharePoint 2013 Change Password, SharePoint 2013 User Password Management
Hello,
Today we have great news for you. PlexHosted is pleased to announce that a user password change functionality is now available with our multi-tenant SharePoint 2013 services.

SharePoint 2013 User Password Management

SharePoint user passwords are usually managed from the Active Directory with dedicated SharePoint server or using SharePoint’s Administrative Control Panel provided for multi-tenant service. Previously, multi-tenant users had no ability to change their passwords by themselves and this task has required an administrator to get involved. As a result, extra time was spent for managing passwords every day.

SharePoint 2013 Change Password Feature

Now, if an administrator wants to give users the ability to manage their passwords, a SharePoint “Change Password” feature can be enabled for the site collection.
SharePoint 2013 Change Password feature
SharePoint 2013 Change Password feature
PlexHosted’s new password change functionality helps to relieve your administrators from this mundane and time consuming task. Users can now change passwords for themselves directly from the SharePoint site without the need to callwrite admin and request a change. What is more, this new functionality allows keeping passwords even more securely than before.

SharePoint 2013 Change Password Web Part

Take a look at how easily users can change passwords for a SharePoint 2013 site with this feature:

They just need to click Change Password.

SharePoint 2013 Change Password
SharePoint 2013 Change Password

Then type old and new passwords, confirm and click Save.
SharePoint 2013 User Password Management
SharePoint 2013 User Password Management

It is simple and will greatly reduce the time administrators spend every day changing passwords so they can focus on the process of improving your SharePoint sites.

Start with the PlexHosted SharePoint hosting today and improve your business tomorrow!

References:

SharePoint 2013 User Password Management in multi-tenant environment

SharePoint 2013 User Password Management
SharePoint 2013 User Password Management in multi-tenant environment

SharePoint Hosting. Choosing between SharePoint Foundation 2013 and SharePoint Server 2013

SharePoint 2013 Server, SharePoint 2013 Foundation, SharePoint Hosting, SharePoint Hosting 2013

SharePoint 2013 Hosting
SharePoint 2013 Hosting
Choosing between SharePoint Foundation 2013 and SharePoint Server 2013, SharePoint Hosting, SharePoint Hosting 2013, SharePoint 2013 Server, SharePoint 2013 Foundation
Hello,
As you probably know, with SharePoint you have two options for installation: SharePoint Foundation 2013 and SharePoint Server 2013. You can read about these two options in my previous posts SharePoint 2013 Foundation edition and SharePoint 2013 Server edition. In this post, I would like to summarize the earlier posts and help you make the right choice between these SharePoint editions.

SharePoint 2013 Editions Short Overview

Let`s take a look at a short SharePoint 2013 editions overview to refresh the key points of these SharePoint editions.

SharePoint 2013 Foundation Overview

Document management and collaboration are the core features with SharePoint 2013 Foundation. With Foundation, end-users can easy create collaboration sites, so it`s a very popular collaborative tool for teams. Users can create a new site based on an existing SharePoint template in just a few seconds without the need for additional code.

SharePoint 2013 Server Overview

The more advanced features for business and team collaboration are included in SharePoint 2013 Server. With SharePoint Server, you can improve business process management, content management and business intelligence for your organization. SharePoint Server is the tool to create, publish and manage content across the intranet, extranet and Internet. Since SharePoint Server integrates easily with Microsoft Office applications, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access and Outlook, users can share content more easily using a familiar environment.

SharePoint 2013 Edition Choice

It is common for many organizations to have a SharePoint environment. In many cases, it`s an easy choice to start with SharePoint 2013 Foundation edition and focus only on collaboration tasks. Once your needs become more advanced, you can upgrade SharePoint Foundation to one of the SharePoint Server options. Our company, PlexHosted, offers free migration to PlexHosted SharePoint services as well as upgrade in a SharePoint environment at any time you need it.

Start with the PlexHosted SharePoint hosting today and improve your business tomorrow!

References:

SharePoint Hosting. SharePoint 2013 Server edition
SharePoint Hosting. SharePoint 2013 Foundation edition
PlexHosted SharePoint Hosting

Choosing between SharePoint Foundation 2013 and SharePoint Server 2013
Choosing between SharePoint Foundation 2013 and SharePoint Server 2013

SharePoint Hosting. SharePoint Intranet Portal

SharePoint Intranet, SharePoint Hosting, SharePoint Intranet Portal, SharePoint Portals

SharePoint Intranet
SharePoint Intranet
SharePoint Intranet, SharePoint Hosting, SharePoint Intranet Portal, SharePoint Portals
Hello,
An Intranet is an internal company portal that can be used to make team work more productive, effortless, cost effective and competitive. It is an essential part of the organization’s infrastructure. A successful SharePoint intranet usually has high usability because company owners have full control over the environment and know exactly who the users are and how they actually use intranet. Investments in intranet improvements are crucial since the intranet usability and high user adoption helps improve business productivity and therefore increase overall company profits.

SharePoint Intranet

SharePoint is one of the most widely used application platforms for a company’s intranet portal. According to the Nielsen Norman Group`s research, 70% of successful intranets are built on SharePoint. Additionally, Nielsen Norman Group determines 10 best intranet portals every year and the best ones for 2013 are:

    • Acorda Therapeutics, Inc. (Biotechnology, U.S.)
    • American International Group, Inc. (Insurance, U.S.)
    • AT&T (Telecommunications, U.S.)
    • Hager Group, (Manufacturing, Germany)
    • Luzerner Kantonalbank AG, (Financial company, Switzerland)
    • ONO (Telecommunications, Spain)
    • Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) (Government, Saudi Arabia)
    • Swiss Mobiliar Insurance & Pensions (Insurance, Switzerland)
    • WorkSafeBC (Government, Canada)
    • XL Group plc (Insurance, Ireland)
These companies are of different sizes and from different countries. These intranets are used for their entire organizations and have been designed to take into consideration specific company needs in their particular sphere of business.
To read about these companies please see the following page – 2013 Intranet Design Award Winners.

This research helps to specify the latest trends in the development of successful intranet portals. Let’s take a look at them.

  • Time for intranet design – the average time to create and design a portal is 3.5 years, but lately it has decreased to 2.3 years. The process of designing a company portal is not a simple task.
  • The size of an organization – it has become simpler for small companies to develop good company portals using modern technologies. The SharePoint platform provides a number of features for great intranet implementation with its social features, efficient MS Office integration, information search and filtering capabilities.
  • Intranet management team – nowadays it is important to involve more people in building a successful intranet site. It is impossible for a small team to design and manage an intranet portal that will completely satisfy the needs of all company employees and help improve collaboration and work productivity. The more people involved in the building process – the better the result will be for end users.
  • Consulting companies and developers – external consultants are usually involved in helping with SharePoint planning, development, design and branding. They serve to complete particular tasks in which your company`s team does not have enough expertise.
  • The authors of intranet content – it is important to consider the primary requirements of the employees when designing the intranet. The best way to ensure usability, high user adoption rates and relevant content inside the portal is to involve people from different offices and departments, the people who will use the site.
  • Feature and design development – the latest trend in intranets is to use such features as personalized pages, extended profiles, video channels and mega menus. The additional new features widely used are integration with social sites like Facebook or LinkedIn, and extended filters on site pages.
  • Out-of-the-box SharePoint capabilities – the built-in SharePoint features allow improvements in search experience and make document management easier with Office integration.
  • Educating employees about social and enterprise features of the platform – intranet users need to know the main usage rules and it is a good idea to provide a short guideline for them. It is also important to establish communication between teams and motivate users for commenting, sharing and creating conversations.
  • Permissions – complex site permissions can be a nightmare for your intranet management team. Nowadays most of the companies tend to protect business critical files by using simple permission strategies to avoid the unnecessary complexity.
The practice of a great number of companies from all over the world shows that the SharePoint platform is a perfect tool for designing a company’s intranet portal. Taking into consideration the latest trends, advances from SharePoint consultants and experienced users, you can build a powerful portal for your team and achieve better results.
PlexHosted can provide you with a starting point for your successful intranet. From the planning stage, to SharePoint implementation and customization – this is something PlexHosted can help you with.

Start with the PlexHosted SharePoint hosting today and improve your business tomorrow!

References:

SharePoint Intranet
PlexHosted SharePoint hosting

PlexHosted - SharePoint Intranet 2013
PlexHosted – SharePoint Intranet 2013

SharePoint Hosting. SharePoint 2013 Server Edition

SharePoint 2013 Server, SharePoint Hosting, SharePoint 2013 Server Edition, SharePoint 2013, Hosted SharePoint Server

SharePoint 2013 Server
SharePoint 2013 Server
SharePoint 2013 Server, SharePoint Hosting, SharePoint 2013 Server Edition
Hello,
As you probably know, with SharePoint you have two options for installation: SharePoint 2013 Foundation (this option was described in my previous post SharePoint 2013 Foundation edition) and SharePoint 2013 Server. In this post I want to tell you about the SharePoint 2013 Server edition.

SharePoint 2013 Server Edition

SharePoint 2013 Server extends the features available in the SharePoint 2013 Foundation edition. SharePoint 2013 Server provides you with a higher level of functionality, see SharePoint 2013 features. The more important features are described in this post.

SharePoint 2013 Server Features

  • SharePoint Server Enterprise services. SharePoint enterprise services provide with the best way to quickly and easily create custom solutions with Microsoft Office 2013. It includes Info Path Services, Excel Services, Visio Services, Access Services and PerformancePoint Services. If you do not need these services but need services for social collaboration you can choose the SharePoint 2013 Standard plan that is cheaper than the SharePoint Enterprise plan (please keep in mind that these two plans are usually referred to as SharePoint Server edition).
  • SharePoint Server Advanced Search. The basic functionality is included to SharePoint Foundation 2013 and with SharePoint Server 2013 you can get a more flexible environment to make sure your users will find the information they need.
  • SharePoint Server Publishing. SharePoint 2013 Server supports web content creation as well as publishing it to the Internet.
  • SharePoint Server Social features. Social networking is everywhere now and it’s an expected capability for many platforms. In SharePoint 2013 Server it has been much improved. Social features like rating, tagging and others help users find the content that will work for them best. Communication is an essential option in the business world.

As we can see SharePoint 2013 Server includes the more advanced features that can be very useful for company’s business. It can accelerate the adoption of content management and business intelligence across intranet portals and Internet web-sites.
SharePoint 2013 Server is ideal for mid-sized companies looking to improve their employees’ ability to work with each other in more effective ways than offered by SharePoint Foundation.

Start with the PlexHosted SharePoint hosting today and improve your business tomorrow!

References:

SharePoint Server 2013. SharePoint Enterprise
SharePoint Server 2013. SharePoint Standard

PlexHosted - SharePoint 2013 Server (SharePoint 2013 Standard and SharePoint 2013 Enterprise)
PlexHosted – SharePoint 2013 Server (SharePoint 2013 Standard and SharePoint 2013 Enterprise)