Foreword by Ruven Gotz

Ruven Gotz is the Innovation Center Director & Regional Digital Workplace Lead at Avanade in New York. A long-time active contributor in the SharePoint ecosystem, Ruven uses his strategic viewpoint and information architecture bent to create the future for customers. He has been awarded the Microsoft MVP for SharePoint and Office 365 for many years running, and is the author of Practical SharePoint 2010 Information Architecture (Apress, 2012).

I have known Michael since the 20th of December 2010 when we participated in a conference call together, but the first time we met in person was on the 28th of November 2011 at the SHARE conference in Australia. The reason I can give you those details of our conversations and meetings is because Michael has tracked our relationship in CRM since the beginning (and the relationships and connections he’s made with over 9,000 people over the past decade).

I think this bit of information is a perfect illustration of why I trust Michael’s advice and the approach that he’s taken in this book; he uses these workplace productivity tools. And he doesn’t just use them, he uses them relentlessly and thoroughly and he thinks deeply about how they can provide value, what their pitfalls are and how they could be improved.

When I first met Michael, I was impressed with how detailed his thoughts were on approaches to collaboration. When a lot of us were deep diving into SharePoint as a technology platform, Michael was more concerned with the kinds of leadership, planning and behaviours that are behind successful collaboration initiatives. It all made sense to me when I learned that Michael had spent a lot of time thinking about collaboration going all the way back to his master’s thesis. Since then, he has worked extensively with a wide array of collaboration platforms and he had already experienced what many of us were still learning: The platform matters, but it’s only a small part of the puzzle. It’s a cliché by now that every IT related project is a combination of people, process and technology, but Michael is one of the best at balancing all three of those corners of the triangle.

In my opinion, Office 365 and its ever-expanding set of tools from SharePoint to Planner to Delve to Groups and more give us one of the greatest potential leaps forward in Digital Workplace Transformation. I am tremendously excited about the opportunity that it presents. But I also know that it is not magic. The potential will be squandered if organizations just ‘switch it on and hope for the best.’ In this book, Michael brings to bear his direct experience with Office 365 as well as his years of thinking about the nature of workplace collaboration. To bolster his thinking and direction, he also brings research and case studies of what others are doing as well as the findings of industry and academic investigators. The result is a comprehensive guide to making choices and making plans.

This book will be a valuable companion as you embark on your Office 365 journey. It will help you to gain an understanding of the technology (warts and all) and the organizational preparation required to achieve a business benefit and therefore a successful outcome.

Ruven Gotz

Innovation Center Director and Regional Digital Workplace Lead

Avanade Inc.