Hyperfish Acquired by LiveTiles

Last year I wrote about Hyperfish a couple of times (Introduction, Beyond Active Directory, and Thoughts on Collecting Expertise).

I was interested to note that LiveTiles acquired Hyperfish late last week:

Headquartered in New York, LiveTiles is the market leader in intelligent workplace software empowering organizations across the world to reinvent how work is done. LiveTiles creates unforgettable user experiences that are further enhanced through artificial intelligence and advanced analytics capability.

The acquisition of Hyperfish by LiveTiles represents the merger of two of the fastest growing and most exciting companies in the Microsoft ecosystem. Their combined technologies will enable LiveTiles to deliver organizations the most compelling and advanced Intelligent Workplace platforms.

Stockhead has details on the financials of the deal.

Mmm, interesting times ahead. Either LiveTiles will constrain the Hyperfish technology to its own platform and offering, or bring scale and scope to the generalised nature of the Hyperfish value proposition to all Office 365 firms. I’m hoping for the latter.

Updates
1. Chris from Hyperfish says they will keep focusing on the bigger picture.
2. Jeremy Thake, who moved from Microsoft to Hyperfish to become VP Product Technology, is going back to Microsoft.

Notes from the Keynote at the SharePoint Conference 2018

On the Silverside blog, I share five key takeaways from the SharePoint Conference keynote earlier this week:

The SharePoint Conference North America 2018 in Las Vegas is the place to be this week if SharePoint is critical to the collaboration strategy at your organisation. For those not able to attend in person, a complimentary webcast of the two-hour keynote was streamed live, but of course, you miss the hundreds of sessions on offer during the three days of the conference.

During the keynote, Jeff Teper and his team recounted recent updates to SharePoint Online, previewed coming changes, and made a splash with some new ideas.

Here’s the key five points I took away from the content-packed keynote:

Read more: Notes from the Keynote at the SharePoint Conference 2018

Thinking with SAMR – SharePoint News Changes

During the keynote from the SharePoint Conference 2018 in Las Vegas yesterday, Microsoft made several announcements of new goodness coming to SharePoint. One of those is the ability to create and publish organisational news, rather than just team news:

Deem specific sites as “organizational news sources” – as news rolls up to people across their SharePoint home in Office 365, or via the news tab in their SharePoint mobile [app], the news that comes from “organizational news source” sites will get special visual treatment bubbling up to the top of one’s view.

I said we could apply the SAMR model beyond educational technology. Let’s try this quickly with the announcement above from the SharePoint Conference:

– Substitution – this would look like a simple replacement of one form of distributing organisational news with another form but without any functional improvement, such as from email (a widely followed current practice) to online publishing (in SharePoint, as per the announcement). The new out-of-the-box page approval workflow probably sits here too, as it just replaces what happened previously with a new way that fits the change for news.

– Augmentation – something has to be added to the mix that wasn’t previously possible with the earlier form. Audience targeting based on metadata classifiers was also announced yesterday, and the use of this for organisational news would push the new feature up a level. Comments that have shared visibility, likes and sharing options that feed into the Microsoft Graph could be another example at this level.

What about modification and redefinition though? I’m not saying that Microsoft announced the capabilities that follow; I have tried to imagine what it could do with organisational news in order to transform the process (that is, do something at the modification or redefinition levels).

How about:

– There’s a lot of usually hidden chatter that goes on inside an organisation about current happenings, and whether these are good or bad for the organisation and its employees. It is hidden because it happens in non-public places, like email, instant messaging, and more. Based on real-time sentiment analysis of this hidden chatter – with suitable data protection to ensure only anonymised data is used – prompt the writers of organisational news with topics and specifics to write about … right here and now.

– Automatically generate an organisational news item to address any misconceptions that the sentiment analysis has identified. Do this without involving internal communications staff directly at all, but of course these would have to be based on authoritative news predicates.

What else could be a modification or redefinition, to use Ruben’s levels, in thinking about organisational news in SharePoint?

SharePoint Swoop – The Intranet Makeover Show

Microsoft published Season 1 of SharePoint Swoop: The Intranet Makeover Show, where three well-known MVPs swoop into an organisation for three days and make some SharePoint and Office 365 magic happen. This is Microsoft’s description:

SharePoint Swoop is not a typical reality show — this new, enterprise-focused, five-part web series from Microsoft is jam-packed with fun. Three MVP experts have just three days to help an international toy company modernize its overwhelmed intranet. Consultative makeovers of this kind normally take weeks. Can they do it?

Welcome to a world of enterprise reality TV. A world where the journey of a growing pop culture business intersects with three superhero Microsoft MVPs. Watch as it blends innovative technology and hands-on best practices for an intranet makeover you won’t want to miss. We caught it all on tape and are excited to share the learnings, best practices, and outcomes with you.

Some reflections after binge watching the 5 episodes:

1. This is a great initiative to show what’s possible when well-informed SharePoint and Office 365 experts are empowered to help. Sue I have met 3-4 times, Benjamin once, and I haven’t yet met Laura. They are good people in the community, and do great work.

2. While the show is positioned as helping the firm to “modernise its overwhelmed intranet” in three days, the reality of delivery is on a much smaller scale. One help site using a Hub site is built. One team site for The Shire is created. One PowerApp for tracking truck movements is built. Those are all great things to build within a three day period, but it isn’t the grandness of “modernising the intranet.” The CIO at the end of video 5 has the right expectation: this is a 1-2 year project / initiative.

3. The makeover shows what it should be like, in my view, when building and creating new ways of working for people and teams. Talk and listen. Explain and learn. Build and prototype. Improve and deliver iteratively. Get feedback and take the next step. In my book Collaboration Roadmap, I talk about the “Business Impact Group” that engages with business groups and teams to do this very thing. It is also the Facilitated Group Re-Imagining strategy in one of my other books – User Adoption Strategies. It’s great to see the idea come to life as a mini-series. It’s an informative way of showing the reality of an often hard-to-describe job description.

4. Office 365 and SharePoint Online enable (and demand) a new profile of the IT professional. The need for server administration, configuration, monitoring, upgrading, etc., is declining significantly. The need for bringing the innovation of what’s possible based on cloud-delivered services to people and teams is the new game. Sue, Benjamin and Laura demonstrate this new profile so well.

5. What. An. Amazing. Office.

I’m sure there’s more that could be said, but for today … awesome work to all involved.

Microsoft StaffHub for Frontline Workers

On the Silverside blog, I wrote about Microsoft StaffHub:

Microsoft has made significant strides in recent years addressing the needs of workers who don’t work on a computer throughout the day. Some people don’t touch a computer at work at all, and yet they still require company news, communications, and access to company resources. I have seen estimates of 500 million to 2 billion people who fit into this category – that of frontline workers (although Microsoft uses the term “firstline”). Microsoft offers a plethora of Office 365 apps for mobile devices: Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote), Delve, SharePoint, OneDrive, and more. These apps are mobile-optimised versions of the larger application.

Microsoft is also investing in apps that are mobile-first, meaning they are first-and-foremost designed for people who use a mobile device as their primary (and perhaps only) device, not their secondary one. Microsoft StaffHub is an example of this workstream (released in January 2017).

Read more: Microsoft StaffHub for Frontline Workers

Changes Afoot for Microsoft OneNote

On the Silverside blog, I wrote about upcoming changes for Microsoft OneNote:

One of my friends once covered himself in Post-It Notes and walked into his local Microsoft office. He was hoping to become the product manager for Microsoft OneNote – hence the attention-grabbing way of presenting himself – but his approach was stymied because the receptionist didn’t even know what OneNote was.

That lack of knowledge still seems to be a challenge for Microsoft – people are either ardent fans or barely know the product exists. Although OneNote has been offered as part of Office since Office 2003 and is now included as part of Windows 10, it remains under-used for what it has to offer. Perhaps Microsoft’s work with tuning it for the education market with OneNote for Classrooms will seed the market with a whole new love for the program in about a decade’s time, but that’s a long-term play we will need to watch.

OneNote on Windows comes in two editions: a full-client edition in Office 2016, and the Windows 10 app edition installed as part of Windows 10 and updated from the Microsoft Store. The Office edition of OneNote has always been more fully-featured than the app edition, and while a OneNote notebook can be opened in both, having two editions has been confusing. And unnecessary. But that confusion is about to disappear.

Read more: Changes Afoot for Microsoft OneNote

Microsoft Build 2018 – Keynote Highlights

Microsoft Build 2018, a major conference hosted by Microsoft for its developers, was held in Seattle during the past week. CNET cut the multi-hour keynote into a 12-minute highlights reel.
– the importance of data privacy to Microsoft (as it should be)
– a partnership with DJI so that DJI drones can stream video to a laptop and have an analytics model run on the video stream to interpret what is being seen. The example shown, including a drone flown inside during the keynote, was analysing pipe work for structural defects or anomalies.
– the partnership between Microsoft and Amazon for Alexa and Cortana to work together.
– two new mixed reality applications. Microsoft Remote Assist enables a firstline worker wearing a HoloLens to share their video stream with another person, and for that other person to provide verbal instructions based on the video stream, as well as mark up annotations that highlight specific issues or areas for concern or mitigation in the video stream. The second application is called Microsoft Layout, for designing new physical spaces.

Linking Files and Notes in Yammer with Office 365 (read SharePoint)

Microsoft is making progress in the long awaited alignment between Yammer and Office 365. We don’t yet have the ability to use a SharePoint document library in a Yammer Group, but you can create and save Office documents into the Yammer Files tool. The file types are consistent (e.g., Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc.), but the place where the files are stored are different – for now. Ultimately the files tool should just be the SharePoint document library that’s associated with the Office 365 group of which Yammer is a part as well.

The next scheduled change, however, is the removal of the Notes function in Yammer, which enabled the writing and sharing of browser-based rich text “documents” in a Yammer Group. This function is going away (being deprecated), and current Notes will be converted into Word Online documents in late January. There are some steps required to have your Notes automatically migrated into Files, so check out what you have to do at Office Support (see Converting Yammer notes into Word Online documents).

Essentially:
– Ensure your notes are published; if not, they will not be converted. Drafts will be deleted.
– If you want to keep past versions, do so by saving the file to your computer. Versions will not be automatically converted nor retained. Previous versions will be deleted.
– If you aren’t using the Files tool in Yammer, save your Notes manually. They will not be converted.

These foundational changes will make the replacement of the Yammer Files tool with a SharePoint document library easy-peasy (well, easy-peasy’er).

Microsoft Whiteboard – Preview Now Available

Microsoft announced the availability of Microsoft Whiteboard, an app for freeform drawing on Windows 10 devices.

Microsoft Whiteboard Preview lets you create in whatever way feels most natural to you. The pen-first, touch-first technology lets you make fluid gestures with your fingers or draw out finer details with your pen. Using your pen, you can jot down notes, draw precise illustrations, or search for images on the web. Using your fingers, you can swipe to different sections of your board, turn the virtual ruler to the angle you want, and drag and drop images to create a photo stack. Whether you use pen or touch, Microsoft Whiteboard Preview recognizes your intent and delivers your desired outcomes in an instant.

Microsoft Whiteboard is available in Preview.

Multi-party collaboration is on offer within the app, but one of the participants requires some type of Office 365 account (personal, work, or school). I presume this is so the drawing file can be stored in OneDrive, OneDrive for Business, or SharePoint, thus making it available for multi-person access, authoring, and editing.

Whiteboard will be rolled out almost immediately to the subset of Windows 10 devices running an English version of Windows, with support for other languages to follow later.

It will also replace – at some undefined point – the current whiteboard app on a Surface Hub. This means we might have an answer to my question on the Surface Studio, and its use as a remote participant device with collaborative capabilities for use during meetings. And for people with a Surface Pro or Surface Book, Whiteboard should allow better integration with meetings run via a Surface Hub.

There is no word of support for non-Windows devices, which is not Microsoft’s usual practice anymore.

Accessing LinkedIn Profile Data in Office 365

At Ignite in late September, Microsoft announced an integration between LinkedIn profile data and Office 365:

After you connect your LinkedIn account to your Microsoft account, you’ll seamlessly discover more insights within the Profile Card in your Inbox, your calendar and contacts lists. Simply hover over a contact’s name to see information from their LinkedIn Profile, such as where they work, what they do, and where they went to school. For example, when you receive an email from someone you haven’t met, you can instantly identify them and make a more meaningful start to the conversation. Or, if you’re not already connected with someone you collaborate with in Office 365, you can send a LinkedIn connection invite directly from Profile Card.

Essentially, once this rolls out to Office 365 tools and Office productivity applications, you will have a quick way to view the LinkedIn profile data for a person. It is a view-only experience within Office 365 as it doesn’t actually do anything to your contact and people data in Office 365. The link between Office 365 and LinkedIn is controlled by each individual; each person must authorise Office 365 to look up their personal LinkedIn account by signing into LinkedIn when requested.

Microsoft acquired LinkedIn in June 2016 for $26.2 billion. There has to be more coming than just this, but all great journeys start with a first step. This is one of those.