Upcoming webinar: maximize video in the enterprise

David Lozzi

David Lozzi

Microsoft SharePoint is a powerful solution that can manage content across organizations in a variety of ways. Recently, I had the opportunity, as part of a Slalom Consulting team, to work with RAMP and help create its enterprise product MediaCloud for SharePoint. We integrated RAMP’s impressive media solutions with SharePoint to provide a rich video experience inside SharePoint itself.

MediaCloud for Sharepoint enables team members to upload a video directly into SharePoint, which then handles processing, querying, etc., using RAMP’s secure cloud-based storage and delivery. Once the video is ready, the user is notified and video playback is accessible through RAMP’s custom player. The video is searchable through SharePoint, including spoken words—meaning users can stay in SharePoint from start to finish. As a result, organizations can get the most from their video content through the SharePoint solution they already have in place. Read more of this post

Windows Azure Real World Guidance Article on MSDN

Slalom Consultant Joel Forman

Slalom Consultant Joel Forman specializes in cloud computing and the Windows Azure Platform.

I am pleased to announce that fellow Slalom colleague Stephen Roger and I recently had an article we wrote published on MSDN. Microsoft supports a collection of articles on MSDN called Real World Windows Azure Guidance, where people from the technology community can share real experiences on using the Windows Azure platform.

Our article, entitled Considerations When Choosing a Web Role Instance Size: How small should I go?, attempts to look at the topic of choosing a virtual machine size for your web applications when starting on Windows Azure from a cost and scalability angle. In the article we provide guidance on sizing decisions for web roles by:

  • Comparing performance of a web application under load for different instance sizes;
  • Factoring in a hypothetical usage pattern to understand scaling implications for instance sizes; and
  • Evaluating cost when scaling for different instance sizes.

Please check out the article when you get a chance!

A Disruptive Time for Mobile Messaging

Slalom Consultant Derek Martin

Slalom Consultant Derek Martin is an accomplished Microsoft systems developer and integrator, experienced in developing and deploying SharePoint and CRM solutions, integrating line of business applications, and leveraging existing infrastructure investments.

So my original impression of iMessage turned out to be incorrect–kind of. If you have an iPhone, you know by now that iMessage and the SMS app are, in fact, built in. That’s good. My reaction was based on the fact that I only have an iPad. So here are some more thoughts and additional notions regarding SMS going away (hopefully sooner than later) for various reasons.

Now that I realize that iMessage is integrated into the iPhone, they are certainly on to something. The problem is, however, that there are still multiple apps for multiple modes of communication and it would be wise of Apple to combine iChat, FaceTime, and iMessage/Messages.  A single interface to reach out and contact someone is key. I think they will come around, because the startups are coming for them and they have some really great ideas! Read more of this post

Multi-Select Option Sets in Dynamics CRM: Part 1(See Part 2 for the Latest Code)

Slalom Consultant Xavier Vargas

Slalom Consultant Xavier Vargas has worked with Enterprise CRM customers in numerous verticals. Based in Dallas, He has also delivered training engagements as an MCT (Microsoft Certified Trainer).

*I’ve recently published an update to this post with a new fix. The code in this post is now obsolete; please visit my latest post for the new workaround.

To start off this blog, I figured I’d show you a new twist on an old trick. Microsoft Dynamics CRM doesn’t support multi-select option sets out of the box. In order to create one of these fields, we have to do a bit of JScript hackery. This is all completely unsupported but gets the job done.

So let’s jump right in. First thing you’ll need to do is create the option set that you want to convert to a multi-select:

Create your option set

`

Define the option set values

`

Next we’ll create a shadow field that will actually hold the Read more of this post

Five great things about developing for Windows Phone 7—and five things that should be in the next release

Slalom Consultant Rob Howard

Rob Howard is a software developer and part of Slalom's National Mobility Team charged with putting emerging technologies to work in business.

In the past few months I’ve gotten a chance to write a couple of applications for Windows Phone 7.  Some of the concepts in the development environment, both new and old, were executed very well.  I was able to create some powerful features in these apps that would have been difficult for other mobile platforms.  Here is a list of five of those things that I would like to give the people on the Windows Phone 7 development team kudos for:

Portability of Skills

Anyone that has written code for the web in Silverlight should be able to easily read and implement a Windows Phone 7 app.  Since many of the same controls are used, one doesn’t have to learn a new UI API to work on phone development.  Also, with the inclusion of Expression Blend, skills that a designer has used in UI customization for WPF or Silverlight are valuable in Windows Phone development.

Networking combined with Data Serialization

It is almost a given that an application that one would write for a mobile phone will need to use network resources.  Windows Communication Foundation is included in the Windows Phone 7 libraries along with a loaded HttpWebRequest.  When used with the DataContractSerializer classes, fetching and parsing data from the cloud becomes a simple implementation where it can be very complicated on Read more of this post

Enterprise Content Management & SP2010 – Ready for the Big Time

Slalom Consultant Derek Martin

Slalom Consultant Derek Martin is an accomplished Microsoft systems developer and integrator, experienced in developing and deploying SharePoint and CRM solutions, integrating line of business applications, and leveraging existing infrastructure investments.

It should come as no surprise that I’m a bit of a fan of SharePoint. I’ve practically built my career on the platform and truly enjoy the breadth and depth of solutions that the product offers to enterprises of all sizes. SharePoint has come a VERY long way since its humble beginnings back when it was a mix of an acquisition technologies (VTI) and bits and pieces of Exchange 5.5. With the qualification of my love of the product, I submit that after a modest beginning in the ECM space, SP2010 is not only ready for the big time, but in many MANY ways, easily unseats the big players in this space.

ECM can be classified a few different ways. I like to think of it as the large scale creation, storage, finding and consumption of information. It is much more than just a file repository. It is about the ability to gain value from data and turn those data into information. It is about the ability to quickly take action on the ever growing and changing landscape of knowledge in the enterprise. Storing documents and data is only about 25% of ECM. Sure, it must do it efficiently and securely. The rest of the story comes in what the system can do with data after it is created. That whole document lifecycle stuff. What does SP2010 offer here? I’m so glad you asked.

Read more of this post

The Rebirth of Nokia?

Daniel Maycock is one of Slalom’s acknowledged thought leaders in the realm of new and emerging technology.

This is not including the up and coming N8 or E7 that were recently announced for release this fall, and have been gaining strong traction already. Though Symbian v3 is more of a facelift then a revolution, Symbian v4 which is rumored to be out on a Nokia phone early next year, will really be the effort to challenge the likes of Android & iPhone.

What’s amazing though, is that Nokia, though losing market share quite rapidly, is still #1 for the foreseeable future. With Android snapping at its heels, Nokia still has a big advantage that Google doesn’t – they own the whole experience. The problems that have been reported with Android are the manipulation by the carriers to control the OS, from bloatware to Read more of this post

What to Expect from Microsoft & BPOS

Slalom Consultant Derek Martin

Slalom Consultant Derek Martin is an accomplished Microsoft systems developer and integrator, experienced in developing and deploying SharePoint and CRM solutions, integrating line of business applications, and leveraging existing infrastructure investments.

The previous several days have been quite busy in the cloud collaboration front, in part because the General Services Administration is shopping for a new email system.  The GSA, as detailed by MJF in today’s article, can be thought of as a key test bed for what the rest of the federal government (and therefore state and local governments) will do in the collab space when evaluating the cloud.  Part of the requirements for their search is FISMA compliance, which yesterday was announced proudly by Google that they had.  This is a good thing indeed, because it now means that the space is going to heat up some more.  On the Microsoft side, FISMA is something they are working to get – which when piled in with the other certifications that MS is tossing around, make for a VERY secure environment.

If you are in a regulated industry, there is no question these certifications are important.  In fact, when I’m doing calls of late, the MS certifications are the first thing out of my mouth because NOTHING ELSE matters if a company doesn’t have these.  MS is very proud of these and should be screaming them from the rafters.  The media darling Google is getting props for their entry into this space, but make no mistake, this is a reactionary improvement to their standard practice and prospective clients should remember that.  They should also remember that Google is not in the business of collaboration – it isn’t their first (search) and arguably not their second (advertising) business objective.  Additionally, it is NOT a reasonable or even fair comparison to equate the offering Google has to Microsoft’s offering – but we do it anyway.

Read more of this post

User Experience Matters Part 2

Slalom Consultant Derek Martin

Slalom Consultant Derek Martin is an accomplished Microsoft systems developer and integrator, experienced in developing and deploying SharePoint and CRM solutions, integrating line of business applications, and leveraging existing infrastructure investments.

In my previous article about UX, I talked a lot about how the buy in from users is greatly affected by the design of the application.  At the time I was referring to a specific example in my mind, although I didn’t call it out directly.  I wanted to expand upon that post because of a recent, and excellent, series of articles that I read on MSDN magazine by David Platt about wanting Microsoft to publish UX (UI) guidelines for WPF.  In his first article, he articulates a very compelling case for those guidelines, stating:

“The biggest growth driver of the Windows user platform, besides Solitaire, is the standardized UI that its API encourages. The primary control structure is a menu at the top of a program’s window…”

He goes on to posit that this concept is dictated, in large part, by convention, best practices and actual guidelines from Microsoft.  When I read the article, I was smiling because A) I agreed wholeheartedly with him and B) I knew that he’d get taken to the car wash from the free spirits that seem to be encroaching on the ecosystem with the fancy new WPF toolset.  True to assumption, a month later in his second article he gets quite an earful from folks:

Read more of this post

Biggest US cloud deployment – BPOS :)

Slalom Consultant Derek Martin

Slalom Consultant Derek Martin is an accomplished Microsoft systems developer and integrator, experienced in developing and deploying SharePoint and CRM solutions, integrating line of business applications, and leveraging existing infrastructure investments.

Was reading this article about the largest BPOS (Live@Edu) rollout.  Then realized it was the largest Cloud Deployment in the country.  Then realized they migrated HALF A MILLION mailboxes from on prem 2003 Exchange to Exchange 2010 in the cloud IN A WEEKEND.

Security? Reliability? Scalability?   ….. Check

Biggest US cloud deployment kills Google Apps for Education | ZDNet.

If you want to talk cloud sometime, I’ve got some great stories to tell.  Why on earth would any SMB or MidMarket business invest another dime in on prem with BPOS and Azure scaling like this?

Compliance? Covered…ISO, ITAR, SAS70, FERPA, FIPS, TIC, BLURP (I made that one up), FISMA, HIPPA – check (or just about there).  See MS Press release here on the details of where they are headed…Google doing this?  Nope.  Gotta have your data in the US of A and know right where it is and who has access to it?  Got that too.

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