SharePoint IT…evolving?

The English philosopher Alan Watts once said “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance”.

A recent #CollabTalk topic was that of the changing role of SharePoint IT…as the cloud becomes mainstream, this conversation will inevitably thrive as a broader topic that transcends SharePoint.

And while change may be to exist, opportunity continues to rise – the cloud has given way to capabilities previous impossible behind the firewall, from predictive analytics to machine learning, to infinite storage, and on-demand access to content and conversations.

For IT, the cloud is oft perceived as a disruptive force as it’s enabled both business and individuals to secure technology on their own, ushering in the BYOD era – and while disruption can be real or perceived, there’s opportunity for IT to become an enabler.  Though the pressures exist that ask IT to do more, to drive business process, reduce cost, advance innovation, and deliver new, compelling user experiences… the cloud uniquely positions IT to meet those demands.

The role of IT has largely been based on a reactive relationship to the environments which they support, the opportunity in this transition to the cloud enables IT to become a proactive force, a value added service broker.

When we launched SharePoint Server 2013 in October of 2012 we had a vision of which the cloud and on-premises would converge – through parity and through unique technology investments that differentiate SharePoint from other collaborative platforms, hybrid is representative of those early investments.  As we moved through 2013 we delivered a number of cumulative updates and introduced new ways to consume SharePoint, namely in Windows Azure. Finally in early 2014 just prior to the 2014 SharePoint Conference we shipped Service Pack 1.  Throughout the lifecycle of SharePoint, we’ve continued to explore ways we can support IT through this transition, to enabling OneDrive for Business in Office 365 and Yammer for SharePoint on-premises, to improving the hybrid experience.

SharePoint on-premises provides a valuable experience that is defined by the sum of its parts whereas in the cloud, SharePoint isn’t delivered as much as a platform, but through its unique capabilities.  On-premises search experiences are defined by the OOTB search service, in the cloud by Office Delve, social is defined by the Newsfeed, in the cloud, by Yammer, collaboration and mobility is defined in Team Sites, Device Channels, etc., in the cloud, by OneDrive for Business…

So has IT changed?  Absolutely, but for the better…with new opportunities IT becomes an extension of the business, driving and delivering strategy and pulling together experiences within and beyond the firewall.

Succeeding with the cloud is understanding where it can add value to existing capabilities such as enabling mobility and anytime, anywhere access while working with familiar IT controls, or extending your datacenter with Microsoft Azure, extending your platform with SharePoint in Microsoft Azure, and extending your workloads with Office 365.

As Albert Einstein said “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value”.

Learn more at  These resources provide a roadmap for exploring, planning, installing, and configuring SharePoint Server 2013 and SharePoint Online hybrid environments.

Yammer Redirection in SharePoint Server 2013 Service Pack 1

In previous articles I discussed redirecting OneDrive for Business to Office 365 in SharePoint Server 2013 Service Pack 1.  In addition to new functionality that allows IT administrators to redirect OneDrive for Business and Sites pages to Office 365, Service Pack 1 also allows IT administrators to activate Yammer as the default social experience for SharePoint Server 2013.

When activated, the Newsfeed link in the navigation bar is replaced with a Yammer link that directs users to the organizations’ Yammer network. 

Yammer Configuration page in Central Admin

While a simplified Activate/Deactivate configuration is provided in Service Pack 1, proper identity management planning is required to deliver a consistent and integrated user experience.

For organizations with an established Active Directory and identity management infrastructure and practices

Directory Synchronization with Office 365 is a distinct configuration that provides an integrated identity solution for applications within the Office 365 suite with the exception of Yammer.  Integrated identity with Yammer requires a separate implementation of a directory synchronization solution provided by Yammer, Yammer Directory Sync (DSync).

Similar to Directory Synchronization, Yammer Directory Sync (DSync) is a Windows application that automates user provisioning in your Yammer network by querying your Active Directory (AD) host(s).


Sites Page

The Sites page introduced in SharePoint Server 2013 is designed to provide users a unified location to create new sites and view sites they are following.

Managing Sites Page Redirection

Service Pack 1 also includes within OneDrive for Business redirection the option to redirect users Sites page to Office 365.

Example 1 C#

        static void Main(string[] args)
                SPWebApplication webApp = SPWebApplication.Lookup(new Uri(""));
                foreach (SPSite site in webApp.Sites)
                    foreach (SPWeb web in site.AllWebs)
                        if (web.Features != null)
                            web.Features.Remove(new Guid("{043C4BDD-9745-441a-A9A7-0BCD9B910319}"));

Example 1 Windows PowerShell

This example can be used to deactivate a specific Feature across all sites within the specified Web application.

$webApp = Get-SPWebApplication -Identity

$webApp | Get-SPSite -limit all | ForEach-Object {Disable-SPFeature -Identity “FeatureName” -Url $_.Url}

The Uninstall-SPFeature cmdlet removes the specified feature definition from the collection of feature definitions in the farm.

Uninstall-SPFeature –Identity

Other Social Capability Considerations

In addition to addressing scenarios such as Following Content you should also consider the management of other SharePoint Server 2013 social capabilities such as:

  • Removing the SharePoint Server social web parts from My Sites and Team Sites.
  • Hiding user interface controls that provide social functionality.

For additional information on replacing the social features in SharePoint Server 2013 with equivalent Yammer features in a SharePoint Server 2013 on-premises deployment see also


Add Yammer to the navigation bar for SharePoint 2013 []