12 December 2017

HelpDesk for Outlook and SharePoint – Soon Without Outlook!

One of our current development projects is a new edition of HelpDesk OSP, the product that converts e-mails into SharePoint list items. The current edition is an Outlook add-in, but the upcoming edition will run on a server and not require Outlook at all.

Convert e-mails into SharePoint tickets
HelpDesk OSP iconMany organizations need to convert e-mails into SharePoint list items. It might be support e-mails or different kinds of information that need to be published to SharePoint, so that it can be shared and stored in a better way than in Outlook folders.

For nearly ten years, our client-side edition of HelpDesk OSP has handled this e-mail conversion very well  –  and still does. We have long-time and satisfied subscribers all over the world.

Outlook add-in
The current HelpDesk OSP requires that Microsoft Outlook is installed on each computer from where e-mails should be published to SharePoint. That works without problems in most situations, but it requires a bit of management with upgrades, license checks etc. This is one of the reasons that we now want to create a server edition.

Outlook must be running to convert
HelpDesk OSP has a setting that automatically converts incoming e-mails into SharePoint list items, but if Outlook is not running, no conversion takes place. Some organizations solve this by leaving an instance of Outlook where HelpDesk OSP is installed running all the time – maybe on a server with Outlook installed, like we have done.

Unfortunately, it happens that Outlook crashes when it is left running for weeks and even months. In short, Outlook is not built as a server-application. This is another reason for developing a server edition that not requires Outlook.

Run on server instead!
serverFor organizations who want e-mails to be converted automatically 24/7, we will soon release a new edition of HelpDesk OSP that is optimized for running on a server.

With this new edition, users don't have to install neither Outlook nor HelpDesk OSP, and no user will be required to be signed in to the computer where the HelpDesk OSP server is running. As long as the server is running, HelpDesk OSP will keep converting incoming e-mails into SharePoint tickets.

The development of the HelpDesk OSP server edition is going well, and I hope to come back soon and tell you more!
Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

06 December 2017

SharePoint Online Permission Settings

SharePoint iconSharePoint permissions are very easy to use if you accept the default settings. That can work for a small team, but if you want to have more control over what users can see and do, SharePoint permissions get more complicated.

In an updated article about SharePoint Online permissions in the Tips section, I explain how the permissions work by default and what you can do with them. I hope to warn for problems but also show the possibilities given by a good management of SharePoint permissions.

Permission levels
Microsoft has made it easy to set permissions by grouping connected permissions into permission levels. For example, if you want to give a user the right to view, add, update, and delete list items and documents, but nothing more, you don't have to give these four permissions separately. Instead you can set this user's permission to the pre-defined level 'Contribute'.

If none of the pre-defined levels fit, you can easily create your own permission level, and I show how to do that in the demo below, which is also included in the article.

Default Edit permission
In SharePoint Online (and SharePoint 2013 on-premise), the default permission levels for all users is Edit. This means that users by default can not only view, add, update, and delete list items and documents but also add, edit, and delete lists and libraries as well as create, edit and delete columns and views.

In my opinion this is a high level, but it is no problem as long as you are aware of it. Then you can decide if you should keep it or change it. Problems arise if admins are not aware of this default permission.
SharePoint hierarchy
Default Inheritance
Another default setting that can create problems is the inheritance. From the site collection and downwards, SharePoint is organized in a hierarchy. Sites by default inherits the same permissions as the site collection, the lists inherit the site permissions and the items inherit the list permissions.

This means that users who have Edit permission on a site by default also have Edit permission on all lists in that site, and they even have Edit permission on all items in each list.

If you don't like this, it is not difficult to break the inheritance. When you create a new site, you can just select another radio button than the default one in the settings and set new permission levels. Also for existing sites, pages and lists you can break the inheritance in the settings. This can be done down to file or item level.

Security Groups
In the Tips article about SharePoint Online permissions I also explain how security groups work. These groups of users who have the same permission level over sites simplify the permission management a lot. They are especially useful when you want to give people permissions on multiple site collections.

I hope my introduction to SharePoint permissions will give SharePoint admins who are new to the topic a better understanding of the problems and possibilities of SharePoint permissions. Refer to my book SharePoint Online from Scratch or to Microsoft for more detailed information on SharePoint permissions.

Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

30 November 2017

Archive SharePoint List Items To Database

SP Archive for SharePoint logotype If you have been a long-standing SharePoint user, you might have faced problems with SharePoint list limits. To solve this dilemma, Business Solutions has developed a SharePoint solution called SP Archive.

SharePoint list items limit issue and the solution
A SharePoint list can store more than 5000 items, but in a given view, the list cannot display more than 5000 list items. Hence, when the list items are more than 5000, SharePoint fails to display all of them.

There are two solutions to this problem: create a new list, or archive old list items and continue using the same list. With SP Archive, the second option is both quicker and safer.

SP Archive, a Silver solution, helps you to both archive and keep a back-up of all your SharePoint list items, from as many SharePoint sites as you want. With SP Archive, not only the list items but any attachments in the list items are archived.

Use multiple databases and export to Excel
With SP Archive, you can store your archived data in two different databases, Access or SQL Server, and it is just a button away to switch between them.
Access Database logotype SQL Server logotype
Export to Excel logotype When you check the “Export to Excel” checkbox, the archived data can also be seen in an Excel sheet.

Use detailed filters and delete archived items
SP Archive helps you to archive exactly the list items you want to save, because you may apply detailed filters to archive specific SharePoint list items. The next time you open the same list, SP Archive will remember the applied filters and use them by default.

You may delete the archived data from the SharePoint list by just checking the “Delete archived items” checkbox. Should you make a mistake, the items can be restored from the SharePoint recycle bin within 30-45 days after deletion.

Trial and Subscription download icon If you wish to try SP Archive and take advantage of its benefits, download the SP Archive installation file and evaluate the solution for 30 days.

You may subscribe to SP Archive on monthly as well as yearly basis. Organizations who already use a product, might be allowed to use SP Archive for free or at a discounted fee. Our Sales Department is always here for you, should you have any queries regarding the product subscription.

Documentation and Support
On the website, in the SP Archive “See Also” section, you can find video demonstrations that describe the installation and how to work with SP Archive. There is also a detailed manual and a slideshow, both downloadable.

We give free support to our evaluators as well as users. Therefore, do not hesitate to contact our Support team, if you have any questions and need assistance.

So, if you are looking forward to enhancing your SharePoint and want to use it more efficiently, I recommend you to evaluate SP Archive.
I hope my blog post turns out to be beneficial for you, and I will be waiting for your feedback and suggestions on SP Archive.

Dipti Francis
Executive Assistant Business Solutions

20 November 2017

SharePoint Statistics Tool Soon to be Released

Pivot Explorer for SharePoint logotype Excel has an excellent statistics tool: the pivot table. Wouldn't it be superb if you could use data from SharePoint lists for business intelligence in the same way? When we release our new SharePoint add-in you will be able to do just that!

As Pivot Explorer for SharePoint Lists works in SharePoint Online, it has the scalability and sharing options of a web-based application. But Pivot Explorer also has the speed and flexibility that you are used to with your desktop Excel.

Understand data
When you have a lot of numeric data in a SharePoint list, for example sales figures, it can be difficult to interpret it. Maybe you want to show colleagues or customers all or some of the data, but for that you need a way to order the information to make it more understandable.

The traditional way to arrange data to make it easily comprehensible is to use an Excel pivot table or chart. This is however not optimal when you have the information in SharePoint. With Pivot Explorer you can instead just click a button in the command bar/ribbon and directly see the data in a pivot table. Another click gives you a choice of charts.

Save and share statistics
Pivot Explorer lets you manipulate the data like you are used to do in Excel. You can for example filter, sort and drill, to get the information you are interested in.

When you have achieved a view that displays the data in an illustrative way, you can save it and have it at hand for another occasion. You may also print the view, whether it is a pivot table or a chart, or export it to HTML, CSV, XLSX, PNG or PDF. Therefore, Pivot Explorer makes it is easy to share statistics with colleagues and customers.

I hope to come back soon and announce the release of Pivot Explorer for SharePoint Lists!

16 November 2017

New Voice In Customer Contacts

Today I have the pleasure to introduce Dipti Francis, Executive Assistant since July this year. We were looking for someone who could assist us in sales and documentation, and Dipti has proved to be just the right person for this. In addition, Dipti can also help with recruitments – an important enhancement of a team that is continuously growing!

Many of you have met or will meet Dipti in e-mails and chats, and here you have an opportunity to learn more about the person you are communicating with:

Dipti FrancisI wrote my first blog post for Business Solutions about an Indian planting campaign, and now I have been given this opportunity to officially introduce myself.

Family background
I was born in a nuclear family, and being the youngest one, I had the benefit of having all my wishes being fulfilled at once. My father always has a very practical and logical answer to my questions, whereas my mother always helps me to foresee the emotional side of a situation. I believe that the combination of these two personalities has added value to my decisions, because it helps me to look at both the sides of any situation.

I owe my life to my parents, because whatever I am today it is because of their sacrifice and unconditional support.

Educational and professional life 
I completed my Bachelors of Engineering in 2015 from Malwa Institute of Technology, Indore. I was a very introvert student in school, but with the recognition and appreciation from my teachers and friends in college I realized my other talents of sketching and singing.

I started my career as a US IT recruiter at a global staffing firm. The daily talks to different people who had diversified experience and gaining knowledge from them, were great experiences. We often worked under immense pressure, so this was where I learned how to manage myself under stressful situations.

The work also helped me to fling off my hesitation of talking to different people outside India, whether it was face to face or in a call or email. To reach somewhere, you need to leave from somewhere, so eventually I decided to look for another job.

Working with Business Solutions Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint icon
I joined the team in July 2017 as an Executive Assistant to the General Manager, and here I am gradually taking over the responsibility for sales emails, documentation and recruitments. I have now learned most of our products and updated the manuals for the new versions of the SharePoint products Kanban Task Manager and Templates Manager.Templates Manager for SharePoint icon

With Business Solutions, I get the chance to challenge my abilities in different areas, apart from recruiting. I work closely with Kate Kalmström and Rituka Rimza, who are my actual mentors in the company. They always help me to understand things in the best possible way, and I thank them for always keeping their faith in me. Working under these two guides, I believe that I can learn a lot and bring out the best in me!

Personal life and hobbies
In my spare time, I like reading books, playing keyboard, painting, singing and sketching. Sketching tops my hobbies list, because it makes me feel self-possessed. Below are a few sketches that I have made.
Sketch                 Sketch
Apart from this, I love spending quality time with my family and writing a diary.

Attitude of gratitude Executive Assistant Dipti FrancisI have always believed that being grateful for everything you have, is the key to happiness and abundance. Thus, I want to conclude this blog post by expressing my sincere gratitude to Peter, Kate, Jayant, and Rituka for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to be a part of the team. I want to specially thank Kate and Rituka for always being there for me whenever I need any help at my work place.

I get a very healthy working environment at, and all the team members are very supportive. I will continue to support the company's growth to the best of my abilities as an Executive Assistant or in whatever role I will work in the future. I look forward to having a great career with Business Solutions!

Dipti Francis
Executive Assistant Business Solutions