28 March 2014

Versatile Knowledge Base Solution Updated

KBase logotype Business Solutions has today released an update of KBase, the knowledge base that can be used with several different platforms: Outlook, SharePoint, website or Excel.
KBase in Outlook

Install in Outlook
KBase is installed in an Outlook folder that synchronizes with a shared database or SharePoint site to update articles and settings for all users. All the Outlook features, like reading pane, spell check and all editing options, can be utilized with the KBase articles.
SharePoint 2013 icon
Once the installation is done, KBase can be used not only inside Outlook but also on OWA or on a SharePoint site, and the articles can be exported to Excel or to a website.

Proxy issue
The actual reason for the update was a problem reported to us from a subscriber who uses KBase behind a proxy server: KBase was repeatedly asking for proxy data and the registration key. This issue had to be solved quickly, and we have already given a new version to this customer.

In that organization they are now happy with KBase again, but we wanted to make sure no one else get the same issue. Therefore we decided to release a new version for all even if no new features have been added.

New Design
You might have noticed that most of our product logos and icons have the blue color of Outlook and SharePoint 2013, while some have the yellow of the 2010 versions. Blue graphics are created for all, but in a few cases they have still not been implemented as it requires a documentation update. One of them was KBase, but in this update we have given our knowledge base graphics the new design. I hope you like it!

Easier database propagation
The updated KBase has the new possibility to propagate database option via Active Directory that I wrote about in an earlier blog post. It is still not possible to propagate the SharePoint option that way, but we are working on it and it will come in a later version.

FAQ and Tips

The KBase articles can easily be exported to a website, and a content page will be created automatically. We have used this possibility in the FAQ and Tips sections, even if we then have modified the code a bit to adapt the articles to the style of the site.
KBase web pages contents

The FAQ section has most of the original KBase design. In the Tips section we have only used the content page and linked it to pages of our normal design. But in both these content pages you can see something that is not yet implemented in KBase – the article count. This feature will come in the next version of KBase.

Folder HelpDesk for Outlook
The other day I wrote about how a combination of two Solutions could convert e-mails into tasks on a kanban board in SharePoint. Now I want to mention another combination: Folder HelpDesk logo KBase and Folder HelpDesk. This Outlook add-on for issue tracking and user support even has a button that converts a helpdesk ticket into a KBase article.

Try or upgrade download iconDo you want to try KBase? You may download the solution and evaluate it for 30 days. Then it will stop working if you don't register it. When you register KBase, it will just continue working. No new installation is needed, as you are trying the full version of KBase. upgrade icon Current users are of course welcome to upgrade their installations. Free upgrades are always included in the subscriptions, just like free support.

By Peter Kalmstrom
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

26 March 2014

Fileshare to SharePoint – Things To Consider

I have mentioned my session at the Stockholm SharePoint Saturday several times in this blog and even bragged about the good reviews I got from the people who listened to me. Now you can judge for yourself, as my session was recorded.
Stockholm SharePoint Saturday

SPS events around the world
The  premiere SharePoint Saturday event was held in 2009, and today SharePoint Saturdays are held all over the world. This year was the first time in Stockholm, and I was invited to speak.

Move files into SharePoint
I am currently working on a project where I am planning the move of millions of files into SharePoint. This is probably a task that many IT professionals will be asked to perform in the future, so I decided to talk about it in my session at SharePoint Saturday Stockholm.

PowerShell scripts
PowerShell iconThe subject for my speech was "Fileshare to SharePoint – things to consider", but I did not only talk about what you should think about. I also gave tools for file inventory and for the actual migration, as I shared several PowerShell scripts to use as templates.

Here is my recorded session now, and below it you can find links to more information.

Nine more the SharePoint Saturday session were recorded and published on YouTube:

In the Tips section there are four articles about my session at SharePoint Saturday Stockholm 2014. You can reach them all from

In these articles you can find links to the PowerShell scripts mentioned above and to Blog posts where the same subjects are discussed more freely. I hope you will find the information useful!

By Peter Kalmstrom
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

19 March 2014 Introduces Yammer Subscriber Network

The heavy promotion of Yammer at Microsoft's 2014 SharePoint Conference has made me decide about something I have been considering for quite a while – a Yammer external network for subscribers of products.
Yammer logo
What is Yammer?
Yammer is social network. It reminds very much about Facebook, but access to each Yammer site is limited to a specified group. So far is has mostly been used for communication within companies and organizations, but today Yammer also has a big potential for external networks.

After the aquirement of Yammer in 2012, Microsoft has been integrating this enterprise social network into SharePoint and Office. This work will continue with high priority, and there are already free apps that adapt Yammer to mobile devices. Therefore Yammer is very easy to reach and use. As Yammer is built in the same way as Facebook, most users will learn it in a few seconds.

Yammer also has other advantages over a traditional forum. It gives better sharing possibilites, and if you are already using Yammer there is no login. The Subscriber Network will be easily selected from your company's Yammer homepage.

But you can join the Subscriber Network even if your organization does not use Yammer. In that case you will just create your own login details.

Why a subscriber network?
A subscriber network gives benefits to both users and developers. Users get a chance to meet, to learn and get inspiration from each other's experiences. It may be a question about the same issue or feature addition as you have thought about yourself, or it could be a tip on how to use a Solution in a different way.

Also the team will learn from the subscriber network. We develop, test and document the solutions, but we don't use all of them ourselves. Therefor it is very important to get input from people who see the product in daily use. We already receive such input in e-mails and chats, but a contribution to a subscriber network will reach more users, and we can learn a lot from the comments to it.

We will of course also use the network for information about blog posts, new versions, new faq and tips articles and so on. Once a week each member of the network will get a summary of the entries by e-mail. Community logo
Invitation is already present at open social media like Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter, and our YouTube channel and Pinterest boards are popular.

This new network will be different, as only a limited group of people will have access to it. I will send an invitation to each person that is responsible for a Solution. They may in turn suggest other people to be invited.

This is something new, and even if customers sometimes ask for a forum where they can discuss our products with other users we know nothing about the actual interest for a meeting place among our subscribers. I don't expect the network activity to explode but rather grow steadily. Therefore we will begin with one network for all subscribers.

Should the subscribers be interested enough, we might eventually split the network according to product. Users of more than one solution would then get invitations to several groups.

I am always excited to try new technology, and I hope you will share the Yammer external network experience with me!

Peter Kalmstrom
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

17 March 2014

SharePoint Conference 2014 Online

Microsoft's 2014 SharePoint Conference in the beginning of this month offered a chance to hear about the roadmap and new features for SharePoint and Office 365. Now much of the information can be found online.
SharePoint Conference 2014

The SharePoint Conference was a huge event with 314 speakers, so the online videos are probably valuable even for those who attended. Unfortunately I could not go this time, so I am grateful for the all the recordings provided by Microsoft. They can be found at the 2014 SharePoint Conference website, where they can be downloaded one by one in different formats.

Download script
I am interested in many of the sessions, so I have used a script that downloads and groups all the recordings. This time I did not create the script myself, as I found a good PowerShell script by Vlad Catrinescu on TechNet.
Yammer logo
Yammer was one of the Microsoft products accentuated in the 2014 SharePoint Conference. Microsoft aquired this social software for enterprises in 2012, and they are now integrating it in SharePoint and Office.

Community iconThe team is already using Yammer, and we find it especially good for design discussions. We will soon launch an external Yammer network for subscribers to the Solutions, and when we do, I will come back and tell you more about Yammer.

Events like the SharePoint Conference are not only about knowledge sharing. The networking is also important, and when you don't attend you miss that part.

This time I had too many other engagements to be able to go to Las Vegas, but there will be more conferences. In the meantime I will study the recordings and make plans for the future of Business Solutions!

Peter Kalmstrom
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

06 March 2014

Outlook TimeCard Enhanced For Extensive Use

TimeCard bannerThe Workgroup version of TimeCard has been updated with some new features that are especially interesting for organizations with many users.

Tag appointments with time reporting data
With TimeCard users can tag Outlook appointments with project, task or other time reporting data and then report their hours directly from the Outlook calendar. The values are selected from dropdowns, and default tag values can be set, so appoinment tagging is a much quicker and safer method that transferring the data to a time sheet.

Meeting requests
When a meeting request is tagged with TimeCard values, the receiver of the request can also get these tags automatically. Earlier this was a admin defined setting that applied to all meeting requests. With the new version you can decide what domains should use the possibility.

Hay Group, a global management consulting firm, is a Premium subscriber. Hay Group has used TimeCard for a long time, and we are grateful for their support in our aim to enhance the solution. Now Hay Group has sponsored a possibility to differentiate the addition of the meeting request tags.

When you send a meeting request to someone within the company, who also uses TimeCard, it is of course convenient to get the meeting appointment tagged with TimeCard values automatically. However, it requires a tag in the appointment body, and this tag might be confusing if you send the request to someone outside the company who doesn't use TimeCard.

The new feature gives a dialog where the TimeCard administrator can enter the domains that should have the auto-tagging of meeting requests – for example

Propagate database via AD
Another new feature in the updated TimeCard was described in an earlier blog post: the possibility to add database path or connection info via Active Directory. It is not a sponsored feature, but it will of course be especially useful for organizations with many users, like Hay Group. This feature will be added to more Solutions in future releases.

Upgrade upgrade Subscribers have free upgrades, and I recommend current TimeCard Workgroup subscribers to upgrade their installations. Hay Group and other TimeCard Premium Subscribers have already received their updated copies of TimeCard.

Try it!
Have you not tried TimeCard yet? download icon If you need a tool that helps your staff keep track of and report work hours. I suggest that you download the solution and try it for 30 days. In the demo below I give a first introduction, and you can find much more information on the website.

By Peter Kalmstrom
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

05 March 2014

SharePoint Workflows In Demo And Manual

SharePoint logoSharePoint workflows are very useful to specify and control actions for a document or item. The workflows can manage common business processes within an organization in a consistent way, so that the staff can concentrate on performing tasks rather than managing their workflow. Tips section
In the Tips section of the website I give tutorials on things that are connected to the platforms we use but not directly with the Solutions.

There are many tips and pointers for SharePoint, and in one of them I am showing how to create a workflow that sends me an e-mail each time someone has created a high priority task for me. The e-mail of course contains a link to the task, so that I quickly can open it and see what it is all about.

SharePoint Designer
SharePoint logoI use SharePoint Designer 2013 to create first the Task list and then the workflow. This workflow will be triggered each time a new task is created in the list, but the action of sending an e-mail to the assignee will only be performed when the priority of the task is set to "High".

The demo below is included in the Tips article, but I recommend you to also visit the webpage and study the step by step description.

HelpDesk OSP workflows
The Outlook add-on HelpDesk OSP converts Outlook e-mails, tasks and appointments into SharePoint list items. You may also create a new list item directly from Outlook if you have HelpDesk OSP installed.
HelpDesk OSP logotype
HelpDesk OSP can be used with any SharePoint list, and workflows may of course also be used on those lists. In addition to the User Manual we have therefore created a Workflow Manual for this solution.

Whether you are using HelpDesk OSP or not, you are welcome to visit the HelpDesk OSP manuals page to learn more about SharePoint workflows!

By Peter Kalmstrom
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions