16 February 2016

Make in India - We Already Do!

This past weekend the Swedish Prime Minister visited India to promote business between the two countries. I can only say, go ahead! Since more than ten years I have very good experiences of cooperation with the Indians.

Make in India Week
The reason the Swedish Prime Minister went to India precisely this week, is the big trade fair in Mumbai, Make in India Week. The main goal of the event is to show India’s potential to emerge as a global manufacturing hub.
Peter, Jayant and Vijayant Rimza
India is a country with high growth and a well educated middle class, and foreign investments can give work to millions in this country of more than a billion inhabitants. Such a development would hopefully also make India overcome its current problems with huge income gaps, a serious lack of infrastructure and a widespread corruption.

Ikea expansion
Business executives from several big companies, like Ikea, Saab and Scania, joined the Prime Minister at the trade fair. The furniture giant Ikea is especially eager to enter the Indian market. Next summer India will have its first Ikea store, and the company is planning for 25 Indian stores within ten years.

I remember when I first visited an Ikea store abroad. It was in Sevilla in Spain, and I wondered about the strange furniture names, so difficult to understand and pronounce in Spanish. Not until I saw the typical Swedish letters å,ä and ö, did I realized that the names were Swedish, not Spanish!  Later I learned that the Swedish furniture names are kept all over the world, so I guess more people that I have had problems with them. in India
TimeCard for Outlook logotypeWhen I decided to join the Skype team – less than 100 people at that time! – in 2005, I had already begun cooperating with an Indian company in New Delhi, at first on a special version of TimeCard and later with dedicated developers on our other products.

That was how I first got in touch with Jayant Rimza, who is now head of the office in Indore. I have never regretted that I decided to grow in India, but I must admit that our Indian partners are an important explanation to our success.
The team at Maheshwar
Find a partner
Based on my experience with Jayant and his family, my advice to other Swedish companies who want to establish themselves in India is to find good Indian partners who can guide you. Do that, and I wish you all good luck!

Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

09 February 2016

15 Tips for SharePoint Phone Messages

SharePoint iconWe have recently published no less than 15 Tips articles with demos on how to automate the distribution of phone messages within a SharePoint tenancy or farm.

15 tips might seem a bit too much for just phone messages, but these articles show off many techniques that you can use for any information gathering and distribution within your organization. The phone messages are intended as a simple piece of information that everyone can relate to.

Single or Enterprise Ready?
The most important question when you start creating a SharePoint list is how simple you should make it. Microsoft has made it very easy to create a new list and add columns and views with commands directly on the list page.

The problem with such a simple list is re-usability and consistency. The best way to make sure that everyone is entering the same information in the same columns, is to create a content type. And the best place to create content types is in the Content Type Hub. In SharePoint Online the Content Type Hub is created for you, but hidden. I show you how to find it.

All content types created and published in the Content Type Hub are distributed across all site collections in the entire farm. Therefore I generally advise customers and students to spend some more time on their SharePoint lists and create content types for them in the Content Type Hub.

From easy to advanced
So, if I recommend the Enterprise Ready solution, why do I even show how to create the simple one? Some followers might have use for it, but the main reason is that I want to go from easy to advanced. Many of the things I describe in the single solution are done in the same way when you use a content type – you just work in the Content Type Hub instead.

When the list has been created, with its special columns and views, I show how to create a workflow that sends an e-mail with details about the call to the person who was not able to answer. This can be done with a list workflow or with a reusable workflow, and I describe both.

Managed Metadata
When you add a Managed Metadata column to a list and connect it to a term set, you get a useful tool for gathering information about calls, or whatever items you are using the column for. When you have the Enterprise Ready solution and the content type is used in multiple site collections, you can set different default values for the column in different lists, to make it easier for the users.

Search Vertical
I am sure you all have used search verticals on Google, to search for images, videos or  news. The SharePoint Search Center also has such search vertical, and you can add your own with a few steps. At the same time you can show the results in a custom result web part and customize the refiners to the left on the Search Center page.

The demo above is just a teaser. There are 14 more and a lot of step by step instructions. I am sure you will find something useful even if you don't want to copy the whole phone messages solution.

Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

02 February 2016

View Outlook HelpDesk Tickets On A SharePoint Kanban Board

When you hear the word kanban board you probably think about project management, but the kanban method can also be useful for support teams. A combination of two Solutions can make Outlook e-mails show up on a kanban board in SharePoint.

UPDATE, December 2018: There are now three editions of E-mail Converter. The Outlook edition described below and two new editions for automatic conversion 24/7: for Azure and for IIS. All three editions can be combined with Kanban Task Manager.

E-mail Converter converts e-mails into SharePoint list items
E-mail Converter logotypeWith E-mail Converter you can create SharePoint list items from Outlook either by converting e-mails or by creating new items. E-mail Converter has been on the market for many years and is especially popular among distributed teams, who want to be able to cooperate on incidents or tasks in SharePoint.

Kanban Task Manager visualizes list items in SharePoint
Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint logotypeWith Kanban Task Manager users can see tasks visualized as cards on a kanban board, grouped in phases and lanes. The color coded cards can be dragged and dropped between phases as work proceeds.

The Kanban Task Manager kanban board has its own filter and search features, which are quicker than the SharePoint filter and search, and it also gives many other benefits compared to a SharePoint list.

Combine them!
Any SharePoint list based on the Tasks template can be used with Kanban Task Manager, so you may very well connect the tasks list to Kanban Task Manager and take advantage of all the features given in both products. Then E-mail Converter + Kanban Task Manager will work like in the demo below.

The Medium and Premium subscriptions include both E-mail Converter and Kanban Task Manager and other useful products as well. Use and combine them as best for your organization!

Don't always combine
E-mail Converter allows a choice between multiple SharePoint lists, so you can very well select to only convert certain e-mails to the Kanban Task Manager tasks list – or to create new items there with the Outlook edition of E-mail Converter – while you use other SharePoint lists for other e-mails or new items.

This selection does not have to be done manually. If you have enabled automatic e-mail conversion and several Outlook folders are monitored, you can select different SharePoint lists for different e-mail folders. This is a simple way to distribute the incoming e-mail to different lists.

Use several kanban boards
The Kanban Task Manager subscription allows multiple installations, so you can very well let some installations visualize items from E-mail Converter, while other installations are used for different kinds of task management. With a common landing page or top navigation managers can quickly move between the installations to have an overview over ongoing tasks in different teams.

Subscription icon You are welcome to try both E-mail Converter and Kanban Task Manager for 30 days. We give full support to help you get the most out of the evaluation period, so you are always welcome to contact us if you have questions!

Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions