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We’ve been doing a lot of Dynamics 365 for Sales and Customer Engagement work for clients who are already using Dynamics NAV and Dynamics Business Central lately. Each of these applications provides some form of CRM functionality, but there is a lot of confusion about when the different solutions might make the most sense. Let’s try to tackle this at a high level...

What is Dynamics 365?

Dynamics 365 is a suite of business applications offered by Microsoft. These primarily include ERP applications and CRM applications. The naming conventions are a little confusing and have changed a lot, so users and vendors often shorten their names, such as:

  • Dynamics 365 Business Central = Business Central
  • Dynamics 365 for Sales = Dynamics CRM
  • Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement = Dynamics CRM
What are Dynamics NAV and Dynamics 365 Business Central?

NAV and Business Central are both ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) applications. Each application is designed to handle everything from tracking prospects, to supplier management, order entry, to fulfillment and invoicing. But their strength is accounting processes.

NAV and Business Central are very similar. In fact, they are mostly considered to be the same application with NAV being the on-premise version and Business Central being the cloud version.

For now, let's refer to these two applications as NAV (not entirely accurate, but it helps keep the descriptions concise).

What are Dynamics 365 for Sales and Customer Engagement?

Many licensing options are available for CRM (Customer Relationship Management) functionality within the Dynamics 365 suite. The two primary ones are:

  • Dynamics 365 for Sales: This version contains most of the classic CRM functionality including a wide and deep set of capabilities for sales teams, and a modest set of functionality to also support customer care and marketing teams.

  • Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement: This version contains all of the above features, plus significantly expanded functionality for companies who have needs for field service and/or project management services. On the downside, Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement does not include much in the way of enhanced marketing functionality.

For now, let's refer to these collective sets of functionality as Dynamics 365 CRM (which isn't a real product).

The CRM Differences

With the above definitions out of the way, let's talk about what makes these applications different. Or, in other words, if NAV already includes a lot of CRM functionality, then why would a company choose to also pay for CRM licenses?

NAV vs Dynamics 365 CRM

NAV and CRM both include the ability to track the following items. Below are a few screenshots to compare some of the screens between the two applications:

  • Accounts (businesses)

  • Contacts (people)

  • Opportunities

  • Quotes
  • Orders
  • Invoices
  • Product Catalog/Pricebook
Dynamics 365 CRM Additions:
  • Activity Management: An accounting system is focused mostly on transaction tracking. A CRM system places more emphasis on interaction tracking. NAV has very little in the way of planning and tracking tasks, emails, and appointments. In comparison, CRM has a vast array of tools for tracking this information.

  • Outlook Integration: Dynamics 365 CRM has deep integration with Microsoft Outlook. Making it easy to track emails, schedule follow-ups, link to calendar appointments and more. If your users are already using Outlook, they will find CRM far easier to adopt than NAV. NAV does include some Outlook integration, but not nearly the same depth or flexibility found in Dynamics 365 CRM.

  • Mobile: Customer-facing employees are often out of the office and need quick access to find and update customer data. CRM includes a robust mobile application that can be accessed via just about any mobile operating system and includes offline data-sync.

  • Configurable: Dynamics 365 CRM is built on the idea that it must be easily configured to support a diverse range of needs. Adding an almost unlimited number of new tables, fields, views, forms, charts and dashboards is easy (doesn't require code).

  • Customer-Centric Processes: CRM also includes the ability to custom-tailor how you automate processes with tools like workflows, business process flows, task flows, business rules, and more.

  • Improved UI: The CRM user interface is made with the customer-facing rep in mind. Navigating and entering data into CRM is far easier than in the NAV interface.

  • Leads, Marketing, Customer Care: Dynamics 365 CRM (even the most basic version) includes a dynamic range of marketing and customer care functionality not found in NAV.

  • SharePoint Integration: Dynamics 365 CRM includes integration with Microsoft SharePoint to make it easier to track the large number of documents often generated throughout the sales lifecycle, and marketing collateral used to generate leads or support a sales team.

Those are just the tip of the iceberg to the much larger set of differences. If you're a smaller organization, with only 1 or 2 sales reps, or you're resource constrained, then you may only need the functionality found in NAV. As a general rule: 

By the time you have at least 5 customer-facing employees, you need to consider a CRM solution.

The Best of Both Worlds

Although you may decide you need to use both NAV and CRM, you can give your users the best of both worlds by integrating the two applications. Microsoft provides some connectors making integration fairly simple. Although, most organizations find they need to customize the integration process to manage the custom fields and tables that need to be visible in both applications.

Ready for Dynamics 365 CRM?

C5 Insight works with Dynamics 365 Business Central and Dynamics NAV customers around the world to help them implement and integrate Dynamics NAV. We are also aligned with the best NAV and Business Central partners in the world. We are happy to help you find the right partner to support your needs.

Contact C5 Insight to talk about your CRM, Business Central or NAV needs.

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BI is a bit of a buzzword these days, but why should you care? "BI" stands for "Business Intelligence;" the study of performing data analysis with business data. Using robust tools like Power BI, we can dive deeper into analyzing business data and visualizing the results.

Microsoft Power BI

Microsoft Power BI is an Office 365 tool that visualizes business data from a variety of sources. The tool displays unique and powerful insights to help your business make more informed decisions. Power BI is available by itself or as part of the Office 365 platform. No matter your role, Power BI is a very important and powerful tool to be familiar with. 

Data and Dashboards

Data is all around us, but how do we put that data to work? With Power BI! Power BI allows you to pull data from a vast array of sources then manipulate and combine that data to create some pretty awesome dashboards. Data by itself does nothing for your business unless you unpack it. Using Power BI, crunching data is no longer a mentally taxing task, but an engaging, insightful experience!

We need these stunning dashboards because they tell a story. Using the data crunched and displayed by Power BI, we are able to make more informed decisions. Consider this scenario: 

On our dashboard, we notice that sales in a particular category is lower than the average. As we dive into the data, via a more granular report from the dashboard, we can see immediately that the delivery time is lower due to a low number of available delivery methods or perhaps we see issues in the manufacturing level. See this in action!

3 Tips to Get Started With Power BI
  1. Find a dataset that interests you. This could be from the internet or internally in your business, and could be a website, a database, an Excel worksheet or any other source. The more you care about and understand the data, you will find the results more interesting.
  2. Define what you want out of the data from the start. What are you trying to get from the data? Answering this question first will help guide you as you move forward working with raw data.   
  3. Get started using Power BI Desktop: Download Power BI Desktop and watch this handy video to get up and going.

I hope this post has opened your eyes to all of the data around you and how crucial each data set is to making business decisions. Ready to discuss how Power BI can help your business? Contact us!

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Have you created a document or file recently that you want to share, but with limited access to others? Sharepoint "View-Only" permissions have caused some confusion when it comes to file sharing. Let's review what exactly is going on and how to achieve your goal. 

The Download Dilemma

GOAL: In a SharePoint document library, you want a handful of users to have permission to view and open files without the ability to download them.

PRESUPPOSED SOLUTION: You configure a SharePoint group and add the selected users you want to block from downloading. You grant this SharePoint group the “View-Only” permission. 

The problem with this "solution" is that it will not accomplish your end goal and cause additional issues in return. 

View-Only Loopholes

If we read the documentation from Microsoft on SharePoint permission levels, we find this description for View-Only:

View pages, items, and documents. Any document that has a server-side file handler can be viewed in the browser but not downloaded. File types that do not have a server-side file handler (cannot be opened in the browser), such as video files, .pdf files, and .png files, can still be downloaded.

Meaning, users will be able to browse libraries and see the files, but they will not be able to open them using Word or Excel on their computer. Users will be able to open files if you have Office Online Server / Office Web Apps (the server-side handler mentioned), but this only applies to Office files. Other files, such as PDFs and certain images, will still prompt to open locally.

Additionally, "download here" does not mean any download will be blocked; it just means downloads will be made to the local Office application. The "download document" button will not be grayed out in the ribbon. 

Other side effects to using View-Only include:

  • Users will not be able to find these documents in search results. 
  • If users try to open a document via a “durable link” (where someone copied a link with the doc redirect path) it will not work. 
  • If users try to open a document via a real direct link (e.g. https://site/library/file.docx), they will get "Access Denied".
Configure IRM to Protect Content and Prevent Downloads

If your goal is to prevent users from downloading files, but still let them open files, you need to configure Information Rights Management for SharePoint (IRM). As stated by Microsoft, IRM is used to "help control and protect files that are downloaded from lists or libraries."

  • SharePoint On-premises: IRM is a Windows Server feature in Active Directory. Configure in SharePoint to begin using it. 
  • Office 365: IRM simply needs to be turned on to begin using it.

Read more on each process here for SharePoint On-Premises and here for Office 365. 

From the documentation:

IRM helps to protect restricted content in the following ways:

  • Helps to prevent an authorized viewer from copying, modifying, printing, faxing, or copying and pasting the content for unauthorized use

  • Helps to prevent an authorized viewer from copying the content by using the Print Screen feature in Microsoft Windows

  • Helps to prevent an unauthorized viewer from viewing the content if it is sent in email after it is downloaded from the server

  • Restricts access to content to a specified period of time, after which users must confirm their credentials and download the content again

  • Helps to enforce corporate policies that govern the use and dissemination of content within your organization

If you need any help setting up IRM, have any questions on document management or other enterprise content management please contact us

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I think we all have been there – you are working on a beloved Microsoft Flow, doing any number of updates or other actions, when it happens...

You use a value that is a multiple-value array, like a choice column in SharePoint, and Flow automatically wraps your action in a ForEach control. Now what? 

Microsoft Flow ForEach Conditions 

Let’s say, for example, you're getting an approval for something. You send an email, once your request is approved, including some of the details. One of the values is a multi-value choice column, but the moment you choose your email action, it gets wrapped inside a ForEach condition. The column has values like this in the list:

If your column has 3 values in the column, you will be sending 3 emails! You try to drag your email outside of the ForEach, but you are blocked... 

At this point, you might be Googling while thinking, "Maybe I should make a string variable, build a semicolon string of the values, and use that text string instead?" 

Solution: Switch to Input Entire Array

Just like your marching band jacket from high school, that ForEach has got to go! Thankfully, this process is easier than trying to decide whether or not to put your gray socks in with your lights or darks!

Microsoft is actually one step ahead of you here. All you have to do is click the button, “Switch to input entire array” next to the column:

Now, you can simply pick your value and it sets without the ForEach:

By default, the actions for a multiple-value choice column are set to gather input in an array-type fashion. Meaning, Flow is expecting the need to ready each value (Level 1, Level 2 in my example) separately. After we switch the input mode, we’re telling Flow not to read each value, but to accept an entire array. 

When you only need to value a status value, setting the choice column to the same existing set of values, you don’t want any ForEach. The situation is common and easily remedied using the above directions.

Whenever you have a question or need help (and/or training) when it comes to building Microsoft Flows, please reach out to us. We’re here to help!

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C5 Insight today announced the acquisition of SharePoint Revolution. 

C5 Insight helps companies around the globe implement customer engagement and employee collaboration projects. SharePoint Revolution is based in Black Mountain, North Carolina and helps companies automate business processes, manage documents, and administer Microsoft SharePoint. In addition to being a Microsoft Partner, SharePoint Revolution partners with Qorus Software and Ninetex Software to deliver customer solutions.

“I’ve known the team at C5 Insight for many years,” comments SharePoint Revolution CEO Larry Nordlinger. “SharePoint Revolution’s clients using Microsoft SharePoint and Nintex are going to get access to the best SharePoint and business process design experts in the world as a result of this relationship!” 

Geoff Ables, C5 Insight Managing Partner, said, “SharePoint Revolution has earned a sterling reputation in the marketplace and we are excited to bring them into the fold to help clients get the most out of Office 365 and to create more people-centric digital workplaces. Most businesses are still struggling to fully automate processes, to effectively communicate with their employees, or to manage their SharePoint intranet. The combined strengths of our two organizations deliver an unparalleled breadth and depth of expertise to help businesses become effective digital workplaces.” 

"We're seeing increasing demand to understand and implement new Office 365 solutions, such as Microsoft Teams, PowerApps, Flow and PowerBI," continues Ables. "The broader and deeper pool of expertise that this acquisition brings us will enhance our ability to meet marketplace needs among our existing and prospective clients."

C5 Insight was founded in 2002 and is a leader in delivering customer engagement and employee collaboration projects. The company has consulted with hundreds of companies around the world in a broad range of industries. The firm has twice been named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing companies. For more information about C5 Insight, visit https://www.C5Insight.com. 

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In this day and age, spam is a way of life. Blackhats are constantly working to dupe everyone with extremely real looking emails.

Estimates show that over 50% of all global email is spam as of September 2018. In all of 2018, an estimated total of 856.62 million identified instances of malware were recorded. 

Lately, I’ve heard multiple stories from clients who barely averted financial disaster due to an email scam. 

Imagine...

The office administrator gets an email from what appears to be the owner of the company asking for an immediate $20,000 wire transfer due to some emergency. 

Given the urgency, much less care is given and some large assumptions are made.  

It appears to be from the CEO, but it should be an internal email, which it's not. 

The transfer is made, money is lost, and now everyone is on edge regarding their inboxes.

At some point, you may be in a similar situation where you click on an email you shouldn’t have, get infected with malware, and now your email is being monitored. 

How can this be avoided?

Add Warnings

If you added a warning to every email that originated from outside the organization, situations like the one above could be easily avoided. A warning in the subject line would have made it clear the urgent request did NOT, in fact, come from the CEO, and should be immediately deleted. 

It’s extremely easy to add warnings to an email subject line or even the email body. Let’s create some warnings to avoid these situations before someone really screws up!

I’ll give you 2 examples, one on how to adjust the subject line and the other on how to adjust the body content to include a warning sign.

1. Prepend the Email Subject Line with a Warning

  1. Open the Exchange Online Admin Center. Under Mail Flow > click Rules.
  2. Click the + sign > create a new rule and give it a name.
  3. Click on the Sender is located outside the organization.
  4. Click More Options Add condition under Apply this rule if.
  5. Click on the new condition, and choose the recipient is located then Inside the organization.
  6. For Do the following, click to Prepend the subject of the message with, and type something like [EXTERNAL].
  7. For the Except, choose if the Subject or body matches, and add EXTERNAL.
    1. We do this so it doesn’t continue to add EXTERNAL to the subject. It will do it only once.
  8. For the Mode of this rule, click Enforce > Save.

It will produce email that looks like this:

2. Prepend the Body of an Email with a Warning

Using this warning method is actually my preference. Every email will be included in the implementation and the code can be in HTML, meaning you can color the warning however you want.

  1. Open the Exchange Online Admin Center. Under Mail Flow > click Rules.
  2. Click the + sign > create a new rule and give it a name.
  3. Click on the Sender is located outside the organization.
  4. Click More Options > Add condition under Apply this rule if.
  5. Click on the new condition, and choose the recipient is located then Inside the organization.
  6. For Do the following, click to Apply a disclaimer to the message then prepend a disclaimer.  In the box, this can be anything want, but here, you can paste HTML for whatever you want. The following HTML will make a nice, small and colored warning:
    1. <div><div Calibri'; color:Black; text-align: left;"><b><span >CAUTION:  </span></b>This email originated from outside of the organization. Do not click links or open attachments unless you recognize the sender and know the content is safe.</div>&nbsp;</div>
    1. Set the fall back option to Wrap.
  7. For the Mode of this rule, click Enforce then click Save.

The result will produce an email that looks like this:

Which warning do you like better? The warning within the body is certainly more obvious. 

Feel free to tweak as you see fit. On every email and reply, this method will insert that small colored table and text at the top of the body of the email.

I hope this helps and please reach out to us for any of your Office 365 needs!

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What is a WIG?

Occasionally, when engaging with potential clients, I find that they have an excellent WIG, but no plan to get to there. At times, they really don't know what the end goal is or what makes it successful. No problem! My job is to help define the WIG and help clients define what a successful WIG looks like in their organization.

A WIG is a "Wildly Important Goal". Your goal could be a company goal, department goal, or even an individual goal. Think of a time when you had a new WIG. 

An easy analogy is weight loss. If you set a WIG to lose 30lbs, do you intend on starving yourself for a few months to reach that goal? How discouraged are you when you step on the scale after the first 7 days of your diet only to find that you have not lost any weight? 

Losing weight is a process that takes a lifestyle change. Giving up fries, managing your time to include exercise, and saying no to Krispy Kream donuts (even when the "hot" light is on). Accomplishing your goal requires a vision, commitment, planning, and accountability.

Companies who seek to deploy intranets are creating a WIG that requires significant planning to be successful. Without planning, a really cool tool is deployed that will create significant confusion, frustration, and dissatisfaction. What is the purpose of your intranet? How will you educate employees? How will you know if your new intranet is successful? Who will own the intranet?

1. Define Your "Wildly Important Goal" with Precision

Have you defined the vision of an intranet for your company? Is it clear and understandable to all employees? 

There is no right or wrong answer because it depends on your company needs. Here are a few goals that need to be more clearly defined:

  1. My intranet should be a location for employees to find all corporate information.
  2. Our intranet should be a one-stop-shop for learning about internal skill sets for upcoming projects and a location for all project information to be stored as a Corporate Asset once a project has completed.
  3. Our intranet should increase employee engagement by sharing user stories and employee information.
  4. I'd like our intranet to be mobile responsive for our sales employees to quickly enter their information and get approvals on proposals faster.
  5. My company needs an intranet that will allow vendors to engage with our employees.
The Vision

Your intranet vision will vary based on your industry, culture, and business needs. Establishing your vision is absolutely the first thing you should do when planning your intranet deployment. Your vision should include a few precise points: What, Who and How. 

  • What do you want to accomplish? 
  • Who will benefit from the intranet? 
  • How will they benefit? 

Creating your vision first will manage scope creep and encourage you to think of measures of success as you continue your plan. The vision should be clear and concise. Don't use lots of words to describe your vision. Be short, sweet, and to the point - focus on precision. Your goal should never explain how you will accomplish, but it should state how the goal will be beneficial. 

Below is a good example of an intranet vision:

Our intranet will serve as a means of collaboration between employees, clients and vendors to allow us to serve our clients with the most up-to-date innovative solutions in a timely manner. The main focus of our intranet is:

  1. Collaboration
    1. Microsoft Teams
    2. CEO Blog
    3. Yammer Feed for Corporate Knowledge Sharing
  2. Document Repository
  3. Internal Company News disbursement
  4. Time Entry
  5. Corporate Information Disbursement
    1. Company Benefits Information
    2. Open Enrollment Sign-up
  6. Company Events Calendar
  7. Employee Directory
  8. All Company System Links
  9. Employee Spotlight News
  10. Company Goal KPI, Key Performance Indicators
2. Set SQAG's

SQAG's are Small, Quick, Attainable, Goals. "Tiny goals help us build the momentum we need to share slightly bigger goals later." You can't lose 30lbs in a month without becoming unhealthy. You can't deploy an intranet in 30 days successfully. You must build your plan with small goals in mind or it will become overwhelming. 

Each pound lost or goal met gets you closer to the end result. Celebrate little victories throughout the process as an encouragement to your team. Progress is progress, no matter how small.

3. Establish The Voice of Accountability

When losing weight, how difficult is it to admit that you gave into the Krispy Kream "hot" light? Or when you have to tell your accountability-partner that your weight went up this week? 

Accountability is a method of keeping you going, keeping you honest, and helping you stay on track. Developing a project team with a project manager for accountability is so very important when deploying an intranet. 

Project Managers & Teams 

Project managers keep people on track ensuring goals are being attained (both big and small) during the project's progression. Having said that, a project manager is only as good as the project team. 

Building well established teams is a method for keeping everyone accountable to each other without over focusing on one particular area. A project team should consist of business leaders, HR representatives, Marketing, Internal Communications, and IT. 

When the team doesn't perform, keep on task, or deviates from the project plan, the momentum goes down, team members get off track, and the project falls behind. Strong project managers are the voice of accountability who help the team refocus and find their way back to the plan. 

Weekly or daily scrum meetings are a great way for project managers to keep the project team on task and track the progress of your development.

4. Keep Score

During your weight loss journey, how do you know you have lost the weight? Maybe you compare how loose your clothes are becoming, but the most accurate way of measuring your success is a scale. 

Scales give you a way to keep score of how well you are doing. You weigh at the beginning of your journey, then you weigh at the end of each week until you reach your goal. Scales and scoreboards are also important when working on a WIG. 

Deploying an intranet will require a project plan. Your project plan serves as the scoreboard and journey map. The project plan should have milestones to help measure and scale the progress of your journey. Being able to gauge how close you are to the end, and how far you have come, serves as good motivation for everyone. 

Always keep score. Correct your path if the team deviates. Celebrate each goal met in the process.

5. Celebrate Your Success: Before & After

When on your journey to lose weight, you take a before photo. When you reach your 30lb milestone, you will proudly take an after photo showing your visible progress. The same applies to your intranet. 

To celebrate your newly deployed intranet, compare where you were to where you are once you reach the end. Always capture screenshots of your existing intranet before working on a new one. Capture screen shots as you progress. You will want to reminisce and show off your progress once you have completed the journey; it's certainly something to be proud of.

Take time to celebrate them with your team during the process. Celebrating your completion and success, no matter how small, will help keep up momentum during the life of the project. 

Remember, to accomplish your WIG when deploying your new intranet (or trying to lose weight) you should focus on these 5 items:

  1. Precisely define your WIG: Wildly Important Goal
  2. Set SQAG's: Small Quickly Attainable Goals
  3. Create a team and hold each other accountable
  4. Keep a scoreboard for your WIG
  5. Celebrate your successes

If you have any questions about this process, need help defining your organization's WIG, or want to talk to someone about overall strategy for your intranet, feel free to contact us.

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One of my clients running SharePoint 2013 on-premises contacted me with a strange issue. They had some SharePoint 2013 platform workflows that were getting suspended, but was not sure why. We got past that initial issue, but what I wanted to talk about today is what we did with all the active workflows that were suspended. 

Normally, when a workflow fails, what do we do? Right, we cancel it and restart it. But that’s a pain, especially for the workflow, and in this case, my client. The workflows had already run through many iterations of approvals, data gathering, and sending out emails only to fail halfway through. We certainly did not want to confuse every users and have to do everything all over again. What do we do?

Solution: PowerShell 

Well, there is a clue if you look at the error in the workflow history:

In 2010, all we could do was terminate the process. In SharePoint 2013 workflows, we can tell the workflow to retry the last action. After fixing the initial issue stopping the workflow at a certain step, we want to just tell it to retry that particular step. If you have 1 or 2 steps, this works great. Unfortunately, we had quite a few more. In this case, we turn to PowerShell.

Using a PowerShell script, we can get all 2013 workflows that are suspended and tell the workflow to resume the last step. Brilliant! Here’s what that looks like:

Add-PSSnapin microsoft.sharepoint.powershell -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue
[Reflection.Assembly]::Load("Microsoft.Workflow.Client, Version=1.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=31bf3856ad364e35") | Out-Null

$web = get-spweb "http://intranet/subsite"
$list = $web.lists["Shared Documents"]
$items = $List.getItems()

#-- Getting a Workflow manager object to work with.
$wfm = New-object Microsoft.SharePoint.WorkflowServices.WorkflowServicesManager($web)
#-- Getting the subscriptions
$sub = $wfm.GetWorkflowSubscriptionService()
#-- Getting the specific workflow within the list of subscriptions on the specific list. (SP2013 associated workflows basically)
$WF = $sub.EnumerateSubscriptionsByList($list.ID) | Where-Object {$_.Name -eq "Workflow_Name"}
#-- Getting a Workflow instance in order to perform my commands.
$wfis=$wfm.GetWorkflowInstanceService()

Foreach($item in $items){
     $wfinstances =  $wfis.EnumerateInstancesForListItem($list.ID, $item.ID);
     foreach($instance in $wfInstances)
     {
         if($instance.status -eq "Suspended")
         {            
             write-host $item.ID "-" $item.Name "is" $instance.status
             $wfis.ResumeWorkflow($instance);            
             Write-Host "Resumed"
         }
     }
}

What you want to note here is the highlighted method of the workflow instance. We can cancel it or resume it. So we connect to the site and list, get the workflow, get all items with that workflow whose status is suspended, and proceed to resume it. 

We can see our options by running this – “$wfis | get-member”:

If you need any help with workflows, PowerShell, SharePoint or anything else related, please reach out to us! We are happy to assist.

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With any LUCK, I’m sure your users are actively using SharePoint Search to discover and find content. Sooner or later, they will struggle to find whatever it is they are looking for. Search, after all, is only as good as the query you put into it. Crawl rules can quickly create relevant results, thus, increasing the likeliness that users continue using Search.

Users complain that when they search for a particular "how-to" Wiki article about ERP software, only irrelevant results display:

Taking a closer look, all of the results are from the same library, but each one returning a different view. Boo! Only one view is needed for Search to crawl the pages and return results. The solution is to exclude all views except the "All Items" view using only two crawl rules.

In Central Administration, go to: Search Service Application > Crawl Rules.  

Rule 1. Include only the "All Items" view.
Rule 2. Exclude all other views, but only in this library.  

The include rule is the direct URL to the "All Items" view, but for the "Exclude Everything Else View", use a pattern match like this:

https://<intranet>/documentcontrol/approved%20sops/forms/*.aspx*

Exclude everything, but only bring back the "All Items" view. When complete, it will look like the screenshot below. The "Include First As Crawl" rules are processed top down:

Now, when searching the same request from earlier, everything listed is a proper page and relevant library view:

To use this method for ALL of your sites and libraries, use the following include pattern:

https://*/forms/allitems.aspx

OR 

Edit the result source and add the following:

-filename:allitems.aspx

Please contact us if you need any help with your user adoption and/or governance for your intranet! We exist to help your organization work together better.

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Let's see if this is your norm for organizing a meeting:

Step 1: John Doe needs a meeting with a list of people on a specific topic.

Step 2: You send out an email to all the parties asking for a good date/time to meet.

Step 3: You collect many emails from many people with their preferences of a date/time.

Step 4: You send out another email asking if everyone is OK with a specific date/time.

Step 5: You review all the emails.

Step 6: Then, you send the meeting invitation.

If you calculate 15 minutes for each email that you touch for a 10 person meeting, the time to plan that meeting may be longer than the actual meeting.

The steps to plan a meeting seem pretty straightforward, but it's not always so easy to coordinate. What if there was an easier way to request date/time preferences?

FindTime: Your Meeting Scheduling Solution



"FindTime" is a Microsoft product that can be added to Outlook to help you efficiently plan meetings and get back to work. When the attendees respond, you have a tally of their votes. All votes are in one location, easy for you to read and make the best decision at a glance. Simply review the votes and send out the meeting invitation! The process of finding a suitable meeting time is no longer a time-consuming task.

Below is a closer look at how you would view all of the votes in one location:

  • You can enter many dates and times.
  • Your recipients can select many dates and times that suit them. They can also select "prefer" to show their preference.
  • Your recipients can also select dates and times that do not work for them at all.
  • At the bottom of the tally sheet, your recipients can suggest dates/times if none of the options work for them.
  • Once you have a date that suits all recipients, you select the "schedule" option and the invitation is sent.
  • You have an option to receive a notice each time someone votes.

FindTime is perfect for meetings where:

  • You are not able to see other attendees' calendars internally
  • Attendees are in different time zones
  • Attendees need many options for a meeting date/time

To use FindTime, the organizer is required to be on Office 365 (install is free) and recipients must have an email address.

What Are The Advantages of Using FindTime?

  • Ton of time savings
  • The time zones adjust for the recipients based on the computer settings
  • Much easier to get consensus for meeting dates/times
  • It is mobile responsive.

If you have the FindTime application, this is how your process would change:

Step 1: John Doe needs a meeting with a list of people on a specific topic.

Step 2: You send out FindTime email to all meeting recipients with many dates/times.

Step 3: Each recipient votes on a time that suits them.

Step 4: You review the all the poll votes in one location and send out the invitation.

In this situation, the organizer would save approximately 4 hours 45 minutes.

If you spend a large amount of time scheduling meetings, this product is at least worth your time to test. Hope you found this blog (and FindTime) to be a helpful resource! Let us know if we can be of further assistance in the use and/or implementation of any Microsoft Office/Dynamics 365 applications by contacting us today.

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