WELCOME EVERYONE!!

GINA'S TALES FROM THE I.T. TRENCHES


SHARING THE POINT HERE AND THERE

Gina Montgomery (MCSA, MCTS, MCP, V-TSP) blends thought leadership with new growth initiatives as Vice President of Corporate Strategy for Softmart. Montgomery plays a critical role in identifying and analyzing business development opportunities that build solutions and drive sales for Softmart. Along with driving value-creating insights, making recommendations and bundling solutions across multiple projects, she oversees Softmart's Microsoft Practice and consults in the Microsoft Business Productivity & Collaboration space. Montgomery’s background as a SharePoint and Cloud evangelist coupled with her seasoned speaker experience at technology conferences all over the country make her a trusted advisor for architecting SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure solutions as well as Enterprise Social Strategies. As she continues to plan and implement successful cloud offerings and business solutions that maximize an organization’s IT investment, Montgomery also directs her focus on new strategic initiatives for Softmart’s sales team to bring to market.

  • SHARING THE POINT

    PLACES I GO

    As you’ve probably noticed, I’m a frequent I.T. speaker. I’m always traveling about; Sharing the Point

  • NEW GADGETS

    WHAT I LIKE

    I’m always looking for new tech toys. You’ll probably find some reviews here…

  • TEXT

    WHAT I READ

    I came up with a list of 8 books that I consider must-reads for the up and comer’s

  • WRITING

    WHAT I WRITE ABOUT

    As a writer, I often feel inspired to share my experiences, and random thoughts and ideas. You may find those here.

The Perpetual Hand These ten pearls will help you put into motion a happy and prosperous life. Look no further than inside this book and be transformed by helping one person at a time. Consider this: 1. To grow and change one's life, starts with the desire to change others. 2. The act of generosity grants promotion in life, work, and God. 3. Greatness and opportunity are not luck; you create it through your network. 4. When we embrace gratitude, we design our environment to open doors for others and ourselves. 5. We should not allow our past experiences of letdowns and mishaps to halt our heart. Available on Amazon.com, and all major bookstores

Tales From the I.T. Trenches

  • 2016 SPEAKING GIGS

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Azure, Enterprise Mobility Suite, Office 365, SharePoint, Sharing the Point

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    Here’s a running list of sessions and events I’ve done in 2016! Happy SharePointing and Clouding to you!

     

    2-20-16 SharePoint Saturday Utah

    “Office 365 Groups; A Whole New World of Collaboration”

    http://bit.ly/20ObgRO

     

    2-22-16 Microsoft Entrepreneurship Week Salt Lake City

    “Cloud Computing in a Digital Age”

    http://bit.ly/1PomqEt

     

    2-25-16 2:30pm EST “Jump Start Project Management in Your Org with Office 365 Groups and Office 365 Planner” – Webinar

    http://bit.ly/1KdsqAQ

     

    3-8-16 – 3-10-16 Microsoft Puerto Rico Visit

    Solution Days

     

    3-9-16 Virtual Skype for Business Tech Talk

    Microsoft Jamaica

    https://t.co/pI28ASdTUm

     

    4-2-16 SharePoint Saturday San Antonio

    “Office 365 Groups; A Whole New World of Collaboration”

    http://www.spsevents.org/city/sanantonio/sanantonio2016

     

    4-4-16 – 4-5-16 Microsoft Envision Conference New Orleans

     

    4-6-16 3:30pm CST SharePoint TechFest Dallas

    “Jump Start Project Management in Your Org with Office 365 Groups and Office 365 Planner”

    http://www.sharepointtechfest.com/dallas/

     

    5/11/16 NYC CIO Lunch & Learn – Enterprise Mobility Suite

    Quality Italian Steakhouse @ 1pm

    http://bit.ly/26ApMx6

     

    6/3/16 – CIO Golf Event San Juan, PR “DR & Business Continuity with Azure”

    Río Bayamón Golf Course

    214 Avenida Laurel

    Industrial Minillas

    Bayamón, PR 00959

    http://bit.ly/1Z39QOi

     

    6/11/16 – SharePoint Saturday ATL

    “Jump Start Project Management and Digital Collaboration in Your Org with Office 365 Groups and Office 365 Planner”

    “Enhancing Relevancy & User Experience with SharePoint Search”

    http://www.spsevents.org/city/Atlanta/Atlanta2016/home

     

    6/16/16 The Ultimate Guide to Office 365 Administration Webinar

    http://wi.st/1W7fQaf

     

    7/30/16 – SharePoint Saturday NYC

    “Jump Start Project Management and Digital Collaboration in Your Org with Office 365 Groups and Office 365 Planner”

     

    11/2/16-11/3/16 SharePoint Engage Conference

    “5 Inspiring Reasons to Manage Projects on SharePoint Online”

    Embassy Suites Raleigh – Durham Airport/Brier.. |Raleigh, USA|

    http://10times.com/sharepoint-engage

  • THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO OFFICE 365 ADMINISTRATION – WEBINAR!

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Uncategorized

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    June 16th webinarOver the last few years, Office 365 has been evolving at a rapid pace, making more features and functionality available to users and admins on an almost daily basis. As this service evolves, it is even more important to be apprised on all of the administration capabilities available. With new functionality for end users like Office 365 Groups, storage quotas can easily be disrupted without proper administration. Microsoft has also released a slew of new reporting functionality around SharePoint Online, OneDrive, Yammer, Exchange Online and Skype for Business Online.

    Join Gina Montgomery, Softmart’s Vice President of Corporate Strategy, on Thursday, June 16th to see what all of the newest admin buzz is about!

    Click here to register

     

  • OFFICE 365 / AZURE / ENTERPRISE MOBILITY SUITE WEBINARS

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Azure, Azure AD, Azure Rights Managment, Enterprise Mobility Suite, Microsoft Intune, Office 365

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    webinar imageI have delivered quite a few webinars in the past 12 months on Microsoft Cloud Topics such as Office 365, Azure and the Enterprise Mobility Suite. Here is a list in case you missed them and want to go back and listen in.

     

    Microsoft Webinar Series:

    Office 365 Thought Leadership Session
    Azure Thought Leadership Session  
    Enterprise Mobility Suite Thought Leadership Session
    Office 365 Tips & Tricks
    Azure Tips & Tricks
    Enterprise Mobility Suite Tips & Tricks
    Office 365 Technical Series
    Azure Technical Series
    Enterprise Mobility Suite Technical Series

    Three Real-World Applications of Microsoft Azure Webinar
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_AFbA8fNUM

    Webinar: What’s new with Office 365
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6u_7lTuH1kM

  • MICROSOFT IGNITE 2015 RE-CAP & SHAREPOINT 2016 UPDATE

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Uncategorized

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    May 4th-8th 2015, I attended Microsoft Ignite in Chicago! Here’s my re-cap and announcements on SharePoint 2016 via #O365 #Sway…

     

  • CONNECTING OFFICE 365 TO POWERSHELL ON A WINDOWS 8.1 DEVICE

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Office 365, Tips and Tricks

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    powershell_trans

    PowerShell is a great tool for Office 365 administrators.

     

     

    PowerShell is a scripting language that allows you execute a series of commands. Office 365 continues to improve over time and as it evolves, even greater access to PowerShell will continue to grow. I highly recommend learning it. You can automate many manual tasks like creating new users, disabling users, assign Exchange Online mailbox permissions to other users, view tenant information, etc…

     
    In order to get started with PowerShell you have to download a few items. While installing the Microsoft Online Services Sign-In Assistant on my Windows 8.1 device I ran into an issue. I kept getting the following error:

    “In order to install Windows Azure Active Directory Module for Windows PowerShell, you must have Microsoft Online Services Sign-In Assistant version 7.0 or greater installed on this computer”

    The Microsoft Online Services Sign-in Assistant provides end user sign in capabilities to Microsoft Office 365 and other Microsoft Online Services. I found a work-around. You have to download the Microsoft Online Services Sign-In Assistant for IT Professionals BETA as a work around. Otherwise, you will see the following error:

    “In order to install Windows Azure Active Directory Module for Windows PowerShell, you must have Microsoft Online Services Sign-In Assistant version 7.0 or greater installed on this computer”

    Here’s the link to the BETA version:

    Microsoft Online Services Sign-IN Assistant for IT Professionals BETA http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=39267

    Next step is to install the Windows Azure Active Directory Module for Windows PowerShell Setup. http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj151815.aspx

    One more tip: Don’t forget to run the Windows Azure AD Module as an administrator when running Cmdlets.

    Happy Scripting!

  • SHAREPOINT SATURDAY NYC 2014

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: SharePoint, Sharing the Point

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    WP_20140726_003SharePoint Saturday NYC 2014 was a blast! I presented my session, “Adoption Tactics; 5 Reasons Your End Users Will Rant & Rave Over SharePoint 2013.” SharePoint adoption is a very tricky subject. The best planned and designed SharePoint portals can fail if users don’t adopt to SharePoint. Gartner surveys say that more than 50% of SharePoint implementations that  fail is due to poor end user adoption. With millions of dollars spent each year on SharePoint deployments, this becomes quite significant. SharePoint adoption starts with proper planning, implementation and governance. In order to have sustained user engagement, new techniques like gamification are also emerging. This session will focus on all these aspects and will provide the attendees ideas and tools to implement for their SharePoint portal. Attendees will be presented with the challenges currently being faced with SharePoint deployments centered around adoption, best practices around planning and governance will be discussed, and ideas for SharePoint gamificaiton will also be presented. I’ve posted my slides on SlideShare!

  • MY JOURNEY IN THE I.T. TRENCHES CONTINUES

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: SharePoint, Yammer

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    this shouldn't take longThis is definitely a season of change. Many of my peers have been announcing their transitions lately. I couldn’t let Mark Rackley, Jeremy Thake, and Chris Johnson get all the spotlight. 🙂 Microsoft has had a couple of really incredible additions to their team including  AvePoint’s former VP of Global Product Innovation, Jeremy Thake! I’m excited to see what influence he will be bringing to the table with his expertise and passion in making SharePoint work for the end user. Even though my journey isn’t taking me to Microsoft, I’m very excited to announce my transition from Acuvate Software and my  return to my former employer, Softmart, in a very new and adventurous role!

    Back in May of 2013, I left my Softmart North Central territory role and  joined Acuvate Software, a global  Microsoft Partner (SI) that provided services around SharePoint, Office 365, Azure, SQL & Yammer. It was a great experience working with some very talented folks like Abhishek Shanbhag. I was down in the trenches helping customers with complex business solutions. I wore many hats including VP of Business Solutions, Business Analyst, Solution Architect, Enterprise Social Practice Head and Evangelist.  I was able to achieve some tough goals there and my experiences have already been injected into my new role at Softmart.

    So, who is Softmart? Softmart’s slogan is Everything IT. Softmart has 30 years experience in the industry. Softmart’s Team of IT Solution Advisors Ensures that Every IT Dollar Spent is a Dollar Well Invested. IT is an investment. Hardware and software are critical components of business efficiency. Softmart is an authorized reseller of all major hardware manufacturers and software publishers; the consultative sales team solution experts can answer your questions on configuration or engage our staff specialists to assist in planning.

    So what am I doing in my new role at Softmart, you ask? Other than trying not to turn into a Philly Cheesesteak; Everything I love! I’m Softmart’s new Tech Evangelist.  I will be assisting our Sales Force with Technical Pre-Sales consulting on the Microsoft Business Productivity Stack and the Microsoft Cloud OS. I will utilizing my Microsoft PTSP status and delivering more amazing one to many (or few) webinars & sessions at the Malvern Microsoft MTC & Envisioning Center, and other Microsoft MTC’s across the country. I will still be speaking at SharePoint Saturdays and Conferences and planning territory specific events with the Softmart National Sales teams. I will be providing valuable solution architecture to our client base and working with our partner network to execute the projects at hand. I’m unbelievably stoked. Let’s not forget blogging for Softmart.

    I can’t express how happy I am to be in this new role. Stay tuned!

     

     

     

  • THE MICROSOFT SOCIAL LAYER

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: SharePoint, Yammer

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    “The Social Layer”

    Microsoft has gone social in a big way with SharePoint 2013. Over time, Microsoft has been evolving their social layer with each new release of SharePoint. Traditionally, the SharePoint product team would work on the next version release 3 or so years in advance which would reflect that time period onto the features of each new version. The 2007 SharePoint version focused its social collaboration offerings on the My Site, availability of wikis, and blogs. Then came the SharePoint 2010 release. SharePoint 2010 was actually developed in 2006; a time before Facebook, Twitter, or iPhone’s existed. However, SharePoint 2010 did take a leap with social by offering social tagging, the NoteBoard and microblogs. Finally the latest version; SharePoint 2013 was released. SharePoint 2013 is relative to today’s world. SharePoint 2013 focuses on social collaboration, employee engagement, and breaking down the silos of geographically dispersed teams. SharePoint 2013 has several social features that today’s workforce is used to. Hashtagging, Liking, Following and even @mentioning are all available in OOTB SharePoint 2013.

    Collaboration Spot   Community HomeThere is a new Community Site template that brings gamification into the environment. Gamification has its own layer of social collaboration that encourages users to interact with the portal; to start discussions, comment on previous discussions, earn points and even earn badges. The new Community Site template really provides a great place for forums of knowledge sharing to transpire.

    newsfeed appThe new SharePoint Newsfeed app shows items from other users in reverse chronological order and can be added to any page in any site. SharePoint’s search feature has also been improved to take advantage of the new social capabilities by allowing users to search within Newsfeed conversations or by searching for a certain hashtag or @mentioned people across conversations.

    SharePoint 2013 has all the right tools to get your organization started with an Enterprise Social journey. SharePoint 2013 is made for today’s world of workers that are used to toting multiple devices and communicating, collaborating and connecting over a vast array of social media platforms.

    Microsoft has also gone social in a big way with the acquisition of Yammer back in 2012. Yammer is Microsoft’s microblogging and collaboration platform for enterprise social networking. When you look up the word, Yammer, in the dictionary, it is described as informal dialect. Yammer   HomeIn my opinion, the informal dialect that we have in our respective organizations is where the innovations and ideas transpire. Now that Yammer Enterprise is a part of the Office 365 Enterprise offerings, it is just that much easier to take advantage of this amazing platform. True collaboration is born in Yammer environments allowing users to connect to geographically dispersed teams, share and collaborate on documents, utilize Yammer’s robust search engine to dig up hashtags, and quickly find expertise in the organization within the contacts in Yammer. Yammer does offer a freemium version to any organization out there with a company domain. But, the Enterprise version definitely gives us more control for governance and eDiscovery scenarios. Yammer’s open API’s also open the door to integrating Yammer with your own applications or some other common applications like Dynamics CRM, Salesforce, and SharePoint.

  • SHAREPOINT 2013 REFLECTIONS AND 2014 PREDICTIONS

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: SharePoint, Sharing the Point

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    2014Times are changing! (Again) 2014 is right around the corner. A time of reflection and prediction is upon us in the SharePoint Community. I recently sat on the panel for a tweetjam on SharePoint 2014 Predictions with other Industry Experts and SharePoint MVP’s. You can see our discussion here.

    Tweetjams, as well as, yamjams, are prime examples of how the social layer sparks productivity among teams or groups of professionals that need to come together and collaborate on a set of ideas. I will be discussing Productivity and the Social Layer in 2014 at a variety of conferences and SharePoint Saturdays in 2014. My first session of the year is scheduled on 1/8/14 at SharePoint Saturday St. Louis and is entitled, “Go Social or Go Home; How SharePoint + Yammer Can Kickstart Productivity in Your Organization.”

    Although I’ve sat on my share of tweetjams and yamjams; Christian Buckley, SharePoint MVP and Lead Product Evangelist at Metalogix, is just one of the tweetjam pioneers within our SharePoint community, organizing many thought provoking conversations around various topics touting each one with the hashtag #collabtalk.

    In this past year, Twitter as well as, Yammer have really given us a platform to sound off our ideas and collaborate on forward thinking ideas and concepts. It has been an exciting year also watching Yammer broadly start to enter this space.

    Working across the globe on SharePoint related projects this past year (because I have the pleasure of working for an awesome global SharePoint consulting firm; Acuvate Software) I’ve definitely witnessed a set of trends this past year.

    Reflecting; some of the highlights of SharePoint 2013 are listed below

     

    1) The New Project Site Template

    * I wrote a whole article about this here
    * Task Management
    * Sync with MS Project

    2) Improved Mysites

    * Task aggregation
    * The Social Layer introduced with newsfeeds and other social features such as; liking, following, and hash tagging.
    * The new improved offering of Skydrive Pro

    3.) Document Management Feature Improvements

    * Drag & Drop
    * Office Web Apps Preview Feature
    * Ability to share a document right to Yammer
    * Sharing docs for co-authoring

    4) Introduction of the App Model

    * Apps are now available for SharePoint and are stand-alone, self-contained sets of functionality that extend capabilities of a SharePoint site.
    * Users can discover and download apps on their own from the public Office Store or from their organization’s private App Catalog.
    * This changed the game for developers as well. Giving them the ability to use current web programming skills standards such as HTML, JavaScript and CSS.

    5) The empowerment of the End User

    * Ribbon improvements- easier to use
    * Wiki Improvements – copy and paste from Word holds formatting!
    * No code development; Goodbye Silverlight

    6) SharePoint Online Improvements

    * More parity between online and on premise
    * Self-service BI and Excel Power Pivot and Power View now give orgs a real BI option in the cloud
    * Evergreen Update Model – aka “cloud first”

    SharePoint 2013 in my opinion has been a true game-changer. I am looking forward to what 2014 has in store! Here are my predictions:

     

    1) Growth and Widespread Adoption of the Social Layer (especially for O365 customers)
    * The Enterprise SKU of Yammer is now being including with Office 365 E1-4 subscriptions

    2) A new governance model will be born and recognized
    * Governance in the cloud
    * Social governance – when do we use SharePoint, Yammer, and email and how?

    3) Larger trend of awareness and adoption to self-service B.I.
    * Power BI to be demanded for on-premise environments by orgs

    4) Shift to the cloud will continue
    * Starting with a better Hybrid roadmap
    * More adoption of the evergreen model

    5) The App model will change the workforce
    * The app model was introduced with SharePoint 2013, but has a difficult process for store publishing
    * This process will be simplified
    * More developers and SharePoint firms will latch onto the idea and put more apps on the store

    6) The No code developer story will grow
    * In SharePoint 2013, the no code developer story, aka, the SharePoint Composite was born.
    * More and more productivity apps will birth from this amazing set of abilities within the new SharePoint.

    7) The untold story of SharePoint 2013 will finally be told
    * Adoption to a set of new SP 2013 features that were overlooked this past year

    – eDiscovery

    – Device Channels

    – JSLink

    8) More public facing websites moving to O365
    * WCM is there and better than others platforms
    * Empowering the end users further

    9) SharePoint 2010 to feel outdated

    All in all, 2013 has been a year of improved SharePoint 2013 productivity tools.
    SharePoint finally feels like a platform built for today. I’m very excited to see how many of my 2014 predictions come to light. Cheers!

  • SHAREPOINT SATURDAY DALLAS ADOPTION TACTICS SESSION

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Uncategorized

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    Hi all,

    Thanks again for attending my session in Dallas at #SPSDFW. I had a blast! Here are the slides from my presentation.

Address Philadelphia, PA

Telephone 913-217-0211

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