Archive for November, 2008

Credit crunch hits Lycos Europe N.V

It is a sad day to learn that your trusty webhosting company is about to cease operation.

I’ve had a website and blog with Lycos Webhosting since 2002! They have been by far the most reliable email/website provider that I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with.

You can read the details: here

I’ll be assessing my options and perhaps be looking to get a .NET compatible webhosting provider.

The first news that I eagerly await is, to see if Lycos will offer an automated migration of this blog and its contents.

A sad day indeed.

SpittingCAML


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Official best practice and design patterns for SharePoint

Microsoft have recently released some material for SharePoint on their Patterns and Practices site:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=C3722DBA-6EE7-4E0E-82B5-FDAF3C5EC927&displaylang=en

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Learn from Microsoft and K2 how Nissan drive more productivity from SAP

I thought I’d share with you an exciting seminar from Microsoft/K2/Nissan and Dynamyx on how to leverage your SAP system.

It will be run on the 10th December 2008, Time: 14:00 – 17:30   Venue: Radisson Edwardian Hampshire (Leicester Square, London WC2H 7LH)

Unfortunately due to other commitments I wont be able to attend this seminar, however I will certainly recommend this to my colleagues and to people involved with business process management and enterprise resource planning. If your organisation uses SharePoint, BizTalk and SAP then you already have the foundations for providing an integrated and flexible system for process and resource management.

SAP - a leading enterprise resource planning system provider

Microsoft and K2 would like to invite you to an afternoon session of presentations and networking to help you further your SAP investment. After refreshments and a welcome from your hosts you will gain an insight into how Microsoft works closely with SAP and their future strategy as partners.

Marco Manuello, (Enterprise Technical Specialist - Microsoft) talks about the Microsoft Strategy for SAP integration.

Nissan - market leading car manufacturer

Nissan enhanced their productivity with workflow and SAP linking to enable updates, amends and automatic postings with limited user intervention.

Dynamyx - a leading Workflow/Enterprise Management/BPM solutions provider.

This session will be hosted by the Dynamyx Business analyst (Meyer Prinsloo), who will explain the business drivers and processes involved, the project manager sharing experiences gained in delivering the solution across the region, and the systems architect who will present details on how to achieve scalability when linking workflow to SAP.

The event will end with networking and drinks to wish you all the best of the season with the backdrop of the night time city view.

For more information and/or to register to attend this event call 0870 166 6628 or click here to register online.

Please let me know how things go if you attend….

Enjoy

SpittingCAML



Application Pool Manager Version 2 - Now Available

You can find the new version of Spencer Harbar’s tool: here

I blogged about the previous version in July when discussing the alternatives to IIS Reset.

You can still read my old post: here

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I’m a PC! …. are you?

Add yourself to the Microsoft campaign with a picture and why you are a PC.

http://imapc.lifewithoutwalls.com/

This is random I know… but it’s all good fun :-D

image

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Latest:

My Picture is now live!

image


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Windows Azure / Cloud Operating System

I blogged about ‘cloud’ computing last month. It was mentioned at the BPM seminar, by Harsha Karunaratne (Microsoft SOA and Process Platform Technical Specialist).

cloud1
Figure 1: The cloud in context

Build new applications in the cloud - or use interoperable services that run on Microsoft infrastructure to extend and enhance your existing applications. You choose what’s right for you.

  1. You build you application (.NET framework)
  2. You deploy (using Visual Studio… or through Python/PHP others to come)
  3. You scale

By using the cloud, you can scale up or down based on demand for your application. The application is distributed providing the best possible coverage.

Existing applications (written in any language, running on any platform) can leverage the cloud by communicating with it through common protocols, such as SOAP, REST and XML.

servicesPlatform
Figure 2: The windows Azure development platform. ‘The Cloud’ 

Register for the community technology preview: here

For more information on the cloud:

People who have blogged about the cloud:

The future looks very exciting, and easily scalable!

SpittingCAML


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SharePoint Service Packs explained

Steven Van de Craen has blogged a nice easy to understand quick guide to what all the updates are, and the installation order required for a successful install :-D

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Case Management: the K2 roadmap for accelerated business process management

An organisation’s information system is made up from the mental concepts and frameworks of the participants in the organisation, the data passed to and between the participants (processed along the road), and the resulting individual perceptions and understandings of the situations leading to individual actions. These actions are expected to lead to the fulfillment of shared goals.

Actions are geared towards goals using:

  • common understanding
  • good communication
  • common culture, languages and conventions
  • compatible frames of reference
  • common data and metadata

ogdenstriang
Figure 1: Ogden’s Triangle (1956) shows the relationship between data, information and what is going on in the real world.

Figure 1 highlights the obvious.. but it helps us to think about the way we store ‘data’ in our organisation. It is in the ability to ’symbolise’ information from raw data that affects the performance of the organisation to properly understand the real world.

Okay, so that’s the theory! How do we put that into our organisation? K2 have come up with a possible solution. It will ensure good communication, a common framework, and consistent metadata.

K2 refer to their solution as ‘Case Management’. To paraphrase the K2 literature in front of me:

Case management refers to a pattern of working for knowledge centric processes where skilled workers assess large amounts of related information typically a mixture of content (e.g. Documents, Images, physical evidence, records and data) which is used to make a series of discretionary decisions about next steps and associated outcomes. Such case processing typically involves interaction between individuals and organisations and can take place over days, weeks or even years.

Does it sound like your organisation fits that description? K2 suggest that 50% of the activity in most organisations is ‘case’ based. The word case could easily be replaced by the word ‘project’, ‘job’, ‘task’, ‘assignment’ or ‘issue’ to name a few.

vertical-filing-cabinet-1
Figure 2: Your organisation (a metaphor)

You store your information in a consistent way, whether it be in paper form in a filing cabinet, or electronically in a SharePoint document library or a record management tool.

longstoragefilecabinet
Figure 3: ‘Cases’, ‘Projects’ etc. in your organisation (another metaphor)

People in your organisation separate their thoughts and work processes into ‘Cases’ or ‘Projects’ etc. Progress is measured by tracking each ‘case’ or ‘project’ in the organisation. Metrics are kept to help predict future cases or projects. Governance means that their are strict rules on how information is stored. The CEO needs an overview of everything going on so he can keep the shareholders happy.

Okay, enough of the theory! What does this mean in technical terms? The K2 Case Management suite gives you:

  • A pre-configured portal (SharePoint),
  • A business process engine (K2 [blackpearl]),
  • Records management, by providing seamless communication with Record Centre, HP Trim, Meridio and many others
  • A supporting framework delivering:
    • A collaborative environment to access, implement, coordinate, monitor, report and evaluate end to end business processes, their instances, supporting documentation and records

So What? That sounds like SharePoint and K2 [BlackPearl] with a records management tool thrown in for good measure! Why can’t I just build that myself?!

Yes, that’s true… but there are a few good reasons why you should go for the K2 Case Management suite rather than building your own out of the building blocks.

K2 will be offering ‘accelerators’ to allow organisations to rapidly build their business process with a reduced need to bespoke the out of the box toolset. A capability to provide a ’single-point-of-truth’ for each ‘case’ in your system, even allowing you to surface data from LOB applications such as SAP and BizTalk.

image
Figure 4: A preview of how the the K2 case management suite will look 

These ‘accelerators’ will be available from K2 very soon. My organisation is intending to be one of the first businesses in the UK to utilise it. We hope to be participating in the beta programme. If you are interested in being a part of this, please contact your K2 sales representative, or raise a support ticket through the K2 support system.

References/Materials

A. Hitchcock, S. Leisegang. (2008). Solutions Portfolio Presentation. K2 (www.k2.com).

B. Sundgren, P. Martensson, M. Mahring & K. Nilsson (Eds.). (2003). Exploring Patterns in Information Management, Stockholm School of Economics.

J. Flanagan, T. Huang, P. Jones & S. Kasif. (1997). Human-Centered Systems: Information, Interactivity, and Intelligence, National Science Foundation.

Update: I’m now featured on ebizq.. how great is that :-D… Thanks Dennis Byron for the link back! See what he wrote here

I don’t work for K2, but I do use their technologies… but I guess I can be considered a microsoft junkie!… :-D



The end of an era!

No… nothing to do with the fact that America have elected their first African American president.

Windows 3.x has finally been put to rest, and will be no more.

Read more here:

The end of an era - Windows 3.x

SpittingCAML


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Customising SharePoint/WSS Navigation through code

I had an inspiration this afternoon, a colleague of mine is in the process of looking at this, and I was sure I’d read about it in the past.

It turns out the post I had read, had been wiped out in a server crash, but the poster has kindly re-written it for the community. Thanks :-)

Here is the link: Todd Baginski’s Navigation Post

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