my world of work and user experiences

June 30, 2014

Take advantage of what you have and work around the limitations

Filed under: Office365 — Tags: — frederique @ 23:47

I’ve just returned from a holiday in France. We went traveled the coast of Normandy and Brittany. Nature plays a star part there. And the people have learned to take advantage of nature’s bounty, while working around its tricky aspects. Hm, that reminds me of working in a SharePoint and especially in an Office 365 environment.

No, I did not think of SharePoint or digital workplaces while I was there. I enjoyed the beautiful cliffs and beaches, capes and bays, shallows and currents, the fields and orchards. And of course the resulting sea food, crêpes and cider.

But now that I am getting back in Office 365 gear, I am looking at my photos from a different angle…

Erquy harbour at low tide

Erquy harbour at low tide

The low tides enable people to gather shellfish that are no longer under water. And the mussels that spend part of their time above water get a better flavour. But your boat is above water too.

In SharePoint Online, we also have to wait until things float again: search indexing, profile synchronisation. But that does make the experience richer, because the performance is not bogged down by batch jobs too often.

House integrated in the rock formations of Plougrescant

House integrated in the rock formations of Plougrescant

Many houses on the coast of the Plougrescant peninsula are built behind big granite rocks, or even squeezed between rocks, that shelter them from the sweeping winds. The sea was as calm as a mill pond while we were there, but it must be very different in wintertime…

These rocks offer protection, but they also limit your expansion. Like the SharePoint Online sites that work very well, unless you want functionality that is not included in the environment and then you’ll have to bring out the heavy machinery to break through.

Guillemots at Cap Frehel

Guillemots at Cap Frehel

Ok, so some of the people taking advantage of the rocky formations are birds: they lay their eggs and raise their chicks on cliff ledges, safe from non-flying predators. However, they have to take the ledges as they come. If there are no horizontal ledges, they can’t do anything about it and have to find a nesting site somewhere else. Luckily, we are more advanced than these birds and we can do some customization on our sites, even in SharePoint Online.

Little egret in the Golfe du Morbihan

Little egret in the Golfe du Morbihan

But you don’t have to accept passively what you are given, not even when you are a bird. You can shake things up to  make the good stuff available, like this little egret does when he shuffles his feet to stir up the fish. We ‘have content search web parts, for example, to shuffle up the most relevant information for us.

I will still have a lot of holiday fun, viewing and organising my photos. But it looks like I haven’t forgotten the mindset of a SharePoint consultant who creates no-code solutions, taking advantage of the available options, and working around the limitations of the standard environment.


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