Jeff Willinger & Benjamin Niaulin

Video Transcript

Hi my name is Jeff Willinger J Willie on Twitter and I am super excited to be here on the floor of the European SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure conference ESPC19 and once again I’m here at happy hour and once again I have a new guest today and if you don’t recognize him also known as the beard of the SharePoint world Benjamin Niaulin. Ben thanks so much for joining the me and cheers. You know let’s play a little drinking game Ben. Our drinking game will be every time I say the word SharePoint, migrate or Yammer we have to take a drink. Wow that’s gonna be dangerous.

Alright so Ben tell everybody what you’re up to these days. I mean we’re definitely looking a lot towards what’s happening in the productivity space and the cloud infrastructure as well with Azure but quite a bit on office 365 trying not to say the big word trying to see everything happening the changes trying to guide everyone along towards what Microsoft’s vision is to that modern workplace. Do you guys I always when I think about companies like Sharegate I think how often do you have conversations with Microsoft on what’s next I mean you know? Every two weeks, every two weeks we have bi-weekly meetings where we they share a lot of their roadmaps where they’re going things that they’re working on so every two weeks usually there’s a call we hop on we try to give feedback and see what’s going on and same thing on our product side as well for everything that’s around moving people to the new version of that collaboration area. What’s it called Ben, SharePoint? Now my beer started more than yours so you know, and the audience will be able to see as I’m drinking Ben’s is in a can so we can’t really tell.

So, Ben we go back pretty far in fact I just as I texted you a picture of us today, I found that picture from I don’t know at night 2012. Oh, I don’t even remember. We were in New Zealand together playing a super fun game at one of these productivity conferences. Absolutely! And when I initially met you I was always sort of enamoured with the content that you curate because putting together these workshops and you were really to me even though you didn’t realize that like I looked to you to see what you’re up to when it came to office 365 and even before there was office 365 when it was literally just SharePoint. Yeah. I look to you to see what was next and tell me where do you come up with some of the content and maybe you could share with the audience some best practices when it comes to first how did you know engagement adoption but then I want to maybe hear one or two migration strategies as well? Wasn’t that a word. That is the one of the words yeah. So, I’m talking about figuring out what to talk about or what word in the next blog post and so on I always try to focus on the desired outcome that I think people want to get. I think one of the mistakes that I did early on was to focus on the features and try to talk about the feature that existed so maybe there was a new thing that came out and then and I see like a session title on that specific feature when the reality is if when I go to conference and I’m looking at sessions in in session list yeah I’m really looking at what’s going to get me where I want to be. Right I have a job I’m trying to achieve something, so I have a desired outcome. There’s a book that I found really helpful called jobs to be done very short book and it helps you focus on what is the job that trying that people are trying to get done. And it doesn’t matter what industry. Jobs to be done as a framework to research essentially and to find out if you keep building a hammer and you keep adding features to your hammer a better grip better whatever wood now but ultimately what are what are what is people’s job to be done is to put up a shelf in the house. So, if you focus on the jobs to be done, you’ll realize that maybe they didn’t need a better and better hammer what they needed was a shelf that can easily be set without a hammer. Ooh. So, it’s really about focusing on what are people trying to get done and then you can craft a title that works with that. I absolutely love that. You know who else loves that, my man Shane over here. Shane actually has been learning a lot from my interviews I think yesterday when we had Scott Hanselman and Scott talked about getting more done in short periods of time and what he does is he does these sprints he’s got it because at the pomodoro. That’s not his. Oh yes of course. What’s tough is for people to focus on one task. You’re spot-on I think that we live in a day of distractions natural distractions usually it comes from our smartphone, but it also comes from just people watching. Yes absolutely focus on people’s desired outcome you need to be able to focus on one task and you need to research nowadays you can’t we don’t have the freedom of just trying things are moving very quickly technology is changing very quickly so you need to make educated bets on the next thing you’re doing so I can’t I don’t have the luxury of what’s going to be the next thing that we can build we have to research we have to a/b test we have to prototype so that when we get to investing on building whatever it is because investing comes in many forms it’s the workshop you’re going to build, it’s the name of your session that’s going to accepted so when you’re gonna craft session titles I often start out with tweets right so I’ll put a tweet with a certain word and a link to the blog post. Then I’ll later on tweet again to that blog post but with a different title in my tweet different words and see which one had more engagement which one had more people talking which one people clicked on more. I learned that that would become the actual blog title which may even become a session title. That is super interesting in that I could take a one step further depending upon what time of day you tweet also. Yeah absolutely okay I mean it’s not a I’m not trying to craft the best in the world you’re just trying to make see what’s gonna engage gonna see as much as possible. Right. Before you do the big investment of whatever it is like even if you’re building a workshop this it’s a lot of it invest on your part. It is. Of your time. Yes. So build it whatever it is a session is a lot of investment of your time what do people want to hear how can you make sure that that’s what they want to hear and that goes across all things that you do right we’re talking here about sessions for us but even if you’re at the office and you want to get something approved you want to you have to make sure that you make those steps in the same way.

So, let’s get back to some of the kind of productivity tips yeah when it comes to internal communications and some practices that maybe even some however our viewers could actually take back tomorrow when they get back to the office and use. Sure well first 60% of all internal communications are not measured and that’s I don’t have where the stat comes from it’s in my session slides I forget I believe it was in either Gartner or another and essentially just people put out communications and we can doesn’t matter the technology – email, communication sites well it doesn’t matter what we’re talking about is we’re have a strategy to communicate but we’re not measuring whether we’re successful with it. So you sent it out how many open did you get in the emails how many clicks what title worked best and that’s some of the things I do internally as well is I send out the communication once to a group of the people and did they open it or not and then maybe I’ll try changing the title so that it will work better and I’ll try it with different things. So that’s definitely my biggest tip is if 60% of us don’t measure whether or not what we just put out is adopted is received is used is consumed then that’s the first problem you should. Measure measures and then iterate. Yes, just test it out and your SharePoint. Just getting a little bit parched there. It’s never gonna be perfect if you wait for it to be perfect, you’re never gonna achieve. And what really is perfection when it comes to that anyway I mean? But we have this thing where I can see this all the time where people are waiting for their SharePoint to be even better even better even better before they give it to everybody else. I think I said the word again. You did. But essentially just test it out put something out it can be just one site the title of it, test the pages, the news whatever it is test it out does it work does at stake iterate what works what doesn’t. Again, spot on with this Nirvana of an intranet and what the client is hoping to achieve. Yeah. I mean why are they doing it to begin with you know I’ve talked to a number of folks today and the one thing that kind of kept on coming through was this idea of build it and they will come make it look really pretty means nothing. Those days are gone it’s we’re not we don’t live in the same world anymore and we live in a connected SAAS world people can go get whatever they want all the time. I think the future of this whole intranet thing and I I’m trying you know as much as I love my passion is user experience I don’t think you knew that, just because something looks really pretty doesn’t mean it’s easy to use I mean we both travel quite a bit for work and you know we’re booking a lot of our tickets on our phones yeah and we’re doing it you know as quickly as possible and then we’re also we’re in airports we’re looking for an exit sign we’re looking if we checked our baggage you know all these different things our user experience every day hits us and yet when I give a statement of work to a client and they look at it and they see design I don’t know to 300 hours user experience 200 200 to 300 hours they’re like well you have the design let’s take out the UX or let’s cut it in half like. I always say Ben you could probably relate to this you could pay me now or you could pay me later because it’s got to be easy to use I look at Amazon not the prettiest site in the world but I got to tell you it definitely. It hits on the user experiences. Actually, often an example cited in terms of user experience their recommendations the one-click buy-in it’s done and all these little things that make up a good user experience for sure. When it comes to that so what I see the future being is almost like that competition to being the one that starts with a G yeah, a beautiful white space with a big search bar and then a chat bot maybe two chat bots. Were thinking about the solution already we don’t know right. Then yeah maybe two chat bots it’s one HR and but again then we were like uh. Everything can change that’s I think what I what I do believe is that people are gonna focus on making things personalized and making it as simple as possible I 100% agree. How it’s going to come I have no idea I just know that today we have a lot of data right everyone’s starting to look into AI we cannot build one thing that’s gonna work for everyone anymore yeah so with all the data that we have. Yeah one size fits all. What we’re gonna see next it’s a lot more personalized experience when you get your mobile banking app. You’re checking your watch there should I wait a little bit. When you check your mobile app I expect the next iteration of these would be personalized suggestions based on you and your bank account do you have one account is it zero should we tell you that it’s zero so I think the difference next will be how do we simplify and make it personable. For sure having that personalized experience knowing that you’re a Montreal and I’m in LA and serving me up Canadian content as opposed to US content. If you guys are having some kind of picnic in Montreal, I don’t need to know that in LA I’ll be like hey why can’t we have a picnic in LA yeah because your weather is always better yes exactly. And we’re having fries the what is that fries. The Poutine. you get a Poutine. You could tell I don’t eat much Poutine maybe I do like melted cheese on anything yeah but I’m not a big gravy. Fries gravy melted cheese it’s delicious.

Talk to me about Ben. You’re the migration business among other things what do clients need to know before they before they take this on, I mean the biggest thing that I see is on-prem to the cloud I mean it’s and I’m guessing you guys? I mean we see this a hundred percent I mean I look at my data of a couple thousand different organizations a week that are using our products I see the telemetry and it’s pretty much all going to office 365. In fact if I separate on-prem migrations to office 365 and office 365 migration to office365 the source that is people migrating from office 365 to office 365 is actually growing very rapidly so we’re gonna see a lot more mergers and acquisitions, reorganizing, restructuring to adopt new things like the modern experiences and so on. Yes, yes yes that has been a popular project for me as well. We’re definitely seeing that quite a bit. And what do what your clients be thinking about sort of like when you’re moving your house you want to sort of get rid of the old stuff. If you can a lot of reason, it’s so I actually have the answer to that question well we’ve seen and the research that we’ve shown people this is the journey essentially, they prepare for their first migration. Oh, this time it was me. They prepare they want to make sure that it’s gonna go as fast as possible with the least amount of business impact or errors as possible so they do analysis they do checking they do inventories what do they have what do they need to bring and then the second phase is moving they move everything to office 365 and again they’re validating their checking they’re making sure everything is ok. Once they get to office 365 the second journey happens where they realize that they are overwhelmed because now they don’t just have one product, they have teams they have all these other products that are scaling groups and so they turn off everything. That’s the second step if you will and lastly, I call the second big migration, or the second migration is going from classic to modern and top-down subsides to flat. To be able to adopt this new way of work and that’s the modern workplace that Microsoft calls are the intelligent intranet whatever buzz refer this week.

I love that you talked about modern versus classic what have you and so you guys get to see sort of yeah you know what people are doing and that’s kind of a big thing what people are doing or what’s happening. Absolutely. I remember when Microsoft introduced office 365 and everyone’s like whoa that’s in the cloud we are never going to the cloud and a lot of companies definitely went kicking and screaming in fact I remember companies that were when Microsoft really kind of kicked off Yammer. There were all sorts of incentives from partners like myself that you know to push them into Yammer. We’re good. Yeah push them that way and they’re like woo but it’s in the cloud and I remember all the legal paperwork that had to be done. They we’re unsure of what was going on what’s the risk. Exactly and now what I see what I’m seeing out there are some of these security folks you know the seaso as they’re called in fact Alex from Microsoft was on earlier and that is Alex’s task is Azure and security. It makes sense. Yeah so definitely seeing a lot of that. You know what you know what’s next for you slash Sharegate what do you I mean obviously we’re pivoting non-stop your you know head of product what and you know what’s gonna really separate? It’s an interesting question and we’re always looking into it but essentially what our company is about is always about guiding IT that are using our products that are often overwhelmed by all these changes is to help bring simple products and simple tools to help their life be easier so that the organization can adopt these new ways of work that they are bringing. So, if it is a migration tool to move them to the latest version that’s what we build. Now we’re talking a lot about an automated governance so that they can adopt a vision of Microsoft that self-service in nature that allows people to create and use whatever they want that allows external sharing we don’t want to block we don’t want to create a blocker product. We want to enable that and give that guidance and so that’s our newest product called apricot that focused on that but with the vision of Microsoft. and in the Azure space a lot of it nowadays is tracking and reducing your costs because there was the promise of moving to the cloud but all of a sudden those VMS and everything’s going really high so we created again a simple tool to make that task simpler. so that’s what we’re always about tomorrow it might be another tool we’re trying to help IT go through these changes as easy as possible.

And this amazing conference that we’re at how you have had some meaningful conversations with some of the fans. This is one of our absolute favorite conferences European SharePoint conference I’ve been coming here every year since 2014 in Copenhagen if I’m not mistaken and love it there’s tons of people Europeans have very different challenges it’s always fun to hear the multilingual stuff, what you’re trying to achieve here and absolutely love conversations at the booth as a vendor is always great to have so love coming here and if you’re not because you’re watching you definitely should come next year. I don’t know what the city is yet but I’m sure it’ll be really fun.

You know if they can’t come though I don’t know if you still do these, but SharePoint Saturdays are an amazing way for folks that might not be able to attend these conferences which are well worth the money. But, if you’re you know a polo protect practitioner heading to, I know there’s one in Oslo this weekend that Jeff Teper is gonna be at. I find often what I like about this particular one is that you get a lot of Microsoft product team that shows up. that’s pretty cool they listen to you listen. They want feedback so absolutely like. What’s that site that you could go to give the Microsoft team? The user voice. Yes, the user voice yeah what is that I forget I forget. it’s or something along those lines. We almost said Google user voice Microsoft we didn’t though.

Ben, Benjamin this has been super fun as expected. Super fun thank you. SharePoint, migration Yammer. Thanks for having me really appreciate it. This is Jeff Willinger J Willy signing off for this afternoon from this amazing conference ESPC19 on the conference floor. Thank you.   

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