SharePoint 2010 as a Solution Platform

SharePoint platform has been around for 10 years and is gaining more traction with the release of SharePoint 2010 version. To-date, SharePoint has gained viral adoption within businesses and is being used for both practical and some impractical solutions. SharePoint has grown from just being a portal system to a complete platform on which business solutions can be built.

SharePoint 2010 offers several features and enhancements that allow the creation of business solutions on top of the SharePoint platform; with all the capabilities and features of SharePoint 2010 platform – partnering with the right implementation team is vital to making the most of the platform.

The Six Pillars of SharePoint 2010

Capabilities of Sharepoint are normally depicted in the Sharepoint wheel with six pillars.  The 6 pillars of SharePoint have changed quite a bit between the 2007 and 2010 versions.  The difference between the 2007 pillars and 2010 pillars clearly indicates that the focus has changed from technical capabilities to business capabilities. This also shows that Sharepoint 2010 has evolved into a solution platform rather than a portal and collaboration enabler.

sharepoint 2010 pillarssharepoint2007wheel



SharePoint 2010 allows the creation of any type of site in just a few clicks.  The sites can range from a simple team site to a partner extranet or even a public facing website.


SharePoint 2010 provides great collaboration tools that allow users to share ideas, find information, and locate people from within a managed environment.


Enterprise Content Management features of SharePoint allows users to create and manage content with relative ease.  SharePoint’s integration

with Microsoft Office provides a familiar user experience for creating content. Web content management features of Sharepoint 2010 facilities creation of content-rich internet sites.


SharePoint 2010 provides a personalized, efficient and effective

search capability that enables users to find the information they require easily.


SharePoint 2010 has powerful business intelligence features such as interactive dashboards, scorecards, and KPIs that provide access to business information and tools for better decision making.


SharePoint 2010 provides building blocks that enable non-technical users to create interesting business solutions. The new Business Connectivity Services feature simplifies data integration from disparate enterprise systems.

Partner Tools & Solutions

Microsoft Sharepoint Partners like IOTAP has developed several tools to augment the SharePoint platform capabilities. These tools complement out-of-the-box features of the SharePoint platform and add value to end users.

Partners and independent vendors around the world have developed complete business solutions that run on SharePoint platform. Some of these solutions include project management applications, HR applications, Scanning, Legal Records and Social applications. These solutions utilize the core capabilities of Sharepoint platform and add business-oriented functionality.


Sharepoint 2010 core capabilities along partner tools provide a robust platform for business solutions. An experienced SharePoint 2010 implementation partner like will be able to guide you to better leverage the capabilities SharePoint platform and also select the correct mix of partner tools to meet your business solution requirements.

Adding Users Photo to Welcome Text in SharePoint 2010

IOTAP’s Sharepoint branding team has helped several customers with applying corporate branding to their Sharepoint sites. Recently during one such Sharepoint 2010 branding exercise, to induce some personalization touch to the intranet we decided to display the user’s photo before the welcome text.

After tinkering with the Sharepoint 2010 master page controls a bit we were able to find a solution for displaying the user’s photo.

Default Sharepoint 2010 page:


Sharepoint 2010 page after applying the user photo:


Below are the steps for adding users photo before the welcome text

STEP 1: Add the following Register tag at the top of the master page (before the doctype element)

<%@ Register Tagprefix=”SPSWC” Namespace=”Microsoft.SharePoint.Portal.WebControls” Assembly=”Microsoft.SharePoint.Portal, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=71e9bce111e9429c” %>

STEP 2: Search for”s4-trc-container-menu” and add the following control (before welcome control)

<SPSWC:ProfilePropertyImage PropertyName=”PictureUrl” style=”float: left; height: 20px;” ShowPlaceholder=”true” id=”PictureUrlImage” runat=”server”/>

The picture display setting can also be toggled by changing the ShowPlaceholder setting “true” to “false”

To know more about IOTAP’s Sharepoint branding services visit

Building a Successful SharePoint Project Team

Many organizations are planning to either upgrade their existing SharePoint installations or deploy SharePoint to replace their outdated file servers.  Each company’s SharePoint requirements and use cases vary.  What does it take to build a successful SharePoint Project Team?

The first step in building the right project team is to understand your SharePoint requirements and to define a strategy and plan for the deployment.  Partnering with a SharePoint Deployment Planning Services (SDPS) provider is a key part in laying the foundation for a successful SharePoint deployment.  SDPS offers customers with Microsoft Software assurance a free one-, three-, five-, ten- or fifteen-day SharePoint Upgrade Planning Service based on the customer’s  Software Assurance (SA) benefit level.

SharePoint upgrade scope varies widely based on several key criteria:

  • The number of sites
  • The number of users
  • The depth of content
  • Security requirements
  • The complexity of business process workflows
  • The level of customization performed in SharePoint
  • SharePoint versions
  • Third party web parts and features used
  • Amount of integration with other business applications
  • The infrastructure complexity (single server vs. large farm)
  • Deploying SharePoint on-premise or hosted or using SharePoint Online Internet deployment using Web Content Management Service (WCMS), a Portal and Collaboration Solution, or both

Each one of these criteria impacts the type of resources required to build a successful SharePoint Project Team.  A typical SharePoint project team will consist of:

  • Project Manager – provides leadership and structure.  Communicates with stakeholders on the plan, Sharepoint Implementation Methodology, and status of the deployment.
  • SharePoint Architect – an experienced SharePoint Architect is critical when planning and deploying SharePoint installations.  The SharePoint Architect provides both functional and technical expertise in building the blueprints for SharePoint deployment.
  • SharePoint Consultant(s) – experienced with various SharePoint migration tools and methods required to ensure seamless migrations of large, complex, and content-rich deployments.
  • SharePoint Developer(s) – the number of SharePoint Developers required will depend on the number of customizations performed in SharePoint, the number of custom web parts required, etc.
  • Sharepoint Administrator(s) – Takes care of the infrastructure requirements and handles the installation and configuration.
  • SharePoint Branding Specialist(s) – skilled user interface designers who can design and build custom SharePoint skins to match your company’s branding.
  • Business Process Analyst(s) – to gain the most benefit from SharePoint, it is important to understand the business processes which SharePoint’s collaboration and workflows will enable.

The decision on whether to perform the deployment in-house vs. outsourcing is driven by the availability of the various resources with appropriate skills and SharePoint experience within the company.  A thorough understanding of the platform capabilities is required to fully leverage the benefits of SharePoint, especially when migrating from file-based servers.  When performing a Sharepoint Upgrade, it is important to have a team experienced with proper migration methods & tools to ensure that access to critical business data contained in SharePoint environment is not disrupted.  After deployment, SharePoint environments often grow beyond the ability of the in-house resources to support.  Consider outsourcing the SharePoint administration and maintenance to experienced SharePoint partners.

In summary, when building a SharePoint project team, assess your SharePoint deployment requirements to identify the scope and diversity of skill sets required.  Ensure the team has a focus on SharePoint and is capable of performing the different roles required.  There is no substitute for experience and a proven track record for deploying SharePoint for new installations or upgrades, whether on-premise or online. If your team doesn’t have the required skills it is better to work with an experienced partner.

Top 10 Considerations for Your SharePoint 2010 Upgrade

Every organization that has Sharepoint 2003 or 2007 setup in their company are now thinking about upgrading to SharePoint 2010. Below are the top 10 considerations for upgrading to Sharepoint 2010

1. Hardware \Software Requirements

SharePoint 2010 server requires 64-bit hardware to run. SharePoint 2010 also works only with Windows Server 2008 and above.  Determine if your organization has the required hardware or has the budget for new hardware.

2. Information Architecture

Is an Information Architecture strategy and plan in place for your current Sharepoint setup? If not, it is better to have one created before the Sharepoint upgrade.  If you do have an information architecture strategy and plan in place, re-visit it and refine it to suit your current needs.

3. SharePoint 2010 Features

SharePoint 2010 adds a host of capabilities for end users, administrators, and business users.  Understand the features offered by SharePoint 2010 and identify what appeals most to your business.

4. Customization

The level of Sharepoint customization in your current setup has an impact on the complexity of the SharePoint 2010 upgrade. Determine current customization levels in terms of UI, Web parts, and features.

5. Content Cleanup and Consolidation

The amount of content in your current SharePoint environment has an effect on the upgrade timelines. Survey your current environment and remove content that is no longer required or obsolete.  Identify sites that can be consolidated together. This will help users better locate information in the new environment.

6. Upgrade Approach

There are several upgrades approaches available: in place, database attach, hybrid, etc. Understand the different approaches and determine the best one suited to your needs.

7. Upgrade Tools

There are numerous SharePoint 2010 upgrade tools available in the marketplace from companies such as Metavis, Quest, AvePoint, etc. to assist with an upgrade. Check out the features offered by these tools and determine which tool best matches your criteria.

8. Downtime

Determine what would be an acceptable downtime for your SharePoint environment and communicate it to all stakeholders well in advance.

9. Cloud Move

Think about moving SharePoint to the cloud as part of SharePoint 2010 upgrade. SharePoint on the cloud will enable scaling as required and bring down initial infrastructure requirements.

10. Project Team

Identify a project champion who will drive the upgrade project. Also, form the team that will be involved in the SharePoint upgrade. The team would typically consist of IT admin, SharePoint admin, and key business users.

About IOTAP SharePoint 2010 Upgrade Services

IOTAP has helped several customers upgrade successfully from SharePoint 2003 and 2007 to SharePoint 2010 with minimal downtime and optimal utilization of existing infrastructure. Our team of SharePoint experts is experienced in handling SharePoint 2010 upgrade projects at all levels from the single server to complex multi-server SharePoint farms. To know more about IOTAP Sharepoint Upgrade Services visit IOTAP Sharepoint Upgrade Services page.

For insightful and stimulating conversation about SharePoint and the nuances and issues around upgrading SharePoint join the LinkedIn Sharepoint Upgrade Group.

How to Reduce the Size of Social Tagging Buttons in SharePoint 2010

SharePoint 2010 provides a set of social features to enable better collaboration.  One of the social features allows users to tag documents, pages, links, etc. within a SharePoint site.  To enable this, there are two UI buttons available as part of the SharePoint ribbon:  “I Like It” and “Tags & Notes”.

During a SharePoint 2010 implementation for a GEO imaging company in Norway, the client wanted the tagging buttons to be less prominent.  Our SharePoint Branding Team was able to achieve this with a tweak to the master page.

Steps to Reduce the Size of Social Tagging Buttons in SharePoint 2010:

  1. Open the SharePoint 2010 Master Page in SharePoint Designer 2010
  2. Search for ControlId=”GlobalSiteLinek3”
  3. Add “-mini”  to Control Id

Original tag ribbon Control:
SharePoint:DelegateControl ControlId=”GlobalSiteLink3” Scope=”Farm” runat=”server”/>

Updated tag ribbon Control:
SharePoint:DelegateControl ControlId=”GlobalSiteLink3-mini” Scope=”Farm” runat=”server”/>

Large Social Buttons:


Small Social Buttons:


To know more about IOTAP Sharepoint branding services visit Sharepoint Branding page.
To know more about IOTAP Sharepoint 2010 service visit Sharepoint 2010 page.

MOSS Workflow Not Started

I have created the approval workflow in SharePoint site but the workflow was not getting started and I got the following Error message in the Event Viewer.

Application Event:

Event Type: Error
Event Source: Windows SharePoint Services 3
Event Category: General
Event ID: 6875
Date: 2/10/2011
Time: 4:36:25 PM
User: N/A
Computer: DJ
Description: Error loading and running event receiver Microsoft.SharePoint.Workflow.SPWorkflowAutostartEventReceiver in Microsoft.SharePoint, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=71e9bce111e9429c. Additional information is below.
: The Web application at http://test/general/vacations/peabody could not be found. Verify that you have typed the URL correctly. If the URL should be serving existing content, the system administrator may need to add a new request URL mapping to the intended application.
For more information, see Help and Support Center at”


I Found the cause for my case that we have changed default zone URL from in the Central Admin. So the workflow not able to recognize the hostname URL.  So I have added the host header in the IIS(added host header value of in IIS), Hostname in the Host file and Disable the Loop Backcheck on the SharePoint. Now the workflow is working very well

To Download our Sharepoint Skins and Web parts, visit Sharepoint Downloads page

Alert Not Working in Moss

“I have created the alert in my moss site and I received the First Initial Alert Notification Mail After that I have not received Any emails from the Library if any changes on it”.

I have done the following steps for fixing this issue.

1. Confirm the account running the SharePoint Timer service is the account which has the administrator Full Control permission over the site and the full permission over the content database. If Not provide the permission in the site and the content DB of the site.

2. Confirm your site has the correct default zone URL and the URL is working perfectly(because in my case, I have changed my default zone URL from to in the central Admin after that the SharePoint not able to recognize the new URL due to host header and not added in the hostname  in the host file)

3. Then Run the following stsadm Commands.
   3a. stsadm.exe -o setproperty -url -pn alerts-enabled -pv true
   3b. stsadm.exe -o setproperty -url -pn job-immediate-alerts

Now the Alert in moss should work.

Information Rights Management SharePoint 2010

Information Rights Management is an important subject given the recent events with Julian Assange and Wikileaks. This issue doesn’t directly touch our personal lives (yet) unless of course, you are a diplomat. However, it does pose a serious question for corporate lives and for enterprise content management.

We’ll discuss how portals and specifically Sharepoint 2010 help with Information Rights Management and what can you do to ensure that the right people have access to the right information at the right times – nothing more and nothing less is the need of the hour

What is Information Rights Management?

Information Rights Management also is known as ERM, EDRM, Documents Rights Management, IR Management and sometimes confused with DRM is using technology to ensure that the information and content that your organization creates and distributes is accessible by the right people and only for the duration you deem fit and “consumed” in the appropriate manner. What I mean by consumption is copying, pasting, emailing or transferring to a USB and mailing it to a postbox in Australia.

In this hyper-connected, digitized, on-the-go, always on, lawsuit happy world it is imperative that organizations have some sort of policy and mechanism in place for IRM (clearly highlighted by what’s happening with Wikileaks – can you imagine what will happen when they start publishing emails and documents that transpire between CEOs and HR Managers of large organizations, proposals between companies which hint at you give-us-this-order-and-we’ll-meet-our-numbers, Software Architecture Diagrams for the next big Collaboration Site, Application for Patents, Show Cause notices). Yes, only the paranoid survive (and looks like the stock will get $40) and since I’ve made the case for IRM let’s move on to the technology.

Sharepoint Foundation 2010 and IRM

Here is a good article on Sharepoint Foundation 2010 and what are the features it has to protect information. The article touches on the key features of Sharepoint and Windows that make this happen. It shows how Sharepoint and Windows Rights Management work together to ensure that once a file is uploaded to a protected document library the content is secured and consumable only by the intended audience and for the appropriate duration.

Note: there are restrictions on the kind of documents that can be protected. This can be extended by writing Custom IRM Protectors. There are also limitations on how these documents can be protected, for eg., printing a document, using the default screen capture, copy/pasting – these actions can be protected however there are some technically advanced methods such as manually writing the content on a piece of paper or using a 3rd party screen capture tool that cannot be controlled.

For the more technically, architecturally and visually inclined here is the IRM framework for Sharepoint 2010 –

Sharepoint 2010 provides the platform and technology to get you set up with basic IRM. This needs to be customized, extended and calibrated to work within different organizations and content.

In order to build a holistic solution, you need both processes and people. For eg., while the data gets protected once it is in Sharepoint, there needs to be technology, people, and process that ensures every piece of content that is created or distributed falls in line with corporate governance. There need to be audits and compliance checks. There needs to be training and education to ensure that every individual understands the impact of their actions and inactions.

Of course, the most advanced, 100 % fail-proof, “government grade security” (not sure what that means anymore) can be achieved by not saying, seeing, or doing “wrong” things (prevention is better than cure).

If you’d like to know more about Sharepoint 2010 or how IOTAP could help you with your information click here

Reassigning SharePoint User CALS

During our custom Sharepoint solution implementation for large Bank in APAC region, we were setting up separate environments for UAT and production. We were planning to set up temporary user accounts  for the UAT environment when the client came up with an interesting question

Can the CALs used by the temporary accounts be reused after deleting the accounts?

After rummaging through Microsoft Licensing literature we found out that User CALs can be reassigned. Here are the exact terms:

You may:

  • Permanently reassign your device CAL from one device to another, or your user CAL from one user to another, or
  • Temporarily reassign your device CAL to a loaner device while the first device is out of service, or your user CAL to a temporary worker while the user is absent.

Return On Investment – SharePoint

The return on investment for software platforms is a very popular topic and many research companies have published articles and reports on the topic with varying approaches to measurement. The recent Forrester report evaluates the platform based on its features and benefits. In the Forrester report, a conservative estimate pegged benefits at $3.1 million at a cost of $1.5 million for an organization with 5,000 SharePoint users and a billion in revenue. There are many other tools and calculators that help IT Managers across the world understand the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), like Nucleus Research.

In our engagements we come across many questions from clients about return on Investment, we believe there is no one single correct answer to this question. The benefits and the return on Investment depend on the degree of adoption and the emphasis the Management places on using SharePoint. There are largely three aspects of SharePoint that lead to an improved organization and a high return on Investment which cannot always be quantified using numbers.

1.  Automation of back-end processes using SharePoint – the pre-existing templates in SharePoint reduce the time required in building/automating processes, this helps in reducing costs associated with automation and also helps organizations develop workflows that lead to a reduction in operating costs. We have seen many clients reduce operational expenses by developing and deploying a customer portal that integrates with the resolution cycle.

2.  Tacit knowledge becomes Explicit knowledge – the document management capabilities of the SharePoint server help in liberating important information across the company. The information workers of today need highly relevant information and content that leads to high productivity and quick go to market solutions. The digital assets of the organization are stored with only the appropriate personnel allowed to access the information on the documents using the inherent information rights management capabilities of SharePoint.

3. The collaboration of geographically dispersed employees – today business has no boundaries and hence employees need to collaborate effectively, many organizations have used the collaboration capabilities of the SharePoint Server to bring together geographically separated employees together and contribute effectively.

The tangible benefits over a period of time are evident and make using the SharePoint Server a compelling proposition for organizations of all sizes. We have worked with companies in the US, UK, Australia, and UAE to help them use the harness the power of this great product/platform from Microsoft. We think the SharePoint server provides organizations not only with a platform to build powerful and optimal teams but also a platform to benefit from automation of business processes.