Workflows [Updated]

Over the last few days I have been looking at Workflows in the Enterprise Edition environment, after they were very limited in the Small Business Edition. I started by creating a reusable workflow, that can be applied to almost any list or document library. This workflow would allow users to request annual leave, the workflow would then get their line manager to approve or deny the request. This worked very well, and did what I expected it to. After accomplishing this Rob and I decided to add more functionality, which would add the leave (if approved) to the corporate calendar. At this point I discovered that the workflow would need to be associated with a specific list to enable it to obtain all the fields within the Annual Leave list. This time I recreated the workflow as a list workflow and selected the list to associate it with. I could now access the required fields to add the approved request to the corporate calendar. However upon testing the workflow, it stopped at a certain point and returned an error. Below is the workflow that has been created, and the sections in red appear to be causing the problem, this process does start though as an email is sent to the initiator to say this.

I have been trying to find a solution to the problem, but so far have been unsuccessful. I have discovered though, that the workflow may need to be split in to two. When the workflow is initiated, it runs under the permissions of that user, which will not likely have permission to approve items. I will be looking at this soon too.

After submitting a service request to Microsoft, I have this morning (17/10/2011) been contacted by a representative, who has taken me through some troubleshooting. Throughout this he took screenshots to enable the process to be recreated, to try and identify the problem. A solution is expected on Wednesday.

Update 2:
The representative from Microsoft has since been in touch to inform us that he is still working on the problem.  A solution is expected any day now.

Microsoft Office 365 Enterprise

We now have access to an extended trial of Microsoft Office 365 Enterprise Edition. This will now enable us to actively use and test features of the service that the University may upgrade to in the near future. We will now begin to look at complex workflows, integrating InfoPath Forms, and RSS Feeds amongst others. In a just couple of days we have managed to give the site some basic branding, after coming across many difficulties trying the same thing in the Small Business Edition. As always we will keep posting with our progress.

Volume Subscription Discounts

We have not previously mentioned volume discounts, but they are available as part of the Office 365 service. The greater number of users you have means a greater percentage discount.

Pricing Tier Number of User Licences Approx. Discount
Level 1 0 – 249 0%
Level 2 250 – 2,399 3%
Level 3 2,400 – 5,999 6%
Level 4 6,000 – 14,999 9%
Level 5 15,000+ 12%

Microsoft Begins Office 365 Advertising

Microsoft has today begun its advertising campaign for its Office 365 service. Microsoft are now well and truly underway of pushing this service into as many businesses as the can with the advertising campaign, “Microsoft Office 365: It all works together.”. These advertisements comprise of high impact prints in magazines, on websites, using bill boards, and mobile hot spots all over the world. An example of one of their adverts can be seen below.

SharePoint Search

Searching for content using the current SharePoint 2003 Server can be a nightmare. In SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint Online the Search functionality has been greatly improved and it is also now possible to use query terms in your search criteria to refine the results returned. You can use terms such as >,>=, < , <=, and <> along with some other built in terms, for example, Write, Size and Author. This means that you could use a search string like this, Write>=”9/1/2011”, which would return all documents modified since the beginning of this month (September). This can be very handy when there is a large amount of content available on a SharePoint Site and you know some of the details about the document. You can also join multiple queries together to even further narrow your search results. More details on this topic can be found here.