2015 IT Skills and Salary Survey – Now Open

written by: Traci Taylor on October 6th, 2014

How does your salary compare to national averages? What skills are in demand in the competitive job market? Which certifications and training impact salary? Help us discover these answers and more by participating in our 2015 IT Skills and Salary Survey.

ASPE-IT and Global Knowledge are conducting one of the industry’s most extensive and comprehensive studies of IT and business professionals. Last year, more than 16,300 from around the globe completed the survey. By providing insight into your profession, we can make this year’s survey even bigger.

We invite you to be part of this important research to identify IT and business pros’ salary trends, valuable training and certifications, and other fundamental topics. Completing the survey will take approximately 10 to 15 minutes, and you’ll receive a complimentary copy of our IT Skills and Salary Report when it’s published in March.

Complete the survey by October 24th to be entered in a random drawing to win one of eight $250 American Express gift cards.

Get started now!


SharePoint 2013 Information Management Policies

written by: Tom Robbins on October 15th, 2014

Today we’re going to take an existing content type and apply an Info Management Policy to that content type.

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Going Social with SharePoint 2013

written by: Traci Taylor on October 10th, 2014


All of us are excited about the introduction of a number of new social features in SharePoint 2013 that can help people and teams work and collaborate together much more effectively.   One of those features is the Newsfeed.  The Newsfeed is the evolution of the Discussion Board from previous versions of SharePoint.  With the Newsfeed, people and teams are able to see what’s going on within their organization in real-time.  We’ve all seen how newsfeeds work on the internet.  Take Facebook or LinkedIn for example.  The newsfeed (activity stream) is a tool that allows you to see what is happening with your friends and business associates instantly.  You are able to see when someone changes jobs or when they ask a question or when they win a big contract.  The Newsfeed in SharePoint is similar to those familiar tools.  The Newsfeed allows us to see activity occurring within our team and across project artifacts, our colleagues, and other topics of interest being discussed in conversations throughout SharePoint sites.  In the context of a business environment, the Newsfeed allows employees and teams to: make connections with each other, reach people all the time, enrich conversations, and always know what’s going on everywhere!

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Web Seminar Recap: Business Book Report- The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win

written by: Tegan Smith on October 7th, 2014

Each month we pick a valuable, substantive business book we think will benefit the professionals we serve. Some are new; some are classics. Either way, we do the reading, and then use one of our free web seminars to deliver a one-hour “book report.” This month’s book pick is The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and helping Your Business Win – by Gene Kim, George Spafford, and Kevin Behr”

This best-selling novel about IT Operations in a fictional Fortune manufacturing/retail company came out last year, and is a business fable that everyone involved in technology projects or operations should read. Enterprise tech visionary Gene Kim, along with longtime IT Manager Kevin Behr and Gartner Research Director George Spafford have written a compelling and illuminating book about the longtime pain points experienced by people in IT and what they can begin to do about it.

Bottlenecks, choke points, legacy systems, cumbersome security policies, overworked SysAdmins, developers who don’t save any testing time for Operations…these are perennial difficulties that will sound familiar to anyone who has ever had to deploy code that hasn’t been managed well across the organization. This one-hour web seminar on The Phoenix Project was presented by Chris Knotts on September 30th.
Missed this seminar? Download the slides and recording to catch up!


SharePoint 2013 Surveys

written by: Tom Robbins on October 7th, 2014

SharePoint 2013

Surveys are a SharePoint App that allows us to gather feedback from teams, employees, stakeholders, or any other individuals that we want to gather insights from.  Surveys have been around in SharePoint since at least 2007.  A Survey is a special kind of list that enables a Site Owner or Team Member to create questions.  An audience of people respond to the questions and the results are stored in a SharePoint List.  There are some simple reports available for deriving insights from the survey results.  Surveys can be used to ask people what they think about issues, how to improve processes, and many other topics that meet business knowledge requirements.

When we look at Surveys from an Enterprise Collaboration standpoint, we would say that surveys are “One-to-Many”.  One survey creator poses questions and many people respond.  There is not back-and-forth dialog taking place and there is no conversation occurring between participants.  Its specific Use Case is “to collect information or poll any size group of users”.

You must have “Manage Lists” permission to create a Survey.

We will go through creating a sample survey to gather feedback on foods!

  1. In the top right of the screen, click the Settings gear , and then select Add an app.
  2. Search for or locate the “Survey” app/icon and then click to add the app.
  3. Set some options up front by clicking on Advanced Options.
  4. Give the survey a name and description
  5. In the Survey Options section, specify whether you want people’s names to appear with their responses and whether people can respond more than once to the survey.
  6. Click Next.
  7. On the page titled “New Question”, enter your question text and then select the type of answer that you want in the Question and Type section.

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Web Seminar Recap: Automated Builds and Deploys with TFS 2013

written by: Tegan Smith on October 2nd, 2014

Automating your build and deployment process helps implement consistency and gets your developers focused on what’s important – developing code! Save time and effort by automated the build and deploy process. In this seminar, attendees learned how the build service compiles your source code, packages into binary code, runs unit and automated tests against the new build, and optionally deploys the code to a production environment. Attendees also saw a live demo of setting up a build definition, configuring continuous integration, running a build, and deploying the build output to a production server.

This one hour seminar, Automated Builds and Deploys with TFS 2013, was presented by Bryon Brewer on September 25th at Noon EST. If you missed this seminar and want to catch up, download the slides and recording here.


SharePoint Developers: Myths, Facts and Legends

written by: Tegan Smith on October 1st, 2014

SharePoint-logoThis content was originally posted on Furuknap’s SharePoint Corner.

We’ve all heard it and we’ve all wondered who and what is a SharePoint Developer? SharePoint is a complex and even trying system that can leave professionals ready to burn their computers, but it also has great capabilities.

SharePoint is first and foremost a way to solve all of your complex business problems. But the term “Developer” can really be a catch all phrase for many titles and functions within a job. Though this might seem obvious, but a SharePoint developer is someone who develops, who creates new, and by doing so solves business problems. Furthermore, SharePoint developer is not a profession but a class of professions that to some extent are defined by the tools that they use. In most cases, SharePoint development can be classified into three main tiers according to Marc D Anderson who originally coined these terms in his “Middle Tier Manifesto.” The tiers get more and more specialized as they go, as well as adding more flexibility and freedom throughout:

  • Tier 1: This tier mainly focuses on developing using the web interface and client software. This is a large and overarching category, but these first tier developers benefit not from the freedom but the ease and speed of development.
    • Tier 2: 2nd Tier Developers use specialized tools for script development like SharePoint Designer, InfoPath, and even Visual Studio. Middle tier development produces more freedom and flexibility at the expense of having to a lot more crap to get what you want done and often this is limited in terms of portability as well.
      • Tier 3: This tier is known for giving developers to most manipulative power in SharePoint. Developers mainly focus on WSP files and solutions in Visual Studio, as well as VS Tools for SharePoint, STSDev, and WSP Builder. This freedom does come with its drawbacks, it is essential to harness the discipline to use all of the power. This tier requires developers to have to focus considerable time to both learn and practice the capabilities of the solution software mentioned above.

Regardless, if you think you are a Tier 1 expert or a Tier 3, these skills are useless unless you acquire a basic understanding of development topics such as control, debugging, data modeling, and security. This is not about impressing your superior with solutions that work, but more about understanding how your solution fixes the business problem that was originally posed.

Furthermore, these tiers are not mutually exclusive. These tiers are dependent on one another to function and to produce a well-rounded solution. Based on that fact, no tier is better than the other. They just simply have different functions and tools that set them apart.

So, it is essential to note that if someone tells you they are an expert in ALL SharePoint development tiers and tasks, you can know they are just plain ignorant or straight up lying. Each development tier can take years to even understand, let alone master. Expertise in one tier is much more valuable than just a very basic understanding of all tiers.

Study up, do your research, read some of the amazing SharePoint books out in the world to build your base knowledge. From there, you can now go into production using these new skills and the understanding of software development to really master the realm of SharePoint Development.



Web Seminar Recap- The New Security Landscape: Who’s in Charge?

written by: Tegan Smith on September 25th, 2014

Right now, the threat landscape for companies and their information is unlike anything most business unit leaders have seen before. Organizations are having sensitive data stolen every day, and suddenly everybody bears some responsibility for maintaining security in their area of responsibility. Corporate data is at stake, and so are the jobs of many in charge.

So who is really in charge of security now, and how can they manage it? In this one-hour presentation, Gwen Bettwy, CISSP, walked attendees through where your head should be if you touch anything in your organization that’s connected to sensitive information. Gwen touched on why the security certifications of the last 15 years are no longer adequate assurance of protection, and why we are seeing the traditional IT security role dissolve into a need for someone more literate in overall security goals, and more connected to the business side of incident avoidance, risk management and intelligent response when something happens.

This one hour web seminar, The New Security Landscape: Who’s in Charge?, was held on September 22, 2014 by Chris Knotts and Gwen Bettwy. If you missed this presentation, please download the slides and recording here to catch-up!


FREE 4-day Information Security Boot Camp – November 4-7, 2014

written by: Chris Knotts on September 25th, 2014

The general public is starting to take notice of the state of information security as we hear near-daily news stories about the most recent high-profile hack. In fact, we’re watching a crisis unfold: the rampant failures of major organizations to protect customer information and business data signal a freefall in the digital security industry.

We have to do a better job. We’ve been doing a lot of research and development here at ASPE around why and how we find ourselves in this disconcerting security landscape. Fortunately, we’ve uncovered a number of contributing factors, and we’ve developed an all-new type of security training to address them. We’re launching the first class in November, and we’re very pleased to be doing something a little different:  We are offering the first class to our students for free.

ScreenHunter_12 Sep. 25 14.48

As one of the nation’s largest technology training firms, we are well-positioned to help bring a remedy to organizations that are behind the times when it comes to data and information security. Our core competencies revolve around application development teams and their leadership, IT tools, business analysis and process. These are the very areas which are the source of today’s main information security vulnerabilities.

Our Tactical Information Security Boot Camp is a new type of security training course. Not tied to any certification or industry body, this training program is designed to address the real-world issues and causes behind today’s security vulnerabilities.  You will learn to grapple with and overcome the most insidious causes of information security failures:

  • Process and communication gaps between technology teams and management
  • Lack of integration between security devices/tools and the organization
  • Intelligent, fast preplanned incident response – a critical component of security strategy
  • Cross-functional ownership of security policy and tactics
  • Poor business requirements related to security issues
  • Turning security from a redline cost center to a booster of equity and productivity
  • Many others – Learn more about the class or register to attend


SharePoint 2013 Information Management Policy: Use Case 2 Content Types

written by: Traci Taylor on September 23rd, 2014

Recap- See below for Use Case 2 Content Types

In an ever increasing litigious world, it is more important than ever for organizations to have clear policies for managing information. It’s no longer an option in your information management system to avoid having clear policies and procedures for how information is regulated. Policies that govern who can access your information, what they can do with the information, the retention periods of records, and the auditability of information must be in place. Regulators and examiners have very specific guidelines about how retention and auditing must be implemented.

SharePoint 2013 provides very useful tools for regulating the creation, interaction, and disposition of content using Information Management Policies. These Information Management Policies are a set of rules that are assigned to content within SharePoint. These rules will define the retention schedule, auditability, and barcodes (Labels were deprecated in 2013).  These policies can be defined for multiple content types within a site collection, a list, a library, or folder (location-based retention policy). Policies can be created at the Site Collection and used within Content Types as well to enforce consistency.  Policies can be deployed across site collections for enterprise-wide policy deployment.

These policies provide a structured way for content owners and administrators to define the relevant retention policies and apply them consistently across all relevant information.  These policies help keep users from having to think about when to apply policies as they are applied automatically once defined.   Management of these policies is not complicated.  The configuration is GUI driven and is included in the SharePoint interface.  The policies configuration is accessed in Permissions and Policies under Information Management Policies in a List or Library.

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