Dug Hemminger RecordPoint

Working with Government Office 365 Tenants

How do government organizations use Office 365? Doug Hemminger, Evangelist for SharePoint and Office 365 at SPR Consulting, walks us through a case study of how one organization is using a government Office 365 tenant, including Delve, Bots, Information Management, Compliance and Retention, and Microsoft Teams. Watch the video or read the transcript below!



Anthony Woodward: Hi, I’m Anthony Woodward, CTO at RecordPoint.
Doug Hemminger: My name's Doug Hemminger. I work for STR Consulting in Chicago. I'm a solutions architect for SharePoint and Office 365.
I spend a lot of my time setting up tenants for Office 365 and helping clients transition to that environment.
Anthony Woodward: Cool. Well thanks for joining us today, mate.
Doug Hemminger: Yeah.
Anthony Woodward: What's the best project you've worked on so far in your career? What do you reckon has nailed it?
Doug Hemminger: In my career?
Anthony Woodward: Yeah.

Working with Office 365 Government Tenants

Doug Hemminger: Recently, I've been working on a project for setting up a defense tenant for a client on Office 365. They're a little bit different than most tenants. They're a lot more secure, and they need more government compliant regulations that other tenants don't require.
However, it's been fascinating and challenging because there's a little bit different toolset than regular tenants. It's fun. I think that for the project, we nailed the requirements for the client and what they need in terms of this group of people.
Anthony Woodward: Okay. Moreover, have you found that in building that out you've looked at some of the modern workspace capabilities or has that not come up yet for that customer?
Doug Hemminger: It's interesting because they have a commercial tenant rolled out for the rest of their organization and they've got all that deployed. This includes Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business, and OneDrive, and all that stuff.
One of the requirements was to set up the Government tenant as much as possible, the same way. So, we're rolling out a lot of the modern workplace capabilities.
Including in that are a lot more control and governance around the ability to use those tools on mobile devices.

Machine Learning and Bots in Government Tenants

Anthony Woodward: Does that customer think about their information and the influence of their data, are they looking at how to interpret the information?
Are they looking at machine learning or any others on the processes that extract data for a business?
Doug Hemminger: At a basic level at this point. Right now, they're using Delve, and they are starting to think about plugging into the Microsoft Graph and using that to interpret some Smart Search capabilities. Things like that.
However, we haven't taken that to the next level yet. Now it's just at the rudimentary level.
Anthony Woodward: Okay. What about bots? Have you seen your customers using bots?
Doug Hemminger: Not with that customer, but we have tried it out with other customers at a fundamental level.
Again, just implementing some bots in Microsoft Teams so that you can ask them simple questions and get responses back. They're more geared to help content and things like that.
Anthony Woodward: Is that the significant use case you're seeing for bots now?
Doug Hemminger: So far, but there's so much more there. There are so much more capabilities there. However, right now I see them used through help scenarios.

Managing Information in Government Tenants

Anthony Woodward: Fantastic. So, switching gears a little bit. We were talking earlier, off camera, around the processes that you're seeing customers implement for managing their information.
What is the big product you see in that space on which customers are working?
Doug Hemminger: For managing their information in terms of organization information?
Anthony Woodward: Yeah.
Doug Hemminger: Emails, files, things like that?
Anthony Woodward: Exactly.
Doug Hemminger: Yeah, okay. A lot of what I focus on is getting clients to Office 365 in an organized way. I help them create governance policies around information that's put into Office 365 so that they have categorization and labels. They're effectively using those tools to manage that information.
The trends that I'm seeing are around getting into Office 365 is setting up those governance policies, making them work, and then effectively leveraging the tools in Office 365.
Like, the labels and the retention periods, to help make sure that we keep the information for the right amount of time, appropriately categorized, put in the right place.
Anthony Woodward: What are the two or three blockers the prevent organizations from achieving that outcome?
Doug Hemminger: I think that probably the biggest one is when I go into an organization, and they have a file system that's got five terabits or more of data, and indeed 99% of it is junk.
They don't know what to do with that. They're like, how do I get that last 1% out of there without having to spend the next two years sifting through the other 99%?
So, it's a little bit overwhelming trying to do that effectively. I think that's a massive blocker. I don't know how to fix it. It's a problem.
Anthony Woodward: Yeah. That's something we see with our customers all the time.
It's the same sort of scenario is how do you optimize what you've got so that you can package it, reuse it, and get more value out of it.
Doug Hemminger: Yeah, and I've seen the same situation, and not just with files and things, but with emails and other content, too.
In SharePoint, when they're moving from on-premises to a cloud environment, organizations want to sift through the information and organize it before they migrate it.
Anthony Woodward: Yeah.
Doug Hemminger: Moreover, even with email, it's sometimes hard. People have many emails, and they're not sure how to force people to purge them.

Migration of Content to Office 365 and a Modern Workplace

Anthony Woodward: You talked about tagging and data set up in terms of that migration. Historically there was a big push for things like taxonomies created for that migration. Do you see the same processes there? Alternatively, is that moved on a little bit do you think?
Doug Hemminger: It's moved on a little bit. Right now, when we do migrations, when we're not using some tool to do the categorization and taxonomy, we set up the environment to auto-tag things.
When we move the data, we set it up so that based on where it's coming from, or it analyzes who the author is, or similar. It auto tags things and puts them in the appropriate categories based on that, as much as possible.
Anthony Woodward: Yeah.
Doug Hemminger: So that's what, when I do migrations and stuff, I try to push that approach as much as possible. Especially when we're not doing a more formal process around the taxonomy and the data.
Anthony Woodward: Okay. Moreover, are you finding customers are reacting well to that automated tagging or do they prefer a manual process?
Doug Hemminger: No, they love the automated tagging because they all think I don't have to enter all this stuff manually. Yeah, they love it.
Anthony Woodward: Okay.
Doug Hemminger: Also, the more we can do that, it not only improves the information, its findability, and its usefulness. It also simplifies the process for clients who are making that transition.

Working with Structure and Unstructured Data

Anthony Woodward: Are you seeing customers starting to treat their unstructured data as an information asset at all? Trying actually derive value from it?
Doug Hemminger: Yeah, absolutely. Especially as the search and the metadata improves. The findability of that unstructured data and being able to use it effectively goes up astronomically.
Suddenly a document that's buried 50 folders deep on some file share somewhere is just a keyword search away.
Anthony Woodward: Switching gears slightly, are you seeing people bringing structured systems into that process and lifting them to the cloud with that unstructured data?
Doug Hemminger: What do you mean by structured system?
Anthony Woodward: Such things like ERP systems.
Doug Hemminger: Oh yeah.
Anthony Woodward: CRM systems.
Doug Hemminger: When I deal with clients, many times what we do is we do an app by app analysis of their structured systems, or apps, or whatever.
We say, okay, what features have you got in place now? How does that map to something in the cloud? Where are the gaps and how do we fix it?
It's a little bit more of a process in that respect because you must analyze it and understand the use cases that they've got on their side for their existing systems. You then map them to a feature that either already exists or something that we need to build.
In most cases, there's a solution for it, and you must do the leg work of figuring out how to get there.
Anthony Woodward: Yeah, so it's a lot of mapping and process, that makes sense.
Doug Hemminger: Yeah.

The Future of Information Processes

Anthony Woodward: What do you then predict for the future of these processes? If we were sitting here in five years, having this conversation, what do you think would be the topic?
Doug Hemminger: I think that a lot more of it will be based on machine learning and AI. The machines will be doing that work for us, figuring out how to map things, how to set up the metadata.
It won't even matter because it'll be smart enough to know based on what you're typing in, just what to find. I think we will automate a lot of that stuff in a way that machine learning, and AI tools can handle that for us.
When we're talking about it, we'll be talking about how to improve it or tweak it a little bit better to make it simpler, but we will base it on those tool sets.
Anthony Woodward: Have you seen customers starting to think about cloud to cloud migration? Moving between different surfaces to which they need to connect?
Doug Hemminger: Not so much from the data standpoint but from accessing the data. Like, building the connections between cloud environments. Either between their customers, their providers, or even between themselves when they have different cloud environments set up.
They set up these endpoints, and webhooks, and things like that. They can connect so that they can interact at the business level and do transactions or whatever they need to do.
Anthony Woodward: You can share data between different applications, yeah.
Doug Hemminger: Yeah exactly. However, expose it in a way that it's secure and easy to access and all that good stuff.
Anthony Woodward: Great conversation! Thanks very much for your time.
Doug Hemminger: Thank you.

Microsoft Expert Interview Series

This video is a part of RecordPoint’s Expert Interview Series. In this series, we speak with top Microsoft industry experts about topics related to compliance, governance, collaboration, and information management.

View additional videos from the Microsoft Expert Interview Series

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