Entering the IT Industry - My Experience Starting Out as a Junior Developer

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I wanted to talk about what it's like starting out in the growing IT industry and my experiences, since I know many other young people are interested in this field.

Before joining Sharing Minds, I had no prior experience, never had a formal job and didn’t enjoy socialising with people. This is partially due to the fact I have Asperger’s syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism which makes it harder to communicate because we interpret social cues and environments differently.

After finishing high school, I was unsure of which career direction to take. I have always had an interest in technology, computers especially, so software development felt like a natural fit. With the enrolment cut-off date looming, I decided to enrol at TAFE Brisbane. I knew I didn’t meet all of the eligibility criteria, but I worked up the courage to contact the program coordinator to convince him to let me in. I plead my case and he agreed, the course took me a year to complete and I graduated with my diploma, which I’m very grateful for and proud to have achieved.

After graduating, I applied for numerous jobs in many roles including Software Developer, IT Technician and Web Developer, and was consistently getting knocked back; either denied upfront or not passing the interview stage. This went on for about a year and a half until, fortuitously, one of my friends from TAFE forwarded me an email from a former teacher advertising that Sharing Minds was hiring software developers. I got excited and instantly took the opportunity to give them a call to express interest.

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The day of the interview arrived, and I was extremely nervous. I was anxious that I was going to mess up my speech or say something silly. Afterwards, I was skeptical whether I would be offered a position but a few days later I got a call offering me a four-week internship! I was excited but also terrified. I knew I would have to push myself to impress my manager and the executives to secure a permanent position in the company. During the 4 weeks, I learned the fundamentals of Office 365 and how custom development worked with SharePoint. Regardless of the outcome, I was thrilled that I had that chance to learn so much from the great people around me. On the last day of the internship, I was invited into a meeting and offered a full-time position - I was stoked! I raced home and told my girlfriend and parents who were all ecstatic for me.

I must admit, the nervousness I felt before the first interview didn’t lift until a few months into the role. But my anxiety eventually settled down and I now have the best work family I could ever imagine. I’ve now been in my job for over a year and can't express my gratitude enough. I have been given so much support and encouragement to learn which has guided me to where I am now.

I want the takeaway message of this post to be you can do anything if you put your mind to it. I used to be a person who never went outside and struggled talking to people. But now I'm social, I go out and enjoy life on the weekends and I'm extremely happy and grateful to work with a team like Sharing Minds. If anyone is struggling with starting into the IT industry all I can say is stick in there and if you have the willpower to learn and succeed you will go far!

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Projects Update - June/July 2019

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This past quarter has been a great couple of months for us, with lots of exciting and challenging projects in the works. Here’s a snapshot of the types of solutions we have been delivering for our vast array of clients:

Provision of business process automation assistance to one of our clients through the use of PowerApps and Microsoft Flow. Several departments across the organisation, including HR and Operations are included in the process automation solution and are receiving great improvements in their day-to-day processes as a result. 

This project assisted the client in the governance of Microsoft Teams through the development of scripts in PowerApps to coincide with provisioning of new Teams in Microsoft Teams.

Change management and training services to coincide with the approximately 500-seat organisation’s move from Windows 7 and Office 2016 to Windows 10 and Office 365. The training and change activities will help to ensure this organisation’s staff are able to realise the potential and benefits of their new, powerful workplace technologies.

Development of a complaints form, utilising PowerApps, to help streamline administrative processes for the not-for-profit client.

Training services provided to coincide with the organisation’s roll out of Windows 10 and Office 365. A series of sessions focusing on introductions to Office 365 and Windows 10 were delivered to assist the organisation’s staff in understanding how to use their new technologies to their full potential.

Strategic discovery to determine a roadmap for migrating the client into the cloud, including SharePoint Online and Office 365.

Creation of a SharePoint Online intranet with re-configured and improved search for a not-for-profit organisation. The intranet will be the organisation’s document management system, with automatic metadata tagging incorporated to ensure the file structure system is preserved. All existing documents were migrated into the new document system.

Provided migration services to merge two different organisations on Office 365/LiveTiles utilising ShareGate via scripting. User migration, licensing, infrastructure and content migration were all merged under an agreed roadmap.

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Review of Dynamics 365 CRM to identify and address Outlook synchronisation issues, solution configuration and deployment status.

A custom Microsoft Teams template was designed and developed for use by internal and external related project bodies (guests). The organisation was configured with guest access enabled across the tenancy but only enabled for this workflow approved pathway via Teams/Office 365 Group custom templates, security groups and domain whitelisting. Therefore, the solution required that standard, internally created Teams could not invite guests.

Development of an app utilising PowerApps, to allow for real-time data capture and more accurate information being recorded for the health industry client.

Establishment of new SharePoint 2013 test and production environments, and the migration of content and related material from existing SharePoint 2010 platform.

Creation of a new supply chain site in SharePoint Online integrated with CRM system, with training and change management communications to assist with the roll-out.

Development of a roadmap, detailing how Office 365 could be incorporated and utilised for a large financial organisation.

Designed and implemented several eForms for the client, utilising a combination of Microsoft Forms and PowerApps.

Conducted a Deep Dive Review for the health client, providing recommendations for an improved intranet and a modern collaboration environment which will last the test of time.

A complex form stored as an Excel file was developed as a Nintex Forms and Workflow solution, which allowed far greater consistency of data input and reporting. 200+ manual Excel forms per month stored on file servers could now be created, collated and reported on in one SharePoint Online list. Most of the manual system checking was removed by staff members and users could receive their updated information quickly and effectively.

The last quarter saw the final department of this organisation migrated into SharePoint Online. At the same time, we have readied their controlled documents in their Azure SharePoint environment, and the final migration in this area will commence in the coming weeks. The client has experienced a high level of team member participation and satisfaction with their new SharePoint environment, and the on-site admin team has been fully trained to manage the on-going governance of their site. The next quarter will see the commencement of another phase of the project, as we begin the migration effort with one of their other locations in NSW.

Developed a form and associated workflow for the client, combining SharePoint Modern Framework (SPFX) and Microsoft Flow for the solution.

Assistance provided to help the client prepare for moving into a SharePoint Online Microsoft Teams-based environment. AvePoint will be utilised for the migration, which includes more than 10,000 files over 1GB in size.

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Provision of training and change management services to coincide with an organisation-wide deployment of Skype for Business to enable collaboration and communication across the large, community-oriented client.

Creation of a new modern intranet, moving the government agency client from SharePoint 2007 to SharePoint Online and Office 365. LiveTiles was utilised to improve the user experience of the intranet, and AvePoint’s Cloud Records solution incorporated to ensure the proper governance frameworks are in place for the new intranet.

Redesign of a SharePoint Online intranet, with LiveTiles design features incorporated, for the national transportation client with over 10,000 employees. The new site will allow the organisation’s staff to more effectively work together and connect in real-time.

Design and deployment of a series of Nintex workflows to improve business productivity for the NSW-based financial organisation.

Published by: Sharing Minds Communications Dept.
Publication date: Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Sharing Minds' Lead Trainers - What Makes Them Tick

Above: Owen Huth and Ben Creamer delivering a training session to a client

Above: Owen Huth and Ben Creamer delivering a training session to a client


Who are they?

Ben Creamer (BC): I joined Sharing Minds in January 2018 as the General Manager. Over the last 20 years, my career has taken me around the world supporting a range of businesses on Microsoft technology. I have experience in a wide array of skills from my early technical days in IT, to managing and growing teams and building businesses. I love advising customers and partners on the most appropriate use of cloud services and technology but it’s training and change management that really excites me.

Owen Huth (OH): I joined Sharing Minds in June 2019 as a Change Manager to support an existing team of IT professionals. During my career, I have had the opportunity to work in organisations that have various sized footprints, which has given me great insight into various IT ecosystems. Through working and living through the range of technology lifecycles, I have developed a passion for enabling organisations and their people to embrace the challenges these changes bring about.

Best part about the job?

BC: It is fantastic to work as part of a close-knit team of knowledgeable, fun-loving people who are passionate about what they do. I really enjoy the days when I’m out visiting our clients and get the chance to show and teach them how their new online environment works and what they can achieve with it. Recently, I was on a client site in the middle of outback Queensland delivering training on Office 365, which is a testament to how easily accessible the product is, even from the most remote places.

OH: Working with a team that supports one another to achieve a delivery that exceeds the expectations of our customers. This has been achieved by working with highly motivated individuals from different backgrounds banding together. A recent project required a very quick turnaround of a deliverable that I was able to share with my peers, get and action feedback to confidently deliver to a customer (collaborated through Microsoft Teams).

Above: Ben Creamer onsite delivering training to a client in regional QLD

Above: Ben Creamer onsite delivering training to a client in regional QLD


Favourite moment at Sharing Minds so far?

BC: I was delighted to be a part of Sharing Minds’ 10-year anniversary celebrations in mid-2018. Building a business and growing it over a 10-year period is a significant milestone and credit for the guys before me in making this possible. We made sure to celebrate with the team and stop and smell the roses!

OH: Watching the team band together to face a recent resourcing issue with a deliverable. It was a proud moment to watch as team members came in to assist on the project. This was a favourite moment as I know if I were facing the same issue, the team would have my back.

Why do you love training?

BC: This may sound a little cheesy, but I will never get tired of watching someone’s face during a training session when they realise how much more productive, they can be with their new solution. Whether it’s that taxing task they would usually dread doing everyday now being automated, or the moment when all the dots connect and they discover a new way to do something. That’s the best part about being a Trainer.

OH: Everyone has a different way of working and approaching a task, sometimes the approach works, other times it does not. What I love about training is the delivery of ‘wow moments’, where users realise that something that has been giving them grief for a long time is now resolved.

Above: Owen Huth presenting a training session on Office 365 to a client.

Above: Owen Huth presenting a training session on Office 365 to a client.


What’s the best training you have received?

BC: I have sat in on many courses over the last 20 years when mentoring and growing my trainer’s capabilities. I always look for energy in the delivery of material, subject matter knowledge and the ability of the trainer to build trust so participants can get involved in discussions and ask questions. I once saw a junior trainer deliver a course to a dozen experts in their field and rather than lecture them, he used their knowledge to facilitate the course and share the info between students.

OH: Throughout my career, I have attended many sessions to achieve a level of professional development. While everyone has a slightly different delivery method, I have found the best deliveries to engage and incorporate the participants. One method involved participants of a lecture in forming groups before delivering their theories on a concept; the trainer then used these theories to expand and enrich everyone’s idea of the concept. This method has always resonated with me when training users, as understanding where a user has come from allows you to deliver much more value.

What do you get up to when you are not in the office?

BC: Living on the beautiful, Sunshine Coast, nothing is better than getting out and about and enjoying the region. I keep busy by playing any sport I can as I love exercising and spending time with friends. My kids love taking their dog down to the beach so that means plenty of weekends by the water.

OH: When I am not in the office, I am spending time with family and enjoying trips out to the family farm. I enjoy playing team sports and am an active Volleyball player. I enjoy drinking coffee, listening to audio books and am a big fan of the Marvel and DC universes.

Are you interested in Office 365 training with Sharing Minds? Please contact us to book your session or for more information.

Get to Know Sharing Minds' Lead Sydney Consultant

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Meghan Kemp joined Sharing Minds in March 2019 as our first Sydney-based Consultant. In joining the team, Meghan has brought with her a wealth of knowledge accumulated from her 15 years in technology consulting across the government, legal, medical, construction, engineering, health and sport sectors. We recently sat down with Meghan to talk about her extensive client-facing, project experience and love of connecting people, which has led her to a career in Microsoft and SharePoint consulting.

Meghan didn’t immediately realise technology would be her calling, setting out initially to pursue a legal career, but after seeing the level of employee burnout in the industry, she turned her hand to coaching her legal teammates to work smarter, not harder, which led her towards the consulting path.

Meghan Kemp, Senior Consultant - NSW

Meghan Kemp, Senior Consultant - NSW


Coaching is a strong theme in both Meghan’s professional and personal lives. Outside of the office, Meghan is a basketball enthusiast, not only playing in the Dulwich Newtown Basketball Div 1 Women’s team, but also coaching young kids starting their basketball journey, and even stepping in as the club’s acting General Manager.

What draws Meghan to basketball is the same as what drives her passion for technology consulting: seeing the ‘a-ha moment’. Whether it be a young kid figuring out the strategy of the game, or a business realising that their SharePoint intranet can be leveraged simultaneously for collaboration, communication and document management. Helping people and businesses realise their full potential, utilising the tools (technology or otherwise) available to them, is a driving force for Meghan.

“I remember being onsite in a previous role where I was helping the company implement a SharePoint site,” she recounts, “the culture in this office was very formal, there was a strict hierarchy and the front-line junior team would NEVER be spoken to by the executives, outside of the annual staff Christmas party. This meant the execs had no idea of the capability of their team or the wealth of untapped knowledge sitting right by them. Once the intranet site was live, these two disparate groups had a shared resource, to communicate and collaborate, which fostered a culture of connection which led to more innovative business processes.”

Why do you love SharePoint?

“I remember attending a conference, maybe nine or ten years ago now, where a demonstration of SharePoint was being shown. I was in awe! Since then, I have been able to see the ability for SharePoint to connect everyone in an organisation, but the platform can still be moulded to fit the purpose and need. The way I see it, SharePoint is the ultimate vehicle for culture, communication and change for a business.”

What’s the best part of living in Sydney?

“My favourite place of all in Sydney is my basketball club in the Inner West, that’s where I feel most at home. But I will never get tired of seeing the magnificent Harbour. I recently flew up to Brisbane to meet the team in the Head office and spend some time onsite with a client. Flying back into Sydney over the Harbour is truly spectacular, no matter how many times you’ve seen it before.”

Are you interested in Office 365 and SharePoint for your business in Sydney? To book your first consultation or for more information, please email us or call 1300 611 359.

A Guide to Making the Most of Microsoft Inspire

Microsoft Inspire 2018.

Microsoft Inspire 2018.

Article originally published on 30 May 2019 on the Microsoft Partner Network.

Every year Microsoft Inspire provides diverse opportunities for partners to network and learn with peers, and Microsoft teams and leaders from all over the world.

Last year was the largest conference yet with more than 17,000 partners in attendance from 130 countries. To maximise your Microsoft Inspire ROI, we asked three partners who attended last year’s event to share their top tips.

1. Be Clear


Be clear on what you want to achieve.” Tim Goodman, CTO and Founder BizTech Enterprise Solutions

“Ideally”, Tim continues, “you should have one full day of scheduled meetings and one full day left open for networking and setting up meetings through your networking. Preparation made our Inspire experience so much better than we had expected.”

Tim recommends working closely with your Partner Account Manager to set goals for Microsoft Inspire and advice on how to reach them. He also suggests doing research on the partners you will/want to meet with and have a solid understanding of your desired meeting outcomes. Also deliver clarity, by preparing a 15-30 second elevator pitch to explain your business quickly and effectively.

2. Be Open


“Be open to inspiration. This was the first time I was inspired by a CEO’s views on how technology companies should behave, what their role is in the world and what we as technology professionals should be striving for.” Michael Patishman, CEO BizTech Enterprise Solutions

Microsoft Inspire is a unique opportunity to hear directly from Microsoft executives, including CEO Satya Nadella, about the role of partners in Microsoft’s strategy; and the technology and partner strategies that are driving the most impactful change and transformation for customers. Michael believes being open to new ideas and new ways of thinking can give you a step ahead of your competitors.

This came to life for BizTech following Microsoft Inspire last year. As BizTech’s customers became more interested in the industry direction on AI, Michael and his team used insights from Microsoft Inspire to drive customer conversations. “AI is something a lot of our customers are wanting to talk about. We have the pleasure of demonstrating Microsoft AI and business intelligence tools and it has been received really well by our customers.”

3. Be Brave


“Be brave. Chat to people. Find like-minded people to partner with.” Ben Creamer, General Manager Sharing Minds

“My Microsoft Inspire goal was to meet people and help other businesses deliver more Services! I wanted to meet businesses who were looking for capability and delivery services in the SharePoint and Office 365 space, and then discuss how we could provide value to them and their customers.”

There are no shortages of opportunities to meet partners and start a conversation while at Microsoft Inspire. Ben recalls that some of the best conversations happened in the most unlikely locations during the event. Whether it was across a lunchroom table, after a session finished, or even on a party bus while heading to the Bruno Mars concert; every moment provides an opportunity to reach out and connect with other partners.

As Sharing Minds provides specialised Microsoft SharePoint Services, Microsoft Inspire also helped Ben find partners to expand its own solution delivery capability: “By going to Inspire, I can meet partners who deliver complimentary services to ours. I can make trusted connections and that helps me build my standing as a trusted advisor to my customers. It also delivers a competitive advantage by having the latest Microsoft knowledge in your toolkit direct when its delivered, rather than wait for it to hit Australian shores.”

Ben credits his attendance at Microsoft Inspire with signing new partners, numerous new projects, and increased service delivery across Australia.

4. Be Better

“The way I measure my life is ‘Am I better than I was last year?’” Satya Nadella, CEO Microsoft

Each year Microsoft Inspire evolves into a better and more inspiring event than it was the year before. And each year brings new industry insights, new ideas to be workshopped and new connections to be made.

Michael, Tim and Ben all agree that if you’re a Microsoft partner, then there is no question that there will be great value in attending Microsoft Inspire. As Ben puts it: “Where else do you get a chance to mingle and meet with that many people who are partner focused in the one room?”

Sharing Minds’ Ben Creamer and Adam Clark will be heading to Vegas for Microsoft Inspire 2019. If you would like to arrange a time to meet while there, please get in touch.

SharePoint Conference 2019 Wrap Up


This year, I had the pleasure of attending the annual SharePoint Conference (SPC) with one of our Senior Consultants, Shannon Carey, in tow. SPC is the premier SharePoint event offering sessions with expert tips on how to best utilise the platform and updates about the product roadmap as well as providing opportunities for networking with colleagues across the industry. This year was no exception as it was the 20th year since SharePoint’s humble beginnings running on an old server under Jeff Teper’s desk.

SharePoint Home Sites. Image credit: Microsoft

SharePoint Home Sites. Image credit: Microsoft


SharePoint Home Sites

The keynote session opened the conference with a range of speakers from Microsoft, and so too came one of the biggest announcements of the event, the launch of SharePoint Home sites. Through leveraging Communication sites, Home sites combines news, events, content, conversations and video which will emphasise organisational priorities and branding. Home sites are intended to be used with one per Office 365 tenancy and will eventually become the Home page on the SharePoint mobile app. 15 SharePoint Home sites launch partners were announced to coincide with the release and we were proud to hear Sharing Minds partners LiveTiles, Hyperfish and Wizdom are part of this cohort.

SharePoint Search Updates

There are many improvements to the Search functionality rolled out across the Microsoft 365 suite. In December 2019 custom refiners and verticals, display templates, more extensibility, more scalability, more content types, inline @Office help assistance and many more updates will be made available. As a result, content will be searchable within 15 seconds of an addition or change.

Multi-Geo Capabilities. Image credit: Microsoft

Multi-Geo Capabilities. Image credit: Microsoft

Multi-Geo Capability

New multi-geo capabilities have been announced for Office 365 Groups and SharePoint, which will enable users to store data in one or more locations they have selected. These capabilities satisfy data sovereignty requirements in each location and the user requirement has been lowered to organisations with 500+ users. This makes this feature available to more businesses that before and provides enterprise functionality for mid-sized organisations.

SharePoint Admin Centre Site URL Rename Functionality. Image credit: Microsoft.

SharePoint Admin Centre Site URL Rename Functionality. Image credit: Microsoft.

SharePoint Admin Centre - Site URL Rename

A host of improvements and updates to the SharePoint Admin Centre were announced during Jeff Teper’s opening keynote address. The most notable of which, site URL rename, was met with a raucous applause by the room of SharePoint devotees. This change will allow for the URL address of a site to be updated simultaneously when the site name changes and all future requests redirected to the new URL.

OneDrive Updates

Rolling out later in 2019 will be OneDrive Differential Sync, a new functionality which will only sync changes to files within a OneDrive, avoiding the need for the whole listing to be synced. This will save data and time usage for OneDrive users on the move.

Between sessions, I managed to find a few friendly faces around the exhibition, including Sharing Minds partners AvePoint, LiveTiles, Nintex and ShareGate. Keep an eye out on the Sharing Minds social media channels for some exclusive interviews I recorded with each of the partners about their product roadmaps and exciting updates.

Ben Creamer with Jeff Teper, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Office, OneDrive SharePoint and Office Media Group.

Ben Creamer with Jeff Teper, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Office, OneDrive SharePoint and Office Media Group.

A personal highlight of the event for me was meeting the legendary Jeff Teper. Known in the industry as the Godfather of SharePoint, it was a real honour to meet with Jeff and have a quick chat about the journey of SharePoint and where its headed in the future.

Already looking forward to next year’s SPC!

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New Sharing Minds Melbourne Location

L-R: Shannon Carey, Greg Larkins and William Cornwill.

L-R: Shannon Carey, Greg Larkins and William Cornwill.

Recently, our Melbourne team settled into their new base in the heart of the CBD at WeWork’s Exhibition St location. This new space will not only allow our Melbourne consultants to work together with more face time, but will also provide more facilities for meetings, training sessions and events. The central location in the city also places the team close to our clients and partners.   

“The WeWork range of offices has been instrumental in providing world class facilities in our Melbourne and Sydney offices. It has allowed Sharing Minds to grow our business and provide a comfortable and collaborative home for staff to work from” said Ben Creamer, Sharing Minds’ General Manager.

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The Exhibition St location offers an array of amenities which the Melbourne team will be able to enjoy, including hot desks, meeting spaces, coffee, fruit water, rooftop facilities, BBQ, training rooms, PlayStation games room/children’s spaces and on tap beer and water, which the staff will no doubt love. 

“The central office location will allow the Melbourne office to better service our customers while building our own unique local company culture.  The WeWork facilities are very modern and exciting” Sharing Minds’ Victoria State Manager and Specialist SharePoint Consultant explained.

Please get in touch if you would like to catch up to discuss Office 365 and your modern workplace requirements with our Melbourne consultants.

A Passion for Sharing Minds and Sharing Coffee


With over 22 years’ IT industry experience, it is no wonder that I have gained a passion for the intoxicating flavours of a good brew of coffee.  Over the years, I have definitely consumed my good share of the golden elixir, and in the various sales roles I held earlier in my career, many a deal has been struck over a napkin in a busy café.  My passion for coffee is as strong as my passion for helping my customer gain control over their information using SharePoint and Office 365.


Recently, I decided to take my coffee passion into the next gear and enrolled in a barista course.  I was not expecting too much other than to increase my understanding of what makes a great coffee and improve my ability to make some heart or leaf art on top of my latte.  I was surprised at how much science goes into making the perfect coffee, from the roasting process, understanding turn-around and the first and second cracking, through to the size of the grind and amount of coffee required for an espresso versus doppio.  I learnt so much, definitely improved my coffee-making skills and reignited my love for coffee.

I have been rating cafes I have visited for a few years now on my Instagram and recently turned this into a blog called CoffeeCatchup (thanks to Adam Clark for the name idea).

This week, during my visit at our headquarters in Brisbane, my colleagues wanted to put my nearly acquired skills to the test.  I wanted to thank Sybylla from Marketing, who produced “William’s CoffeeCatchup Pop-up Café” signs which turned the normally quiet kitchen area into a busy coffee shop (for one afternoon only).  We went to our local café, Café Amaretto and purchased some of the local Fonzie Abbott blend and then I got to work.


I am always happy to catch up with someone for a coffee and a decent conversation, and it doesn’t always need to be about work (that just helps me expense them back 😊).  So please reach out and I’ll be happy to shout a coffee and share my mind.




Projects Update - March 2019


Below is a summary of the projects we have been, and currently are, working on:

Development of two PowerApps and delivering of tailored training services to accompany the roll out of Windows 10 and Office 365 for a not-for-profit organisation.

Development of two custom tiles within LiveTiles as part of a custom intranet for a client in the training industry.

Organisational change management to support implementation of a new Office 365 intranet for a leading national airline organisation with over 10,000 seats.

Migration from JDE to SharePoint with organisational change management and communications planning to accompany the roll out for the Australian branch of a global organisation.

Intranet migration and redevelopment, moving from a SharePoint 2013 On Premises environment to SharePoint Online and a moderising of the user interface.

Configuration and deployment of a SharePoint 2016 environment for the client. Migration and upgrade from SharePoint 2013 to SharePoint 2016 was also performed. Finally, a PowerShell script was utilised to batch update QA documentation metadata across multiple libraries, while maintaining current versioning.


For a global firm with over 8,000 employees, a Document Review System and Auto Document Number Generation Platform was designed, developed and deployed. Additionally, several SharePoint Online quality of life improvements were made, including the complete automation of site deployment.

Merging of two intranet environments, one LiveTiles and the other SharePoint Online, following the amalgamation of two government departments. All content was consolidated and merged, leveraging the existing intranet environments.

Working with a state government department to migrate their SharePoint 2007 and 2013 environments to SharePoint Online, utilising ShareGate for both migrations. PowerShell scripts were used to assist with the migration process. Support services also supplied throughout the migration.

Development of two PowerApps (utilising Flow to manage process) for a health and wellbeing client. The client is currently developing a Power BI dashboard for management to allow them better visibility of incidents and hazards within their organisation.

Creation of a PowerApp for a mining client, which allows their Geo Tech Team to conduct mine (underground) inspections and record details by annotating mine maps, recording photo imagery and completing predefined inspection forms.  These details are then used to produce a Power BI report and dashboard, highlighting inspection numbers, ground conditions, activity by person over time, corrosion levels and more.  A specific requirement for the development of the app was to make it available at all times, even when many (most) of the inspections are and beyond network coverage.  The application takes advantage of PowerApps offline capability, something that was introduced in early 2018 and extended again in October last year.

New intranet created using LiveTiles with custom tile development, utilising ReactJS and Office UI Fabric for the construction client. A form was created using Microsoft Forms, Plumsail Forms and Microsoft Flow, as well as the design of a PowerApp for the client.


Migration from SharePoint 2007 and 2013 (client had two environments) using ShareGate. PowerShell scripts were utilised to assist with the migration. Support services were given to manage the roll-out for this state government department with over 1500 existing SharePoint sites.

A Migration Deep Dive Discovery exercise was undertaken, resulting in the development of a strategy to determine the best approach. Onsite assistance provided to assist with the migration, which is being undertaken by the client. A Power BI dashboard proof of concept with Asana integration was also produced for this health industry client.  A new internal job feed was also developed for the human resources team using and RSS feed and XSLT.

A migration of intranet and collaboration information moving from legacy SharePoint and file share environments to SharePoint Online, using a mixture LiveTiles and modern user interface designs.

Workshops and design to develop an External Collaboration Sites Framework to allow this large state government department to collaborate with other government entities as well as corporate organisations.

Published by: Sharing Minds Communications Dept.
Publication date: Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Making Your New Intranet a Success: Change Management Tips to Encourage User Adoption Rates


You could spend thousands of project dollars developing and designing a new intranet, but if it isn’t going to be used (or used to its potential) what’s the (Share)point? Here are three common threats to successful adoption and some suggestions on how to avoid them when developing your Change Management Plan.

Lack of engagement with staff during decision-making (staff don’t want to use the new platform)


You could build the most visually stunning intranet design with every possible feature of the cloud, but if your staff feel disenfranchised and not involved in the process, they will be reluctant to use it. It sounds strange to say, but your staff need to feel a connection with the new platform, that their input has been valued and appreciate the intended benefits of the change – early on.

Our top tip to avoid this is to have a communication plan that engages staff early and informs them:

  • What the change is about

  • Why it is being introduced

  • What the expected benefits are

  • The impact to their work

  • When it will be happening

  • Where they can find out more

Ensure information is available to everyone in the organisation and provide them with a mechanism to participate. Messaging needs to be clear and cohesive with visible support and leadership from an ambassador or sponsor.

This may mean different types of engagement like workshops, video conferences or something more straightforward such as an intranet portal with direct information sources. Incorporate feedback channels into your communications plan so any queries or concerns can be addressed before a system-wide change is made.

Inadequate support or training (staff are resisting the new platform)


If your staff don’t know how to operate their new platform, or how it will make their life easier and more effective, they will be reluctant to use it. Ensure that the training needs of staff are well understood and remember that we are all different and have different learning styles so think about training and support that is multifaceted. The days of just running a traditional classroom training course are over!

Once the design is complete and deployed, organise training sessions for your staff on how to use their new solution. Factors to be considered when designing a Training Plan include:

  •  Are some staff members time-poor?

  • Would they benefit from short demonstration video clips, or would they prefer to flick through a procedure manual? 

  • Would you be better off arranging a Change Champion to spend time walking the floor and troubleshooting face-to-face?

Lack of UI/UX (staff don’t like using the new platform)


You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) are an essential component of any intranet design. The layout and look and feel of the new site must inherently make sense to your end-users otherwise they won’t use it. One way to prevent this from happening is to widely consult your organisation and find out what your staff like about their current site and what they would like to change. Collate these responses and incorporate the feedback into the design process. Just because the legacy system is outdated doesn’t necessarily mean it should be scrapped altogether. Make sure the features and design choices that still work well are retained in the new solution. Remember: incremental change is just as important as revolutionary change.

Another recommendation is to make sure the naming system and menus of the final design are clear so any user from any department of the organisation can easily navigate their way around.

A new intranet is an exciting time and can be a great step for any business offering a new and innovative way to operate. Focusing only on the completion of the project and not the bigger picture could jeopardise your user adoption rates and value of the new site.

Engagement, and early engagement, is key. Set out with a clear vision of what the project is, what it means and why you’re doing it - then communicate widely and in a variety of ways. Allow the whole organisation to be as excited about the change as you are.




Are you interested in Change Management Services? For more information, or to book your first Change Management consultation, please contact us via the form below or call 1300 611 359.

Name *

Microsoft Ignite The Tour | Sydney Wrap-Up

L-R: Shannon Carey, Ben Creamer, Adam Clark and Geoff Boddington.

L-R: Shannon Carey, Ben Creamer, Adam Clark and Geoff Boddington.

Now that Ignite Sydney has come to a close for 2019, I’d like to share some of my experiences throughout the two days of the event. Firstly, I’ll start out by acknowledging everyone that made it such a special event for us - from mingling with our fellow industry colleagues, to our network of partners we were able to catch up with in and around the event, and of course the many, invaluable, one-on-one conversations we were able to have with the Microsoft experts.

To set the scene, The Hub is where we met with different vendors and partners showcasing their vast array of products and capabilities. AvePoint’s ‘The Claw’ vending machine was a favourite, as was, Logitech’s Microsoft Teams Meeting Room devices and Vive’s headsets.  

SM Ignite Sydney 2019 2.jpg

As always, it was great to see our partners Rhipe and Nintex at their separate booths and the team at LiveTiles roaming around the exhibition floor. There were so many others we managed to catch up with over the two days; it’s always great to see so many familiar faces in the crowd.  

Adam Clark with Nintex Sales Engineer Mathew Johnson at the Nintex booth. Photo credit: Nintex.

Adam Clark with Nintex Sales Engineer Mathew Johnson at the Nintex booth. Photo credit: Nintex.

Of all the sessions, my favourite was a presentation from Brian Holt, all about designing resilient cloud applications. It really made me think about all the different possibilities when designing solutions. Brian is proficient at building out applications using node.js and showed how the infrastructure can be stood up in Azure in just a matter of minutes.  

He then showed how this could be made globally redundant and efficient using a new feature in Azure Front Door which was a highlight for me.  

It also got me thinking about how to incorporate Cosmos DB into applications, rather than relying on SQL. 

Logic Apps made its way into most of the sessions that I attended. Generally, this was spoken about as the glue that wires up application in Azure, or even to spin up Azure infrastructure. I hopped into a session on custom connectors that can be consumed in Logic Apps or Power Apps and was surprised by how easy this process is. Drop me a line if you would like some more information on this.


It was refreshing to hear stories around how AI is being used for good and solving complex problems, never before possible.  

case study about the counting of rare fish using underwater drones and AI, which enables government policy to be written in a timely manner to protect the fish in the Northern Territory, really stood out as a perfect example of AI being embraced in a new and innovative way to help society.  

Finally, I’ll leave you with a learning which has really stuck with me since returning to the office after Ignite: 

Traditional monitoring and alerting are built from the server level up, modern monitoring and alerting happens from the client down. 




LiveTiles Featured Article: Three intelligent transformation tools for your business

A featured article originally written
by Kane Grose, LiveTiles

The phrase ‘work smarter, not harder’ has been around since the 1930s, but it’s something we’ve taken to heart here at LiveTiles. So much so, that even our workplaces are intelligent now!

The intelligent workplace, as we see it, is the natural progression from the digital workplace. It allows us to work more efficiently and creatively and progress into a realm of genuine ideation, instead of just mindlessly trudging through our daily tasks.

This is done through the infusion of simple artificial intelligence, usage analytics, and informed design iteration into our online work environments.

Three intelligent transformation tools for your business

We’ve built our intelligent workplace platform using a combination of three elements. These are LiveTiles Design, Bots, and Intelligence. Here’s a bit of a breakdown:

LiveTiles Design is the foundation of our intelligent workplace. Instead of jumping between a bunch of disparate apps and sites in order to do your work, Design allows you to pull all your tools together in one mobile-friendly interface, making your workspace more efficient and easier to navigate.

(above) LiveTiles Design-built Human Resources Portal

(above) LiveTiles Design-built Human Resources Portal

LiveTiles Intelligence takes the design platform to the next level. Gone of the days of ‘close enough is good enough’ when it comes to our collaborative workspaces.

Intelligence provides ongoing usage analytics and feedback that designers can use to inform their redesign choices. This means that the intelligent workplace can evolve to be precisely what users need it to be, instead of collecting a bunch of stale, redundant pages that no-one uses.

(above) LiveTiles site wide Intelligence Visitor Overview dashboard

(above) LiveTiles site wide Intelligence Visitor Overview dashboard

To truly have an intelligent workplace, though, you need one that will learn how to work with you. That’s where our bots come in.

Essentially, LiveTiles Bots will be your digital personal assistants that can help you with a wide range of repeatable, mundane tasks. This gives you more time to concentrate on the tasks that need genuine human cognition to complete.

(above) LiveTiles Bots’ ability selection menu

(above) LiveTiles Bots’ ability selection menu

Don’t be daunted though – the UI of our bot design platform makes it simple to update your helpers, meaning that they can evolve at the pace your workplace requires.

Through a combination of these components, you can create a dynamic and engaging workplace that has the capacity to grow and change to meet all your user needs.

Request your own LiveTiles demo here.

Find out more about how Sharing Minds can help you explore the world of LiveTiles’ technologies by contacting us here, or give us a call on 1300 611 359.

2018 Projects Update

Our 10-year anniversary aside, 2018 has been a wonderfully busy year for us, with opportunities to work on some challenging and really exciting projects.

2018 Projects Update

Here’s a snapshot of a few things we’ve done:

  • Development of an Office 365 intranet and collaboration portal utilising LiveTiles, with training sessions provided to aid the deployment and adoption among staff.

  • Creation of a staff portal for a 10,000-seat organisation using SharePoint Online to provide project management, support and strategic advice for the release and post go-live stages of the project.

  • Sharing Minds assisted a leading Queensland Government agency to migrate years of data from SharePoint 2007 to SharePoint Online. The migration process was via SharePoint 2013 and utilised Sharegate.

  • A full end-to-end SharePoint Online intranet design and deployment, including project management, provision of a change management framework, train-the-trainer services and remote support.

2018 Projects Update
  • Migration, using SkyKick, of 200 staff to a new email system, with train-the-trainer services and advice for the change management and communication strategy.

  • Development of a new intranet for a large education client, combining LiveTiles and Office 365. Content from the original intranet was migrated using DocAve.

  • Creation of a SharePoint Online application, for a health industry client, to manage ideas from users. The app provides users with the ability to view ideas, search ideas, vote for ideas, view total votes and comment on ideas.

  • Migration to Office 365 and development of a members’ portal for a leading national retail organisation.  A marketing forms application was also developed using PowerApps and Microsoft Flow.

  • Development of a job seeker portal completed by integrating an existing web application with Azure Active Directory for authentication. Azure AD allowed session-based pass-through authentication to SharePoint Online which was embedded into the web application and permitted users to utilise Word Online.

  • Design and implementation of a best-of-breed government solution that combined a leading records management solution (RecordPoint) to manage a wide variety of content. This project also combined the cloud governance features of AvePoint’s governance and automation product to manage the creation and administration of information within the corporate environment.

  • Sharing Minds developed an apprentice mentoring solution using Dynamics 365 for a leading career training organisation. This solution helped our customer manage a wide variety of information about their customers. 

  • Migration of petabytes of data within a large document management system, using AvePoint, to SharePoint Online and On-Premises.

  • Creation of a fully automated and highly secure end-to-end incident reporting solution using Nintex’s Workflow Platform.  

2018 Projects Update
  • Global information and document management solution integrated with multiple document sources including SharePoint Online, Aconex and ProjectWise, to deliver complete security and reporting capability around the full document lifecycle.  

  • Development of an app to manage tasks assigned to resources from managers based in various locations, using LiveTiles. The app also provides the ability to see task history, add comments and to re-open completed tasks. 

  • Development of a governance application, using Azure multi-tenant authentication and Logic Apps, that controls the assessment and implementation of a trial IoT feature deployed within a regional council. The application also provides a register of IoT devices and their respective deployments.  

  • A leading national education provider commissioned Sharing Minds to build a best-of-breed intranet to manage a wide variety of training courses. This solution involved a series of category-based training schedules that could be overlaid to create a “master” calendar for all events nationally. This solution extended the out of the box capabilities of SharePoint Online through custom development to provide a unique solution for our customer.

Meet Geoff - our Business Development Manager

Geoff Boddington, Sharing Minds’ new Business Development Manager reveals a little bit of his journey into sales and his time at Sharing Minds so far.

Geoff Boddington, Sharing Minds

“I fell in love with sales because I like to help people. It’s fantastic when you have an amazing team who has your back and the confidence that this brings when you walk into a room filled with executives. When I'm in meetings, I love the penny-drop moment.  Seeing a client's eyes light up when they see the value, the vision, the fact that this WILL make their lives better… that makes it all worthwhile.”

Prior to his appointment at Sharing Minds, Geoff worked for some of Australia’s fastest growing technology companies.  For over a decade he has gained valuable insight, working across data centres, tech start-ups and leading software companies. ‘I have a real passion for helping customers use IT to realise tangible business outcomes.

“Attending the Breakfast Event Series has definitely been a highlight of my time at Sharing Minds so far. I had only been with the team for a couple of weeks before I went along to the Microsoft Teams event co-hosted with AvePoint, so it was an excellent introduction to the Sharing Minds network of clients and partners for me.”

Geoff (on far right) with the Sharing Minds and Nintex teams at a recent breakfast event.

Geoff (on far right) with the Sharing Minds and Nintex teams at a recent breakfast event.

Geoff is based in our Brisbane Head Office but is often out meeting with our wonderful partners and customers. “I get to see behind the scenes, and beyond the days when I’m racing between my seventh and eighth meetings, it's a really funky and invigorating place to work.  It's amazing to watch these stupidly-smart project managers and technologists running around, saving the world.  You might laugh, but in actual fact the work they’re doing every day saves the hypothetical forests of many, many business ecosystems.  It's saving the sanity of users, it’s generating new ideas, and they’re inspiring users to make an impact in their workplaces with some of the amazing tools that Microsoft are bringing out.”


What tips would you share from your first months at Sharing Minds? 

  • If you want someone to believe in you, you've got to put yourself in their shoes.  Being in sales does NOT resemble a one-way street. 

  • Take teamwork to the next level and don't just trust your team but take pride in them - they've got your back, they often know better than you, and you’ll need to know when to let them take over. 

  • And lastly, for now, believe in the power of a cold Friday-brew.


To get in contact with Geoff, send him an email at sales@sharingminds.com.au

Key Takeaways from Sharing Minds’ 2018 Breakfast Series

Did you miss any of the events? The presentations slides are still available! Please contact sales@sharingminds.com.au and one of our friendly team would be more than happy to send you through a copy.

Sharing Minds Breakfast Series

Sharing Minds recently concluded the final event of our 2018 Breakfast Series – a collection of events designed to empower you with the knowledge to create an intelligent digital workplace which fosters collaboration and productivity.

Event 1 | Microsoft Teams Workshop: Governance and User Adoption Made Easy

Ben Creamer presenting

Ben Creamer presenting

The first event, held on Wednesday 19 September, focused on managing governance and increasing user adoption in Microsoft Teams.

The first session of the event was a tour through Teams, where the audience was provided tips to best engage with the tool to encourage user adoption.

Paul Olenick, AvePoint’s Product Strategy Director, led the second session with a presentation centered around the importance of maintaining governance of your organisation’s Teams environment. Paul emphasised the importance of “right-sizing” governance mechanisms and the key areas to balance when managing the usage of Teams.

Ben Creamer and Paul Olenick

Ben Creamer and Paul Olenick

Paul Olenick presenting

Paul Olenick presenting

Event 2 | Microsoft and Nintex Workflow: An Industry Leading Analysis of Workflow Tools

Workflows was the topic of the second event on Tuesday 9 October, with our partner Nintex at the Microsoft Brisbane office.

Sharing Minds’ CTO Adam Clark explained the criteria upon which each workflow technology was judged and the overall process which led to Nintex being chosen during a recent customer engagement. Adam then gifted the audience with his Top 10 Workflow Selection Tips.

Request the slides to find out what Adam’s top tips are.

Nintex Sales Engineer Mathew Johnson demonstrated the ability of the Nintex platform to connect with Microsoft systems including Azure Cognitive Services, Dynamics and Office 365. The demonstration showcased the capabilities of Nintex, including Advanced Workflow, Connectors, Modern Forms, Mobile App, DocGen and Process Intelligence.

Adam Clark and Mathew Johnson

Adam Clark and Mathew Johnson

L to R: Ben Creamer, Amy Degnan, Mathew Johnson, Adam Clark, Geoff Boddington

L to R: Ben Creamer, Amy Degnan, Mathew Johnson, Adam Clark, Geoff Boddington

Event 3 | Office 365 & LiveTiles: Enabling a Modern Workforce with Intelligent Design

The final event of the series took place on Tuesday 23 October with our friend and partner LiveTiles at the Brisbane Microsoft office.

Toowoomba Catholic Schools’ Kevin Berry and Bill Medill walked the audience through their recent project with Sharing Minds to overhaul their corporate intranet site and encourage each of their schools to design their own intranet sites by embracing the capabilities of LiveTiles.

LiveTiles’ Director of the APAC region, Damien Neale, announced their Roadmap for 2019 and Dennis Drover, LiveTiles’ Innovation and Experience Specialist, rounded out the event by demonstrating LiveTiles’ functionality, showcasing the drag and drop design and search bar features.

L to R: Bill Medill, Ben Creamer, Kevin Berry, Damien Neale

L to R: Bill Medill, Ben Creamer, Kevin Berry, Damien Neale

Ben Creamer presenting

Ben Creamer presenting

Thank you all for joining us!

Keep an eye out on our Events page for more upcoming events. To receive your personal invitation, please contact events@sharingminds.com.au

Meeting the QGCIO Panel on Best Use of Teams

As part of my role at Sharing Minds I’m often called on to discuss various topics with our customers, particularly when it comes to features and use cases of various Microsoft tools.

Recently I had the privilege of speaking to the Queensland Government CIO Panel about Microsoft Teams.  I walked the panel through a series of advice and tips in guiding their usage and implementation of Teams.  It’s one of Microsoft’s hottest products at the moment, and careful management and guidance of any roll-out should be considered before implementation.

For any further information or for a chat around your implementation of Teams, please feel free to fill in the form below or give me a call on 1300 611 359.

Ben Creamer - Sharing Minds




Name *

TableFilter.JS - Part of a SharePoint Solution


What options do you have when you’ve got several lists of data in SharePoint, and wish to present them as a merged, contiguous data set?


Our client had developed several lists of contractor related information on licenses, technical and safety certifications, and medical/vaccination states, all with attached copies of certificates etc. Every time the HR Team needed to check someone's status or current qualifications, they needed to check each of these lists and download the files to desktop or a folder, before they could forward them to prospective clients.


Sharing Minds was approached to assist in developing a SharePoint-based solution to display a single consolidated view of the contractor details, and to allow the selection to be downloaded in a single archive of selected certificate files.

There was also the requirement for a ‘light weight’ solution with few or no libraries to be installed on the server.


Some of the default options such as a content query web part or search results were not suitable, as apart from 2 fields per list (e.g. ID  and Name) there wasn't a common content type or data structure.  

With no common content types, or other centralising elements that we could use it had become a custom solution, as we did not want to show tuples (i.e. repeated row caused by joining dissimilar lists). 

In a database, we could create a query using unions and joins and flatten it out.  

But we're using SharePoint.  

Using a client-side approach we were able to leverage JavaScript to create a common data structure of nested objects populated by a REST call per list, before pushing the compound list of objects into a table for display. 

Add in the further requirement to sort, search and filter by the many columns imported from the lists, and our first trial was with TableFilter.JS.


Available from GitHub, well documented with great examples, Max Guglielmi has provided a great framework which takes our humble HTML table and puts a very handy HTML5 spin on it just by pointing it at the table ID.  

Starting out with simple text search on each field (Fig.1) it was able convert selected columns into multiple-checklist, drop down selectors.(Fig.2)

Fig. 1

Fig. 1

Fig. 2

Fig. 2


Now there are caveats here.   

While it can do cascading filters based on selected column, multi-selector cascading filters (think Excel) are still on the feature request list (or we can recommend Chosen.JS if you want program it yourself). There is some limitation to the functionality of the library.  

However, given it is on an MIT license, it's a very generous framework and Mr Guglielmi has a set of commercial extensions available as well.  

So instead of a relatively static table or form which passes filter values back to a second, third etc. REST calls and data refresh, we have a large dataset which we can load, sort, filter and reset quickly and easily

Some of the limitations we encountered were time to load with very large data sets (20K+ items), especially when using Internet Explorer due to its rendering engine and loading dynamic content, as well as the default 5000 item list threshold on REST calls.  

If you’re having similar issues with your SharePoint environment and would like assistance, please contact our Service Delivery Team to arrange for a consultation.

Phone   1300 611 359
Email    info@sharingminds.com.au

Rob Bayly - Sharing Minds