Office 365

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.

SharePoint Conference 2019 Wrap Up

SM_BC.jpg

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!

BC 2019.png

Cheers,
Ben
Ben.Creamer(at)sharingminds.com.au

The Six-Month Milestone

Congratulations!  So, you’ve made it to six months, time to give yourself a pat on the back.  But before you pop the champagne, let’s take an audit of your first six months at Sharing Minds…

In such a short amount of time, we’ve achieved some pretty significant milestones.  I’m filled with a satisfying sense of...