Due to the exponential growth of Microsoft Teams, there are many organizations that are now adopting Microsoft SharePoint for the first time. We’ve met with many customers through NLightning and Lightning Tools who have started to use Microsoft Teams due to the pandemic and remote working, that are only now discovering Microsoft SharePoint. It occurred to us that there are many new features such as Hub Sites, Communication Sites, and Microsoft Lists that these businesses are using, but they won’t have an understanding of how things were in SharePoint with the classic experience and site collections. So, we began looking at our product portfolio with a new perspective and realized that “aggregating across site collections” is a little confusing to some SharePoint newcomers.
The Lightning Conductor web part was originally designed to provide cross-site collection list reporting (otherwise known as cross-site collection aggregation or rollup). In SharePoint Online, the Lightning Conductor is so much more than a cross site collection rollup web part!
With the Lightning Conductor you can report in real-time against SharePoint Lists in different sites, but those sites can be Modern Hub Sites and Associated Sites or organized into Classic Site Collections. You can also use Search Result Sources to aggregate content which provides optimum performance with the trade-off being cached content, meaning the content is not as up-to-date as real-time, but pretty close! Within Microsoft 365, businesses are creating content not just in SharePoint lists and libraries, but also in other apps such as Planner, To Do, OneDrive, and Teams. Using the Microsoft Graph, you can also aggregate Microsoft Graph content using the Lightning Conductor without having to write a single line of code.
We have now created a fourth rollup type called Microsoft 365 Group aggregation. The intent of this new rollup type is to allow users to report on the content that they desire by selecting Microsoft 365 Groups as the source scope, and then selecting the type of content that they wish to see. This content can include SharePoint List Items, Sites, OneDrive Items, Members or Owners of Groups, Events, Planner Plans and Planner Tasks, and a lot more. This way of navigating to your content will hopefully be far less confusing than selecting or navigating sites and site collections.
Microsoft 365 Groups are created from several different applications such as Yammer, Teams, SharePoint, Planner, and Outlook. When you create a Microsoft 365 Group, depending on which app the Microsoft 365 Group was created from, you’ll get a SharePoint Site, Planner Plan, a Team, a Calendar, and a OneDrive Drive. Using the Lightning Conductor, you can report on this content by selecting the Groups, and the type of entity that you want to query. Results can be displayed in a Grid View or in a JSON view.
In the below example, we are displaying members of Microsoft 365 Groups including Guests (External Users) and Members (Internal Users) across multiple Groups.
To start aggregating from Microsoft 365 Groups, you can select the Microsoft 365 Group Rollup Provider from the Configure Data Source Provider drop-down list.
The drop down offers a Microsoft 365 Group selector (treeview) that can be trimmed based on those groups with Team sites.
Once you have selected the Microsoft 365 Groups as the scope of your report, you can select the Entity (type of content that you would like to see). The top 16 Microsoft Graph reports that we can aggregate include:
- Date Range Events
- Planner Plans
- Planner Tasks
- Default Drive Items
- Drive Items
- Drive Items Permissions
- List Items
These Entities are queried using the Microsoft Graph, but don’t require you to write any code to report on the content. After selecting the Entity type, you can begin to build your view by selecting different columns to display.
On the columns tab, you can select the columns to display from the entity and related entities. If you aggregate from Planner Tasks for example, you can select columns from Planner Bucket, Planner Plan, and Planner Task to build your report.
After selecting the columns, you can apply filters or sort criteria for your view. The Display tab enables you to apply display formatting, column aliases, conditional formatting and summary functions. You can also apply refinements to the view itself such as Sticky Headers, Font Size, and Pagination.
Upon Saving the configuration, you will have a report on Planner Tasks based upon your configuration. The below example of Planner Tasks is build in the Grid view using the steps highlighted above.
The Lightning Conductor also has some built in views such as Calendar views and Planner Plan views that you can select and optionally customize.
There are numerous reports that you can configure with the Lightning Conductor on SharePoint list content, Microsoft Graph content, Search results and now Graph content via Microsoft 365 Groups. To learn more about the capabilities of the Lightning Conductor, you can register for our Lightning Conductor webinar and receive the recording if you cannot attend.