What is Lightning Tools Planning for 2019?

Lightning Tools had a very successful 2018! A few of our achievements include:

  • Three brand new products launched that use the SharePoint Framework SPFx
  • Launched our Customer Success Management Team to ensure product success with our customers
  • Co-Founder Brett Lonsdale awarded the Microsoft Office Apps & Services MVP Award
  • Global Partner Manager Sandy Ussia awarded the Microsoft Business Apps MVP Award
  • Lightning Tools Awarded Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Status for Application Development
  • DeliverPoint – Finalist in the Best Management Solution category

So, what do we have in store for 2019?

Our Products

We spent some of 2017, and all of 2018 recreating three of our products under the SharePoint Framework SPFx. In Q3, we successfully launched a new Client Side Web Part version of the Lightning Conductor Content Rollup Tool, Data Viewer, and Social Squared. There is still a long list of features for these products, and new products in development that you can read about below.

DeliverPoint

DeliverPoint is our SharePoint Permissions Reporting and Management tools that is designed for both centralised and de-centralised permissions management environments. DeliverPoint caters for SharePoint Farm Administrators in SharePoint On-Premises, and Tenant Administrators in SharePoint Online allowing them to report, govern, audit and manage permissions. But more importantly, DeliverPoint caters for Site Collection Administrators and Site Owners*, so that the content owners have the ability accurately report and manage permissions as their team members join or leave the teams, or share content with others. DeliverPoint has been available for all versions of SharePoint On-Premises, as well as for SharePoint Online. However, throughout 2018, we saw some big changes within SharePoint Online that affect how permissions are managed. Office 365 Groups, and Permission Inheritance is somewhat different due to the introduction of Hub Sites and Associated sites. We also have the likes of SharePoint sites being created through other applications such as Microsoft Teams, and of course there is the modern user interface. With all of that in mind, DeliverPoint is being re-created from the ground up using the SharePoint Framework. We’ll still offer the contextual features throughout SharePoint, but also provide better centralised permissions management across your entire tenant, with improved reporting, auditing, alerts, and integration with Microsoft Teams and OneDrive. If you are attending either SharePoint Conference North America or the European Collaboration Summit in Spring 2019, you’ll be able to see the new DeliverPoint demonstrated at the Lightning Tools booth.

Lightning Forms

Lightning Forms is our SharePoint list forms editor for SharePoint On-Premises and SharePoint Online, which allows you to contextually re-design your SharePoint list forms so that you can add business logic, change the layouts, and add actions to your SharePoint list forms. This year, we will be releasing a new version of Lightning Forms which natively supports modern list forms. You’ll be able change the layout of your modern forms including adding multiple columns, as well as add behaviours and actions.

A preview of Lightning Forms for Modern List Forms

A preview of a customized modern list form

Lightning Conductor

The Lightning Conductor has already been successfully launched in Q3 of 2018 under the SharePoint Framework. It is now extremely easy to aggregate SharePoint list content from across site collections or also from Hub Sites and Associated Sites. Not only is it easy to query the content, but you can also add Column Formatting and View Formatting through the user interface, and have absolutely no need to write any code. 2019 will bring you a new rollup option of aggregating content from elsewhere in Office 365. Not only can you aggregate SharePoint list content, but through the use of Graph, you’ll be able to aggregate content from Microsoft Teams, OneDrive, Outlook and more whilst still adding style and formatting to the content that is returned.

A screenshot of the current Lightning Conductor Client Side Web Part and column formatting option.

Data Viewer

The Data Viewer has been available for SharePoint 2013 On-Premises onwards as well as SharePoint Online. Last year in Q3, we launched the new Client Side Web Part version of the Data Viewer which made it far simpler to connect to external data sources such as SQL databases, Business Connectivity Services External Content Types, OData and SharePoint Lists. Once connected, you could apply style to the data to highlight key business data such as overdue tasks, low stock, or customers from your CRM system that are overdue for contact. This year, we’ll be applying new views to your content so that you can easily add Column, Bar, Pie charts as well as gauges as views within the Data Viewer.

A screenshot of the Data Viewer showing column formatting added to External Data in SharePoint Online

Social Squared

Social Squared is our powerful SharePoint based Discussion Forum. Social Squared encourages users to post questions, share knowledge, and post announcements through a Forum structured web part. Unlike other Social tools, Social Squared is structured with Forum Groups, and Forums allowing for easier navigation and findability of posts. Social Squared is not just available for SharePoint On-Premises, but was also launched in Q3 last year under the SharePoint Framework allowing for SharePoint Online, and Microsoft Teams integration. Currently, we are redeveloping the Social Squared phone app which will allow users to post, and manage posts from their mobile devices.

A screenshot of  Social Squared

At Lightning Tools, we don’t consider our products to be just the software itself. We consider the product to be the software, and outstanding customer service, we are continually improving our service and commitment to our customers. In 2018, we changed the way that we look after our customers. Each customer now received an assigned Customer Success Manager who will ensure that your product purchase goes smoothly. We’ll ensure that you understand the product, that it was installed ok, and help you with the adoption of the product across your user base.

Webinars

In 2019, we’ll continue to provide you with valuable and informative webinars. Not just about our products, but webinars from leading industry experts across a range of SharePoint and Office 365 topics. Here are just a couple that you can register for today:

17th January 2019 – Automate With Microsoft Flow

Microsoft Flow is the Automation facet of Microsoft’s Business Applications platform. In this educational webinar, Lightning Tools Global Partner Manager and Business Applications MVP Sandy Ussia will give you an overview of Microsoft Flow, the low/no-code tool which allows you to automate nearly any process involving one or more of over 200 online services. You’ll learn the basic concepts of creating and running flows, see some demos, and receive information about resources for further learning.

31st January 2019 – Act With PowerApps

PowerApps is the Action facet of Microsoft’s Business Applications platform. In this educational webinar, Lightning Tools Global Partner Manager and Business Applications MVP Sandy Ussia will give you an overview of PowerApps, the low/no-code tool which allows you to create mobile and browser apps so users can work from anywhere with data from over 200 online services. You’ll learn some basic concepts of creating canvas PowerApps, see some demos, and receive information about resources for further learning.

We, hope to see you in person at some of the numerous SharePoint events occurring this year. But if not, we’ll do our very best to bring you valuable content and products through 2019 and wish you the very best.

<The Lightning Tools Team/>

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