How to Use OCR in OneNote. Awesome Feature.

This is an interesting one. Every time we do meetings with customers and I need to convert image to text, I use the OCR capabilities from OneNote. And every time I hear "WOW!" from the people.

It led me to conclude: This is a fantastic not-well-known feature, it must be promoted more. In this video I do a quick demo on how it works. If you knew this, great!! If not, I hope you use it more now and also share the news.


Stop Talking About Yourself to a Customer

DSC_1318In consulting, one thing I've learned is that one of the things customers hate most is when you spend time talking about yourself. Ok, maybe they don't literally hate, but they couldn't care less about your company of what you do. So, don't talk about yourself or how awesome your company is for a customer, specially if it is one of your first contacts with them.

So, Here's the Golden Tip...

They want to hear about *their* company, about *their* needs. Start talking about their company, their needs, their challenges and how you can be the glue to connect problem and solution.

You know, these 60 PowerPoint slides you want to show to them? forget about it. Pay attention at their body language. Around the slide #10 they will be checking their emails, their Yammer network and...god forbid... they may even be checking their Facebook!!

Get Them Engaged

It's nothing against you. They are basically waiting for you to finish what you have to say so they can see afterwards how can you help them solve their problems. If they are patient, they will wait...that's normally a BAD sign. If not, they will start asking questions and skip jump your presentation script...that's is normally a  GOOD sign.

In the new marketplace, they already know your company, they already know what you do. They Googled you, your company.

Also get rid of those slides about your prizes, your offices in Tokyo or London. OK so you do need to show them, at least don't spend too much time talking about them. It is OK to show at some point but don't spend precious time promoting yourself during their time. I like this point: When you have a customer presentation think this way, they are giving you THEIR time to you so what do you do: talk about yourself or how awesome your company is? Stop that, please! :-) Cut to the chase, talk about real solutions for their real problems.

Be Careful With Your Perception

Don't oversell. They already expect you to be a good company, they already expect you to offer a quality service, they already expect you to offer a fair price (regardless if it is a premium service). If you tell them your differential are these things they will put you on the hook for it.

You Don't Need to Say Anything

You're there to listen. You're there to make open questions about their needs, problems. And maybe some one of your slides address that, so just jump to that slide. Don't need to go one by one until you get there.

You're There to Help Them, Not to “Sell”

Eliminate the sales jargon from your pitch. Be authentic, be passionate about your intentions which are "I am here to help you with problem X". in my opinion, is should be your/our messaging.

What Defines Personal Information/Data in the Cloud ?


The cloud technology is great. It allows people and systems to deliver applications to a global scale, with ease and great management power. Data can be stored and retrieved from anywhere in the world. This is a huge benefit, and equally huge challenge.


If you deal with legal documents, store personal information, then independent of your preferred cloud provider (Microsoft, Amazon AWS, Google, IBM, HP etc.) there are challenges you need to consider to manage privacy issues.

The Case for Personal Identifiable Information

Many countries have laws that regulates how personal information data (PI) should be handled. For example, I live in Queensland, Australia and here we have the Information Policy Act 2009 also known as PI Act. This law defines what is PI data here:

"...information or an opinion, including information or an opinion forming part of a database, whether true or not, and whether recorded in material form or not, about an individual whose identify is apparent or can be ascertained".

This is definition is already a great start to help identifying PI data for cloud projects. If you're curious on what's and what's not PI data, the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) has a checklist that address this question.

Not All Bytes are Born the Same

It is important to say that laws like the PI Act are applied to personal identifiable data, not only this law can be applied. Any other laws may come on top of that, for example laws that regulates insider trading, or identity theft, for example.

Now that we know the scope of the regulations, the next thing to be aware is that not all data is the same. It means that the type of information and its sensitivity levels have a direct impact on how the data needs to be handled.

Privacy Impact Assessment

Generally speaking, it is common for cloud migration projects handling such data to have them identified in the assessment phase. In these cases, if any personal information is found (for example, a database table that has names and street addresses or an Excel file that contains telephone numbers) a privacy impact assessment (PIA) is conducted. This PIA will generate a report that cross-check the data identified, the impact in the cloud project delivery and how to minimize or avoid any privacy risks involved.

And we are talking here only about data. The next item to check in your cloud migration project is the data flow. Data flow is equally important because what it is "legal" in a place might not be in another. For example, let's assume that Company X applied all measures required by law to protect personal data for a company, however this company has headquarters in another country. Could an email between offices of these 2 countries be shared with the same content?

So as you see, data flow can be as complex as data controls, but we will talk about this on another time.

Images from @MSAU


SharePoint Paris 2015 Office 365 DLP

parisIn May 2015 I was both lucky and honoured with an invitation to present at the inaugural SharePoint Paris 2015. Fantastic event! lots of Microsoft people and MVPs from across the world.
If you came to my session, my wholeheartedly thank you and I hope you enjoyed watching it as much as I did presenting it.
Here are the slides of the session.