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7 Reasons You Should Be Fired Up For Windows 10!

win10We first heard last fall about Windows 10, Microsoft’s new operating system version. Today, we heard a whole lot more and personally, I’m thrilled!

The new vision for Windows is an operating system designed to deliver a singular, cohesive experience across a myriad of device types. Traditionally, Windows has been built for the PC. So, this is the first time that the operating system has been designed for a cloud and mobile-first world.

Windows 10 will run across an incredibly broad set of devices – from the Internet of Things, to servers in enterprise datacenters worldwide. Some of these devices have 4 inch screens – some have 80 inch screens – and some don’t have screens at all. Some of these devices you hold in your hand, others are ten feet away. Some of these devices you primarily use touch/pen, others mouse/keyboard, others controller/gesture – and some devices can switch between input types.

And across this breadth of devices, Microsoft is delivering one application platform for developers. Whether you’re building a game or a line of business application, there will be one way to write a universal app that targets the entire family. There will be one store, one way for applications to be discovered, purchased and updated across all of these devices. Awesome!

After we heard more in today’s announcement, here are my 7 reasons why you should be fired up too! Read the rest of this post »

SharePoint 2013 On-Premises Search Improvements – Nov 2014 CU

SharePoint2013,pngOne of our ace lead consultants, RGB or Roydon Gyles-Bedford, alerted our team of some great improvements made to Enterprise Search in SharePoint 2013 on-premises. These 2 important new updates can be found in the November 2014 CU –

#1 – Search can now index office documents embedded in other office documents!

Example – you have a Word doc (.docx) embedded in a PowerPoint slide (.pptx). That word document has text. SharePoint Search will now index that text. You can use the Enterprise Search Center to search for a word in that document and your PowerPoint presentation will be listed in the search results. Awesome! For more information, visit the MSDN Blog here.

#2 – Search stays online even when one or more partition(s) is unavailable! 

Read the rest of this post »

Office 365 – Watch Your “Recoverable Items Quota”!

Many of the limits within Exchange Online are values that your users are unlikely to exceed. Despite this, we occasionally see situations where a limit is exceeded in ways you might not expect.

As perhaps best illustrated by the fabled “640K ought to be enough for anybody” quote (falsely?) attributed to Bill Gates, the requirements of users changes over time. Fortunately, Office 365 has maintained pace in most cases by raising various limits.

I recently worked with a client that exceeded the default 30 GB “RecoverableItemsQuota” value set on their mailbox. As a result, meeting invites sent to the user were being returned as undeliverable to the senders.

What is the “RecoverableItemsQuota”?

How can you tell if you’re at risk of exceeding the limit?

Is 30 GB a limit we can expect to exceed?

How can we increase the limit in Exchange Online?
Read the rest of this post »

Set up Document ID prefix in SharePoint 2013 programmatically

While it is simple to set the prefix of Document ID Service in SharePoint 2013 manually, it’s less straightforward if you are looking to set it up programmatically (but still fairly simple once you know how). If you’ve been wondering how to do this correctly, last week, Perficient’s Peng Zhao wrote a blog post that walks through the necessary steps.

This post introduces you to a correct way to set up Document ID Prefix in SharePoint 2013. Immediately after you kick off the timer jobs for Document ID service in this approach, all of your documents under the new site will show up with correct prefix.

We have recently rolled out a web template based on our team site template. It requires you to set the prefix of Document ID service when the user is creating a site with the web template. It is simple if you can do it manually in the “site settings>>Document Id Settings” like this:

SharePoint2013 Document ID Settings

If you plan to do it programmatically, it is a different story. The articles or blogs I searched on the Internet demonstrate that the following will do the trick:

SharePoint2013 Document ID Settings by web properties

It sets the root web property “docid_settings_ui”. It also sets the prefix value on the Document ID Settings page as if it were set manually. If you go to the settings page, the prefix string shows up there; nothing seems wrong. But after you kick off your timer jobs for Document ID service, you will find all your documents never get the new prefix.

The CORRECT way to set the document id prefix should be like this:

SharePoint2013 Document ID Settings by server side model

Neat and simple, right?

In this way, right after you kick off the timer jobs for Document ID service, all your documents under the new site will show up with correct prefix.


Thanks Peng Zhao and Matt Connolly for sharing this tip!

Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute is free through June 30, 2015

The most common way for enterprises to connect their datacenters or home offices to resources in Microsoft Azure is over VPN. Although Microsoft has made connecting to Azure quick and easy, VPNs, in general, do have their drawbacks. Because they traverse the public internet, availability and performance are difficult to control. Latency can also be an issue for those applications and connections which depend on low latency communications.expressroute

Fortunately, Microsoft realizes many companies require better connections to their Azure resources, and they offer ExpressRoute as a solution. ExpressRoute provides private connections between Azure datacenters and a company’s on-premises datacenter. These connections don’t traverse the public internet so the result is higher security, lower latency, better reliability and faster speeds.

If you are thinking of extending your existing datacenter to Azure, or if you want to take advantage of the storage, backup, and recovery benefits of the Azure cloud, now is a great time to give it a try. Up until June 30, 2015, the Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute 10 Mbps Network Service Provider (NSP) offering is free of charge. Just to sweeten the pot, some Microsoft NSP partners are offering related promotions during this period.

If you want to explore the many benefits of a fast, reliable and secure private connection to the Azure cloud, you can find more information about the ExpressRoute promotion here.

For more on Azure and Microsoft’s cloud offering, take a look at our latest white paper.

Office 365 – New Features Appear on the Office 365 Roadmap

Trying to stay on top all the changes in Office 365 can be a daunting task. In a previous article, “How to Stay Informed of Changes“, I described some of the methods that I use to try and stay informed.

One of those methods, the “Office 365 Roadmap“, seems to have been updated recently with a handful of new features planned. Ideally there would be an RSS feed or an update log for the page, it’s a bit of a treasure hunt when reviewing the roadmap.

Below are a few exciting new features that look to have recently appeared on the Office 365 Roadmap.
Read the rest of this post »

Introducing Azure Key Vault

azurekeyvault_overviewOn Wednesday, I published a new post – 10 Best Microsoft Azure Features for 2015. I wanted to include a feature I have heard about for some time now, Azure Key Vault, but I couldn’t find any public information to reference. Because of our NDA with Microsoft, I must have reference able public info before I can blog about it. Turns out, Microsoft released it to preview on Wednesday, so I was publishing at the same time they were, kind of funny.

Do you want to build an Azure application that uses keys for signing and encryption? Do you want these keys and secrets to be protected, without having to write the code yourself? Do you want customers to own and manage their keys in your SaaS application? Do you want to ensure that your applications comply with FIPS 140-2 Level 2 HSMs and Common Criteria EAL4+ standards for secure key management? Enter Azure Key Vault! Read the rest of this post »

10 Best Microsoft Azure Features For 2015

microsoft-azure-logo_11368901Welcome to 2015, I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday season! As we gear up for Q1, I wanted to share some great new features (services) available today in Microsoft Azure. I had a hard time narrowing my list to only 10, there are a ton of new and great features for Azure. If you’re not using Azure today, keep reading, I can almost guarantee your business would benefit from at least one of the below.

1. Azure Search

We all know how important search is to any web based application. Users are used to Web search engines, sophisticated ecommerce websites and social apps that offer great relevance, search suggestions as you type, faceted navigation, highlighting and more, all with near-instantaneous response times. So, this feature is something we have been waiting on for quite some time in Azure, and now its finally in public preview! Microsoft Azure Search is a new service that allows you to embed search functionality into custom applications. It provides the search engine and storage for your data, which you access and manage using a REST API. Here are some of the key features – Read the rest of this post »

Perficient Assists Global Health Efforts with Office 365 Solution

pihLast week, Michael Novinson from the Channel Company published an article on its IT Best of Breed website around Perficient’s work with Partners In Health to deliver cloud communication capabilities to workers in remote locations. The full article is available here.

From the post:

The St. Louis-based company, No. 66 on the CRN SP 500, migrated the infrastructure and 3,000 employees of Partners In Health to a Microsoft Office 365 suite at the purchasing price without any markup.

Boston-based Partners In Health trains healthcare providers and delivers clinical and social support for impoverished communities in areas such as Haiti, Rwanda and Siberia. The organization has also been involved with responding to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

“It’s a great cause,” Perficient CEO Jeff Davis told

Davis said Perficient – which was named Microsoft’s partner of the year in 2013 – was the only solution provider willing to do the work without any profit margin.

Novinson went on to discuss how the Gates Foundation donated the cloud services while Microsoft donated the software. The solution includes Exchange Online for email communication, Azure AD for identity management and SharePoint Online for collaboration.

Prior to Office 365, Davis said many employees were in remote locations with such little bandwidth that they had to go to internet cafes and use Gmail. Some Partners In Health employees were not on a single email system, he said messages would sometimes get lost due to time zone changes.

Since Office 365 operates out of the cloud, Davis said it does not require much data to be moved across the system, which is vital given the remote location of Partners In Health clinics, particularly in Haiti.

The SharePoint piece, though, will be much more data intensive, meaning Perficient might not be able to roll it out at every site.

Perficient also addressed Partners In Health’s server crashes and shored up issues with legacy systems since even a cloud-based application such as Office 365 requires some on-site computing power.

You can read the full piece here, or read a recently published case study describing the client’s challenges and how Perficient is addressing them.

Gear up for 2015 with these Microsoft productivity tools & tips

We’re one week into the new year, and I’ve yet to make a resolution. productiveGiven the success rate of most resolutions and my personal history with outlandish goals that last a couple of weeks at best, I’d rather not set myself up for failure.

Even more than that, I like to identify things that are important and consistently make an effort to get them done throughout the year. How can I more effectively communicate with my colleagues? One way I’ve tried to do this is by making a conscious effort to post certain ideas, questions and topics to Yammer, rather than using email and perpetuating the siloed behavior that goes along with it.

Another one – how can I be more productive with the tools I have in front of me? Take my use of Microsoft OneNote, for example. I’ve taken notes in OneNote for years, but my use was sporadic and I really didn’t know how to take full advantage of the tool. A few months into 2014, after hearing glowing reviews from loyal OneNote fans (someone may have even referred to it as “lifechanging” at one point), I jumped on the OneNote bandwagon and haven’t looked back. I use it on my iPhone, sync files to my OneDrive account – it’s really the best.

If you want to learn how to better use OneNote in 2015, Joe Crabtree wrote a fantastic blog post on it, How to Use OneNote Like a Pro. You might not know, for example, that OneNote can read handwritten text, records audio and can even do arithmetic and calculus. This was one of the five top blog posts on Microsoft productivity tools, tips and tricks published on our Microsoft blog in 2014.

Below are the four other posts that can help you stay productive throughout the year: Read the rest of this post »