Microsoft Enterprise Technologies Perficient is proud to be partnered with Microsoft Thu, 30 Oct 2014 21:57:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Copyright © Microsoft Community 2011 (Microsoft Enterprise Technologies) (Microsoft Enterprise Technologies) 1440 Microsoft Enterprise Technologies 144 144 Perficient is proud to be partnered with Microsoft Microsoft Enterprise Technologies Microsoft Enterprise Technologies no no Office 365 and Salesforce: Integration Case Study Thu, 30 Oct 2014 21:57:49 +0000 o365




Given the central role that Office 365 occupies for more and more businesses, integration of the resources managed by Office 365 with other services is a challenge that Perficient often addresses for clients. The good news is that the Office 365 platform and the architecture of many other, key platforms provide countless integration possibilities, many of which can be leveraged without the need for custom coding.

Recently, I was asked to tackle an integration of Office 365 and Salesforce that serves as a good illustration of the possibilities.


The Problem

In this particular case, the client wished to make SharePoint Online files available within Salesforce without the need to manually copy/download/upload files.














Solution Elements

  • SharePoint Online File – SharePoint native files and metadata
  • Salesforce File – the Salesforce system both provides a native file store and, via an “External Data Source”, allows other file stores to emulate native file stores
  • External Data Source – Salesforce provides for connections to files stored in Office 365 (“Files Connect – SharePoint Office 365”). The  “External Data Source” is how the existence of an Office 365 tenant and appropriate properties are made known to Salesforce
  • Authentication Providers  – provide a mechanism for mapping a Salesforce user to an Office 365 user with appropriate access. OAuth 2.0 is leveraged via a SharePoint Remote Hosted Application which supports the External Data Source
  • SharePoint Remote Hosted Application – from the SharePoint perspective, the “External Data Source” service application IS a remote, hosted application. Remote hosted applications are one of the mechanisms which allows external services to be accessed in SharePoint while remaining independent of SharePoint. A key component of the remote hosted application is support for setup of the Authentication Provider via OAuth 2.0

Listed below are the steps you can follow to expose SharePoint Online files within Salesforce


From Set Up Salesforce Files Connect, follow these steps:

  • Enable Salesforce Files Connect for Your Organization
  • Let Users Access Files Connect Data Sources
  • Create a SharePoint Online Authentication Provider
  • Define a SharePoint Online External Data Source for Files Connect

and from Provide Data Source Credentials, complete this step:

  • Provide Your Data Source Credentials


Authentication Provider












SharePoint Remote Application Registration





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SharePoint Online – Document Sharing Made Even Better Tue, 28 Oct 2014 17:00:06 +0000 One of the compelling SharePoint Online features has been external and internal sharing. This feature provided a way to share a particular document or folder while respecting the security of the document. Whether its the anonymous access via guest links or it’s view access to your team members, this is a key component to “A Day in the life” of the end-user.

Sharing 2

Imagine this becoming even more interesting! Microsoft just introduced a subtle yet important update to this feature – now giving you the option to provide “Edit” access to the document while sharing.

Sharing 1


Here is what Microsoft had to say in one of my Office 365 tenants:


We updated an existing feature to enhance your Office 365 experience. The default permissions on the Shared with Everyone folder, in OneDrive for Business, has been updated to grant View + Edit permission to everyone in your company, instead of just View permission. This change aligns the behavior of placing a file in this folder with the behavior of using the sharing dialog to share a file with everyone, using the default sharing settings.

This change will not affect OneDrive for Business libraries that were provisioned before this change. It only affects new OneDrive for Business libraries going forward. Users who want to revert to the old behavior can change the sharing settings for the folder.


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How Microsoft is embracing open source Tue, 28 Oct 2014 16:00:37 +0000 Microsoft_LOVES_Linux

When I recently researched different caching options in Microsoft Azure, I ran across the following article on MSDN: Which Azure Cache offering is right for me? This article almost shocked me because it was unapologetically advising all new developments to use Redis cache over other Microsoft-developed Azure caching services. Just think about that for a moment: Microsoft invested plenty of time and money to develop two separate Azure caching services: Managed Cache Service and In-Role Cache… and then to abandon both in favor of an open source alternative (Redis)?!

This signals a no less than a seismic shift in regards to how Microsoft is treating open source. It’s no secret that Microsoft used to not exactly be friendly to the open source movement, preferring in-house development (which they have a full control of) over community-developed code. However, over years, Microsoft developed a much friendlier attitude towards open source software by opening its own products (like ASP.NET MVC framework), integrating with open source products (like the addition of Git support to Visual Studio) and supporting open source products and frameworks in its Azure cloud offering.

So, why is Microsoft doing this? In the case of Azure caching services, it looks like Redis is simply providing more features than Microsoft’s own caching solution and it’s robust enough to keep up with any load. Plus, it’s supported by a thriving development community. It seems like it’s a no-brainer for Microsoft to embrace Redis, because they are essentially getting a great product and support for free!

Another example of the growing open source support at Microsoft is Linux. For years Microsoft was looking at Linux as a direct Windows competitor. Now, as Microsoft is becoming more of a product and services company, it’s happily embracing Linux support in Azure. It’s as easy to create a Linux VM in Azure as launching a new Windows VM. Now, they are letting it be a customer’s choice to decide which operating system to use, as Microsoft will provide cloud infrastructure for both OSs.

I thinks this growing open-source support inside Microsoft is a very positive development, and a win-win situation for everybody.

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Office 365 – You’ve Migrated to Exchange Online, So Now What? Tue, 28 Oct 2014 15:00:30 +0000 Congratulations! You’ve just wrapped up what may be your last email migration project by migrating from your legacy on-premises email platform to Exchange Online. So now what?

Office 365 - You've Migrated to Exchange Online, So Now What?Skeptics might think that as an Exchange administrator, if there is no on-premises Exchange, you just migrated yourself out of a job; the reality is that this couldn’t be further from the truth. The role of an Exchange administrator is still very much necessary, it’s just a different set of responsibilities and tasks.

While the mundane tasks of applying service packs and monitoring disk space have mostly vanished into the clouds, there’s a whole new set of responsibilities and technologies to focus on.

Changes in Routine Maintenance

As much as some might like to think that moving to the cloud means there is no routine maintenance, you still have some regular tasks to keep everything running smoothly.

Stay Informed

Since Microsoft is managing most of the change on the cloud side, one of your tasks is keeping track of these changes. In a recent post, “Office 365 – How to Stay Informed of Changes”, I cover how I stay on top of these changes for my particular role.


If you’re using DirSync, it’s an area that requires some basic monitoring. While DirSync only runs every 3 hours and failures will not likely create an outage, it’s still important to maintain a clean sync between your on-premises Active Directory and Azure Active Directory. If every sync cycle generates an error report, it’s difficult to discern when an actual issue is occurring. So clean up those sync errors!

Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS)

If you’re using AD FS for authentication to Exchange Online, it’s as critical as your on-premises Active Directory; if AD FS is unavailable, you won’t be able to access Exchange Online. One area that is occasionally overlooked is the expiration of the token-signing certificate within AD FS. Make sure you know the expiration date of this certificate (default expiration is one year) and the process for renewal. I usually recommend that clients change the expiration to the same date as their public service communications certificate so the changes are a coordinated event.

Hybrid Environments

If Exchange Hybrid is a long-term plan for your organization as opposed to just an interim migration state, there are some maintenance tasks in keeping a healthy hybrid environment. Your hybrid servers should be routinely patched and monitored just like any other Exchange server where you’re keeping an eye on critical areas like utilization, available disk space, message queues, certificate expirations, etc.

New Opportunities

I’ve yet to meet an IT professional that has enough time to tackle all the tasks he or she wants to. It seems there is always “the list” of items that you want to get to but the everyday tasks get in the way. Now that those everyday tasks have been reduced (not eliminated), it’s time to check some items off your list.

The areas below are just some of the technologies that IT can implement to allow your business to operate more efficiently or securely:

  • Automation
  • Reporting
  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
  • Rights Management Services (RMS)
  • Message Encryption
  • eDiscovery
  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP)
  • Mobile Device Management (MDM)
  • Enterprise Social

In many cases, these technologies are already included in your Office 365 subscription and can be implemented with minimal investment beyond the deployment hours. Each of these areas could be a project on their own depending on the size of the organization, below is a summary of each area.


It’s no secret that automation can make everyone’s job easier and reduce errors that come from manual operations. Maybe you’re very familiar with PowerShell already, if so you’ll find that there is little that you can’t do in Office 365 via PowerShell; your first task might be to streamline your licensing process. If you’re coming off a legacy “pre-PowerShell” product like Exchange 2003, get ready for a new world of opportunities and start building up your personal script library.


Office 365 includes an ever-expanding list of precanned reports that you may find helpful. In particular when deploying a new service, it’s good to be able to report on usage and adoption. Beyond the reports available to you in the tenant, there is a Reporting Web Service that allows you to create more customized reports with a little bit of effort.

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

With what seems to be a weekly news story about passwords being compromised, it’s hard to argue the multi-factor authentication shouldn’t be on every organization’s roadmap. Microsoft added MFA to most Office 365 plans back in February of this year. The idea is basically that you can use your mobile phone as a secondary token device during authentication. The current “App Passwords” process for applications like Outlook leaves a bit to be desired but changes are scheduled. It’s still worth looking into this one now to start understanding how it works.

Rights Management Services (RMS)

A feature that I’m really surprised is not implemented by my organizations is RMS. The idea is that the intended security around a file or email stays with that item. Within the scope of Exchange Online, this might include restricting the ability to forward a specific email or putting an expiration on particular email.

Message Encryption

If you use an Office 365 plan such as E3 or E4 that is licensed for Azure RMS, Office 365 includes the option of Message Encryption. This is essentially the process where the recipient receives an HTML link to go read the encrypted email, even if they’re an external party. Messages are set to be encrypted through a transport rule based on a subject keyword (i.e. “SECURE:”) or message classification.


Unless you migrated from Exchange 2013 on-premises, Office 365 likely has a whole set of eDiscovery components that are new to you. These components can provide opportunities to move away from legacy products and processes you may currently be using to meet your eDiscovery needs.

Data Loss Prevention (DLP)

If your organization is not utilizing DLP today, it’s a feature that can help reduce inadvertent emailing of confidential data. Microsoft includes a number of policy templates to detect data covered under HIPAA, PCI-DSS and others. Additionally, common corporate forms can be “fingerprinted” to more accurately identify data. DLP Policy Tips can be used to notify users that their email is policy out of compliance and a variety of actions can be taken on the non-compliant email.

Mobile Device Management (MDM)

With the BYOD movement in full swing, Mobile Device Management is becoming increasingly important. Microsoft’s offering in this space is the Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS) which consists of Azure AD Premium, Microsoft Intune and Azure RMS. Microsoft seems to really enhancing this offering in 2015 with the recent announcement: Introducing built-in mobile device management for Office 365.

Enterprise Social

As Microsoft embraces their “Work like a network!” initiatives, expect to see more crossover between Exchange, SharePoint and Yammer. The new “Groups” feature that is currently being rolled out is an example of this. Providing your users with these type of collaborative features can enable them to work more efficiently.

Additional References


  • There’s still work to do and lots of it.
  • The type of task shifts from routine maintenance to implementation of new features.
  • Implementing new features allow you to broaden your skill set and allow your business to operate more efficiently or securely.

Did you find this article helpful?

Leave a comment below or follow me on Twitter (@JoePalarchio) for additional posts and information on Office 365.

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Yammer Governance: Working Like a (Safer) Network – Webinar Recap Mon, 27 Oct 2014 20:13:34 +0000 Each and every time my colleague, Rich Wood, speaks on a webinar or presents at an event, I know it’s going to be good. Whether his audience is more business or technically oriented, or a healthy mix, he has a knack for presenting content in an engaging manner and a way that’s easy to digest (even for this marketer). And just as expected, during last week’s webinar, “Planning for Governance in Yammer While Working Like a Network,” Rich did not disappoint.

Enterprise social networks are, by default, a more informal, natural means of communication and collaboration, whether it be with internal employees, customers and/or partners. Many companies with an enterprise social network in place are benefiting from improved knowledge transfer, empowering employees and breaking down organizational barriers. But, because of concerns around privacy and governance, the majority of companies have yet to take advantage of an ESN such as Yammer.

During the session, Rich, who heads up our Modern Applications practice at Perficient, began with a discussion around the philosophy behind Yammer. He emphasized that Yammer is not SharePoint. We are all so used to thinking of “governance” in a SharePoint context, it can be difficult to wrap your mind around how to govern a Yammer network properly and encourage user engagement. While SharePoint focuses on document collaboration, with Yammer, it’s all about social collaboration. With that different purpose comes a different philosophy.  In SharePoint, the greater user population has the least rights in common areas, and with Yammer, it’s the reverse. Those same users have the most rights in common areas.

He went on to compare the freemium version vs. the enterprise version of Yammer, as well as online vs. on premises (Yammer, when used with SharePoint on premises, will have more “seams” holding it together, as Rich put it). Next, Rich covered planning tips, including usage policies, public and private groups, internal vs. external networks, and administrators. He also covered the steps to a painless governance plan, which should be the outcome of the social strategy he also discussed.

Lastly, he walked through the most common Yammer governance controls, showing exactly how to follow along within your own network, from finding the admin controls and basic settings, to keyword monitoring and guest users.

You can view the webinar replay here.

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Unlimited OneDrive Storage for Office 365 Subscribers Mon, 27 Oct 2014 17:54:02 +0000 Your Office 365 subscription just got way better.

Microsoft announced today that all Office 365 customers (Home/Personal/University) will be receiving unlimited OneDrive storage as part of their Office 365 subscription. OneDrive for Business users will also be beneficiaries of this announcement as unlimited OneDrive for Business storage will be rolling out beginning with First Release customers in 2015.

That’s a lot of clouds.

You might remember that Microsoft upped the ante on the cloud storage game by bumping Office 365 subscribers from 20GB to 1TB in July of this year and OneDrive for Business subscribers to 1TB this past April. As a result, Google and Dropbox scrambled in response by dropping their prices to try to compete in the new cloud storage price wars.

Dropbox, the previously undisputed king of cloud storage, now has a decent gap to close as its main competitors also provide productivity applications that are fully integrated with their storage solutions. While Google Apps are strictly web-based or on mobile devices, Microsoft provides browser versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote as well as license(s) for the full-fledged desktop Office suite on PCs/Macs and apps on mobile devices such as iPads, Windows tablets, and smartphones.

Let’s take a look at where we stand today with Microsoft’s new announcement:

Price (single user)$6.99/month$9.99/month$9.99/month
Storage CapacityUnlimited1TB1TB
Max File Size10GB5GBno limit with app, 10GB in browser
AppsWord/Excel/PowerPoint/OneNote in browser
Full desktop Office suite
Docs/Sheets/Slides in browserNone

I’m excited to see how Google and Dropbox respond to this new announcement. Competition breeds innovation and the competition for cloud storage is heating up quick.

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Pros and Cons of Cross Site Publishing Fri, 24 Oct 2014 22:00:33 +0000 Confused when to use cross site publishing? When does it bring you the most value? Or how does it fit in your content strategy and information architecture?sharepoint-logo

Cross site publishing has been around since the launch of SharePoint 2013. I’ve seen various implementations and variations of it over the years but never surprised when I see the reasons behind those implementations. Many a times it’s the coolness factor of utilizing this framework. I have had the honors (ha) of being an early adopter of this framework and during last few years have been exposed with the nuts and bolts of this feature. In this article, I’ll share my thoughts on why and when to use or not use cross site publishing with real world scenarios. Before we being let’s see what cross site publishing really is and how it works. According to TechNet, It lets you create and maintain content in one or more authoring site collections, and publish this content across one or more publishing site collections, by using Search Web Parts. Cross-site publishing (XSP) lets you store and maintain content in one or more authoring site collections, and display this content in one or more publishing site collections

Do you know what your problem is?

Understand your content authors and understand the process which brings the most value to your corporate publishing. This and the next two sections will help you decide if XSP is for you.

What scenarios does it fit?XSP

  • It makes a great candidate when you have articles which are tagged and categorized with topics. It allows you to separate content authoring from the display templates and page layouts used in the article presentation. So instead of ending up with hundreds of exponentially growing  unique pages in a Pages library, the publishing site will contain only two dynamic pages: the CatalogCategory page and the CatalogItem page.
  • If you are in a situation where your content authors need an environment to get a head start while you develop and construct the publishing portal, then XSP is a great candidate for you.

What scenarios are NOT a good fit?

This is where it gets interesting.

  • If you can’t double or even triple your upfront design, architecture, and setup time in your build phase, then it is not for you.
  • If you don’t love managed navigation and term sets, this is not for you. It adds extra complexity to your design by not allowing you to have one term for multiple categories. You will need to define a new term for each new product/article category.
  • If you have multiple content authors in multiple geographical locations and no time for training, this approach is not for you.  The tendency to look for content in libraries is hard to overcome. Also, when managed navigation is in play, vanity URLs can make it difficult to track down source content.
  • Moving from DEV to TEST to PROD is extra effort. You’ll need to recreate all your catalogs or create a PowerShell script to do that.
  • If you use a analytics product and wish to track unique visitors, and track page visits, it can get tricky and the product may not support this architecture. Check with your analytics vendor before implementing cross site publishing or possibly do a proof of concept.
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O365 & Azure: PIH’s New Tools in the Fight for Global Health Fri, 24 Oct 2014 19:14:45 +0000 Partners in Health’s mission is to provide a preferential option for the poor in healthcare. By establishing long-term relationships with sister organizations based in settings of poverty, Partners In Health (PIH) strives to achieve two overarching goals: to bring the benefits of modern medical science to those most in need and to serve as an antidote to despair.

PIH draws on the resources of the world’s leading medical and academic institutions to expand access to high-quality care for poor and marginalized patients throughout the world. The root of their mission is both medical and moral, based on solidarity rather than charity alone.

Chris Sweeney / Partners In Health

Chris Sweeney / Partners In Health

Perficient is assisting PIH with their migration to Microsoft’s Office 365 (O365) solution. O365 will allow users to access their email from anywhere in the world on any computer or mobile device with access to the Internet. OneDrive for O365 will enhance collaboration between all PIH users, both domestically and internationally. The platform will provide PIH with a reliable and secure communication toolbox, including storage and collaboration tools. Deployment of O365 across PIH sites in Africa, Haiti, Russia, and the U.S. will enable PIH’s mission to provide a preferential option for the poor in healthcare  and will be an important tool to enhance communication as they respond to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

The current Ebola outbreak is a global challenge and will require collaboration from many players. PIH, which has said it is “radically invitational” and is seeking partners to help respond, recently explained in a blog post that it is

working alongside two outstanding grassroots organizations—Last Mile Health in Liberia and Wellbody Alliance in Sierra Leone. These longtime PIH partners are already working to train health workers, identify sick patients, and deliver quality care. As the epidemic advances, these groups need support to provide comprehensive prevention, care, and treatment.”

Why will Office 365 have an impact?

Enabling a global collaboration and communication platform will allow PIH to share information seamlessly with colleagues, partners and all involved in the fight against disease in developing countries while helping to further PIH’s ability to deliver community based care.  Cloud based storage means that documents can be accessed at any time from any device in any setting, including those where bandwidth is limited.

Identity Management using Microsoft AzureAzure Diagram

Perficient has architected PIH’s cloud identity management by deploying several components in Azure including the following:

• O365 Directory Synchronization Server: to synchronize PIH user information with O365
• End User and O365 Management Server: to provide remote technical leads around the world with the capability to manage end users in their respective countries
• Domain Controllers: to provide geographic resiliency for Active Directory

The use of Azure will take PIH out of the server management business and allow them to focus on delivering healthcare.

Global Rollout of Office 365

Perficient and PIH have completed a rollout of Office 365 Exchange Online to the PIH domestic users and are in the process of initiating an international pilot with Haiti and Rwanda. In future blog posts we’ll showcase the impact Office 365 is having on PIH’s capability to collaborate globally and the positive effects this is providing to PIH’s most remote locations.

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The CIO’s Guide to Understanding Microsoft Cloud Services Thu, 23 Oct 2014 19:34:43 +0000 Over the last few years, the software market has changed shape. According to Joanne Correia, research vice president at Gartner, the cloud is the main driver behind that change.

Given this, over the same time period, azureit makes sense to see Microsoft moving its core business functions to the cloud (and the other major software vendors doing the same). While this is hardly a revelation, if you haven’t yet taken a hard look at the cloud, and what it has to offer your business – now is probably a good time.

Perficient recently published a new white paper, “The CIO’s Guide to Understanding Microsoft Cloud Services,” for executives who are examining Microsoft’s cloud service offerings (Azure, Office 365, Project Online, TFS Online, Dynamics CRM Online) as a way to contain and scale back exploding IT costs and become more nimble.

The guide begins by reviewing some common terms and concepts before diving into deeper cloud-related concepts. It goes on to discuss the changing datacenter and then evaluates both Azure and Office 365, in terms of capabilities as well as security, privacy and compliance. Finally, the guide includes steps to get you started with Microsoft cloud services.

To learn more about Microsoft’s cloud-based services, and see how your organization can benefit from Azure and Office 365, download the new guide from our Microsoft cloud experts.

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IBM and Microsoft Announce Cloud Partnership Thu, 23 Oct 2014 12:00:29 +0000 Yesterday, IBM and Microsoft announced a cloud partnership that will bolster both company’s cloud offerings. We have a larger write up on the details and my initial take on it over in the Portal and Social Blog. From what we can tell, both IBM and Microsoft are excited about the opportunity. While many view them as competitors, in reality, the overlap wasn’t as large as other companies. The ability to share capabilities where there are gaps and the ability to fill holes in each others cloud offering makes sense. Here’s an overview:

  • Microsoft Azure will be able to host
    • WebSphere Middleware like MQ and WebSphere Liberty (lightweight and mobile friendly java app server)
    • DB2
    • Everything will be certified and supported by IBM. This includes support for images within Hyper-V
  • IBM will be able to host
    • Windows Server
    • SQL Server

Here’s a bit on my take as well:

While the IBM and Microsoft news is new, the partnership approach among legacy software vendors is not new. (See Oracle, Salesforce, Microsoft news)  The article correctly states the pressure being put upon both Microsoft and IBM by the likes of Amazon and Google. Yes, Microsoft has poured billions into a strong Office 365 SaaS offering and in Azure. Yes, Azure is worth more than a billion dollars to Microsoft right now. IBM bought Softlayer which is known for being an easy to use and manage IaaS / PaaS play. IBM is also in the process of putting every piece of software they own on Softlayer.  If there’s a cloud play  at IBM, it’s going on Softlayer.

However, both Microsoft and IBM have a problem. What do you do when a client says they have Java apps on Linux or some .net apps on C#? What do you do when SQL Server or DB2 is involved? Well, you could order up another cloud service that supports either of those options or you partner with your sometimes nemesis to put together a more comprehensive offering. Obviously, Microsoft and IBM have chosen the latter.

Head on over to the post for a little more detail.

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