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Posts Tagged ‘Office 365’

Webinar: How the Microsoft Cloud Helps @PIH Improve Global Health

Many nonprofits (and cerpihtainly other organizations as well) would likely share the same sentiment as Partners In Health (PIH) – due to the mission at hand, resource allocation, more often than not, prioritizes the needs of people over systems. It’s not all that surprising that this can lead to disbanded communication systems. Systems that, over time, become expensive to maintain and increasingly deficient.

This was the situation Partners In Health faced, and they are solving it by migrating to Office 365. PIH is a Boston-based nonprofit that delivers high-quality health care and serves impoverished communities around the world. Through the move to Office 365, they now have a single, reliable platform for colleague interactions and can more effectively focus on the mission, improving the quality of health and meeting the needs of underserved populations.

More from a recent news release:

Deployment of Office 365 across sites in Africa, Haiti, Mexico, Peru, Russia and the U.S. will further Partners In Health’s mission to provide a preferential option for the poor in health care. It will also enhance cross-site communication and collaboration as the organization responds to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Cloud-based storage allows documents to be accessed at any time from any device in any setting, including those where bandwidth is limited. With a common email platform, information may be shared seamlessly among colleagues, partners and all others involved in the fight against illness and poverty.

This migration included including a transition to Exchange Online for company-wide communication, Azure-hosted ADFS for identity management, and SharePoint Online for document storage and collaboration.

We’re fortunate to have assisted PIH with this deployment, and are excited to host a webinar next week, on Wednesday, March 4 at 1 p.m. CT, How Partners In Health Is Using the Microsoft Cloud to Improve Global Health.

During the session, PIH’s CIO Dave Mayo, as well as Kent Larson and David Chapman from Perficient, will share details around the challenges the organization faced prior to moving to Office 365 and how the Microsoft Cloud has impacted their ability to share information and collaborate across the globe, even in the most remote locations. They’ll also discuss how change management played an important role in a successful deployment.

For more about PIH or to make a contribution to help the organization transform global health, visit www.pih.org. Read the rest of this post »

New Additions to the Office 365 Family

I’ll keep this post short and sweet in honor of Friday!

Now if you are an avid follower of Microsoft, you got to agree that the most fascinating news (other than stock news) about the company is their shift to the cloud with platforms and products like Azure and Office 365. With so much exciting features coming through it’s tough to keep track. We at Perficient here, have the privilege to work with the latest greatest and keep you updated with the same. The three new features which caught my attention last week provide a great enhancement to user experience, be it mobile or desktop. I discuss them briefly here

Office on iOS

Office 365 Message Encryption Viewer – This app allows you to open mail attachments and send back an encrypted reply. Microsoft verifies your identity to ensure you are who you say you are. Get a one time pass code on your phone.

image1 Read the rest of this post »

Office 365 – How to Update Address Lists in Exchange Online

Address Lists are a way to create an additional “view” within the Global Address List (GAL) based on a set of mailboxes attributes.

As an example, perhaps you want to create a view for everyone with the “Office” of “Headquarters”. This new Address List would appear as an additional dropdown in both Outlook and OWA. Address Lists are also part of Address Book Policies (ABPs) should you want to have actual segmentation of your GAL.

However, with Exchange Online, there is a small issue with Address Lists that can make them challenging to work with.
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How Delve Makes your Life Easier!

For some time now Microsoft has been working on an intelligent fabric- machine learning. This algorithm is (now more than ever) becoming an Delve Img1integral part of many new platforms and products, especially office graph which powers the new Office app called “Delve”. Delve is part of the Office 365 suite and is available for all tenants with “First Release” turned on.

I blogged about Delve in its early days here & here  but since then it has evolved quite a bit. What I wanted to share with you is how Microsoft is rolling new functionality into this app so that life for an end user becomes simpler. There are many aspects when we look into a “day in the life” of an end user but one of the most important ones is organizing and email. Won’t you agree? Taking these two in consideration, let’s look at how Delve makes your everyday life easier!

But before we look into the new enhancements, let’s take a small walk down the memory lane and see what is Delve. Office Delve brings most relevant content to you. This is based on what you’re working on and what is trending around you (your connections, groups etc.). Helps you discover new connection, be it People, documents, or new ideas. All this is done by Delve constantly learning your work habits/styles and creating a globe of information in and around you. Office Graph incorporated signals across Office 365 and content primarily from OneDrive for Business, SharePoint Online team sites and the new Office 365 Video portal.

Now let’s explore the latest enhancements that has been keeping the Delve team pretty busy.

Boards

This feature helps you organize various content and make it readily accessible and share friendly. Think of this as the same exercise you are Image 001used to, of applying sticky on a board to gather all relevant ideas and suggestions. This feature takes this traditional approach, digital.

Image 002Everyone in your organization can view and contribute to an existing board or create a board—but they can only see and open documents that they have permission to access.  From within Delve, you can search for a board, follow it to stay informed and discover other boards—all without having to know or remember where individual pieces of content live. Watch this youtube video to get a better idea.

Image 003


Gotchas
:

Boards does not allow you to embed external pages yet; so in essence no public boards!
Currently you cannot add context to the content on a public board. It’s simply pinning a document without any comment or context around it. (Sounds like a yammer integration in the play here)

Image 004

Email

I bet you would not disagree with me when I say email is single handedly the most used/abused application today. People use it to share ideas, circulate announcements, send attachments etc. This is a the latest in the list of additions to Delve. On the Delve home page, attachments found in email show up in the “Home” view. The attachments are presented in cards that provide some context including information about who sent the message and some text from the message body. If a message contains multiple attachments, each attachment is presented in a separate card.

Gotchas:
It won’t show you attachments sent by you.
Attachments will only show in the two week time frame. Delve will show items that are of interest to you based on insights it has gathered and analyzed in the Office Graph database. The same kind of signal-driven rationale is used to surface documents stored in SharePoint and OneDrive for Business libraries.
You obviously can’t delete items from Delve – that’s due to the reason that Delve is a machine learning algorithm based on search.

Overall great additions to the Delve family. I’m certainly looking forward to the next one – Yammer integration.

 

 

Image source: Microsoft Office blog

Office 365 – Common Exchange Online Hybrid Mail Flow Issues

Exchange Hybrid, when configured properly, can provide almost seamless coexistence between Exchange Online and your on-premises Exchange environment. Part of this concept is that while you technically have two separate Exchange organizations, the mail flow between these organizations appears “internal” so that a message from a cloud user looks no different than a message from an on-premises user.

As a consultant nearly 100% focused on Exchange Online migrations, I’ve come across a variety of situations where hybrid mail flow is not working properly. If you spend any time browsing the Office 365 Community Forums, you’ll see a number of posts on this same issue.

Even if the Hybrid Configuration Wizard completed successfully, it does not mean that hybrid mail flow is setup properly. In some cases, mail will actually be routing between organizations and it may seem like everything is working. A deeper look into the messages and you might find that while they are routing, they are not appearing as “internal”.

Below are some of the things to look for and how to resolve these hybrid mail flow issues.
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Office 365 – Two Azure AD Premium Features Coming To All Subscribers

The Office 365 Roadmap can be a bit of a treasure hunt at times. It’s great that Microsoft provides transparency into what is planned or in progress but figuring out when the roadmap has changed or what has changed on it can be a bit of a challenge.

I noticed that the roadmap was updated this weekend. In the update, a number of features were changed from “Launched” to “Previously Released” and there were a few additions that were basically informative (e.g. the planned rename of “Lync Online” to “Skype for Business Online”).

There was, however, one addition to the “In Development” section that stood out:
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Posted in Office 365

Office 365 – Microsoft’s Proactive Notification of User Issues

You would think that after working in technology for around 20 years, the “awe factor” would start to wear down. The fact is, I’m still amazed by some of the features that companies like Microsoft develop and how they manage to continuously push out great new functionality to their clients. With Office 365, it’s a continuous stream of features that either assists IT departments or provides added functionality for users with the end result of providing a better user experience through technology.

Today was another one of those “that just makes so much sense” moments where Microsoft was able to use the supporting infrastructure behind Office 365 to improve the user experience.

I’m referring to this email below that I received:
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Posted in Office 365

Much Awaited OneDrive for Business comes to Mac and iOS

This announcement should be music to the ears, for all the Mac and iOS diehards using Microsoft apps. Earlier I had blogged about an interim solution for these devices, you can read it in my post here. Last week, Microsoft announced new ways that you can access and manage your OneDrive for Business (ODFB) files from your Mac and iOS devices. The good news is that ODFB works like OneDrive (Personal): You get a virtual drive in the Finder so that you and your apps can access ODFB files normally. That means that Office for Mac can now access files in your corporate ODFB account (which should have always worked). New capabilities in how you view, manage, and share your photos and it now allows you to connect to one or more ODFB accounts.

Previously Microsoft had shipped two separate apps – one for your personal files and one for business files – now you can do this all within the one app. For a business user you can access all your files plus all the files that have been shared with you. You can even access your most recent files plus recover accidentally deleted files from the Recycle Bin. You can download the iOS app from the app store, and the Mac sync client preview from the Microsoft Download Center. You can also take a first look at the new Mac sync client on Office Mechanics. I share below some screenshots from my iPhone, that goes to show how easy it is to add ODFB to your existing app. Read the rest of this post »

Why governing Yammer vs. SharePoint represents an about-face

Yesterday may have been Ground Hog Day, but unlike the movie, I’m happy to report no time loop (although there was a lot of snow for some of us). Aside from the freshly fallen snow, there was also fresh new content over on CMSWire, thanks in part to my colleague Rich Wood and his article The Yammer vs. SharePoint Governance Taste Test.”

Rich is the only person I know who can relate Folders Crystals to governance in Yammer and SharePoint and have it make perfect sense. How so?

Do you remember the Folgers Crystals instant coffee commercials from the 1980s? In these 30-second advertisements, a surreptitious survey is taken of diners in a fancy and presumably expensive restaurant. Served after-dinner coffee, they inevitably describe for the camera how fantastic it tastes and smells. Just as inevitably, the shock of the coffee drinkers when they discovered they’d actually been served Folgers Crystals — instant coffee, not the freshly-brewed European blends they’d been expecting — gave their snobbish expectations the lie.

In many ways the governance of Yammer vis-à-vis the high-powered governance features of SharePoint is similar to that cup of Folgers coffee versus flavor expected of the freshly-brewed premium blends.

Rich goes on to explain that the shocked diners are your SharePoint admins. Within Yammer, the governance features are softer and lighter, existing to guide collaboration. The opposite is true of SharePoint, where the governance model tends to restrict people from communicating outside of approved circumstances. Despite being so different, when deployed correctly, governance in Yammer can be just as effective as that of SharePoint.

Rich discusses the importance of understanding the differences between social, cloud-based collaboration like Yammer and collaboration within the older, document-first platforms.

If you’re used to thinking of “governance” in a SharePoint context, it can be a difficult transition — even an unnatural one — into governing a Yammer network properly while still encouraging user engagement. The baseline systems serve different purposes. Simply put, SharePoint is for files, Yammer is for people.

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Office 365 – How To Update Your Azure AD PowerShell Module

In my post “How to Stay Informed of Changes“, I covered some of the different information sources I use to keep track of changes in Office 365. Something I’ve since added to that list is the version release history page for the Azure Active Directory PowerShell Module. The page has an RSS feed which you can add to Outlook or your favorite RSS reader to get notified of updates.

The Azure AD PowerShell Module is something that is easy to forget about. You likely installed it when you first started working with Office 365 and may not have touched it since then.

It still connects, so why bother updating?
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