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Posts Tagged ‘Office 365’

Office 365 – When to Consider a Third-Party Identity Provider

Office 365 offers several different identity options. Well known are the options to use “cloud identities” or directory synchronization from your on-premises Active Directory. For authentication, Microsoft offers the option to use “password hash sync” or Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS) along with your on-premises Active Directory.

There is, however, another option when it comes to identity. There are several third-party identity providers (IdPs) that are validated for use with Office 365.

When does it make sense to use a third-party IdP?

What should you look for when considering one?
Read the rest of this post »

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New Microsoft Trend: “Intranet in a Box” Built on SharePoint


If you walked the exhibit hall at last month’s Microsoft Ignite conference in Chicago, you might have happened upon a conversation, or even a booth, touting the concept, “Intranet in a Box.” In fact, while attending Ignite, I recall talking about it with a colleague of mine, Rich Wood. Last week, he wrote an article over on CMSWire discussing the new trend.

Rich talks about how both inspiration – and confusion – came out of Ignite, as noted below:

Microsoft shared a lot about the future as Redmond sees it at last month’s Ignite conference. It’s a future that looks, by turns, both inspiring and somewhat confusing. When Microsoft peeks ahead into the space-time continuum, it sees the future of communication as Skype for Business, and the future of information discovery looking a good deal like Delve and other search-based applications.

The future of teamwork through this lens looks distinctly like Office 365 Groups. Except when it resembles Yammer… or maybe SharePoint. All three together in some sort of mashup? “Where the roadmap is heading,” we were told.

Interesting? Certainly.

Vague? Definitely.

Confusing? Absolutely — unless you find some good counsel to help make sense of how this can benefit your organization.

So, what’s to come? Rich sets us straight when it comes to SharePoint being synonymous with intranet solution (it’s NOT).

Let’s be clear: Microsoft has never claimed to offer an intranet solution. And it still isn’t. Sure, a whopping proportion of the world’s intranets are built on SharePoint every year — but Microsoft has always stopped short of calling SharePoint an intranet solution. That’s because it isn’t. SharePoint is a platform, not a packaged solution. We’ve been hearing that for years, because it’s true. But will it remain that way?

The times are definitely changing, and between Microsoft and its partners, Ignite showed us that more and more packaged solutions, using SharePoint as their baseline, are available to take some of the pain and cost out of intranet design and delivery. None of these solutions alone — these “Intranets in a box,” if you will — are being marketed as truly viable monolithic corporate intranet candidates, but they each address a specific business case that used to require moderate-to-heavy customization.

But times are changing. Business needs are changing, and Microsoft is not only getting on board with the boxed intranet trend – they are setting the agenda. Read the rest of this post »

Office 365 Deployment, Security and Management – Tips for Success

shutterstock_240543970To help companies rapidly deploy and fast-track Office 365 service consumption, we’ve been teaming up with Centrify. Centrify Identity Service (CIS) for Office 365 runs on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform and is a comprehensive solution for Active Directory-based SSO, user provisioning and mobility management.

Together, we recently held a webinar on the topic “Proven Practices for Office 365 Deployment, Security and Management.” Joe Palarchio, a lead technical consultant within Perficient’s Microsoft practice, kicked off the session by reviewing a few statistics that were mentioned during sessions he attended at Ignite:

Nearly 80% of the Fortune 500 have Office 365

35% of Exchange install base is on Office 365

More than 80% of Office 365 Enterprise customers have two or more workloads

He made the point – the cloud should no longer be considered bleeding edge, and companies of all sizes have adopted it with great success. Joe also noted that the second statistic, the Exchange install base on Office 365, is climbing rapidly. Joe went on to share best practices… for example, to get started, you need to acquire licensing (trial, EA), identify an appropriate pilot group, and consider workloads such as OneDrive for Business or Office 365 ProPlus.

Accept changes in terms of network, security and provisioning. Also – seek support and experience when necessary. Look for certified vendors, leverage Microsoft documentation and work with a deployment partner. Side note: We have a change management practice here at Perficient that has helped many customers move to Office 365 successfully. You can read a case study detailing change management with Partners In Health here.

Joe also reviewed common mistakes to avoid and discussed the first step to the cloud: identity and authentication. Next, Chris Webber, Director of Product Marketing at Centrify, spoke further about your security goals and deployment goals around cloud identity and authentication. He showed attendees how Centrify Identity Service enables you to secure and simplify your Office 365 deployment. Centrify Identity Service is powered by Azure and validated by Microsoft. You can request a free trial or watch this short video to learn how to centralize and automate deployment of Office 365 and other apps across data centers, Macs and mobile. Read the rest of this post »

How to Plan & Prepare for Skype for Business – Webinar Recap


It’s official – as of mid April, which was covered in another post – Microsoft Lync is now Skype for Business. As expected, customers who have Lync deployed either on premises or in the cloud have questions, and folks who use Skype for personal use are wondering how well this communication tool, which works wonders to connect with family and friends, crosses the chasm into enterprise-grade unified communications.

All these questions made for a popular webinar topic last week. Nick Elniff, a senior technical consultant at Perficient who works within our unified communications practices, packed a lot of information into the 50 minute session.

He began with a brief history lesson on Microsoft and unified communications, and then shared with attendees what the change means from a rebranding perspective, and the different clients and timelines for availability. He compared the differences in the interfaces, and then showed what’s new beyond the new look.

It’s definitely a webinar worth reviewing, whether it’s the slides or the replay. You can find both here. Read the rest of this post »

Guest Post: Extend Business Processes to the Cloud with Nintex

VadimNote: Today’s blog post comes from Vadim Tabakman, Technical Evangelist for Nintex with over 8 years of experience in SharePoint and Nintex technologies. He understands how SharePoint, business process automation and forms can join forces successfully in numerous industries and business scenarios to drive business adoption and succeed in SharePoint projects. Vadim brings an excellent technical perspective to the discussion of how to use SharePoint workflow and forms to solve business needs.

As businesses grow, the need for the automation of business processes grows with it.  With that need, the inevitable discussion of  hardware support and scalability comes up.  Can your current hardware and software environment support your ever growing need?  How much of an investment will you need to make, in order to accomplish your automation needs and will there be future investments or upgrades needed as requirements grow even more?

Those are the types of questions that come up and Microsoft and Nintex have expanded their product offerings to help answer those questions.


Firstly, living in a SharePoint world, companies need to consider the investment required for the different types of SharePoint servers.  You have Web Front End servers, Application server, Index servers and Database servers.  Over time, the user base grows and adoption grows with it.  This results in additional servers required in the on-prem environment to cater for that growth.

In comes the world of the cloud and Office 365.  Office 365 takes away the worry of growth and scalability as it is hosted on Azure and that handles all of that for you.  But really, what is SharePoint without Nintex Workflow and Forms?  Nintex Workflow and Forms have been available in the Office 365 SharePoint Store since the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in 2013 and are fundamental tools for companies to help with automating business processes and driving user adoption. Read the rest of this post »

Webinar: O365 Deployment, Security & Management Best Practices

Joe Palarchio Ignite

Perficient’s Joe Palarchio presents a session on Exchange hybrid at Microsoft Ignite

As we get back into the swing of things after heading home from Microsoft Ignite (some of us didn’t have to go very far, lucky Chicagoans), we’re excited to have a bunch of new webinars lined up on various topics. One was today, on Skype for Business – stay tuned for that recap!

Next up, on Wednesday, June 3 at 1 pm CT, Joe Palarchio, Lead Technical Consultant at Perficient, who presented a session at Ignite on Exchange in a hybrid environment, will be teaming up with Chris Webber, Director of Product Marketing at Centrify for a webinar on Proven Practices for Office 365 Deployment, Security and Management.

When it comes to email platforms, Office 365 Exchange Online has quickly become the choice solution for many enterprises as they move from an on-premises environment to the cloud. In this session, you will learn how single sign-on and automated account provisioning for Office 365 can stop the cloud password sprawl, close security holes and free up IT time for new projects.

You’ll also see how to:

  • Drive cloud app adoption and eliminate password sprawl
  • Centralize, standardize and automate access management – across apps and devices
  • Leverage active directory, without the expense and risk of replicating it
  • Provide seamless access to on-premises apps without the hassle of VPN
  • Simplify with a Microsoft-validated alternative to AD FS, DirSync, and Azure Active Directory

We hope you can join us to learn how to get ahead of cloud challenges you may be facing and simplify your deployment of Office 365. Sign up today!


Ignite 2015 Recap – Top 3 Sessions to Replay

ignite mainWelcome back from a great Ignite Conference! By now, I hope everyone knows that the conference recordings are posted to channel9, a section of MSDN. Microsoft does a great job of recording and publishing all of this content quickly, its pretty awesome.

One of my biggest challenges at the conference was knowing which session to pick. There were 3-6 sessions at any given time that I wanted to go to. All week it was like that, crazy.

This year, Microsoft added “foundational keynote” sessions. Sadly, most of them were on Monday and over-lapped each other. I went back and downloaded the videos and they are all amazing, filled with product name changes, roadmap discussions, and a very transparent look at Microsoft’s Cloud Strategy. Read the rest of this post »

New features for Office 365 SSO and RMS – Ignite 2015

Some very exciting new capabilities were announced here (Ignite conference) as part of the Office 365 suite powered by Azure AD and rights management service. I will share two of these here
• Cloud App Discovery
• Document Tracking

Cloud App Discovery

With 365 you’re already setup for SSO but if you require some advanced functionality like adding your third party or on-premises apps to this single sign on experience then this section of the Office 365 portal will be very valuable

Once you have synchronized users with Office 365
• In the Office 365 Admin portal go to azure AD. Go to Cloud App Discovery if you wish to add your apps to single sing on experience (Upgrade to Azure AD premium if u want self service)
• With cloud app discovery you can see how many users using which SAAS apps.
• You can view which users were denied access
• You can assign multi factor authentication (even if the app like twitter comes with single factor OOB)
Password rollover- Every week or two users passwords for SAAS apps is randomly changed. So admins also won’t be privy of user password. Initial password is changed instantaneously
Users can see log reports and incident report.

Document Tracking with Azure RMS

• Recipients can download a mobile RMS sharing app to view shared protected RMS document
• Allows doc owners to track activity on docs they sent
○ Who was denied or accessed
○ Various views – timeline view, category view, chart view, map view with geographically location where files were accessed
• Sender gets Notification email with link to tracking site and it will list all docs he shared externally or internally
• Sender can revoke access from document tracking site. Recipients get notification
There were many other features announced at the Ignite but I think these two at the very least deserve a round of applause !!

Office 365 NextGen Portals Under the Hood – Ignite 2015

ignite main

Family of NextGen portals

  • Video
  • Delve
  • Infopedia

Notion of these portals is built on the following pillars

  • Intelligent
  • Mobile
  • Social
  • Ready to go





Office 365 Video

Powered by azure media services
Easily consume
Share ideas broadly (rich discoverable social video across devices with yammer embedded)
Secure & easy to manage (scalable, encrypted, cross-geo video streaming service)
Also powered by Office graph which means it learns from your behavior over time.

Using SP: storing nextgen portal data Read the rest of this post »

Exchange Hybrid – The Unspoken Limitations That You Should Know

During the inaugural Microsoft Ignite conference, I was selected to present a “community theater” session; my session was titled “Exchange Hybrid – The Unspoken Limitations That You Should Know”.

The idea around this session was the we should always know the capability of a technology before deploying it into production. The earlier we can identify any limitations, the earlier we can communicate them to our project sponsors and end users. In some cases, communication is the only workaround necessary for the limitation, in other cases there are existing workarounds that can be helpful; I have identified some of these workarounds in the presentation slide deck below.
Read the rest of this post »